Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

667B Murena DELTA I

In comparison with the Yankee submarines the Delta submarines have a greater displacement and larger external dimensions. The pressure hull of the 667B submarine consists of ten compartments.

The 667B submarines were equipped with D-9 launch systems and 12 R-29 missiles. The range of the R-29 missiles allowed the 667B to maintain constant combat patrol in remote areas. They are also capable of maintaining combat alert when moored at their bases. The Delta-class submarines could deploy on alert patrols in the marginal ice seas of the Soviet arctic littoral, including the Norwegian and Barents seas. Consequently, unlike their predecessors they no longer needed to pass through Western SOSUS sonar barriers to come within range their targets. And deployed close to home, they could be protected in "bastions" by the rest of the Soviet Navy. The submerged firing of the missiles can be conducted in a single salvo while the submarine is moving at a speed of 5 knots. A high degree of automation allowed a significant reduction in the time required for pre-launch preparations in comparison with the Yankee class. To improve the accuracy of the missiles, the Delta I submarines are equipped with the "Tobol-B" navigation system and the "Cyclone-B" satellite navigation system.

The development of the 667B Delta I submarine was authorized in 1965, with the Rubin Central Design Bureau for Marine Engineering was in charge of the program. The Delta I submarine "K-279" was build at the Northern machine-building enterprise in Severodvinsk and was incorporated into the Northern fleet on 22 December 1972. Between 1972 and 1977 18 Delta I submarines were launched, 10 in Severodvinsk and 8 in Komsomol Na Amur.

In 1973 the 667B submarine was incorporated into a division of strategic submarines of the Northern fleet based at Yagyelnaya bay. The formation of the 41st division of strategic submarines consisting of Delta I submarines was completed the same year. In 1974 the division was incorporated into the 11th flotilla of submarines. The Delta I submarines which belong to the Pacific fleet form the 25th division of strategic submarines and are based on Kamchatka. In the early 1990s the submarines were transferred to the Pavlovsk base in Primorye. The zones of patrol of the Northern fleet submarines were located in the area around Greenland and the Barents Sea, two or three days away from the submarine bases. The Delta I submarines that served in the Pacific fleet began patrols in 1976.

In 1991 nine Delta I submarines served in the Northern and Pacific Fleet. Their decommissioning began in 1994, and by 1997 the missile compartments were scheduled to be removed. It is anticipated that all 667B submarines will be decommissioned in compliance with the provisions of the START-1 treaty. The prcise tatus of individual hulls, including the dates on whcih they may have been withdrawn from service, cannot be readily determined from the public record.

As of June 2000 the Russian Navy claims that it operates 26 strategic nuclear submarines carrying 2,272 nuclear warheads on 440 ballistic missiles. This force is said to consist of 5 Typhoon class submarines, 7 Delta-IV class submarines, and 13 Delta-III class submarines [which only adds up to 25, not 26 submarines]. Not all of these submarines are presently seaworthy. The Russian Navy reportedly believes that 12 strategic nuclear submarines with ballistic missiles represent the minimum necessary force structure.

The Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program was scheduled to dismantle 25 Delta-class, five Typhoon-class, and one Yankee-class ballistic missile submarines capable of launching over 400 missiles with over 1,700 warheads, by the year 2003. As of September 1999 US specialists had helped disassemble one Yankee- and six Delta-class submarines, while the Russians had destroyed another five ballistic missile subs on their own using American equipment.

In FY 2004 dismantlement work continued on one Delta I class SSBN at State Machine Building Enterprise Zvezdochka. In FY 2005 State Machine Building Enterprise Zvezdochka completed the dismantlement of one Delta I SSBN. DoD reported that SSBN Delta-class 311 was dismantled in November 2004. As required by the contract with Sevmash, the report from the Zvezdochka shipyard states that 23,149,863 rubles (approximately $800,000) was generated from 4,600 tons of metal scrap. This does not correspond to previously identified Delta I hull numbers.

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