MOSCOW, December 30 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s two newest ballistic missile submarines arrived at their home base in the Arctic on Monday to begin active service with the Northern Fleet, the Defense Ministry said.
The Borey-class submarine Yury Dolgoruky was commissioned in January while the second of the type, the Alexander Nevsky, entered service on December 23.
Both submarines will operate from the Northern Fleet’s main nuclear submarine base at Gadzhiyevo, Murmansk Region, the ministry said.
The Borey is Russia’s first post-Soviet ballistic missile submarine class and will form the mainstay of the strategic submarine fleet, replacing aging Typhoon, Delta-3 and Delta-4 class boats. Russia ultimately expects eight Borey-class submarines to enter service by 2020.
The third vessel in the class, the Vladimir Monomakh, is awaiting manufacturer’s acceptance trials.
The new Borey-class boats, with a length of nearly two football fields, can carry sixteen Bulava missiles, each fitted with up to ten independently-targetable nuclear warheads.
Bulava, however, is yet to be declared fully operational, following a problem with a test-firing earlier this year, a Defense Ministry high command source told RIA Novosti in November. The Borey class boats are likely to be restricted to carrying out secondary roles until the weapon is declared ready, the source said at that time.
Ballistic missile submarines comprise one leg of Russia’s strategic nuclear triad along with land-based ICBMs and the bomber force.