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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

667BDRM Dolphin DELTA IV

The 667BDRM Delta IV submarine, which was constructed parallel to the Typhoon class, is a further modification of the previous Delta. In comparison with the Delta III submarine the diameter of the pressure hull was increased and the bow was lengthened. As a result the displacement of the submarine was increased by 1,200 tons and it was 12 meters longer. To increase the reliability of the pressure hull, the tip and intercut-off bulkheads are made of specially processed steel.

The Delta IV submarines employs the D- 9RM launch system and carries 16 R-29RM liquid-fueled missiles which carry four multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles.Unlike previous modifications, the Delta IV submarine is able to fire missiles in any direction from a constant course in a circular sector. The underwater firing of the ballistic missiles can be conducted at a depth of 55 meters while cruising at a speed of 6-7 knots. All the missiles can be fired in a single salvo.

The 667BDRM Dolphin submarines are equipped with the TRV-671 RTM missile-torpedo system that has four torpedo tubes with a calibre of 533 mm. Unlike the Delta III, it is capable of using all types of torpedos, antisubmarine torpedo-missiles and antihydroacoustic devices. The battle management system "Omnibus-BDRM" controls all combat activities, processing data and commanding the torpedo and missile-torpedo weapons. The "Shlyuz" navigation system provides for the improved accuracy of the missiles and is capable of stellar navigation at periscope depths. The navigational system also employs two floating antenna buoys to receive radio-messages, target destination data and satellite navigation signals at great depth. The submarine is also equipped with the "Skat- VDRM" hydroacoustic system.

During the development of the 667BDRM SSBN several measures were included to reduce its noise level. The gears and equipment are located on a common base isolated from the pressure hull, and the power compartments are also isolated. The efficiency of the antihydroacoustic coatings of the light outer hull and inner pressure hulls have been increased. Newly designed five-bladed propellers with improved hydroacoustic characteristics are employed.

The development of the Delta IV submarine began on 10 September 1975 by the Rubin Central Design Bureau for Marine Engineering. The first Dolphin submarine was launched in January 1985 and in December 1985 the first Dolphin submarine was introduced into Northern fleet. Between 1985 and 1990 seven Dolphin SSBN were constructed by the Sevmashpredpriyatiye Production Association in Severodvinsk.

Initially all the Delta IV submarines were based with the Northern Fleet at Olenya. All the submarines of this class serve in the 3rd flotilla of strategic submarines of the Northern fleet, which has relocated to Yagyelnaya. All units of this class remain in the Northern Fleet.

Sources are in good agreement on the number and naming of the units of this class.

On 07 July 1998 the Russian Navy launched an R-29RM Shtil' rocket carrying a TUBSAT-N satellite from the submarine K-407 Novomoskovsk.

SSBN Verkhoturye is a Project 667-BDRM, commissioned in December 1984. The boat carried out seven combat patrol missions, and completed six-year repairs at the Zvezdochka State Machine-Building Enterprise in 2000. As of June 2001 the Commander was Colonel Mikhail Bannykh, who had previously headed the submarine Karelia.

SSBN Kareliya [Karelia] is a Project 667-BDRM, built at Northern Machinebuilding Enterprise, Severodvinsk, September 1986. In the Summer 1996 the boat left for extended under-ice cruise and surfaced at the North Pole on 14 June 1996. The previous Commander was Capt 1st Rank Mikhail BANNYKH. In April 2000 president-elect Vladimir Putin took part in the North fleet's Barents Sea exercise. He put to sea 05 April 2000 aboard the North fleet's Karelia SSBN, eventually spending the night 50 meters below and observing the war games 06 April. Putin watched the submerged Borisoglebsk SSBN 667 BDR [Delta III] class launch her RSM-50 ballistic missile; meanwhile the Karelia was staying on the surface. Putin underwent a sailor-initiation ceremony aboard the Karelia, drinking sea water and receiving his honorary-submariner certificate. In October 2003 the Karelia successfully launched a ballistic missile from the White Sea, hitting a target at the Kura range on the Kamchatka Peninsula.

The operational lifetime of these submarines is estimated to be 20-30 years, though in order to operate a ship for this period requires that a major overhaul be performed every 7-8 years. Otherwise, a submarine's service life shrinks to 10-15 years. The four-year repair works on the first Delta-IV (K-51) submarine were completed in November 1999 at Zvezdochka shipyard in Severodvinsk. The submarine was expected to operate from its home base in Gadzhievo at the Kola Peninsula for 5-7 more years.

As of June 2000 the Russian Navy claimed that it operates 26 strategic nuclear submarines carrying 2,272 nuclear warheads on 440 ballistic missiles. This force was 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 were seaworthy. The Russian Navy reportedly believed that 12 strategic nuclear submarines with ballistic missiles represent the minimum necessary force structure. According to media reports a classified presidential decree of 04 March 2000 established this force goal for the period through 2010.