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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Project 955U Borey-A

Starting with the hull of the fourth submarine, missile submarines would be based on the improved design of Project 955U. The Borey and Borey-A submarines were developed by the TsKB MT Rubin, all of which can carry 16 Bulava missiles on board and are equipped with torpedo tubes of 533 mm caliber. According to the military, Borei-A differs from the base project submarines in less noise, better depth maneuvering and retention systems, and an improved weapon control system.

With the first updated boat was "Prince Vladimir", the superstructure on the nuclear-powered ship was altered, the bow contours became more streamlined, but most importantly, the “hump” of the missile launch platform disappeared. Such changes improve the driving performance of the "Prince Vladimir", and also increase its noiselessness when driving underwater. It is possible that the transformations of the Project 955 boats will continue to occur. The appearance of the first "Borey-A" is radically different from its predecessors "Yuri Dolgoruky", "Alexander Nevsky" and "Vladimir Monomakh". The first thing that catches the eye is the absence of the "hump" of the missile tubes behind the wheelhouse. There are also no characteristic protrusions in front of the wheelhouse, in which the sonar systems of the first "Boreys" were supposedly installed. In addition, the bow contours of the ship have become more streamlined. The appearance of the superstructure has also changed. In the first Boreys, it was sloped: its front part, when viewed from the side, narrowed closer to the deck. "Prince Vladimir" has got the traditional profile of the wheelhouse.

The visual changes to the submarine's appearance are the transformation of the light hull. Its geometry, for example, contours, usually changes after a new surveillance system, antennas or weapons system are upgraded on the boat. At the same time, there might not have been any structural changes, just the hull of the boat was "licked" to improve seaworthiness. Changes may also be related to the fact that the Soviet backlog of finished structural elements of Project 971 Shchuka-B submarines, which were used in the construction of the first Boreyevs, has ended. In particular, for the "Yuri Dolgoruky" used the structures left over from the never-built Shchuka-B K-137 "Cougar".

Upgrading boats is a necessary step, as 23 years had passed since the laying of the first "Borey" "Yuri Dolgoruky". During this time, new equipment has appeared, the element base has changed, and new research has been carried out in the field of hydrodynamics. Taking this into account when building the next ships is simply necessary. Judging by the appearance of the "Borey-A" that went to sea, many years of experience were used to the full.

Based on available information as of late 2010, the first submarines manufactured under the project would carry 20 missiles instead of 16, but this turned out not to be the case. This would represent the third major design change in this program, and apparently introduced a delay of at least two years in the construction schedule of the fourth and later units.

It was reported 04 December 2018 that by 2028, it was planned to build on Sevmash two more serial atomic strategic submarines of Project 955A Borey-A. The number of submarines of this class will be increased to ten. It also became known that the construction of two Boreans of Project 955A was included in the state armament program for 2018–2027. They had not yet received the name. Their construction "Sevmash" will begin in 2024. The first submarine should be presented to the Navy in 2026, and the second in 2027.

It should be noted that this effectively represents a restart of the 955 production cadence, as there is an eight year gap between unit #8 being laid down in 2016 and the new unit #9 being laid down in 2024. There was only a two year gap between the second and third units of the 955 class had been laid down, five units of the 955A class had been laid down over a period of four years.

At that time, the fleet included 3 submarines of the project 955 "Borey". Factory testing passes the head submarine of the project 955A "Borey-A", 4 more laid and under construction. Note that with two more boats, the total number of strategic submarines of projects 955 and 955A will be ten units. Of these, 5 will serve in the Northern Fleet, and the remaining 5 - in the Pacific.

It was reported 04 December 2018 that it was possible that after 2027 the construction of the Borey-A will continue if it becomes difficult to maintain the 667BDRM submarines in combat status in the same year. This seems highly likely as these units were commissioned towards the end of the Cold War, and by the 2020s were some four decades old.

The start of construction of Russia's fourth Borey-class nuclear-powered submarine was postponed from December 2009 to the first quarter of 2010, a Defense Ministry official said on 15 December 2009. Construction of the Project 955 Svyatitel Nikolai (St. Nicholas) ballistic-missile submarine was to begin on December 22 at the Sevmash shipyard in the northern Russian city of Severodvinsk. The keel-laying ceremony was timed to coincide with the shipyard's 70th anniversary. The official, who requested anonymity, stressed that the project was not being "frozen" but simply delayed for "organizational and technical reasons." Russia started the construction of the fourth Borey-class strategic nuclear-powered submarine on 10 February 2010. A shipyard spokesman said "The work on the sub construction effectively started last year."

As of 2009 Russia was planning to build eight of these subs by 2015. Fourth-generation Borey-class nuclear-powered submarines were expected to constitute the core of Russia's modern strategic submarine fleet. However, the submarine's putting into service could be delayed by a series of setbacks in the development of the troubled Bulava missile, which had by then officially suffered seven failures in 12 tests. However, some analysts suggested that in reality the number of failures was considerably larger.

