The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) has reportedly concluded a contract with shipbuilding company Sevmash for two Project 885-M Yasen M-class multipurpose nuclear-powered attack/cruise missile submarines (SSN/SSGN).
A contract was signed at the “Army-2019” military and technical forum, which took place just outside of Moscow, in the last week of June, according to TASS news agency.
“Today we have signed a number of large-scale deals. (…) These deals also cover two new Yasen-class submarines. These are substantial volumes and a very significant contract,” Deputy Russian Defense Minister, Alexei Krivoruchko, was quoted as saying on June 27.
Krivoruchko did not offer any additional details save that the new submarines are expected to be delivered to the Russian Navy by 2024. A total of five Yasen M-class SSNs are in various stages of construction. The first Yasen M-class SSN, Kazan, was launched at the Sevmash shipyards in Severodvinsk, a port city on Russia’s White Sea in Arkhangelsk Oblast, in March 2017.
The new boat, the second overall Yasen-class SSN launched by Sevmash and the first upgraded Yasen M-class submarine, conducted its first set of factory and underwater sea trials in September 2018. Notably, the Kazan is not expected to enter service until the end of 2020 or possibly later due to technical problems that emerged during dockside trials.
“The Kazan was originally slated to commence sea trials and live firing tests of its P-800 Onik anti-ship missiles and 3m-54 Kalibr anti-ship/land-attack missiles from submerged positions this summer,” I explained. “However, it will now take several months for the various technical issues with the auxiliary systems to be fixed (…).” In December 2018, I wrote about the new SSNs technical characteristics and armament:
The improved Yasen M-class SSN is reportedly quieter than the lead Yasen-class boat. It is built with low magnetic steel to reduce its magnetic signature. The Yasen M-class SSN is purportedly not equal to the United States Navy’s new Virginia-class attack subs. Rather it is technically on par with older U.S. Seawolf-class SSNs, built by the U.S. Navy from 1989 to 2005, although the underwater top speed of the Russian subs is reportedly much lower than that of U.S. boats.
The Kazan is fitted with eight vertical СМ-346 complex (3Р-14В) silos for submarine-launched cruise missiles as well as 10 torpedo tubes for firing the 3M-54 Kalibr supersonic cruise missile, the P-800 Onik over-the-horizon supersonic anti-ship missile, and an improved variant of the 533-millimeter Fizik-1 homing torpedo. The Severodvinsk can carry up to 40 Kalibr cruise missiles while the second, Kazan, can carry 32. (The Kazan is approximately 10-12 meters shorter than the first boat.)
The Yasen/Yasen M-class has been designed and developed by the St. Petersburg-based Malakhit Marine Engineering Bureau. The Yasen-class is among the most expensive submarines ever to be built in Russia. Consequently, there have been speculations that the Russian Navy will not move beyond an initial batch of two Yasen M-class SSNs.