Project 885 Yasen / Graney / Granay
Severodvinsk class

This new attack submarine design is a further derivative of the Project 971 Akula. The original idea of the "universal silos" was a design with a multi-task profile, making it possible to change the profile of weapons loaded to adjust to several missions. It features a significant cruise missile capability with eight vertical launch tubes for RKB-500 aft of the sail. The multipurpose Severodvinsk nuclear submarine program, being built under the 855-Yasen Program, was to carry eight launching devices with 24 P-100 Onyx high-precision stealth anti-ship cruise missiles. Subsequently it was reported that the Severodvinsk will be armed with 24 SS-N-26 Oniks missiles arranged in eight triple SM-315 launchers. [Other reports suggest it carried twenty SS-N-17, but this seemed improbable].

Project 885 may be intended to eventually replace the 945 Barrakuda [NATO Sierra] and 949A Antei [NATO Oscar II], so that only two classes of attack submarines will eventually remain in the navy.

One sourcess suggest that the Project 885 Yasen (Granay) is just a replacement for the 949A Antei [NATO Oscar II]. This would make the Yasen an "aircraft-carrier-killer". By this account, the main difference between the earlier 949A Antei [NATO Oscar II] and Project 885 Yasen consists in the later's ability to strike both coastal and warship targets with new supersonic cruise missiles. Another account, consistent with official Russian statments, suggests that the Yasen was to be just the follow on of the 971 Schuka-B (NATO Akula), and was not designed as a replacement of Oscar-II.

The hull is made of low magnetic steel, with a spherical bow sonar. According to Western intelligence estimates, the Severodvinsk was assessed as probably being only slightly quieter than the improved Akula. It would have with expanded missions with better anti-submarine capabilities (the first Russian spherical sonar, much improved sensors of other types, data fusion techniques, etc).

The NATO's reporting name for the Yasen ["ash tree"] project is GRANAY [also seen as GRANEY]. An ash tree can be identified by its distinctive leaves and bark. Ash trees have several leaves per leaf stem and the leaves are located directly across from each other. The totally unrelated Project 877, designated the Kilo by Western intelligence, is a much smaller non-nuclear diesel-electric submarine developed in two parallel projects - the Granay for the Soviet Navy and the Warshavyanka for export. The provenance of this designation is completely obscure. In Russian, "graney" is the instrumental singular of "gran'", which means boundary, verge, brink, etc. So graney would be "by means of a boundary." Granay, a populated place in in Saint-Etienne, Rhône-Alpes, France, Europe, is also known as Grand Granay. Bounded by the districts of Tirunelveli to the north and the east, Kanyakumari was once termed as The Granay of Travancore. The narrow Graney River leads to the town of Scarriff, Ireland. The River Graney issues from Lough Graney in the barony of Tulla, and passing through Lough O'Grady, falls into Lough Derg at Scariff bay.

Work on the Severodvinsk, the first [and for many years, the only] submarine of this class, started in 1992. The formal naming of "Severodvinsk", took place on 21 December 1993, at the Northern machine-building enterprise" (g. of severodvinsk). The Severodvinsk had been scheduled to be commissioned before 1998. However, subsequently operation for the financial reasons was sharply slowed down. Work ceased in 1996 due to finanacial problems. According to some reports the boat was actually launched before work halted, with other reports suggest that as of 1999 the submarine was less than 10 percent complete. At that time, it was estimated that Severodvinsk would enter service in 2006-2008. But work remained suspended as of 2001.

In 2003 Sevmash reportedly received extra funding to accelerate the completion of this submarine. As of September 2004 work was said to be moving forward, on a rather rapid pace compared to the older speed of building. The Borei class SSBN had gotten a higher priority and was anticipated to be in service much faster than Severodvinsk.

Up to seven units were reportedly planned, but by 2004 there were questions as to whether any will ever enter service. Under the economic conditions the yard conducted a fight for the survival of the project. The generally low priority attached to this program must be understood in the context of Russian force level objectives. By 2005 the Russian submarine fleet included 8 949A Antei [NATO Oscar II] cruise missile submarines, and a total of about 20 nuclear attack submarines of the 971 Schuka-B (NATO Akula), 945 Barrakuda (NATO Sierra), and 671 Shchuka (NATO Victor) classes. Given the relative youth of these units, and a low operating tempo conserving reactor core life, all of these submarines could be expected to remain in service through the year 2020.

In July 2006 it was reported that Vladislav Putilin, the deputy chairman of the Military-Industrial Commission, stated that under the Russian State Armaments Program for 2007-2015, the Navy will receive several dozen surface ships and submarines, including five Project 955 Borey nuclear-powered strategic ballistic missile submarines equipped with new Bulava-30 ballistic missiles, two Project 885 Yasen nuclear-powered multipurpose submarines, six Project 677 Lada diesel-electric submarines, three Project 22350 multipurpose frigates and five Project 20380 corvettes.

