My article Severodvinsk Class Russian Nuclear Attack Subs was published in the January 1999 issue of THE SUBMARINE REVIEW.
In that article I presented my then current information and reasoning about that submarine. I used Russian publications and my knowledge of a fonder Russian builder and preliminary designer of Soviet nuclear submarines in Severodvinsk city’s huge shipyard and in the First Research Institute of the Soviet Navy in Leningrad.
The conclusion of my 1999 article I wrote that in designing the fourth generation of their SS N’s the Russians did not go by the American way. They did not reduce displacement, diving depth, speed and the number of torpedo tubes and weapons. They eliminated the 650 mm torpedo tubes and torpedoes because they did not have significant advantages in comparison with the 533 mm torpedo tubes and missiles, but they added 8- I ,600mm vertical cruise missiles launchers inside of the pressure hull.
It seems that I was wrong about not going the American way, because it is the inheritance of old Soviet design philosophy to put cruise missiles with more than 533 mm diameter on submarines. Now the Russians have anti-land 533 mm cruise missiles with a range of 3,000 km and supersonic anti-ship 533 mm cruise missiles with a range up to 200 km, and very effective anti- submarine and anti-ship 533-mm torpedoes (by the way, Russian 533-mm torpedoes are 2 meters longer than American torpedoes).
I presented my opinion that the future of SSNs is not con- nected with the increasing number of missile launchers but with keeping six to eight 533-mm torpedo-missile tubes and increasing the number of their weapons up to 80-100 with fast re loadable firing systems. Such a fast firing tempo is difficult to accomplish with wire-guided torpedoes, but much easier with conventional torpedoes and cruise missiles.
But now it is reasonable to move from history to our time. On June 10, 2010, at the huge shipyard Sevmash Severodvinsk, the RS SEVERODVINSK (newest Russian SSN) was rolled out from the Building Assembly Shop.
SSN SEVERODVINSK is the first ship of Project 885 Yasen (Ash-tree). She was designed in the SaintPetersburg’s Design Bureau Malachit under the leadership of her General Designer Vladimir Pyalov.
In that celebration the Honorable speaker was President of Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev. He said at that ceremony that the introduction of such submarines into the Russian Navy will increase its potential by several times. According to his words, in contrast to the new Russian ballistic missiles underwater strategic cruiser YURY DOLGORUKY her weapons passed all the tests. They are cruise missiles of long range, which can hit the targets at sea and on the land.
SEVERODVINSK will be the first sub of the newest fourth generation. She can solve alt the tasks which the State is putting to the Naval General Purpose Forces: striking the targets underwater, on the surface and on the land. It is a double hull one propeller SSN with a reduced level of noise.
The missile complex has eight vertical launchers. Vladimir Pyalov borrowed the idea of such kind of unusual launchers from American naval architects. It was implemented a dozen years ago in retrofitting of the 4 Ohio class ballistic missiles submarines. On those submarines, which had 24 huge silos, 22 of them were used to house 154 torpedo sized Tomahawk cruise missiles with range of some 300 kilometers (by putting 7 missiles in a tube of 2.4 meter diameter).
So, if you are talking about increasing a combat ability by several times, you must accept that this notion is put to better use in the converted American Ohio-class SSBNs. Although, any such multiplication is effective, and in such an approach Vladimir Paylov is correct.
By my present net assessment the Sevcrodvinsk class Russian SSN has the following tactical-technological characteristics.
Now I would like to present my net assessment of the new Russian attack submarine and her chief designer.
First of all, about Vladimir Pyalov’s statement about increasing the military value of his new sub Y RAZ/ (in several or may be many times). The previous Russian nuclear attack submarine Acula class, the characteristic of which had been presented in my article Acula Class Russian Nuclear Attack Submarines, published in 1977 October issue of THE SUBMARINE REVIEW, had 4- 650mm and 4-533mm torpedo tubes and 12 and 28 weapons or in sum – 40 weapons or 80 mines.
As a result, Vladimir Pyalov increased the number of torpedoes and missiles weapons from 40 to 56 and that is a significant achievement.
But he Jose a possibility to surpass the American achievement on the 4 Ohio class converted strategic missiles submarines in which, 22 silos of converted Trident ballistic missiles submarines the USA naval architects installed 154 Tomahawk class cruise missiles and in 2 silos put some equipment for special service marines. In that case the Americans had the absolute right to say they increased the weapon power of their submarine by many times.
In conclusion, I would like to present the longitudinal cut of SEVERODVINSK Russian SSN, which I took from the Internet. Unfortunately, I do not know the name of it author, but I have to give him the highest credit for his professional level. Probably this cut belongs to a US intelligence officer, for security reasons he blackened the torpedo area of the picture. On that black rectangle should be seen only four 533mm torpedo tubes and four 533 mm torpedoes from 32 total torpedoes number.