Yuri Dolgoruky nuclear submarine returns to Severodvinsk after sea trials

ARKHANGELSK, August 22 (Itar-Tass) —— The Borei-class strategic submarine Yuri Dolgoruky has returned to the Sevmash shipyard in Severodvinsk after sea trials.

The latest voyage was a scheduled one and intended for checking the submarine’s defences in emergency. “The check proved the correctness of the algorithms used in the submarine’s systems. The submarines has returned to the base as scheduled and is now preparing for a new voyage,” Sevmash Deputy Director-General Marat Abizhanov said on Monday, August 22.

There are three main Borei-class strategic submarine in Russia: the Yuri Dolgoruky, the first serial submarine of this class Alexander Nevsky, and the newest multipurpose submarine Severodvinsk. All are scheduled to go on sea trials in 2011.

While the latter two will only go on their maiden trips, the Yuri Dolgoruky has already made more than 10 voyages.

The first Borei-class nuclear-powered submarine Yury Dolgoruky will join the Navy in the first half of 2011. It was the first strategic missile submarine to be launched in seventeen years since the end of the Soviet era. It was the first Russian (rather than Soviet) vessel. Currently, there are two more Borei class submarines under construction, named Alexander Nevsky and Vladimir Monomakh. The planned contingent of twelve strategic submarines is expected to be commissioned within the next decade.

The Defence Ministry plans to build at least eight new Borei-class submarines that should become the main naval component of Russia’s strategic nuclear forces.

Borei-class submarines are designed by the St. Petersbug-based Naval Design Bureau Rubin. Each submarine can be armed with 12 ICBMs with MIRVs. They will also have an escape capsule for all crewmembers. A Borei-class submarine is 170 metres long and 13.5 meters wide, it can sink to a depth of 450 metres and has a crew of 17 sailors.

The Alexander Nevsky is a second Borei-class submarine. Its construction at the Sevmash shipyard began in 2004 and the submarine is a fourth generation strategic underwater missile cruiser. Such submarines are standards carriers for Bulava intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Sevmash has estimated the new submarine’s cost at 23 billion roubles.

The submarine is scheduled to finish the testing in late 2011.

Project chief manager Alexander Reznikov said, “We plan to finish the trials in June and start seagoing tests that we hope will then lead to the acceptance [of the submarine by the governmental commission],” he said.

The submarine should be handed over to the Navy in December 2011.

The submarine will be armed with Bulava missiles. The Bulava carries the NATO reporting name SS-NX-30 and has been assigned the GRAU index 3M30. In international treaties, the common designation RSM-56 is used.

The decision to launch Bulava missiles from aboard the Yuri Dolgoruky was made in late October after two successful launches from a submerged position. Until then Bulava missiles were launched from the submarine Dmitry Donskoi, which was used as the starting point in the Project 941 Akula (Shark), the world’s biggest submarine.

The Dmitry Donskoi was launched after modernisation in 2002. “The submarine was furnished with many new systems that needed to be thoroughly tested at sea. Almost 100 Sevmash specialists and over 70 representatives from other enterprises in this sector worked aboard the submarine along with the Navy seamen for several years during trial runs in the White Sea,” the shipyard said.

The Dmitry Donskoi, a heavy strategic nuclear submarine of the Project 491 Akula class, was built by Sevmash in 1982. According to open sources, Akula was designed by the Rubin marine design bureau in St. Petersburg. Svemash built six such submarines 175 metres long and 22.8 metres wide with the water displacement of up to 49 tonnes and a 175-member crew. Three of those submarines of this class have been decommissioned.

The submarine was laid down at the Severodvinsk shipyard on March 3, 1977 and launched on September 23, 1980. At 175 metres in length, it became the world’s largest submarine, a record which it still holds along with its five sister ships. In 1990, it entered the dry dock in Severodvinsk for upgrades and repairs. Due to both economic and technological problems, the completion was severely postponed. In 2000, work on the submarine was stepped up .

In June 2002, the submarine finally left the Severodvinsk dry dock. Although the submarine was built as a third generation submarine, it is now referred to as a fourth generation one due to its extensive modifications.

The first launch of a Bulava solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile with a 10-MIRV warhead was carried out by the Dmitry Donskoi on September 27, 2005. The vessel was surfaced and fired the missile from a point in the White Sea. On December 21 of the same year, the new missile system was tested underwater for the first time. It successfully hit a target at the Kura firing range on the Kamchatka Peninsula.

Sevmash is the only shipyard in Russia that builds nuclear submarines for the Navy. It employs over 25,000 people. Since its creation in 1939, Sevmash has built 45 surface ships and 163 submarines, including 128 nuclear-powered ones.

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