Russian Navy Commissions Ballistic Missile Sub, 2 Surface Warships

January 4, 2023 9:59 PM
Borey-A class submarine Generalissimus Suvorov. TASS Photo

The Russian Navy commissioned three new vessels, including a Borey-A class nuclear ballistic missile submarine, to close out 2022.

In addition to the three new vessels — Project 955A Borey-A class submarine Generalissimus Suvorov, Project 12700 Alexandrit-class MCM ship Anatoliy Shlemov, Project 21631 Buyan-M class Grad, a second submarine was also rolled out of the shipyard hall at Sevmash Shipyard on the same day. Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin and Defense Minister Sergei Shoygu attended the events via video.

The K-553 Generalissimus Suvorov strategic nuclear-powered submarine of Project 955A Borey-A, assigned to the 25th Submarine Division based in Vilyuchinsk, is expected to have the most effect on the fleet. It will join three other Borey class submarines in the Pacific Fleet.

The Generalissimus Suvorov is the sixth Project 955 Borey “boomer” overall and the third of the Borey-A version. The first three of the submarines used hull sections from unfinished Project 971 Shchuka-B submarines. However, Project 955A version is already hydrodynamically optimized.

It has taken approximately eight years for the submarine to commission.

The keel of the Suvorov was laid down on Dec. 26, 2014, at the Sevmash Shipyard in Severodvinsk, northern Russia.

On July 20, 2022, Suvorov began factory acceptance trials at sea. On Nov. 3, the submarine-launched a 3M30 Bulava submarine-launched ballistic missile from an underwater position in the White Sea as part of government testing, which dropped on the Kura firing range in Kamchatka.

On Dec. 21, Suvorov was handed over to the Russian Navy. It commissioned eight days later in Severodvinsk and began service in the Pacific Fleet. This year, the submarine will be transferred to the Far East via the Northern Route.

On the same day, a ceremony was held at Sevmash to roll out another submarine in the class, Emperor Aleksandr III. Construction of the boat began on Dec. 18, 2015, and the Russians plan to commission the “boomer” later this year.

The Borey A-class nuclear submarines are 170 meters long, have a submerged displacement of about 24,000 tons, and their main armament consists of 16 SLBMs 3M30 of the R-30 Bulava system. They are the first Russian nuclear submarines to be equipped with a pump-jet. Three more Borey-As are under construction, and two more have been ordered. These submarines will form the main class of Russian submarines, replacing the last unit of Project 667BDR Kalmar (K-44 Ryazan’) and five of Project 667BDRM Delfin.

MCM for the Pacific

Project 12700 minesweeper Anatoly Shlemov launches at the Sredne-Nevsky Shipyard on Nov. 26, 2021. TASS Photo

The seventh Alexandrit-class MCM ship of Project 12700, Anatoliy Shlemov, was commissioned and joined the Russian Pacific Fleet‘s 114th brigade of water defense vessels on Dec. 29.

The Aleksandrit class is built at the Sredne Nevskiy shipyard in Pontonnyy near St. Petersburg. They are the world’s largest ships made of fiberglass — displacing 890 tons. Hull molding began on July 12, 2019, with the launch on Nov. 26, 2021. In July, the four-month voyage of Anatoliy Shlemov in tow began on the Northern Sea Route from the Baltic to the Pacific.

The Aleksandrit-class MCMVs fell victim to sanctions imposed on Russia by the European Union following the annexation of Crimea in 2014. The first ship was equipped with a French MCM systems. ECA Group supplied two unmanned survey and identification systems, including a USV Inspector Mk2 equipped with an interferometric side-scan sonar and an ROV Seascan. The Russians currently deploy systems of their own manufacture, including ROVs and acoustic-magnetic sweeps.

Construction of three more of the Aleksandrit class is underway. At the moment, ships of the class serve in the Baltic, Black Sea and Pacific, with additional ships headed to the Northern Fleet.

More Kalibr missiles in the Baltic Sea

Project 21631 Buyan-M corvette Grad

The 10th Project 21631 Buyan-M corvette of the Baltic Fleet, Grad, was commissioned on Dec. 29.

The class carries the Kalibr-NK land attack cruise as well as the supersonic anti-ship 3M55 Oniks missile. Four Buyan-M-class corvettes, part of the Black Sea Fleet, are currently deployed to launch 3M14 Kalibr missiles against critical infrastructure in Ukraine.

Zelenodolsk Shipyard, based in Zelenodolsk, Tatarstan, is building two more Buyan-Ms, which will most likely be the last for Russia.

The production rate is low due to problems with the propulsion system. The Small Grad has been under construction for more than five years.

European Union sanctions also led to a delay. The first ships have Rolls-Royce MTU engines and ZF Friedrichshafen gearboxes. After their deliveries were stopped due to sanctions, the shipyard started to install Chinese Henan Diesel Engine engines , but they proved unreliable and unsustainable. The latest Buyan-M has Russian Kolomienskiy Zavod engines, but the company is slow to produce them.

An earlier version of this post appeared on Naval News

Tomasz Grotnik

Tomasz Grotnik is a correspondent of the Polish-based Military Research and Analysis Group, and also a naval editor of Wojsko i Technika. Tomasz is reporting on naval technologies for Polish publications for more than 20 years.

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