For example, according to Russian military expert Pavel Felgenhauer, of the Bulava's 12 test launches, only one was quite successful. The future development of the Bulava has been questioned by some lawmakers and defense industry officials, who have suggested that all efforts should be focused on the existing Sineva SLBM. But the Russian military has insisted that there is no alternative to the Bulava and pledged to continue testing the missile until it is ready to be put in service with the Navy.

Russian President Vladimir Putin participated on 30 July 2012 in a ceremony to launch construction of Russia’s fourth Borei-class (Project 955A) ballistic missile submarine. The ceremony for the boat, the Knyaz Vladimir, was held at Sevmash, Russia’s largest shipyard and sole nuclear submarine maker located in the port city of Severodvinsk on the White Sea. “By 2020, we should have eight Borei-class submarines,” he said. “Two of them - the Alexander Nevsky and one other - are in trials. I am sure the entire project will be implemented.” At that time three other Borei class boats were reported to be in various stages of development at Sevmash. The Yury Dolgoruky was then undergoing sea trials, while the Alexander Nevsky and the Vladimir Monomakh were under construction.

RIA Novosti reported 12 September 2014 the fourth Borei-class submarine, Knyaz Vladimir, was currently under construction at the shipyard, and a fifth boat, Knyaz Oleg, was laid down at Sevmash in July 2014. Knyaz Oleg would become the first of the upgraded Project 955A submarines, which boast smaller hulls and cons as well as better acoustic characteristics and lower noisiness.

RIA Novosti reported that "each Project 955 submarine, designed by the Rubin Naval Design Bureau from Saint Petersburg, can carry up to 12 Bulava intercontinental ballistic missiles. The advanced 955As are designed to be armed with 16 SLBMs.... The safety measures at the subs include a rescue chamber, which can host all 17 crew members." These details are all in error.

This account is confusing, as Rossiiskaya Gazeta newspaper said on 14 January 2013 that the construction of the Alexander Suvorov, the fifth in the series and second of the improved Project 955A (Borey-A) class, was to begin on 28 July 2013, when Russia celebrated Navy Day, while the sixth submarine, the Mikhail Kutuzov, was to be laid down in November 2013. And other sources reported the upgraded variant would carry 20 missiles rather than 16, which would imply a larger boat, not a smaller hull, and that the Knyaz Vladimir was the first of the enlarged design.

Russia will go ahead with building nuclear-powered Borei submarines after 2020, the Navy’s commander-in-chief, Admiral Viktor Chirkov told the media on 02 July 2015. Earlier, the general director of the Rubin design bureau that developed the submarines, Igor Vilnit, mentioned the possibility of building more submarines on the basis of the Borei family. "Our shipbuilding program is devised in a way that does not envisage a stop to the construction of Borei class submarines after 2020," Chirkov said at the international naval show in St. Petersburg.

The yet-to-built subs will incorporate all cutting-edge technologies that will be available at the moment. A decision on how many more Borei submarines will be built will be made later, "depending on the situation and the development of international relations." "Given the threats that we are facing today we say that we need eight (submarines), but tomorrow there may emerge other threats and we may need twelve submarines," Chirkov said.

The ninth and tenth nuclear submarines of the modernized project 955A (Borey-A) are planned to be laid down on May 9, 2020 and transferred to the Russian Navy in 2026 and 2027, a source in the military-industrial complex told RIA Novosti 29 November 2019.

Strategic submarine "Prince Vladimir" transferred to the Russian Navy. This was reported in the press service of the United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC) 28 May 2020. At different stages of construction on the Sevmash are four Borea-A. In addition, a contract was signed for the construction of two more rocket carriers of this project. There are also plans to build an additional two Boreev-A.

Following “Prince Vladimir” “Borey-A” “Prince Oleg” will also receive a unique profile. The final appearance of the subsequent submarines of series A will be selected after comprehensive comparative tests of the two ships. A more successful version of the submarine will continue the series.


The Ministry of Defense is considering the possibility of building two nuclear submarines of the new Borey-K project, which will become carriers of cruise missiles. This was reported 22 April 2019 by TASS from a source in the military-industrial complex of Russia. “The military department is considering the creation of two more Borevs, but not with ballistic missiles, but with long-range cruise missiles. If the decision is made, these submarines will be built according to the new Borey-K project with delivery to the customer after 2027,” - the source agency said. He did not name the intended characteristics of the new submarines. TASS did not have official confirmation provided by the source of information.

It would appear that this plan is to continue Borey production at the rate of one per year, and the Borey-K variant would be built in the event that replacements for the 667BDRM submarines are not immediately needed.

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