Russia’s Newest Nuclear Submarines.

Borei-class Submarine

The Borei-class submarine is a fourth-generation nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine. They have been designed to replace the aging Delta III and IV-class, and Typhoon-class submarines. They are the first class of submarines being developed since the fall of the Soviet Union. The K-535 Yuriy Dolgorukiy is the first and only Borei-class Ballistic Missile Submarine assigned to the Northern Fleet. The Yuriy Dolgorukiy will have a big role to play in the Arctic. In fact, it will provide a nuclear response in case of immediate threats to the Russian Federation.

Russian Borei-class submarine.
Russian Borei-class submarine.

Armed with 16 Bulava RSM-56 Sea Launch Ballistic Missile (SLBM), the Yuriy Dolgorukiy has to potential to launch a SLBM up to 8,300km. It also has 6 SS-N-15 Missiles—533mm caliber anti-ship missile with a 45km range. The Borei II-class will have twenty Bulava SLMB, and five of them have been planned. The Borei and Borei II-class SSBN will become the backbone of the Russian Navy submarines.

Two other Borei-class SSBN—K-550 Aleksandr Nevskiy and K-551 Vladimir Monomakh—are under the Pacific Fleet Command. Since the Bering Strait is the “entrance” to the Russian Arctic region, the Pacific Fleet has an important task. In fact, the two Borei-class submarines will most likely patrol the Bering Strait and strategically place themselves to provide a defensive posture against the United States Northern Command and its forces based in Alaska. The Pacific Fleet could also enhance their joint operations with the North Sea Fleet of the People’s Liberation Army Navy in the Okhotsk Sea, where the two submarines could be employ as an offensive weapon.

Yasen-Class Submarine

The Yasen-class nuclear multipurpose attack submarine could become to weapon of choice for the Russian Navy when it comes to anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare. More than twelve have been planned while three have already been laid down. The K-329 Severodvinsk has been commissioned on 30 December 2013 and has been assigned to the Northern Fleet. One Yasen-class submarine cost as much as two Borei-class submarines.

Russian Yasen-class submarine
Russian Yasen-class submarine

The Severodvinsk can launch 24 Oniks and Kalibr cruise missiles. It also has 8 X 650mm and 2 X 533mm torpedo tubes. Its range is only limited by the amount of food it can carry, making it a long range submarine.

Its role in the Arctic will most likely to patrol the Northern Sea Route. With its spherical sonar, the Yasen-class submarine will also be a great asset to hunt down and detect enemy submarines. It is very likely that the Yasen-class submarines will also be commissioned to the Pacific Fleet to patrol the Bering Strait.

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Jonathan Wade, CD

Jonathan Wade is the director of the ‘The Sentinel Analytical Group’ and a decorated veteran of the Canadian Forces. Specialized in tactical, strategic, intelligence and geopolitics analysis, Jonathan has a fondness for technical details. His military experience brought him valuable insight on the realities of conflicts and war. A combat veteran of Afghanistan, Jonathan brings in in-theatre experience. Jonathan writes about Russia, Canada and Arctic.