The Russian Navy unleashes its most powerful and expensive attack sub
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to the Arctic on March 30 coincided with the launch of a second Yasen class nuclear-powered multipurpose attack submarine, which is equipped with new generation missiles and can fulfill combat missions in any part of the world.
The siren emits a long wail and the nuclear submarine, the Kazan, slowly emerges from the workshop of Sevmash, 750 miles north of Moscow. This is Russia’s largest shipbuilding company, home to Europe’s largest building, with a workshop big enough to assemble as many as four nuclear submarines at once.
The Kazan comes to a halt as soon as its propeller, which is carefully camouflaged by tarpaulin and radio-absorbing panels, crosses the threshold. It stands there for a day, demonstrating to foreign reconnaissance satellites that Russia now has a new and even more lethal multipurpose attack submarine.
Neither the shipbuilders nor the military, however, explained exactly how the Kazan differs from the Severodvinsk, which is the first vessel in the Yasen class. Nikolai Novoselov, deputy director of the Malakhit Central Design Bureau, which created both the Severodvinsk and the Kazan, would only say that the Yasen-M differs from the classical Yasen thanks to more sophisticated electronic systems and weapons.
A new era in Russian nuclear subs
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and for the the past 25 years, the U.S. Navy enjoyed unrivaled supremacy on the seas. During that time, many subs of the former Soviet Navy were decommissioned, rusted away and were cut up for scrap. In recent years, however, Moscow has forged ahead with plans to once again make Russia a great naval power, and the destructive fire power of the Yasen class subs are precisely the threat causing the Pentagon to hit the panic button.
The Yasen class submarines are touted as perhaps the world’s most silent and powerful underwater vessels. Their combat potential is often compared to that of their main opponent – the American submarines of the Virginia class, as well as the Seawolf class, which the U.S. no longer makes because of its high cost.
“The Kazan doesn’t cost less than American submarines, and its price tag is about 200 billion dollars ($3.5 billion),” said Professor Vadim Kozyulin of the Academy of Military Sciences, adding that the sub’s sophisticated components and electronics have no equals. Due to possible budget cuts and western sanctions, however, Moscow probably won’t build many of the Yasen class subs.
“The Russian Navy should have eight Yasen submarines by 2020 as part of the military armament program, but due to the economic crisis and budget cuts, the Navy might postpone construction of the two final vessels, or not buy them at all,” said Kozyulin.
What makes this sub special?
In every regard, the Yasen class is the sum of all Russian achievements over more than half a century of submarine construction. Unlike most previous Soviet submarine designs, the Yasen subs don’t utilize a double hull. Instead, they have a hybrid design with a lighter structure over the vessel’s pressure hull in order to reduce noise.
Also for the first time in Russian shipbuilding, the torpedo launchers are located not in the bow but at mid-ship, which allows placing a spherical sonar system in the bow.
There are eight vertical missile launchers, and the hull is made out of low-magnetic steel, which is why it can submerge 600 meters or more, (ordinary submarines cannot go beyond 300 meters). This allows it to easily escape any modern anti-submarine weapon. With one reactor, its maximum speed is more than 30 knots (35 mph).
Supersonic attack system
The section with eight vertical missile launchers is located in the central hull, and holds the Onix anti-ship cruise missiles (three in each silo). A new supersonic attack system called the Tsirkon, and based on the Onix, is currently being built for the Yasen subs.
Besides the anti-ship missiles, the Yasen subs can launch Kalibr long-distance cruise missiles, which showed their power during the Syrian campaign, when Russian navy vessels in the Caspian and Black seas used them to pound Islamic State positions. The missiles’ striking distance is 1,500 miles.
The Yasen subs also have six 650mm and two 533mm torpedo tubes that can be used for any type of modern torpedo, as well as for laying mines and launching underwater drones.
Russia’s new position of power
“The Kazan is capable of carrying out any task: fighting aircraft carriers, hunting down enemy submarines or conducting massive missile strikes on land targets,” said Ivan Konovalov, director of the military policy and economy department at the Russian Institute of Strategic Studies.
The launch of the Kazan coincided with the “Arctic: Territory of Dialogue Forum” held March 29-30, which was attended by President Putin.
“During the forum, Moscow expressed a willingness for the region’s joint development together with the West. While Putin didn’t attend the Kazan’s launch, most experts believe this was the only reason for the president’s participation in the forum,” said Konovalov.
Experts interviewed by RBTH say Putin decided not to combine the Kremlin’s economic and political objectives. Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Rogozin, however, expressed a different opinion. During the Kazan’s launch ceremony he said: “Dialogue is good, but it’s even better when conducted from a position of power.”
Original post rbth.com
Yasen / Graney Class Submarine: Details
The Russian Navy plans to procure a minimum of eight Yasen-class attack boats – the fourth generation of multipurpose nuclear-powered submarines. Four of them have been ordered thus far with a third vessel, Novosibirsk, having been laid down in July 2013. The first of them, K-329 Severodvinsk (the Yasen class), entered in service with the Russian Northern Fleet in 2014. The Borei and Yasen classes would become the backbone of the Russian sub fleet as the Russian Navy sought to consolidate the capabilities of its different classes of submarines into two types.
