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Analysis: Russia approves SSGN deployment plan

Yasen-A-class SSGN of project 885M will serve in the Arctic. Five nuclear submarines will operate in the Northern fleet. They will be armed with Kalibr cruise and Tsirkon hypersonic missiles. A well-protected base will be built with all the necessary infrastructure for combat duty. Experts said the SSGN will increase the national defense capability. They can control the whole Atlantic Ocean and the eastern US coast, the Izvestia daily writes.

Analysis Russia approves SSGN deployment plan 925 001The Project 885 Yasen-class fourth-generation multipurpose nuclear submarine was developed in the 1990s by the St. Petersburg-based Malakhit Design Bureau of Maritime Machine-Building (Picture source: Vladimir Larionov/TASS)

Sources in the Defense Ministry said the final SSGN deployment plan had been approved. Five subs will serve in the Northern fleet.

The SSGN can engage in a broad range of missions, expert Igor Kurdin said. "The subs will reinforce the Navy. They will fight aircraft-carrying groups, monitor adversary submarines with strategic weapons, and strike at important ground targets," he said.

"The SSGN in the Northern fleet will constrain adversary aircraft carriers. It is not possible to let the carrier with 90-100 aircraft close to the coast. Yasen-class SSGN have the necessary torpedoes and missiles to cope with the task. The patrol areas of aircraft-carrying forces are well known, as well as the methods to fight them," Kurdin said.

Project 885M SSGN are noiseless and enjoy a major modernization potential to operate for a long time.

The Navy is balancing multirole submarines between the Northern and Pacific fleets, expert Dmitry Boltenkov said.

"The Pacific fleet has five Antey-class nuclear submarines of project 949A. Two of them are being upgraded to carry Kalibr, Onix and Tsirkon missiles. The Northern fleet operates only three submarines. It means the fleets have different capabilities in fighting aircraft carriers and their escorts. The new submarines will target Europe, the Atlantic and the eastern US coast," he said.

Project 971 nuclear submarines in both fleets are more suitable to hunt adversary nuclear submarines, the expert believes.

The Northern fleet operates the Severodvinsk Yasen-class lead submarine of project 885. It became operational in 2014. In the coming two years, the Navy has to get several modified submarines of project 885M. They have a modern element base, better equipment and materials against the Severodvinsk.

The nuclear reactor has a new design and its heat-exchanging pipes of the first contour are located in the hull. It decreases the possibility of accidents and crew exposure to irradiation. A multirole information-command system has been designed to control radioactive emission and alarm the crew about excessive irradiation. The life cycle of the rector without recharge is 25-30 years which is comparable to the life cycle of the submarine.

Project 885 SSGN have a revolutionary architecture. Traditionally, Russian nuclear submarines had two hulls. Project 885 has a one and a half hull architecture with most single-hull sections located along the length.

Another change is the location of 553mm torpedo launchers behind the central post. They can fire antisubmarine torpedoes and missiles. Project 885M SSGN have universal vertical launchers with Onix, Tsirkon and Kalibr missiles. The submarines can stay underwater and strike at surface warships and submarines, stationary ground targets and covertly lay minefields. The SSGN can deliver a missile strike in a surfaced position even close to the berth in the base, the Izvestia said.

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