Borei Class is a Russian fourth-generation nuclear-powered missile submarine. It is intended to eventually replace the ageing Delta III and Typhoon Class submarines and become an important deterrent of the Russian Navy. It is the first class of submarines developed by Russia since the soviet era.
Typhoon Class submarinesDelta III Class submarines
Designated Project 935, it began in 1996 to manufacture the first unit of the Borei Class submarine. The project name was changed to Project 955 and the submarine was redesigned to accommodate the new submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) Bulava (SS-NX-30), in place of the abandoned R-39UTTH Bark missile.
Currently Yury Dolgoruky, Alexander Nevsky, Vladimir Monomakh and Knyaz Vladimir are the four submarines ordered under this project. These vessels were designed by Rubin Marine Equipment Design Bureau and built by Northern Machine Building Enterprise (Sevmash shipyard).
Russia has plans to build eight Borei Class submarines for its naval fleet by 2015.
Development of the Yury Dolgoruky vessel
The first in the class of the submarines is the Yury Dolgoruky vessel. The total cost of the submarine is $713m, including the research and development expenditure of $280m.
Project 955A, the higher version of Project 955, might build the Vladimir Monomakh and other follow-up submarines. This programme would have various improvements and would have a different hull shape.
Construction of the Borei Class submarines
Alexander Nevsky (K-550), the second submarine, was laid down in March 2004 and launched in December 2010. The ship is expected to be commissioned in 2013, after completing a series of sea trials that started in October 2011.
Alexander Nevsky (K-550)
Vladimir Monomakh is the third Borei Class submarine. She was laid down in March 2006 and launched in December 2012. The fourth Borei Class ship, Knyaz Vladimir, was laid down in July 2012.
Bulava SLBM missiles on the Russian subs
The Bulava SLBM (designated RSM-56 in the START treaty), which is based on the Topol M design, would be fitted onto the Borei Class submarines.
These missiles are developed by the Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology and would be launched on the Project 955 platform.
The missile is 12.1m long and has a diameter of 2.1m (including the launch container). It weighs a total of 36.8 metric tonnes and is capable of carrying six to ten re-entry vehicles with a yield of 100kt-150kt each.
The Borei Class submarines have lower displacement levels than the Typhoon Class, which can carry a similar number of missiles. Yury Dolgoruky would carry 16 of these missiles, while the improved versions of the Borei Class submarines might carry 20 of them.
The submarine will also carry six of the SS-N-15 missiles. Each SS-N-15 is a 533mm calibre anti-ship missile has a range of 45km and is capable of being fitted with a 20kt warhead or a type 40 torpedo.
SS-N-15 is a 533mm calibre anti-ship missile
Vessel propulsion systems
The submarine is powered by an OK-650 nuclear reactor, AEU steam turbine, a shaft and a propeller. The Borei Class submarines are the first in Russia to run on the pump jet propulsion system. (Source: naval-technology.com)
According to the Russian military, Borei-class are state-of-the-art submarines, featuring characteristics superior to any submarine currently in service worldwide.
The Borei-class subs are replacing outgoing nuclear subs of the previous generation and are set to become the backbone of Russia’s sea-based nuclear defenses.
A Borei-class sub is 170 meters long and 13.5 meters wide, and can dive up to 450 meters.
They have a compact, hydro-dynamically efficient hull for reduced broadband noise and are the first to use pump-jet propulsion among Russian submarines. Their submerged cruise speed is at least 30 knots (56 kilometers per hour).
Safety measures for the subs include a rescue chamber that can host all 107 crew members.
The Bulava missile has had a somewhat troublesome development history, with technical glitches plaguing the early tests. Altogether there have been 22 launches in the SLBM’s history. However, out of the last 10 launches, only one failed.
The SSBN Vladimir Monomakh was handed over to the Russian Navy on December 10, having completed all trials and tests, including a successful Bulava launch in September.
The underwater missile launch was carried out from the White Sea off the northwest Russian coast. All warheads hit the Kura test range in the Kamchatka Peninsula in the Russian Far East, the Defense Ministry said in a statement.
Russian Borei-class Nuclear Missile Submarine Launching Next Gen BULAVA ICBM @Defence Videos
That missile launch was followed by two more successful launches carried out by the SSBN Yury Dolgorukiy in October and the SSBN Alexander Nevsky in November.
A fourth Borei-class submarine, Knyaz Vladimir, is currently under construction in Severomorsk, while a fifth, Knyaz Oleg, was laid down at the Sevmash shipyard in July.
The SSBN Knyaz Oleg will become the first of the upgraded Project 955A submarines, which will boast smaller hulls and cons as well as even better acoustics and lower sound levels.
The sixth Borei-class sub, SSBN Knyaz Suvorov, will be laid down in Severomorsk on December 21.
By 2020, the Defense Ministry plans to have eight Borei-class subs as the backbone of the naval component of the country’s strategic nuclear deterrent.
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