The Russian Navy is set to receive a powerful shot in the arm – the marines will welcome the newest multipurpose Yasen-class submarine - the Severodvinsk.
The nuclear powered attack submarine is armed with several types of cruise missiles and torpedo launchers, and can be used to accomplish a wide range of tasks, including seeking out enemy aircraft carriers. But its core function is supporting ballistic missile-carrying nuclear submarines that are part of the country’s strategic nuclear forces, notes an expert at the Institute of Political and Military Analysis, Alexander Khramchikhin.
This sub doesn’t belong to the triad of strategic forces: this is a multipurpose – that is, torpedo-launching – submarine. It strengthens the stability of this triad. Missile subs can’t function without such torpedo and multipurpose submarines. Right now, we have an obvious imbalance: there are three missile subs being built and only two torpedo ones. Meanwhile, there should be at least twice as many of the latter as of the former. So the introduction of the Severodvinsk is an absolutely essential thing. Such vehicles guard the missile carriers and can engage both the submarines and surface ships of the enemy. And now, with the help of cruise missiles, land targets are also possible, the expert points out.
The Severodvinsk submarine is a fourth generation vehicle. This project is an update of third generation Akula – also known as Shark or Typhoon – class submarines, which are successfully accomplishing their missions in the oceans of the world. The construction of the Severodvinsk is distinctly different from its predecessors, both in terms of its body and its armaments. The vessel is equipped with a nuclear energy block, which fully accords with modern nuclear safety requirements. The submarine is also decked out with the newest communication and navigation equipment and has a pressurized water reactor. The Yasen submarines surpass the newest US Sea Wolf vessels as far as quietness goes. The Russian missile carrier is armed with eight missile launchers for the newest supersonic Oniks cruise missiles, which have a range of 300 km – and there are 32 such missiles on board the ship. Several such rockets can be used in a strike. Thanks to a the digital databases of the magnetic and physical fields of various types of ships, the Oniks missiles can independently identify targets, classify them and automatically distribute themselves in the course of the attack.
Following the Severodvinsk’s entry into service, a number of other submarines of the same type are set to be built. The Sevmash factory in Severodvinsk has started construction of the second Yasen class vehicle, the multipurpose Kazan sub. It is set to join the Navy’s combat forces in 2015.
For the first time in the history of Russian shipbuilding, torpedo launchers will be placed in the central part, rather than the front of the submarine to make room for the antenna of a new hydro-acoustic system. So thanks to the latest developments of Russian military-industrial complex, such submarines will surpass their foreign analogies as far as noiselessness and stealth.