Russia launches 170-meter-long surprise for Washington

On January 11, 2022, Russia launched its second serial missile submarine of Project 955 Borei-A.

Borei-A submarine: An unpleasant surprise for Washington

The submarine cruiser is the brainchild of the Rubin Design Bureau. The vessel was built for seven years. This is a second-to-none submarine, just like its four brothers that are already on combat duty.

Prior to this, on December 25 last year, the new submarine was solemnly taken out of the boathouse. The submarine will have to undergo complex trials at all levels before it can be handed over to the navy in 12 months.

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The fourth-generation strategic nuclear submarine Generalissimo Suvorov has a hull length of 170 meters, a width of 13.5 meters and a displacement of 24,000 tons. The cruiser is capable of speeding up to 30 knots.

The appearance of a new Russian mammoth submarine in the theater of potential submarine warfare is a notable event. Indeed, the Suvorov submarine carries 16 Bulava ICBMs and is also armed with six or ten individually targetable nuclear units with freedom of maneuver in pitch and yaw. The submarine carries eight bow 533-mm torpedo tubes and six disposable non-reloadable launchers for hydroacoustic countermeasures. The cruiser's hull is built using stealth technology, making it difficult to detect even for modern radars.

It is worthy of note that NATO countries that proudly proclaim themselves to be maritime powers have nothing of the kind.

The sub is not a development of previous projects: this is not a reinvention of Antey or Schuka-B models, but a completely new word in shipbuilding. Importantly, the new submarine was assembled without imported components. According to professionals, Russian Borei-A submarines are four times less noisy than USA's Virginia-class submarines.

The arms

R-30 Bulava solid-propellant missiles on board the cruiser may have a smaller warhead than their American counterparts (1,150 kilograms versus 2,800), but they have a high range — 9,300 kilometers, which is a little inferior to Trident 2 (11,000 kilometers).

The advantages of the Russian deadly technology are about different characteristics.

Firstly, a Bulava ICBM is launched using the dry launch technology. Unlike liquid three-stage missiles, for example, R29RM missiles that are still in service, the R-30 power plant gets activated only on the surface, while a powder charge pushes the missile from out of the silo. For liquid-fuel missiles, only a liquid launch was possible. These missiles have a special adapter that connects them to the launch pad. When tanks get pressurized, the silo would be filled with water. The engine would start after the pressure returns to stable, and the missile would leave the silo.

This technology produced typical noise that could be detected by enemy's submarine detectors. Predicting a dry launch moment is impossible as everything happens instantly.

Secondly, Bulava's accelerating section, at which the missile is vulnerable most, is much shorter.

Thirdly and fourthly, the Americans have no advantages in overcoming missile defense, and Trident 2 is twice as heavy.

Lastly, the warheads of the Russian missile are maneuverable. To top it off, they are outfitted with secret stealth tools. All this makes it practically impossible to shoot Bulava missiles down.

Russian nuclear submarines already in serial production

It is important to note here that Russia has already launched the nuclear submarine of this project in serial production. The flagship of the series, the Prince Vladimir sub, entered service 18 months ago, in June 2020. For the time being, Russia has built five Borei-A submarines, while five others, including the Generalissimo Suvorov, which has just been launched, are under construction. The Dmitry Donskoy and the Prince Potemkin are already on the stocks; the Emperor Alexander III and the Prince Pozharsky submarines are to follow.

Borei-A is the main type of Russian nuclear cruiser, at least until the middle of the 21st century. These submarines will carry out military service literally everywhere — in the Atlantic, Arctic and Pacific oceans.

What about the USA?

The United States decided to create something similar to Russian Borei subs to replace 14 outdated Ohio-class submarines. However, production has not started yet. It goes about Columbia project submarines that have similar proportions in length, width and height with Russian subs, albeit 14 times more expensive.

In total, the US Navy is to receive 12 Columbia-class strategic submarines with 12 new D5 Trident 2 missiles on board each sub.

To date, the submarine fleets of Russia and the USA are comparable in size — about 70 submarines each, but Russia is definitely far ahead of the United States at this point.

Washington is well aware of this gap. The US has been increasing the pace of production of existing models, such as the Virginia-class submarines. Since 2011, US shipyards have been operating around the clock.

It appears that editors of Chinese publication NetEase were right, when they said that the launch of the Borei-A Generalissimo Suvorov submarine would keep the United States away from staging military provocations against Russia.

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New nuclear submarines join the Russian Navy
Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov
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