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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Hidden Potential: Russia Builds Two More Submarines

Sputnik News

13:23 19.03.2015(updated 13:27 19.03.2015)

The multirole Yasen-class nuclear sub Arkhangelsk and the diesel-electric Lada-class Velikiye Luki have been laid down as part of Submariners' Day celebrations.

Two new submarines will be laid down to celebrate Russian Submariners' Day on March 19, the Arkhangelsk, a 120-meter Yasen-class nuclear submarine and Velikiye Luki, a 72-meter Lada-class diesel-electric submarine as part of the rearmament program which will complete in 2020.

A Strategic Goal

Currently there is only one Yasen-class multirole submarine in the Russian Navy, the Severodvinsk, seven of which are expected to be made. Notably, the submarines are made using solely Russian defense industries, as components made in the former USSR have been phased out.

Multirole nuclear submarines have been growing in importance internationally, and in the US Navy, they have been slowly pushing out strategic subs, as since 2004, 11 Virginia-class submarines have been built and seven more are in the works. Meanwhile, the last strategic nuclear sub made in the US, the Ohio-class USS Louisiana, was laid down in 1992.

Strategic nuclear submarines and multirole submarines form the foundation of the Russian Navy's Submarine Forces. By 2020, the state rearmament program projects that the navy will receive eight Borei-class strategic nuclear submarines, three of which have already entered service, and two more of which will be laid down by 2016.

Quieter Than Water

Meanwhile, Lada-class diesel submarines are meant to replace the Varshavianka-class, two of which are currently in service in the Black Sea Fleet, a third undergoing trials, and three more are under construction but expected to be in service by in 2016, after which the contract won't be renewed. The Lada was meant to replace the Varshavianka in the late 1990s, but issues with the engine and acoustic isolation caused the first ship, the Saint Petersburg, to only be finished in 2010.

The new Velikiye Luki submarine will be built according to a new, modernized project, and will have 'improved stealth parameters and extended autonomous operation,' according to Navy Commander Viktor Chirkov. This most likely means a new engine which does not depend on the submarine's oxygen supply, which gives submarines improved stealth and allows them to stay underwater longer.

The Varshavianka, called the 'Improved Kilo' in NATO terminology, has been called the 'Black Hole' by the organization because of their quiet operation. The project dates back to the 1970s, and is considered one of the best diesel submarine projects, as despite its stealth, it has six 533-mm torpedo bays which automatically reload every 15 seconds.


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