Russia builds new nuclear sub equipped with Bulava-M quasi-ballistic missiles

Russian Navy got a new leader. On April, 15 the head project 955 submarine Yuri Dolgoruky left the slipway of the Sevmash shipyard in the White Sea. The ceremony was attended by the First Vice-Premier Sergey Ivanov, the Commander of the Navy Vladimir Masorin, Deputy Minister of Defense and Chief of Arms of the MoD General Alexey Msokovksy, the Mayor Moscow Yuri Luzhkov, General Director of Sevmash Vladimir Pastuhov, the Governor of Arkhangelsk region Nikolay Kiselyov as well as by the heads of other shipbuilding enterprises. Boreis (955 project) are to remain the core of the naval nuclear deterrence till the middle of this century. The new subs will replace the subs of the project 667BDR and BDRM now on duty. According to the specialists the new sub will have no matches in the foreseeable future. "Yuri Dolgoruky" with 14,7/24 thousand tons (surface/underwater) displacement carries strategic rocket complex Bulava-M consisting of 12 so called quasi-ballistic missiles with ten nuclear warheads of individual aiming. The range of the missile that for the first time in the world’s history has changeable trajectory and can reach hypersonic speed is 8000km. However, sailing tests will start this year without the missile, which is being finalized by the designer. The crew of the sub will be formed only with officers and NCOs.

Before 2015 State Arms Program provides for building 7 project 955 subs. In the next two years the eighth will be constructed under a new Arms Program. Alexander Nevsky (the second sub) will be ready by 2009 and Vladimir Monomah – by 2011. The best Russian nuclear subs will be deployed in the Far East. The Commander of the Pacific Fleet of the Russian Navy Admiral Victor Fedorov publicly confirmed that the two newest strategic submarines ("Alexander Nevsky" and "Vladimir Monomah") will be commissioned with the Pacific Fleet. "Yuri Dolgoruki” is to stay with the Northern Fleet.

Earlier during his visit to the Far East First Vice-Premier Sergey Ivanov said that the Pacific Fleet is the priority of the Navy. According to him all nuclear arsenal, such as new sub Yuri Dolgoruky, will be in Kamchatka, although the main base of the surface fleet will remain in Vladivostok.

However, the development of the Russian submarine Navy does not stop with the new project. Sevmash continues construction of the multi-role nuclear project 855 submarine Yasen, which will surpass its foreign matches in most characteristics. "Severodvinsk", the head sub of the 855 project, is far more complicated than even project 955. It has both more diverse arms and more diverse tactics. (Project 855, NATO reporting name GRANAY: displacement - 8600/13800 tons, dimensions - 119х13,5х9,4m, max depth - 600м, speed of - 16/31 knots. Crew – 90 persons (32 officers). It won’t take long to hear about this sub. At the same time t he c ommand of the Russian Navy considers it necessary to begin the development of the principally new project of a multi-purpose nuclear submarine of smaller displacement, according to the Commander of the Navy Masorin. Once he said that "s o far it is only in our plans , but we precisely know , that such submarines are needed. It should be the submarine of smaller displacement in comparison with the existing today. It will be an underwater hunter". This should take some more time, about 10 years according to the assessments of the Admiral.

Meanwhile the designers of Bulava left less hopes for skeptics. The next launch is planned for this June, according to the Commander of the Russian Navy Admiral Vladimir Masorin. "Dmitry Donskoi", the test sub, will launch the missile from underwater position. Once again it has been officially confirmed that the previous unsuccessful tests of 2006 had no influence on the program in general. The Commander said that the Moscow based Institute of Teplotechnika, the designer of the missile, found out the bottle necks which were in the technological sphere, and “cured the disease”.

Yuri Seleznyov

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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov