The Russian Navy will receive 8 new submarines by the end of 2020

There are announcements which, in themselves, say a lot about the profound movements which shape international geopolitics. And the one made not without pride by the TASS Agency, about the delivery of 8 new submarines to the Russian Navy between 2019 and 2020, is one of them.

Indeed, the Russian naval forces will receive the SSN Type 885M Prince Vladimir and the conventionally powered SSK of the 636.3 Improved Kilo program Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky by the end of the year, while in 2020 they will receive the SSBN Prince Oleg, first representative of the 955A Borei A program, the SSN Win et Novosibirsk of the 885M Iassen program, the nuclear submarine for special operations of program 09852 Belgorod, as well as the SSK Wolves (program 636.3 Improved Kilo) and Kronstadt, top seed in the 677 Lada program.

If the TASS agency announces that we have to go back to 1992 to witness the delivery of 6 submarines in a single year, we must not forget that several of these vessels suffered significant delivery delays, like Kazan postponed for more than a year, or the Kronshtadt, which is more than 5 years late. However, the entry into service of these 8 submersibles will significantly strengthen the power of the Russian fleet, across the entire spectrum, ranging from deterrence to special and conventional missions.

Kilo 636 submarine 1 Defense News | Air Independent Propulsion AIP | Military naval construction
The conventionally powered submarines (SSK) of the 636.3 Improved Kilo program are considered formidable adversaries by Western navies

Like China, and unlike France, the United Kingdom, and the United States, the Russian navy has not neglected the construction of conventional submarines in parallel with those of ships with nuclear propulsion. Well they got it, it seems. Indeed, according to several official declarations, notably British and American, the submarines of the 636.3 project, known in Europe under the reference Improved Kilo, would represent today the highest level of challenge for NATO Anti-Submarine Defense. And the same goes for Type 039 anaerobic propulsion of the Chinese navy. These extremely discreet submersibles have the ability to emit no residual noise when operating on batteries at low speed, making them formidable weapons for controlling sea lanes. SSNs certainly have much greater autonomy and performance, but the cooling of the nuclear reactor generates fluid movements and pump noises which, even if they are now very attenuated, are not as discreet as the most discreet SSKs. modern. In addition, training qualified nuclear reactor crews is a long process, and increasingly difficult, given the high demand for these kinds of skills in the global energy industry.

The Russian Navy should continue its modernization effort in the years to come, with the recent order of 2 Borei A SSBNs and 2 Iassen SSN announced recently, while 4 Borei A and 5 Iassen are already under construction, awaiting the future Husky class intended to replace the Akula SSNs currently in service. On the other hand, SSK's future constructions are still uncertain, with a single 636.3 and two 677s remaining to be delivered, without additional orders having yet been announced. However, the announcement made recentlya breakthrough in AIP technologies, one of the major weak points of the Russian submarine industry so far, should lead to an order for new 677 Lada submarines equipped with this technology, to replace the oldest Kilo class submarines which are reaching their limit. of age.

Kalibr cruise missile Kilo SSK loading Defense News | Air Independent Propulsion AIP | Military naval construction
Submarines that can use the 3M54 Kalibr cruise missile, like the 636.3, will also be able to use the 3M22 Tzirkhon

The development of new Russian submarines is also accompanied by that of new munitions, such as the Poseidon nuclear ocean torpedo which will equip certain Iassen, or the 3M22 Tzirkhon hypersonic anti-ship missile which will already equip all modern SSN and SSK of the Russian Navy capable of implementing the 3M54 Kalibr cruise missile. In any case, the potential threat posed by the Russian submarine is not destined to diminish in the years and decades to come.

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