Kommersant reported on July 04, 2006 that "It was laid down on the Severodvinsk at Sevmashpredpriyatie on January 22, 1993, with a completion date of 2000. However, practically no funds have been allotted for it in the 2006 state defense order, so the future of the project is in question. Originally, the military planned to build another six of the craft. They were to receive a significant portion of the non-nuclear deterrence - the submarine was to be the "aircraft carrier killer." At present, the Defense Ministry does not consider it necessary to invest in more Yasens and prefers to concentrate its finances on the Boreis."

On 12 January 2007 ShipbuildingRu reported that Russian Navy's Commander Admiral Vladimir Masorin said the submarine Navy has "three basic directions - strategic, rocket and subs of smaller displacement, with the primary goal of anti-sub actions, which is protection against strike forces". "So far the design bureau did not deal with such projects, but this class of a submarine is sure to be commissioned with the Navy", - the Commander stated. As he emphasized "we have similar subs, but they will leave, and instead of them it is necessary to build new". We have time - about 10 years", - he added. These statements were made in the context of answering the questions regarding the expected commission of the project 855 Yasen subnmarine Severodvinsk. "In 2008 there will be the start of the commissioning of the nuclear submarines of the fourth generation. Then will go further. I would not be like to stick to specific dates. We have terms, all is certain. The industry promises all to finish in target dates", - Mr. Masorin made it clear that he does not expect technological or financial problems. Answering the question about the reasons for the long (10 years) construction of a boat, he said: "Because the sub is very complicated, there are too much new systems, weapons. The more new in a sub, the more difficult it is to build ". The Commander emphasized that "Severodvinsk" is much more complicated that than another submarine under construction on "Sevmash", strategic carrier "Yuri Dolgoruky". "Severodvinsk has both, more diverse arms and more diverse tactics".

On 11 September 2007 ShipbuildingRu reported that the newest multi-purpose nuclear submarine Severodvinsk will be commissioned with the Navy in 2009, according to the head of the department for procurement, orders and deliveries of the ships, naval arms and military technic of Ministry of Defense Vice-Admiral Anatoly Shlemov.

On 25 July 2008 it was reported that Navy commander Adm. Vladimir Vysotsky stated that the construction of new-generation nuclear-powered ballistic missile and attack submarines is a top priority for the Russian Navy's development. In 2009, the Russian Navy will receive the first nuclear-powered attack submarine of the Project 885 Yasen (Graney) class, named Severodvinsk, Vysotsky said.

On 06 July 2010, after over a decade-long delay, Russia launched its fourth-generation ballistic missile nuclear attack submarine Severodvinsk. The multi-purpose vessel, the first of the Project 885 Yasen (Graney class) nuclear attack submarines, was launched on Tuesday when it departed the Sevmash shipyard in northern Russia. The ceremony was attended by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov and Chief of the Navy, Vladimir Vysotsky. The large submarine, having a water displacement of 9,700 tons when surfaced and 13,500 tons when submerged, will undergo exhaustive sea trials before being inducted in the Russian Navy most likely by 2011. Russia began the construction of Severodvinsk in 1993 which was scheduled to be completed by 1998. But financial and technical snags delayed the project.

On 03 December 2011 the Sevmash shipyard said the delivery of the first Graney class nuclear-powered multipurpose attack submarine to the Russian Navy had been postponed until the end of 2012 due to additional tests of its weapons systems. Construction of the Severodvinsk submarine began in 1993 at the Sevmash shipyard in the northern Russian city of Severodvinsk but has since been dogged by financial setbacks. It was floated out in June 2010 and had undergone two sets of sea trials. “The delivery of the [Severodvinsk submarine] to the Defense Ministry has been postponed until next year,” Sevmash General Director Andrei Dyachkov said on Friday in an exclusive interview with RIA Novosti. Dyachkov said the testing of the submarine’s weaponry required at least six months of additional sea trials in 2012. “The submarine itself showed a good performance [during previous trials],” the official said. “It will be commissioned by the end of 2012.”

Russia’s Project 885 Yasen-class attack submarine, the Severodvinsk, has embarked on its latest series of official tests in the White Sea, the manufacturer said 14 april 2014. Sevmash shipyard spokeswoman Yekaterina Pilikina said the tests had started several days ago, without providing details on their time frame or scope. The shipyard had earlier said the submarine would continue tests that had started in 2011. The Severodvinsk has spent a total of 137 days at sea. The submarine, whose construction began in 1993, is due to be delivered to the Navy later in 2014. It was to have been handed over by the end of 2012.

