The Russian Navy is expected to have the lead Project 885M Kazan nuclear-power submarine provisionally turned over later this week.
“Ceremonies of the acceptance statement signing for Kazan and the St. Andrew’s flag hoisting will provisionally take place on May 7,” a source in the Russian defense industry told Tass.
The submarine had completed a verification sortie in late April, and it was previously reported that the lead Project 885M Kazan would be delivered in time for the Russian Navy Day celebration, which is scheduled to be held on July 25 this year.
The submarine had originally been scheduled to join the fleet in 2017, but after numerous delays, it was expected for delivery by the end of last year. However, it had failed to accomplish the state trials program within the prescribed timeframe, and won’t likely enter service until next year at the earliest.
Once fully operational – when that actually does happen – the Kazan is expected to be the most formidable enemy submarine the U.S. Navy has faced. Unlike older Soviet vessels, the Project 885 submarines are multi-mission boats similar in concept to American vessels like the Seawolf- or Virginia classes.
Kazan will be substantially improved over her older sister, the Severodvinsk, as the boat employs new technological developments that have emerged since Severodvinsk started construction in 1993. Kazan also incorporates lessons learned from testing the older vessel. Under the Yasen-M designation, the boats were upgraded and addressed at the sixteen-year gap before the original Severodvinsk and the subsequent Yasen submarines were finished.
Yasen-M features minor but numerous design updates, possibly including a sharper bow. The new revision is also reported to be stealthier, reportedly utilizing low magnetic steel for a reduced magnetic signature and the latest nuclear reactor technology for reduced overall acoustics.
As with the Severodvinsk, the Project 885M submarine is capable of antisubmarine, antiship, and land-attack missions. Russia has announced plans to build a total of seven of the class of advanced submarines, which are likely able to carry upwards of thirty-two Kalibr (SS-N-27/30 Sizzler) or Onik (SS-N-26 Strobile) cruise missiles, which could be fired from the eight vertical-launch cells. The submarine will also support the new 3M22 Tsirkon winged anti-ship hypersonic cruise missile, which is reportedly capable of hitting targets at a speed of over eight Mach or around 9800 kilometers per hour. Additionally, the Yasen-M class retains the same, standard ten 533mm torpedo tubes of the original Yasen line.
The second of the modernized boats, Novosibirsk, is scheduled for delivery to the Pacific Fleet next year. After several rounds of delays over the past decade, the Russian Navy now plans to accept all of the remaining Yasen-M submarines into service by 2027. Yet, given the past delays, the timing could seem ambitious at best.
Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He regularly writes about military small arms, and is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Amazon.com.