Russian Navy Accepts First in New Class of Nuclear Attack Submarine

June 19, 2014 7:16 PM
Russian submarine Severodvinsk
Russian submarine Severodvinsk

Russian television has reported that the Russian Federation Navy has accepted its first Project 855 Yasen-class nuclear-powered attack submarine into this week.

Called K-560 Severodvinsk, the 13,800 ton boat has been in construction at the Sevmash yards since 1993—its completion long delayed due to Russia’s economic malaise since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. It was not until 2010 when Russia launched the new submarine, which has been undergoing sea trials since September 2011.

Severodvinsk is expected to be the quietest and most capable Russian attack submarine to date being far more potent than the older Soviet-era Akula and Sierra-class designs. But the new vessel is not expected to be quite as silent as the U.S. Navy’s Seawolf or Virginia-class boats.

According to the state media outlet Ria Novosti, Severodvinsk has a submerged displacement of 13,800 tons, length of 119 meters, speed of 31 knots, and can dive to 600 meters. It has a crew of 90 including 32 officers. It is armed with 24 Oniks (SS-N-26) and Kalibr (SS-N-27) cruise missiles along with a host of 533mm torpedoes and mines. It is the first Russian or Soviet-designed submarine to feature a spherical bow sonar array.

In addition to Severodvinsk, there are two additional Yasen-class submarines that are already under construction. These additional vessels, Kazan and Novosibirsk, are being built to a somewhat modernized design standard designated Project 855M Yasen-M. A third vessel will be laid down in August, according to Russian Television.

Russia is expected to order three further Project 855M boats in 2015, and ultimately the country could build more than eight Yasen-class submarines.

Russia is already working on a follow-on design to the Yasen-class, Russian television reports. “The harsh laws and rules of shipbuilding do not allow any pauses in designing new generations of submarines,” Russian navy commander Adm. Victor Chirkov told the station.

Meanwhile, the Russian Navy continues production of the Borei-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine to replace the Project 941 Typhoon-class and Project 667BDRM Delta IV-class boomers.

Three of the Borei-class submarines have been completed thus far, while a fourth vessel with a modified design called Knyaz Vladimir is currently under construction. The new design is called the Project 955-A Borei II—and may carry 20 ballistic missiles rather than the 16 found on older vessels in the class.

Dave Majumdar

Dave Majumdar

Dave Majumdar has been covering defense since 2004. He has written for Flight International, Defense News and C4ISR Journal. Majumdar studied Strategic Studies at the University of Calgary and is a student of naval history.

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