From the control room of a Borei-clas submarine. Illustration photo by Russian Ministry of Defense

After fixing «some technical problems», a new nuke sub makes ready for Northern Fleet

With a second Borei-class submarine soon to be delivered, the number of Bulava ballistic missiles deployed for patrol in the Barents- and Arctic Seas will be doubled.
September 05, 2019

«Knyaz Vladimir» (K-549) is expected to be delivered to the Northern Fleet this year, Izvestia reports with sources close to the Navy’s Commander-in-Chief.

The submarine is the first of the upgraded Project 955A and will be based in Gadzhiyevo on the Kola Peninsula. Originally, this submarine was supposed to sail for the Pacific Fleet. Instead, the next submarine in the class, named «Knyaz Oleg» will go to the Pacific Fleet when delivered from the Sevmash shipyard in Severodvinsk sometime during 2020.

A recently updated satellite image by Google Earth shows both «Knyaz Vladimir» and «Knyaz Oleg» in the waters of the shipyard.

 

Photo: Google Earth / Barents Observer

 

The first Borei-class sub, the «Yury Dolgoruky» was handed over to the Northern Fleet in January 2013 and with «Knyaz Vladimir» soon arriving, it took nearly seven years between the two.

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«Knyaz Vladimir» was floated out from the dock in November 2017 and a year later, in December 2018, the submarine embarked on the first sea trails, the Barents Observer reported.

This summer, the sub has been sailing the second stage of the shipbuilder’s sea trails, TASS reported in June.

It is expected that the submarine will launch at least one test Bulava missile before being accepted for take-over by the Northern Fleet.

Posting several photos from Russian internet sources of the sub equipped with antennas and other gear, the notable submarine publication Covert Shores concludes the latest set of tests are done to calibrate the sonar beams.

TASS reported that the sea trails last winter «revealed some technical problems».

Like «Yury Dolgoruky», also «Knyaz Vladimir» will carry up to 16 intercontinental missiles of the RSM-56 Bulava type (NATO name SS-NX-30). Each missile is likely to carry 4 to 6 nuclear warheads. A fully loaded Borei-class submarine will then sail with 64 to 96 nuclear warheads. 

The Barents Observer has previously published satellite photos showing the expansion of storage facilities for naval missiles both in Okelnaya Bay near Severomorsk and at the Gadzhiyevo ballistic missile submarine base.

In all, ten Borei-class submarines will be built and commissioned by 2027. It is expected that five of them will sail for the Pacific Fleet and five for the Northern Fleet.

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