The Russian Navy received the projectile submarine strategic cruiser Project 955A (code "Borey-A") "Prince Vladimir". The act of acceptance of the ship was signed by the Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy, Admiral Nikolai Evmenov.

“Today, on the Day of the Northern Fleet, I approved the acceptance certificate on the successful completion of the tests and the readiness of the United Shipbuilding Corporation, the Sevmash enterprise, to transfer the strategic missile submarine cruiser Prince Vladimir to the Navy,” the commander-in-chief press service quotes RIA Novosti Navy.

It is clarified that the cruiser "Prince Vladimir" will perform tasks in the Northern Fleet. The official date of the cruiser joining the Russian fleet will be the day of the ceremony of the first raising of the St. Andrew’s flag on the ship, this date will be known in the near future.

Earlier, the signature on the acceptance act of the Prince Vladimir missile cruiser was put on by the chairman of the State Acceptance Commission for the ships of the High Command of the Navy, Captain 1st Rank Alexey Poteshkin, General Director of JSC PO Sevmash Mikhail Budnichenko, General Designer of the Central Design Bureau MT Rubin Sergey Sukhanov and the commander of the cruiser crew 1st-Class Captain Vladislav Druzhin.

The ship was laid down in 2012 in the presence of the president and supreme commander of Russia Vladimir Putin. In mid-May 2020, Prince Vladimir, a strategic missile submarine cruiser (SSBN), began underwater tests, during which the acceptance commission checked the quality of the elimination of previously identified deficiencies and the operability of the ship.

At the same time, the main tests, including missile firing, the cruiser passed back in 2019. So, in October, the Bulava, a sea-based ballistic missile, was first launched from a strategic missile carrier.

Commenting on the acceptance of the ship, Mikhail Budnichenko, Director General of Sevmash Production Association, noted that the creation of the submarine was evidence that the “best shipbuilding traditions” continue to develop in Russia. “Prince Vladimir” has become a new word in the field of creating strategic missile carriers and has “more advanced” characteristics compared to submarines of previous generations, he added. The words of Budnichenko are cited by the publication of the Russian Defense Ministry, Red Star.

Silent effect

RPKSN "Prince Vladimir" became the first ship of the improved project 955A "Borey-A" nuclear submarines of the 4th generation, launched. Like the submarines of the 955 Borey project - Yuri Dolgoruky, as well as the Alexander Nevsky and Vladimir Monomakh, which were in service with the Navy, the cruiser Prince Vladimir was designed at the Rubin Central Design Bureau (St. Petersburg), and was created in Severodvinsk, at the shipyards of JSC "PO" Sevmash ". The ship was launched in November 2017.

In addition to the cruiser Prince Vladimir, four more submarine missile carriers of project 955A (Borey-A) are currently under construction in Severodvinsk: Prince Oleg, Generalissimus Suvorov, Emperor Alexander III and Prince Pozharsky.

It is assumed that the nuclear submarines of the Borey and Borey-A projects will replace in the future the third-generation submarines of the 667BDR Kalmar project and the 667BDRM Dolphin project, as well as the 941 Akula missile carriers.

  • Strategic missile submarine strategic cruiser K-433 "St. George the Victorious" project 667BDR Kalmar
  • © Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation

The new submarines are designed to become an element of the Russian nuclear triad and will carry on board intercontinental ballistic missiles with the R-30 Bulava nuclear warhead developed by the Moscow Institute of Heat Engineering (MIT). The Boreas are capable of launching ICBMs even from under the ice cover of the Arctic. For this, the nuclear submarine does not need to break through the ice mass - this is an important difference from the Project 667 submarine cruisers carrying the Sineva and R-29RMU2.1 Liner missiles aboard the R-29RMU2 rocket.

Each missile has 10 nuclear warheads with a range of 8,000 km and a probable circular deviation of 250-300 m. In addition, Bulava ICBMs are capable of overcoming the probable enemy’s missile defense systems.

