Russia is to start building two new advanced nuclear-powered Borei class submarines before year’s end. Once complete, they will be lurking under the sea with 20 Bulava nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles each.
One of the submarines may be named Aleksandr Suvorov after one of the most decorated generals of the Russian Empire, a source in the defense industry told the media. Its construction is expected to start on July 28, which is Russian Navy Day.
The second vessel is likely to be named after Mikhail Kutuzov, the iconic Russian general of the Napoleonic Wars. Its keel is to be laid down in November.
The vessels are to be built by the shipbuilder Sevmash in Severodvinsk in the north of Russia.
Both submarines are of the Borei class, the most modern strategic nuclear-powered submarines in the Russian Navy. The lead vessel of the class, Yury Dolgoruky, officially entered service on Thursday, with two of his sister-ships currently afloat and undergoing trials.
The two new vessels are distinct from those three, being of an advanced Borei-A version of the same design. They will carry 20 nuclear ICBMs each, as opposed to 16 on the older submarines. They will also have improved maneuverability and better weapon control systems and will generate less noise.
Russia plans to build five Borei-A submarines. The first of them, Knyaz Vladimir, is already in construction.
From December 10, Russia is starting to exploit a new military submarine, called “Yuri Dolgoruky”. This is a long-standing project that had been suspended for some time. Then, the old project underwent some modifications. The new submarine has already been successfully tested. It is expected that the submarine will defend Russia’s borders.
This submarine is only a small part of Russia’s large-scale program of rearming itself with military equipment of the newest generation.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin was visiting the city of Severomorsk in Russia’s north, when Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu connected with him through video communication and reported that the new submarine had undergone testing and would soon be exploited.
“This is good news,” the President answered. “But this is not enough. I hope that Russia will continue to further strengthen its navy.”
“It is one of Russia’s top priorities to have a modern, well-developed nuclear navy,” Mr. Putin said. “I hope that we’ll develop both new surface-water ships and submarines. It is planned that in the next few years, Russia will build and start to exploit more than 100 new ships and submarines of various types. I have no doubts that we’ll cope with this task.”
“Yuri Dolgoruky” is a nuclear submarine of the “Borey” type, armed with ballistic missiles. It was built in the Russian city of Severodvinsk, one of Russia’s largest centers of producing nuclear military ships.
Another 3 submarines of the “Borey” type, all named after well-known personalities of old Russian history – “Alexander Nevsky”, “Vladimir Monomakh” and “Knyaz Vladimir” – are still being built. Their equipment will be mainly Russian-made, including radio electronic systems of the latest generation and unique noise reduction transducers.
At present, Russian military submarines are, as a rule, equipped with Russian-made ocean-spanning ballistic missiles “Bulava”. The range capability of such a missile is more than 8,000 kms. One submarine of the “Borey” type can be equipped with 16 “Bulava” missiles.
“It can be said that Russia’s nuclear “shield” consists of three parts – aircraft, navy and land-based missile systems,” Russian military expert Igor Korotchenko says. “Until now, from the point of view of new nuclear equipment, the Russian navy lagged behind the air and the land components of this “triad”. Now, the balance between them will be leveled.”
“The equipment of submarines of the “Borey” type allows to examine the situation under water, to trace and attack various kinds of underwater targets,” Igor Korotchenko continues. “The submarines’ systems of weapons control are also of the latest generation.”
The “Borey” submarines are also more advanced from the point of view of safety than their earlier analogues. In particular, they have a break surface camera where the submarine’s entire crew can be placed in case of emergency.
Russia is planning to build 8 such submarines in the next few years. The construction of each will cost Russia about $ 700 mln.
Speaking about plans for the more distant future, Russia’s Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu says that Russia will have 15 new nuclear submarines before 2012. These submarines will be of various types and meant for various purposes, but all of them will be of the latest generation.
Russian expert in military technologies Ruslan Pukhov says that it is mainly sea-based missiles that make Russia resistant to possible aggression, because land-based missile systems are more vulnerable.
By arming itself with weapons of the latest generation, Russia strengthens its feeling of safety. After all, it is hard to argue with an old saying that goes, “if you want to live in peace, always be ready for a possible war”.