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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. Based on available information as of late 2010, the first submarines manufactured under the project would carry 20 missiles instead of 16. 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.

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.

Sevmash confirmed 19 December 2014 that construction of the sixth Borey-class submarine, the Knyaz Suvorov, will start on 26 December 2014. The fourth and fifth subs of the class, the Knyaz Vladimir and the Knyaz Oleg, were currently under construction at the Sevmash shipyard.

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.

Seventh strategic nuclear submarine type "Northwind" will be named "Emperor Alexander III", corresponding order has been signed, on October 12, Tass said a source in the Command of the Russian Navy. "Bookmark scheduled for the second half of December this year," - reminded the agency. The "Bookmark" is a solemn procedure, the initial stage of construction vessel.

The submarines of "Borey" should be the basis of naval strategic nuclear forces of Russia in the coming decades. As previously reported, to 2020 planned to build eight of these subs, three of them have already been transferred to the Navy. Each boat carries 16 intercontinental ballistic missile "Bulava".

Now the construction of a series of continuing to improve the draft - "Borey-A." Its first representative was the submarine "Prince Vladimir", laid down ["planted"] in 2012. In 2014 two submarines - "Prince Oleg" and "Generalissimo Suvorov" were laid down.

Another nuclear submarine missile project "Borei-A", "Emperor Alexander III", armed with ballistic missile complex "Bulava", was laid down on 18 December 2015 in Severodvinsk.

The Russian Sevmash shipbuilder commenced on 23 December 2016 production of the eighth 955A Borei-class submarine Knyaz Pozharsky, which will be the last one in the Project 955 series. "The 955A Borei series is coming to an end with this submarine. Now the navy is working together with the Rubin [design bureau] on modernization of the project," Bursuk said. The Borei-class nuclear-powered subs are to become the mainstay of the naval component of the Russia's strategic nuclear deterrent. By 2020, the Russian Navy also plans to operate a total of eight Borei-class nuclear-powered ballistic-missile submarines.

The Russian Navy will receive a strategic nuclear submarine "Prince Vladimir" - the first submarine of the Borey-A type in 2019, after the planned time. Vice-Admiral Viktor Bursuk, Deputy Commander of the Russian Navy for Armament, told journalists on 25 April 2018. Earlier it was expected that the submarine would be delivered to the fleet in 2017, but then the date of its transfer was moved to 2018. "Yes (in 2019 - TASS comment.) The vessel will have an extended set of tests, including those that have not previously been carried out," he said, adding that the fleet should receive a ship that is fully prepared to carry out tasks for its intended purpose.

Underwater strategic missile "Prince Vladimir" was laid in 2012 and launched on November 17, 2017. He became the fourth submarine in a series of eight "Boreans" and the first representative of the improved project "Borey-A." Three submarines of the Borey project have already joined the Russian Navy, the "Prince Oleg" and "Generalissimo Suvorov" (2014), "Emperor Alexander III" (2015) and "Prince Pozharsky" (2016) have been laid and are being built. Each such submarine carries 16 intercontinental ballistic missiles "Bulava".

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 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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