Russia's Submarine Woes
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Russia's Submarine Woes


It took nearly two decades, but the first of a new class of nuclear-powered attack submarines has launched in Russia. Severodvinsk, displacing 12,000 tons, is now on sea trials.

The $1-billion vessel’s launch heralds a modest recovery for Russia’s decrepit undersea fleet.

Construction of Severodvinsk began in 1993 at the Sevmash shipyard in northwest Russia, but was repeatedly interrupted. ‘They ran out of money multiple times,’ Owen Cote, Jr., a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor and undersea warfare analyst, told The Diplomat.

Moscow plans to build up to nine more submarines of the Graney class over the next couple of decades, alongside 10 new ballistic-missile submarines of the Borei class. As submarines last only as long as their nuclear cores, few serve longer than 40 years. Life limitations and the slow build rate mean that Russia’s submarine fleet could decline to fewer than 20 operational vessels within the next few years, compared to around 60 active US submarines.

‘It’s on the upturn,’ Cote said of the Russian submarine force, ‘but it’s on the ropes – a disaster by our (US) standards.’

Quality is also a problem, Cote said. ‘The (US) Office of Naval Intelligence said a few years ago that Severodvinsk would be the most quiet nuclear submarine in the Russian or Chinese inventory. That’s not saying much in current terms.’

February 26, 2012 at 23:40

This is interesting, it’s why I’m arranging a test of James Bond’s lotus esprit submarine on

Andrew Farrell
October 26, 2011 at 00:39

Does this still matter?
We’re not going to war.

September 29, 2011 at 03:37

They still can’t make a move without being detected and hounded to death by NATO subs.

September 28, 2011 at 15:22

Are you a slave of USA?

September 28, 2011 at 00:38

The US has superior subs compared to the Russians.

September 27, 2011 at 20:53

How many nuclear subs has Russia lost vs. the US? Is this not the best measure of quality and reliability?

September 27, 2011 at 04:53

I do greatly admire Russian technologies for its quality and high reliability level as against US shunk of high quantity but less reliabiltiy standard.I believe the severodvinsk nuclear powered submarine is of the finest class in the world.

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