Russia’s Typhoon-Class Submarine is massive for a big reason – nuclear war: This Russian sub is so big it was originally designed to have a swimming pool and a sauna. That’s right, I’m talking about the gargantuan Typhoon-class – the largest submarine ever made.
There are only one of these boats left and it is mainly now just a test platform for new missiles. The Typhoon subs were developed during the Cold War to run silent and deep under thick ice in the Arctic and carry a full load of conventional ballistic and nuclear missiles.
Just How Big Are We Talking?
When underwater, the Typhoon-class displaces 48,000 tons. By comparison, the U.S. Ohio-class submarines only displace about 19,000 tons. The Typhoon-class is 566 feet long, 76 feet wide, and nearly 38 feet tall. It’s almost twice as wide as the Ohio-class. The Typhoon-class has 19 different compartments to house 160 sailors.
Power and Armaments Are Impressive
It’s powered by two nuclear reactors and two 50,000 horsepower steam turbines with a speed of 27 knots underwater and 22 knots on the surface.
It has 20 launchers for the RSM-56 intercontinental-range Bulava nuclear-capable ballistic missiles, plus six torpedo tubes.
The Typhoon-class Is Dwindling in Numbers
The Typhoon-class has been around for decades. The first of the class, Dmitri Donskoi, entered the fleet in 1981. There were five of the Typhoon-class built, but only Dmitri Donskoi is still operating. The others were retired because of arms reduction treaties.
Watch Out for the New Borei-Class
Now the Russians are entering the Borei-class to replace the Dmitri Donskoi and the Typhoon-class will ultimately be retired.
Some reports have the Donskoi joining the Borei-class after a substantial refit and living to fight another day. There was also some chatter in the Russian military propaganda organs in 2019 that two other Typhoon-class subs would get a new lease on life as carriers of two hundred Kalibr cruise missiles. The idea was to keep up with American Ohio-class submarines that can carry 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles. This proved optimistic because of cost concerns and technical challenges of the refit.
It’s a Matter of Economics