One of the important advantages of the submarines of the Borey project is their stealth for the enemy. The low noise level is ensured by the use of special sound-absorbing materials. Also, the designers managed to equip the cruiser with more advanced means of communication, detection, indicators such as crew habitability and survivability of the boat itself were improved.

As military expert Mikhail Tymoshenko noted in an interview with RT, it is quietness that is the key advantage of the submarine cruiser Prince Vladimir.

“As for the maximum underwater speed, working and maximum depths of immersion, these figures are approximately the same for all submarines of the 955 series, including the boats Yuri Dolgoruky, Alexander Nevsky and Vladimir Monomakh. But the 955A cruiser is significantly less noisy. He can develop high speed without fear of being discovered. Today, the Russian submarine fleet is reaching such a noise level that it will be very difficult for submarines to pinpoint a possible enemy, ”the expert explained.

A similar point of view is shared by military observer Viktor Baranets.

“The designers managed to achieve minimal noise in the case of the cruiser“ Prince Vladimir ”. This is an extremely important factor: if the enemy first detects the boat, then he will have more chances to destroy it. Also, this cruiser has a rather serious control system, weapons - 16 sea-based ballistic missiles were installed. Plus, the main advantage of the Prince Vladimir submarine is the sonar tracking system, with which you can see and hear the enemy, ”the expert said in a comment to RT.

Project 955 submarine underwater displacement - 24 thousand tons, length - 170 m, width - 13.5 m, speed - up to 29 knots (53.7 km / h), working depth - up to 400 m, ultimate depth - 480 m , autonomy - 90-100 days. The ship is capable of carrying 16 intercontinental ballistic missiles on board.

Compared with the submarines of earlier versions, “Prince Vladimir” also received an updated appearance and a more streamlined body shape.

“All the best that is in the Russian naval sector today is collected in the Prince Vladimir submarine. The cruiser has good driving performance, it is capable of diving to a depth of about 500 meters, which not every submarine is capable of, ”Viktor Baranets emphasized.

Nuclear Fist

It should be noted that work on the creation of new carriers of strategic nuclear weapons, such as submarine missile carriers, as well as new launch vehicles, is being carried out in accordance with international agreements in the nuclear field. Thus, the START-III US-Russian treaty is limited only by the number of intercontinental ballistic missiles deployed by countries. The total number of deployed and non-deployed launchers should not exceed 800 units, and the warheads on deployed carriers - 1550 units.

Moreover, each of the countries participating in the agreement has the right, at its discretion, to modernize the strategic weapons of the nuclear triad. The naval component plays a significant role in the composition of the strategic nuclear forces of the United States and Russia, both countries are working on updating strategic submarine missile carriers.

  • Test launch of the Bulava sea-launched ballistic missile from the latest strategic missile carrier Prince Vladimir of the Borey-A project
  • © Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation / RIA Novosti

To date, the role of a key marine element in the nuclear triad of the US Armed Forces is played by an Ohio-class submarine missile carrier carrying 24 ICBMs on board. Nuclear submarines of this type were created back in the last century, during the Cold War. According to the publication The National Interest, ships of this class are already approaching the maximum service life.

To replace them in the United States is developing a new strategic nuclear-powered missile carrier of the Columbia class, in which it is planned to use many technologies and developments of multipurpose submarines of the Virginia class. However, the construction of the Columbia-class nuclear submarine will only begin in 2021; the first submarine can only be put into service by 2031. 

As for the commissioned Russian submarines of project 955A, the American publication describes them as ships "with exceptional capabilities."

Experts interviewed by RT agree with this assessment.

“The appearance of the Borey-A project submarines in the Russian Navy will increase the fleet’s striking power by no less than 20%,” Mikhail Tymoshenko noted.

A similar point of view is shared by Viktor Baranets.

“In general, the Borey-A project will significantly improve the nuclear fist of the Russian fleet,” the expert summed up.