Poseidon’s carrier has a hull from the never-completed Oscar-II sub

PANAGYURISHTE, BULGARIA — One way for Russia to defeat the ballistic missile defense system in Europe is to do so with underwater weapons. Russian submarines receive respect from the US and NATO. One of the underwater weapons that worry the US and its allies is the Poseidon underwater torpedo. Also called “torpedo tsunami”, because it causes natural disasters by detonating a nuclear explosion, it is carried in two Russian submarines for now – Belgorod and Khabarovsk special-purpose nuclear-powered submarines.

Poseidon's carrier has a hull from the never-completed Oscar-II sub
Photo credit: EurAsian Times

The two submarines will have their own storage structure, which is being built in Kamchatka. The docks for the two submarines are expected to be completed sometime by the end of 2024. Both submarines are assigned to service in the Pacific Fleet of the Russian Federation.

We have talked about the Poseidon nuclear torpedo many times. You can find a lot of information about it by following this link. But what exactly is one of the two Belgorod nuclear-powered submarines, it’s time to tell you now.

949A project

Did you know that the Belgorod is an extensive, customized special-purpose submarine constructed from the hull of an Oscar-II cruise missile submarine that was never completed. I.e. if some of the Belgorod data as a state secret and maybe we will never know it, let’s get acquainted with its primary source – Oscar-II.

Bearing in mind that the Belgorod will carry up to six Poseidon torpedoes, the Russian navy must find a way to evacuate the crew immediately in an emergency. This is solved by an emergency capsule that can transport personnel up to 110 people. The Belgorod submarine uses the hull of the never completed submarine 949A, which is a sort of upgrade of project 949. The 949A is an Antei or Oscar-II class submarine.

Russia acquired Belgorod sub: it carries six Poseidon nukes
Photo credit: hisutton.com

The first difference between the 949 and 949A is that the 949A is longer by almost 33 feet or about 10 meters. This means more space in the submarine’s double-hull structure, a Soviet design used since the Cold War. The longer length and larger space provide room for the new improved electronics in the submarine, as well as greater silence during underwater navigation.

Belgorod is actually a 4th generation submarine. To be in this class, some experts speculate on the acoustic performance of the submarine. According to them, it is much better than Akula-class submarines, but not as good as those of the next class – Akula-II.

What distinguishes the Belgorod from other submarines in the other Russian classes is the slight bulge at the top of the fin. In reality, the fin is wide at its upper end and gradually narrows towards its center.


The 949A, Belgorod’s prototype, was intended to carry quite a large armament. This submarine was supposed to carry at least 24 P-700 Granit anti-ship missiles with up to 72 newer 3M-54 Kalibr or P-800 Oniks anti-ship cruise missiles. Perhaps due to the amount of armament and the specifics of the hull, the 949A was chosen to be the basis of the Belgorod. I.e. the modernization of the submarine to the Belgorod version does not require a change to the hull of the 949A. This is because the new rockets will fit into the existing launchers outside of the pressure hull.

Russian UUV caused a tsunami 57x higher the Empire State Building - poseidon torpedo
Photo credit: Pravda.ru

The idea was that when this boat was built [and we know that the project was abandoned] the submarine would be at a fairly high technological level, chasing the next class of submarines. This submarine was supposed to carry Yasen-class nuclear cruise missiles.

Poseidon has already been tested

In 2012, Moscow saw a completely different application of the 949A. At that time, Russian engineers were already working on the creation of the Poseidon nuclear torpedo. They must also design a carrier for this torpedo. Research shows that the hull of the 949A is well suited for its length and weapon bays. Belgorod is born as project 09852, based precisely on the unfinished submarine Oscar-II [949A].

Belgorod was officially commissioned in the middle of last year. Shortly thereafter, sometime in October, sources reported that the submarine had disappeared from NATO radar. The information was officially reported by the Italian media La Repubblica.

At the beginning of this year, Belgorod took the next step – it was taken to open waters and carried out tests of the Poseidon nuclear torpedo launcher. The test was successful, and a few weeks later Moscow announced that the first nuclear warheads for the Poseidon had already been produced. According to Russian sources cited by TASS, Russian Belgorod divers have successfully drilled Poseidon at various depths.


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