Kazan is the second boat of the project, separated from the first by 16 years (1993-2009). Differences in the design and equipment have appeared sufficient to consider her as a new updated version compared to Severodvinsk. The Yasen-M ship reportedly has two more VLS silos (10, compared to 8 on Severodvinsk), 2 fewer torpedo tubes (8, compared to 10 on Severodvinsk) and a pump-jet propulsion system.
The Yasen-class boat does not make use of a double-hull – instead she has hybrid design with a lighter structure over the vessel’s pressure hull. The hull is made of low magnetic steel. Her bow section houses only sonar systems. The torpedo tubes located at about mid-ship.
The boat is equipped with the Irtysh-Amfora, a spherical, bow-mounted type sonar system, with a bow-mounted spherical sonar array, flank sonar arrays and a towed array for rearward detection. She has a MRK-50 Albatross (Snoop Pair) navigation/surface search radar and features a Rim Hat electronic support/countermeasures measures suite.
The submarine’s length is 120 m (390 ft), beam: 15 m (49 ft), draught: 8.4 m (28 ft). She displaces 13,800 tons. Crew: 90 men (32 commissioned officers and 58 enlisted submariners). The relatively small crew size indicates an advanced level of autonomy. The ships reported depth: 600 meters (2,000 feet).
The OK-650KPM two-hundred-megawatt nuclear reactor, good for the life of the boat, drives her to speeds of up to sixteen knots surfaced and over thirty knots submerged. With a maximum speed of 35-40 knots, the submarine is capable of 20 knots in silent mode.
Kazan is equipped with improved electronics and fire-control systems. She is built using only Russia-made materials and components. The submarine has 24 missile tubes which can carry the P-800 Oniks ramjet-powered supersonic anti-ship missiles which can hit targets roughly 200 nautical miles away. The missile uses low-low and high-low flight patterns for targets within 120km to 300km. The maximum speed of the missile is Mach 3.
She can also carry Novator RK-55 Granat nuclear-capable 1,600 nautical mile-range subsonic land attack cruise missiles.
Additionally, the Yasen boats can launch the 3M14 Kalibr, available in land-attack, anti-ship, and anti-submarine variants, and 3M54 Biryuza land attack and anti-ship missiles, which have a roughly 300-mile range, though torpedo tubes. The Biryuza allows to quickly engage enemy submarines with a missile-delivered lightweight torpedo. The submarine also carries 91R anti-submarine missiles and have the capability to lay mines along with her normal complement of torpedoes.
The 650 mm and 533 mm torpedo tubes can be used for launching mines and anti-submarine missiles such as SS-N-16 Stallion, which can be armed with either an anti-submarine torpedo or a nuclear depth charge. The boat can carry as many as 30 torpedoes. Kazan will carry brand new Futlyar 533mm torpedo supplied with an improved homing system with an extended underwater target lock-on range. The torpedo’s range is 50 km, speed: over 50 knots and maximum launch depth: 400 m.
The Yasen-M is likely to be armed with the high speed underwater Shkval torpedo, which has a radius of seven to thirteen km and a speed of up to 200 knots. The SSGN is equipped with active anti-torpedo defenses and has some sort of anti-air capability – the 9K38 Igla surface-to-air missile system.
Russia is «rapidly closing the technological gap» and the «clear advantage that we enjoyed in antisubmarine warfare during the Cold War is waning», wrote Vice Admiral James Foggo III and Alarik Fritz, pointing to a Russian Yasen-class attack submarine commissioned in December 2013, which so impressed the US admiral in charge of submarine construction that he commissioned a model for his office in 2014. Now an even more capable vessel of the class – the best attack submarine Russia ever built – is to enter the Russian Navy. The rearmament drive is in full swing to result in breakneck growth in Russia’s naval capacity. The Yasen-M’s launching ceremony will be a milestone in the history of blue water Russian Navy to make it second to none. Source strategic-culture.org
|Severodvinsk (K-329)||1993||2010||2013||active, in service|
|Kazan (K-561)||2009||expected in 2016||expected in 2018||under construction|
|Novosibirsk (K-573)||2013||?||expected in 2018-2020||under construction|
|Krasnoyarsk||2014||?||expected in 2018-2020||under construction|
|Perm||expected in 2016||?||?||ordered|
|Builders:||SevMash, designer Malakhit Lazurit Rubin|
|Preceded by:||Akula class|
|Cost:||Equivalent of US$1.6 billion|
|Planned:||12 (7 on order)|
|Length:||120–139 m (394–456 ft)|
|Beam:||13–15 m (43–49 ft)|
|Propulsion:||1 x KPM type pressurized water reactor|
|Range:||unlimited except by food supplies|
|Test depth:||600 m (2,000 ft)|
|Complement:||90 (32 officers)|
|Rim Hat ESM/ECM Snoop Pair Surface Search Radar|