Russia’s new silent Borei-class sub carrying 16 nukes to be tested

MOSCOW, RUSSIA — In June 2023, the Russian Navy will conduct the first tests of the newest Borei-class submarine. Imperator Aleksandr III [Emperor Alexander III] was launched at the end of the year. Another submarine of the same class was commissioned at the same time – Generalissimus Suvorov.

Russia's new silent Borei-class sub carrying 16 nukes to be tested
Photo credit: TASS

Russia will acquire 12 Borei-class submarines by the end of 2031. The submarines Emperor Alexander III and Generalissimus Suvorov are the sixth and seventh of the class, respectively. It is expected that if the Emperor Alexander III submarine tests pass successfully in August 2023, they will be put into service.

The Borei-class submarines are supposed to replace the aging Russian submarines of three classes – Delta III, Delta IV, and Typhoon. All Borei-class submarines are nuclear-powered and manufactured by the Russian Sevmash shipyard.

BulgarianMilitary.com recalls that on December 23, another Russian submarine was launched, but of the Lada class. She is an attack submarine and is named B-587 Velikiye Luki.

What we know about Borei-class subs

Russia's new silent Borei-class sub carrying 16 nukes to be tested
Photo credit: YouTube

The Borei class submarines are smaller than the Typhoon class they will replace. This applies in full force not only to the tonnage of the submarines but also to the service personnel. A submarine of this class is estimated to cost just over $700 million. It was first presented in 2013, but the idea for the submarine dates back to the 1990s.

The National Interest says this class of submarines is much quieter than both its Soviet predecessors and much of NATO’s submarine fleet. The reason, according to experts, is the pump-jet propulsion system, which is made up of one OK-650V nuclear reactor, one steam turbine, 50,000 SHP, and one pump-jet.

The maximum speed under water is 29 knots. During tests of the first six submarines of this class, the depth to which the submarine was submerged was 400 meters. The main armament, due to which the submarine is considered extremely dangerous, is the 16 Bulava submarine-launched ballistic missiles. They carry nuclear warheads and thus become a structural part of Russia’s nuclear triad.

Submarines of this class can be armed with either six or eight torpedo tubes. The submarine has anti-torpedo protection through the integration of six 533mm external Special Purpose External Tubes [SPETS] REPS-324 Shlagbaum. The submarine’s third armament also includes RPK-2 Viyuga anti-submarine/ship missiles.

What we know about the RSM-56 Bulava

submarine ballistic missile bulava
Photo credit: TASS

This ballistic nuclear missile was developed as an armament of the Bolava class submarines. This is a new weapon of Russia, which was accepted into service in 2018. One missile is said to cost just over $32 million. The missile was manufactured in 2011 and went through several tests before its commissioning. The first test was already the same year [2011] when it was successfully launched by the leading Borei-class submarine Yury Dolgorukiy.

The conventional version of the missile has an operational range of up to 8,300 km. However, Russia has begun upgrading the Bulava and a range of just over 10,000 km has been reached. Each missile can carry between 6 and 10 nuclear warheads equivalent to 100-150 kt MIRVs.

The rocket has a diameter of 2 meters and is 11.5 meters long. It weighs nearly 37 tons and is driven by an engine through a three-stage solid and liquid head stage. The engine uses solid propellant and liquid fuel.

The disappearance of the Belgorod sub

Russia has made significant efforts to upgrade its aging Soviet navy. One of the latest acquisitions of the Russian Navy is the Oscar II-class Belgorod submarine. The submarine was commissioned in 2022.

Russia acquired Belgorod sub: carrier of 6 nuclear Poseidon torpedoes
Photo credit: Wikipedia

Immediately after its acquisition in the composition of the Russian fleet, sometime in November 2022, the submarine disappeared for a certain period from the NATO radars. At the same time, there was talk in the public space that Moscow was ready to conduct a nuclear weapon test.

Podvodnzia Belgorod is the carrier of Russia’s newest nuclear weapon, the Poseidon underwater drone/torpedo, which is considered to be the most destructive nuclear weapon currently in service in the entire world. No clear test was carried out [as far as we know] but the Belgorod’s disappearance caused concern as NATO lost a Roxas submarine from its radars. This means that Belgorod’s ability to remain “invisible” or “silent” underwater is very good.

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