"Podmoskovye" was before being refitted, similar to this Delta-IV class submarine. Then the missile section behind the tower was removed and replaced with a flat top structure all the way to the tail. Photo: Thomas Nilsen

Deep-sea sub carrier on test-voyage in White Sea

30 years old Russian missile submarine converted to carry mini-submarines for Arctic research sailed out from Severodvinsk this weekend.
October 23, 2016

It took 16 years at the yard in Severodvinsk to refit and commission the BS-64 “Podmoskovye” nuclear powered submarine.

Originally being one of the seven Delta-IV class strategic missile submarine sailing for the Northern fleet, the K-64 was in 1999 transfered from her base on the Kola Peninsula to the Zvezdochka yard in Severodvinsk. Instead of sailing with missiles like she did from 1986 and the following 13 years, it was decided to convert the submarine to become a carrier for Russia’s secret little fleet of mini-submarines operating in Arctic waters.

Her central section containing 16 ballistic missiles was cut out and space for scientific-experimental equipment and cabins for scientists were placed instead. Most visible from outside, and unlike the Delta-IV class submarine on the photo above, is the flat deck behind the tower where a mini-submarine now can be attached. 

Last August, BS-64 “Podmoskovye” was released down the slipway from the dock at Zvezdochka and put on water where moring tests were carried out for more than a year. 

The first reports that BS-64 was sailing out of Severodvinsk started to appear on Russian social media on Saturday. On Sunday, Rossiskaya Gazeta confirmed the departure of “Podmoskovye” to the White Sea this weekend. The newspaper, however, does not mention what special-purpose operations the vessel will conduct when now starting to sail again.

One important mission is believed to serve as a mother vessel for Russia’s new series of underwater drones and mini-submarines like the Losharik (AS-12).

Capable of diving to extreme depth for intelligence-gatherings, oceanographic research and other military missions, the Losharik is one of the most secretive submarines ever built at the Sevmash yard in Severodvinsk. 

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Losharik was in 2012 reportedly instrumental in charting the extent of the Mendeleyev Ridge along the North Pole’s seabed as part of Russia’s recent submission to the UN that it’s continental shelf includes the North Pole itself.

“Podmoskovye” is powered by two reactors, while Losharik has one nuclear reactor.

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