New for the Navy. Waiting for “Prince Vladimir”

The laying ceremony of “Prince Vladimir”, July 30, 2012. Photo by the AP RF /

The program for the construction of strategic missile submarine cruisers (SSBNs) of the Borey project continues. The first three boats, built according to the original project 955, have already been handed over to the fleet and have begun service. This year the lead ship of the new project 955A Borey-A will join them. Now the boat “Knyaz Vladimir” is completing the last activities within the framework of the tests, and the terms of its delivery will be announced in the near future.

Long story

By the end of the 2000s, CDB MT “Rubin”, by order of the Navy, prepared an updated version of the existing project 955, which had a number of important differences. At the same time, the Severnoye Machine-Building Enterprise Production Association began work on preparing the groundwork for the construction of the lead boat. Initially, the laying of the first SSBN project 955A was planned for 2009, but it was postponed several times.

On July 30, 2012, the long-awaited ceremony of laying down the ship named “Prince Vladimir” took place at Sevmash. Construction continued until the fall of 2017.November 17, the submarine was taken out of the boathouse and launched. Factory tests soon began, followed by state tests. All such events took about two years.

“Prince Vladimir” successfully coped with all the checks, confirming the calculated characteristics. Among other things, torpedo and rocket firing was carried out. Based on the test results, a list of the last modifications required before being accepted into the fleet was compiled.

Ceremony of withdrawal from the boathouse, November 17, 2017 Photo USC /

On May 16, the press service of the Northern Fleet announced a new stage of inspections. On May 12, “Prince Vladimir” began a checkout to the sea. The next check of the running and maneuvering characteristics is carried out, as well as the results of the latest modifications are established. Based on the results of the checkout, the dates for the delivery of the ship and subsequent entry into the Navy will be determined.

Earlier in the domestic media there were reports about the possible delivery of the cruiser in June 2020. The other day, an unnamed TASS source indicated the possibility of shifting these dates to the left – at the end of May. There are no official data on this yet, but it is already clear that the acceptance certificate will be signed in the very near future.

Lead ship

“Prince Vladimir” will become the fourth “Borey” in the Russian fleet. At the same time, he is the first representative of the new project 955A and therefore is of great interest. The updated project of the strategic missile carrier has a lot of significant differences from the basic version, directly affecting the capabilities and characteristics. In addition, it is on the project 955A that new SSBNs are planned to be built in the near future.

According to known data, project 955A is a deep modernization of the original “Borey” with the preservation of some of the units and systems and the replacement of others. Due to this, an increase in tactical and technical characteristics is achieved with a simultaneous reduction in physical fields. In the past, at the level of rumors, there was a possibility of increasing the main ammunition load, but later it became known that Borey-A would still carry 16 SLBMs.

The submarine is on sea trials. Changes in the shape of the hull and deckhouse can be considered. Photo Wikimedia Commons

During the modernization, the durable and lightweight hull has been changed. In particular, silo launchers are now completely inscribed in the contours of the light hull and do not need a “hump”. Changed the shape of the felling fence. Such measures have improved the hydrodynamic characteristics and also reduced the noise in the submerged position.

There is information about the renewal of the combat information and control system, communications and electronic warfare systems, weapons control systems, as well as other elements of onboard electronic equipment. The armament remains the same. In the nose compartment, 533-mm torpedo tubes are preserved, and the center of the hull is given for 16 R-30 Bulava missiles.

Etc. The 955A also has interesting features in the context of the manufacturing process. During the construction of the first three Boreyevs according to the original design, the reserve for other types of nuclear submarines was widely used. Unfinished buildings, sections, etc. went into action. In the updated Borey-A project, finished products are not used, and the submarines must be built from scratch. So, the groundwork for the future “Prince Vladimir” was created at “Sevmash” in 2009-2012.

Despite similar approaches to construction and the associated difficulties, work on the lead ship of the new project took just over five years. Previous SSBNs of the base project 955 were built much longer. However, several factors led to the acceleration of construction at once, not only the features of the project being implemented.

“Prince Vladimir” in the ranks

Apparently, the new “Borey-A” will be handed over to the fleet no later than June, and by the end of the summer it can raise the flag of the navy. The submarine “Knyaz Vladimir” will be included in the combat strength of the Red Banner Northern Fleet and will complement a number of other strategic submarines.

A new profile inherent in pr. 955A. Photo

Currently, the KSF has five SSBNs, project 667BDRM “Dolphin”. Another ship is under repair. Since 2012, he has been in service with the head Borey – K-535 Yuri Dolgoruky. In the coming months, the number of combatant submarines of the project 955 (A) in the KSF will double – although it will remain small against the background of other combat units.

Thanks to Prince Vladimir, the Northern Fleet will be able to keep 16 additional Bulava SLBMs and up to 100-160 nuclear warheads on duty. It will also increase the capabilities of the KSF submarine forces in organizing combat duty, incl. in remote areas. In general, obtaining a new submarine, project 955A, will only have positive consequences for both the Northern Fleet and the Russian Navy – and with them for all the armed forces.

The beginning of a new series

K-549 “Prince Vladimir” is the lead ship of project 955A, and new ones should follow. According to the latest news, the first serial “Borey-A” – “Prince Oleg” is now being prepared for launching. It can be delivered to the customer before the end of this year. Generalissimo Suvorov, Emperor Alexander III and Prince Pozharsky are at different stages of construction. The fleet plans to accept them in 2022-24. There is a contract for two more submarine cruisers.

As before, the new Borei-A will be distributed between the Pacific and Northern fleets. Based on the results of the fulfillment of all concluded contracts, they will include five modern SSBNs. The newer ships of the project 955A will become the basis of such submarine forces.

Bulava missile launch, October 30, 2019 Photo by the RF Ministry of Defense /

Then, new orders are expected to appear, bringing the total number of submarines to 14 units. It is unclear what project the new ships will be built on. It is possible to continue work on the 955A project or create a new modification of such a “Borey” with certain advantages.

As new Boreevs arrive, the Russian Navy will be able to gradually write off outdated SSBNs that have exhausted their service life. In the distant future, it is the 955 (A) submarines that will bear the entire responsibility of maintaining the naval component of the strategic nuclear forces. This state of affairs will persist for several decades – until a new missile submarine project appears.

The current plans for the development of the naval component of the strategic nuclear forces cover the next few decades, and their basis is precisely the ships of new development and construction. The current project 955A “Borey-A” plays a special role in these processes. Previously, it was successfully brought to the construction of the lead ship, which has already passed the necessary tests. Over the next few weeks, the navy will take over the submarine “Prince Vladimir”, and this will open a new page in the history of the submarine forces.

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