Russia has taken great strides in modernizing its submarine force, and while it will likely never be as sizeable as the old Soviet Navy’s submarine flotilla, there are now seven nuclear-powered missile-carrying Project 885 (Yasen-M) underwater cruisers currently in various stages of construction at the Sevmash Shipyard in Severodvinsk. This includes the Krasnoyarsk, which is scheduled to be floated out before the end of the month.
“The nuclear-powered missile-carrying underwater cruiser Krasnoyarsk will be floated out in a special ceremony at the Sevmash Shipyard in Severodvinsk on July 30,” the Russian Ministry of Defense said via a statement to Tass on Monday. “The launch ceremony will be held under the direction of Russian Navy Commander-in-Chief Admiral Nikolai Yevmenov.”
According to the reports, the Sevmash Shipyard is currently completing preparations for launching the Krasnoyarsk, while the readiness of the latest nuclear-powered sub for its float-out will be reported to the Russian Navy’s chief soon.
Russian Navy Chief Yevmenov recently traveled to Severodvinsk where he held a meeting on the “2021 program of delivering warships” to the Russian Navy.
Lucky Number Seven
As noted, there are currently seven Project 885M submarines in various stages of construction at the Sevmash Shipyard. Krasnoyarsk is currently on track to be commissioned into the Northern Fleet sometime next year, and that follows the acceptance of the Project 885M lead nuclear-powered submarine Kazan, which was handed over to the Russian Navy on May 7. She is currently in active service with the Northern Fleet.
Additionally, Novosibirsk is now undergoing her sea trials and it is expected that the underwater cruiser will join the Pacific Fleet later this year. Arkhangelsk, Perm, Ulyanovsk, Voronezh and Vladivostok are now in the mid-to-early stages of construction. The first three should be delivered by 2024, while the latter two are on track for delivery to the Russian Navy in 2027.
The completed Project 885/885M submarines are armed with Kalibr-PL and Oniks cruise missiles as their basic strike weapons, while the Voronezh and Vladivostok will reportedly be equipped with the Kalibr-M cruise missiles.
The Yasen-M is a new modernized class of nuclear-powered cruise missile submarines that were designed to replace aging, Soviet-era attack submarines. However, the original Yasen class has been slow in arriving, whilst it wasn’t until 2010 that the first of the boats, Severodvinsk, was finally launched after being laid down way back in 1993.
The submarines have been redesigned and improved, and as a result, are reportedly stealthier – utilizing low magnetic steel to give off a reduced magnetic signature. They could also be far more powerful boats.
Severodvinsk is now being prepared for trials of the Tsirkon (Zircon) missile beginning later this year. The Russian Navy has conducted multiple tests of the hypersonic missile from the Northern Fleet frigate Admiral Gorshkov. The missiles could make the new and improved submarines even deadlier.
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.