Asia Defense | Security

Russia Launches New Yasen-M Nuclear Attack Submarine

The Russian Navy’s second Yasen-M nuclear-powered attack submarine was launched on December 25 in Severodvinsk.

Franz-Stefan Gady
Russia Launches New Yasen-M Nuclear Attack Submarine
Credit: United Shipbuilding Corporation

The Russian Navy’s second Project 885-M Yasen M-class multipurpose nuclear-powered attack/cruise missile submarine (SSN/SSGN) Novosibirsk (K-573) was officially launched at the Sevmash shipyards in Severodvinsk, a port city on Russia’s White Sea in Arkhangelsk Oblast, on December 25.

A short video clip released by the Russian Ministry of Defense’s (MoD’s) Zvezda television network, shows the Novosibirsk lowered into water by a submarine lift.

The boat was launched in July 2013. It is expected to start sea trials in 2020 following the completion of additional work and dockside trials. The Russian Navy will take delivery of the latest Yasen M-class sub later this year, according to Sevmash shipyard’s acting director, Sergey Voronko.

Armaments of the new boat will include 3M-54 Kalibr supersonic cruise missiles and P-800 Oniks over-the-horizon supersonic anti-ship missiles. In the future, the SSN will be armed with the hypersonic 3M22 Tsirkon or Zircon missile, according to Voronko.

It will also carry an improved variant of the 533-millimeter Fizik-1 homing torpedo. In December 2018, I wrote about the technical characteristics and armament:

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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 (…) [missiles and torpedoes]. 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 Navy’s first-of-class Project 885-M SSN/SSGN Kazan was launched in March 2017. The Kazan recently conducted torpedo trials in the White Sea off the northwest coast of Russia. As I noted previously:

The Kazan conducted its first set of factory and underwater sea trials in September 2018. As I noted earlier this year, the Kazan is not expected to enter service until the end of 2020 or possibly even later as a result of various technical systems failures during dockside trials earlier this year.

“Following the results of dockside trials, and also the winter stage of shipbuilders’ trials [which ended in January 2019], it has been established that some of the ship’ s auxiliary sub-assemblies and mechanisms do not meet the requirements of the specifications set by the Defense Ministry, including reliability characteristics, and require finalizing in the Sevmash dock,” a defense industry source was quoted as saying in May 2019.

A total of four more Yasen M-class SSNs are in various stages of construction. It is uncertain that all five boats will be completed, although the Russian MoD has plans to deploy up to nine SSNs of the class. All forue YasenM-class subs are expected to be delivered to the Navy by 2024.