Borei class submarines – the silent death from the deep


For the last 20 years, since the Soviet Union has disappeared, the Pacific and the Northern Sea haven’t seen the Russian strategic nuclear submarines in their waters. Simply, the Russia was too weak and lacking any serious equipment for this segment. All of that is changed in this year by the new and advanced nuclear submarines of the Borei class.

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The first two subs of this class named Yuriy Dolgoruki and Aleksandr Nevskiy are fully equipped and ready, the Vladimir Monomakh is launched and should be commissioned in early 2015, and 7 more are about to enter service in the next few years.

The development of the entire class has begun in the late 1980’s but the first sub of this class was laid down only in 1996. Because of the funding problems, the entire operation has ended only in 2008. The main armament for the Borei class was to be the new Bulava missile that can carry 6 independent nuclear warheads but the project was plagued by problems from the very beginning. Only in 2011 the first successful test of the Bulava missile was made and the Yuriy Dolgoruki became the part of the Northern fleet in 2013.

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Of course, during such a long period, some significant changes were made to the entire project so all the new subs will be built as a Project 955A Borei II class. The new vessels have an improved hull that further increases resilience and stealth.

The Borei class submarines are the top priority in the Russian development plans so all 10 units planned will be produced in the years to come. This is no wonder since the Borei class is more than twice as cheap as the US Ohio class. Being as such, it gives the edge to the Russian navy on very affordable terms.

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Basic characteristics

The heart of this sub is its nuclear arsenal. Each Borei class can use up to 16 Bulava missiles and the Borei II will be able to carry 20 of them. This is the firepower sufficient to wipe out a smaller country and the fact that it is extremely silent and stealthy makes this sub absolutely undetectable until it is too late and the missiles are on their way. The fact that it carries 6 independently guided nuclear warheads makes it impossible to fully intercept by any western air defence system.

The additional armament consists of 6 torpedo tubes (533 mm) which can fire both torpedoes and the RPK-2 Vyuga underwater cruise missiles. Since thee missiles can be armed with nuclear warheads, it is capable to deal with any other submarine or ship. This system is mostly a defensive one as the Borei class isn’t designed to fight other subs and surface ships. It is a strategic submarine that aims for the much larger and prestigious targets.

Finally, it has the first propulsion system that is fully based on the water jets. This means that there are no vibrations whatsoever made by the propeller fins and this makes the Borei class an admirable weapon that is virtually impossible to detect.

All in all, this is a submarine that will bring Russia back on the seas when it comes to strategic nuclear forces and it will definitely change the situation in the Pacific.