Typhoon Submarine Unveils Its Secrets - 23 October, 2002

PRAVDA.Ru journalists went onboard Russia’s most powerful nuclear submarine

The importance of the Russian navy does not happen to get a lot of proofs lately. Political contacts and negotiations are definitely relevant. But when Russia has something to boast of – this is completely different. Russia  has been weakened a lot over the recent year. Yet, it is still capable of claiming to be one of the leading powers in the world. One of those reasons can be found in the Russian city of Severodvinsk  - the center of the Russian ship-building. This city is celebrated for  the defense technology that was built on its docks.

Before we went on board the Typhoon submarine, there was a short message in the press about a successful  missile launch from this nuclear submarine. “The nuclear submarine launched a ballistic missile from the target area of the White Sea. The missile hit the target with precision.”

The nuclear submarine missile cruiser TK-20 is the sixth (the last)  of the Typhoon series that  were built on Sevmash Enterprise in Severodvinsk. The TK-20 Typhoon submarine was coming back from the White Sea. A group of PRAVDA.Ru journalists was the only group of web-reporters that was allowed to go onboard the sub in the city of Severodvinsk.

The commander of the submarine,  V.Ovcharsky gave us a tour of the submarine from one compartment to another. During the tour Ovcharsky told us about the crew and the captain of the sub. Captain A.Bogachev was born in the town of Podolsk, the Moscow region. In 1979 he graduated from the naval school and became a submariner.  Captain Bogachev has been  the captain of the Typhoon sub for nine years already. He is decorated with several governmental orders, including the Order of Courage. Fifty-one Typhoon submariners are decorated with various orders, actually.  Commander Ovcharsky said that the submariners were decorated for the fulfillment of dangerous and risky tasks.

Captain Bogachev said that the launching of missiles proved the capacity of both the crew and the submarine. “The crew was getting ready for that launch purposefully.  We have conducted a lot of training and now we are happy with the results.”

Several submarines of the 18th division of missile cruisers carried out several utilization cycles of the missile weapons.  They fired missiles from all shafts. Those missiles were stored for 17 or 18 years before they were fired. Everything went alright. The economic effect made up some 200 million rubles. Dismantling missiles would cost much more. Missiles are launched from the White Sea testing area, because it is easier to control their’ movements from there. However, it is possible to fire missiles from any place, even from the North Pole.

The Typhoon crew is rather young, but it has its steady traditions already. There are several people in the crew that used to serve on the very first Typhoon submarine. There are also unique people there, who can hardly be found anywhere in the navy.

The officers of the submarine  believe that the so-called period of untimeliness  is finally coming to its end. The situation with the Russian Navy was extremely hard several years ago. Experienced submariners did not care about their benefits and high wages. A lot of them retired in the reserve, no one wanted to serve on submarines. It was very hard to make a crew travel in the beginning of the 1990s. The command would pick up the people from divisions, making something like a mixture.

Now the situation is different. People want to work on subs, they ask to make them  crew members. The moral and the psychological atmosphere of the navy is changing. Being a submariner is getting honorable again. Men do not want to lose their places  in their crews,  they do their best to stay there as long as possible. It is not really about the high wages. No one actually needs a former submariner in the field of public services.

Of course, the compartments of the Typhoon are rather narrow and compact, in comparison with surface nuclear cruisers. However, Typhoon’s compartments seem to be very large in comparison with other submarines. The crew resting zone is like a complex with lots of conveniences. There is a gym, a sauna, and even a pool there. We saw some submariners swimming there, having good time off work.

Russian strategic nuclear forces carried out an attack  on a virtual enemy on October 12,  right on the threshold of the 306 anniversary of the Russian Navy. The difference between the missiles launches from the submarines in the Barents Sea and from the Plesetsk range ground was only three minutes. Four strategic missile carriers (Tu-160 and Tu-95 MC) also launched their missiles to hit the virtual enemy.

Russian marines hate it, when those people, who have never been in the army, keep saying that the Russian Navy is dead. It is not like that. The Russian Navy is 306 years old, it is alive and kicking.

Vitaly Bratkov
Vladimir Berbenets
Andrey Mikhailov
Alexander Shaurov


Translated by Dmitry Sudakov

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Author`s name Olga Savka