Russian Borei-class nuclear sub

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.

Borei Class

Delta III Class submarine

Although the Soviets were pioneers in firing missiles from submarines, their early systems were short-ranged. The 34 units of the Yankee class, built between 1967 and 1974, were apparently based on stolen American plans for the Benjamin Franklin class. These provided the foundation for the follow-on Delta class, an enlarged development of the Yankee design. The first Deltas entered service in 1972, the original Delta I design being succeeded by the interim Delta II with 16 missiles rather than the original 12.

   These were followed from 1976 by the Project 667 BDR Kalmar class, better known to NATO as the Delta III. These had a larger and longer turtle-back abaft the sail. Fourteen Delta III class submarines were built at Severodvinsk.

   The Delta III submarines housed R-29R submarine-launched ballistic missiles (NATO designation SS-N-18). It was the first Soviet sea-based multiple-warhead system. Though currently used version, the R-29RL has a single 450 kT warhead. These missiles have a range of 9 000 km and can reach all targets in China, Europe and the United States.

   Development of the follow-on Project 667 BDRM Delfin class, known to West as the Delta IV, began in 1975. The first boat was commissioned in 1985. It is a further modification of the Delta III, with an increased diameter pressure hull and a longer bow section. Displacement has increased by 1 200 tons and it is 12 m longer.

   The Delta III submarines which served in the Northern fleet formed a division and were based at Sayda and at Olyenya port. In the early 90s the ballistic missile submarines were transferred to Yagyelnaya. Pacific Fleet Delta IIIs were based on Kamchatka.

   In 1990 Soviet Navy operated a total of 13 Delta III class submarines. By 2017 only 3 of these submarines remained in service with the Russian Navy. These boats are already exceeding their planned service lives. It is likely that in the near future all Delta III class boats will be decommissioned. Currently a number of new Borei class ballistic missile submarines are being built in Russia. Once in service these will replace the Delta III and Delta IV class boats.

Delta III Class submarines
Name Laid down Launched Commissioned Status
K-424 1974 1976 1976 decommissioned in 1995
K-441 1974 1976 1976 decommissioned in 1995
K-449 1974 1976 1977 scrapped in 2008
K-455 1974 1976 1976 in reserve, probably decommissioned
K-490 1975 1977 1977 in reserve, probably decommissioned
K-487 1975 1977 1977 in reserve, probably decommissioned
Borisoglebsk (K-496) 1975 1977 1977 decommissioned in 2008
Zelenograd (K-506) 1975 1978 1978 decommissioned in 2010
Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy (K-211) 1976 1979 1979 in reserve since 2012
Podolsk (K-223) 1977 1979 1979 active, in service
K-180 1977 1980 1980 scrapped in 2008
Sviatoy Georgiy Pobedonosets (K-433) 1978 1980 1980 active, in service
Orenburg (BS-136, ex K-129) 1979 1981 1981 converted to special purpose submarine
Ryazan (K-44) 1980 1982 1982 active, in service
Country of origin Russia
Entered service 1976
Crew 130 men
Diving depth (operational) ?
Diving depth (maximum) 390 m
Sea endurance ?
Dimensions and displacement
Length 155 m
Beam 11.7 m
Draught 9 m
Surfaced displacement ?
Submerged displacement ?
Propulsion and speed
Surfaced speed 12 knots
Submerged speed 24 knots
Nuclear reactors 2 x VM-4-2
Steam turbines 2 x 90 MW
Missiles 16 x SS-N-18 ‘Stingray’ submarine-launched ballistic missiles
Torpedoes 4 x 533-mm and 2 x 400-mm bow tubes

Delta III data

Typhoon Class submarine

The Project 941 or Akula, Russian “Акула” (“Shark”) class submarine (NATO reporting name: Typhoon) is a type of nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine deployed by the Soviet Navy in the 1980s. With a submerged displacement of 48,000 tonnes, the Typhoons are the largest class of submarine ever built, large enough to accommodate decent living facilities for the crew when submerged for months on end. The source of the NATO reporting name remains unclear, although it is often claimed to be related to the use of the word “typhoon” (“тайфун”) by Leonid Brezhnev in a 1974 speech while describing a new type of nuclear ballistic missile submarine, as a reaction to the US Navy Ohio-class submarines.

The Russian Navy canceled its Typhoon modernization program in March 2012, stating that modernizing one Typhoon would be as expensive as building two new Borei-class submarines. With the announcement that Russia has eliminated the last SS-N-20 Sturgeon SLBMs in September 2012, the remaining Typhoons have reached the end of service.

Typhoon Class submarines
# Laid down Launched Commissioned Status
TK-208 Dmitriy Donskoy June 30, 1976 September 27, 1980 December 29, 1981 In service. Upgraded to project 941UM for use of Bulava missiles(1 launcher)
TK-202 April 22, 1978 September 23, 1982 December 28, 1983 Withdrawn from active service in June 1999, scrapped with the financial support of the U.S.
TK-12,Simbirsk April 19, 1980 December 17, 1983 December 26, 1984 Withdrawn from active service in 1996, scrapped 2006–2008
TK-13 February 23, 1982 April 30, 1985 December 26, 1985 Withdrawn from active service in 1997, scrapped 2007–2009
TK-17 Arkhangelsk August 9, 1983 December 12, 1986 December 15, 1987 Decommissioned in 2006 Still in reserve with the Northern Fleet.
TK-20 Severstal August 27, 1985 April 11, 1988 December 19, 1989 Decommissioned in 2004 Still in reserve with the Northern Fleet.
TK-210 1986 1990 (scrapped on the ways)  
General characteristics
Type: Ballistic missile submarine
  • 23,200–24,500 t (22,830–24,110 long tons) surfaced
  • 33,800–48,000 t (33,270–47,240 long tons) submerged
Length: 175 m (574 ft 2 in)
Beam: 23 m (75 ft 6 in)
Draught: 12 m (39 ft 4 in)
  • 2 × OK-650 pressurized-water nuclear reactors, 190 MWt each
  • 2 × VV-type steam turbines, 37 MW (49,600 hp) each
  • 2 shafts with 7-bladed shrouded screws
  • 22.22 knots (41.15 km/h; 25.57 mph) surfaced
  • 27 knots (50 km/h; 31 mph) submerged
Endurance: 120+ days submerged
Test depth: 400 m (1,300 ft)
Complement: 160
Notes: Ships in class include: TK-208 TK-202 TK-12 TK-13TK-17 TK-20 TK-210

Typhoon class data

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.

93504 Project 935shemaProject 955

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

The first submarine, Yury Dolgoruky, was laid down in November 1996. She was launched in February 2008 and began her sea trials in June 2009. The ship was formally inducted into the Russian Navy in January 2013.

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:


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.

© Autonomous Nonprofit Organization “TV-Novosti”, 2005–2015. All rights reserved.

Borei-class sub1dbb533098f14dcbf6e9341c7a4c785eBulava ICBM:

Updated Dec 25, 2016


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