"Both submarines are the pinnacle of their country's submarine technology and, pitted against one another, would be fairly well matched," he wrote for the National Interest. The analyst also described Severodvinsk as "an unusual challenge to US naval superiority, but nevertheless one with a long, lethal pedigree."
True, the Yasen (Ash Tree) class, also known as the Project 885, is impressive. Armed with cruise, anti-ship and anti-submarine missiles, the highly autonomous nuclear-powered multipurpose attack submarine is fast, silent and deep-diving.
The expert maintained that the Virginia class has an edge over the Severodvinsk.
"The Virginia class is quieter and has a better sonar rig than its Russian opponent. In the world of submarine warfare, that's an unbeatable combination. It can move and detect in ways that would give away Severodvinsk. One thing to be said for Severodvinsk is that it is more capable of quickly responding to a sudden target opportunity via her supersonic Klub ASW missiles," he explained.
Designed to replace the Akula-class subs, the Yasen class is expected to become the backbone of the Russian Navy.
Four more Yasen-class subs are currently under construction, with the sixth Project 885 watercraft, called Perm, laid down in late July. A total of six updated Yasen-class submarines are due to join the Russian Navy by 2020.