Project 885 Graney-M - Kazan class

Russia's Vedomosti daily said 15 June 2010 that the fourth-generation Russian nuclear-powered multipurpose attack submarine is too expensive for serial production, with the price of the strategic project kept secret, but the estimated cost reached $1 billion. Mikhail Barabanov, the editor-in-chief of Moscow Defense Brief magazine, said the submarine's cost was too high to make it viable for serial production. Barabanov told Vedomosti that the U.S. Navy did not produce a large number of advanced Sea Wolf submarines, similar to the Severodvinsk vessel, since they were too expensive. Instead of these, they use cheaper and unsophisticated Virginia-class submarines.

The expert said the Russian Navy would probably replace the Severodvinsk nuclear submarine with a more affordable analogue. Barabanov said the second Yasen (Graney) class submarine Kazan was the most probable alternative to the Severodvinsk submarine. Russian experts expected Graney-class submarines to boost the Navy's operational effectiveness and combat capabilities.

The construction of the Kazan, a second Project 885 Yasen (Graney) class nuclear-powered multipurpose attack submarine started at the Sevmash shipyard in northern Russia on 24 July 2009. The Kazan submarine will feature more advanced equipment than the first vessel in the series - the Severodvinsk, which was laid down in 1992 and was scheduled to join the Russian navy in 2010 or early 2011 after a long delay for financial reasons. "The second submarine will have improved electronics and fire-control systems, and will be built exclusively with Russian-made materials and components," Sevmash spokeswoman Anastasia Nikitinskaya said. The submarine's armament will include 24 cruise missiles, including the 3M51 Alfa SLCM, the SS-NX-26 Oniks SLCM or the SS-N-21 Granat/Sampson SLCM. It will also have eight torpedo tubes as well as mines and anti-ship missiles such as SS-N-16 Stallion.

The Russian Navy will receive a second Graney class nuclear-powered multipurpose attack submarine in 2015, a spokesman for the Malakhit design bureau said in February 2011. The construction of the Kazan submarine at the Sevmash Shipyard in the northern Russian city of Severodvinsk began in 2010. The first vessel of the Graney class, the Severodvinsk submarine, will enter service by the end of 2011. "The hull of the Kazan sub has been built, but we still have to make many upgrades compared with the first vessel in the series. We are planning to deliver the submarine to the Navy in 2015," the official told RIA Novosti.

As of March 2011 the construction of the third Graney class nuclear-powered attack submarine was to begin in 2011.

On 03 December 2011 the Sevmash shipyard said it would start building a series of five advanced Graney-M class attack submarines in 2012 under a recent contract between the Russian United Shipbuilding Corporation and the Defense Ministry. The Kazan will feature more advanced equipment and weaponry than the Severodvinsk, and can be considered as a prototype of modernized Graney-M class submarines.

The active submarines of the Akula class are in restricted service to conserve their remaining reactor core lives. Assuming the nominal 30 year service life of their American counterparts, the oldest Akula I submarines might be withdrawn from service by around 2015, with all but the Gepard Akula II being withdrawn from service by 2025. The restricted service of these boats might easily extend their useful lives to 35 years, suggesting a phase-out in the 2020-2030 timeframe. The remaining four active Victor III submarines may be in restricted service, to conserve their remaining reactor core lives. Assuming the nominal 30 year service life of their American counterparts, at least the four youngest remaining Victor III submarines [if not even K-412] might remain in service until around 2020, but surely not much beyond that date.

Retaining the prevailing inventory of 21 active attack submarines would require completing a total of at least five and possibly as many as eight Graney-class submarines by around 2020, in addition to the pair slated for delivery prior to 2015. This could imply a construction rate of two boats a year for about four years in the 2020 timeframe, though the pace might slow thereafter.

Adm. Vladimir Vysotsky, the Navy chief, said 26 July 2009 that the Russian Navy command had made a decision on building one nuclear-powered multipurpose attack submarine a year from 2011. Vysotsky said the state currently had all possibilities, including economic and financial, to implement this project as soon as possible. Vysotsky also said that Russia would annually build warships and nuclear submarines for the Russian Black Sea Fleet stationed in Ukraine's Crimea. "From 2010, we'll annually lay down one surface ship and one nuclear submarine for the Black Sea Fleet," he said.

The Russian Navy is planning to commission up to 10 Graney class nuclear-powered attack submarines by 2020, a high-ranking Navy official said. "We are expecting to receive about 10 new Yasen [Graney] class attack submarines in the next ten years," the source told RIA Novosti 19 March 2011. The Russian Navy will receive at least eight Graney class nuclear-powered attack submarines in the next decade, Navy chief Adm. Vladimir Vysotsky said on 29 July 2011. "We are expecting to receive at least eight attack submarines of this [Graney] class by 2020," Vysotsky said in an exclusive interview with RIA Novosti.

Join the mailing list