Submarines in the new state armaments program

Submarines in the new state armaments program
Submarines in the new state armaments program

In just a few months, the Ministry of Defense and the military-industrial complex will begin implementing a new state armaments program for 2018-2025. By now, official and unofficial sources have managed to reveal some of the details of this program and announce some of the plans for the release of weapons and equipment. In addition, certain conclusions can be drawn on the basis of other available information. In particular, previously published information makes it possible to present the consequences of the new state program in the context of the renewal of the submarine fleet.

According to reports in the domestic press, the formation of a new state armaments program was to be completed last month. For obvious reasons, the collection and analysis of the "wishes" of the military department has been carried out over the past several years, and has led to certain results. As reported, the main features of the future program had already been identified by the beginning of 2015, and in the future, the specialists of the Ministry of Defense were engaged in the optimization of plans in financial and production terms. In particular, it was possible to significantly reduce the required amount of funding. According to the latest data, 17 trillion rubles are now expected to be spent on the entire program.


SSBN "Alexander Nevsky", Vilyuchinsk, September 30, 2015 Photo of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation /

The existing economic difficulties and an understandable desire to save money have led to a certain reduction in the planned funding, which, among other things, should affect the modernization of the submarine forces of the Navy. Probably, the military will have to abandon some of the plans for the construction of new submarines, as well as reduce projects for the modernization of existing submarines. Nevertheless, even after such reductions, one can expect to receive a significant number of new or updated ships.

Perhaps the main part of the submarine fleet renewal program is the construction of Project 955A Borey strategic missile submarine cruisers. The Borey project has passed into the stage of construction of serial boats quite a long time ago, some of which have already been handed over to the customer and put into operation. The first three Boreas, serving in the Navy, were completed and handed over to the customer as part of the current state armaments program. All other submarines, respectively, will be transferred already during the period of the next similar program.

At present, in the shops of the Sevmash plant, there are five new submarines of the 955A type, which are at different stages of construction. All of them were laid down during the current state program and, in the absence of serious difficulties, several of them can be transferred to the customer before its end. The submarines "Prince Vladimir", "Prince Oleg", "Generalissimo Suvorov", "Emperor Alexander III" and "Prince Pozharsky" were laid down in 2012-16 and should be transferred to the fleet before the beginning of the next decade. Moreover, all of them will be surrendered no earlier than 2018 - soon after the start of the new state program.

According to the existing approved plans, the Navy should receive a total of eight Project 955 / 955A submarines. Previously, the possibility of building a larger number of such ships was considered, but as a result, eight units were included in the current state armament program.In connection with the moral and physical obsolescence of SSBNs of the previous types, in the foreseeable future, a fundamental decision may be made to continue the construction of Boreev. Taking into account the timing of the implementation of various programs, it can be assumed that such construction will start no earlier than 2019-20 and, accordingly, will be included in the new state armaments program. At the same time, one can only guess how many new submarines the military department will order, and when they will enter service.


The Bulava missile was launched by the Vladimir Monomakh submarine, November 12, 2015. Photo by the RF Ministry of Defense /

Another priority project at present is the construction of Yasen-class multipurpose nuclear submarines. To date, only two submarines have been built under the project 885 "Ash". One of them, Severodvinsk, has been serving in the Navy since 2014, the second, Kazan, was launched this year. The current state program for 2011-2020 provides for the construction of seven such boats. Of these, five have been contracted and four are at various stages of construction.

According to reports, the Kazan nuclear submarine will complete tests and replenish the fleet only next year, shortly after the start of the new state program. Novosibirsk, Krasnoyarsk, Arkhangelsk and Perm are planned to be handed over to the customer by the end of the decade. In the near future, construction of the seventh ship under the name "Ulyanovsk" should begin. Its delivery is scheduled for the beginning of the next decade and will take place after the end of the current state program.

As in the case of the "Borei", the required number of new multipurpose submarines of the project 885 has been repeatedly revised. During a certain period, it was even proposed to build three dozen "Ash trees". Subsequently, the plans were revised and gradually reduced. In the end, it was decided to confine ourselves to only seven boats. The comparatively small number was proposed to be compensated for by quality: characteristics and combat capabilities.

At the beginning of the next decade - already within the framework of the new state program for 2018-25 - the lead nuclear submarine of a new project, so far known under the code "Husky", may be laid. So far, there is very little information about this project, and some messages may contradict each other. Nevertheless, a definite picture is already emerging, and in addition, there are estimates of the beginning of the construction of such ships.

Submarines in the new state armaments program

The laying down of the Knyaz Vladimir submarine, July 30, 2012. Photo

According to various data and assumptions, the Husky project involves the creation of a universal underwater platform, which is proposed to be used for the construction of strategic, multipurpose and torpedo submarines. At the same time, the unification will affect part of the hull units, the power plant and other general ship systems. The basic model of the family can be a multipurpose nuclear submarine with cruise missiles of existing and advanced types. In the future, a strategic missile carrier and a carrier of mine and torpedo weapons will be created on its basis.

According to the widespread forecast, the head nuclear submarine "Husky" will be laid down in 2020-21, and its construction will continue until the middle of the decade. Then the construction of serial ships for various purposes will begin. Due to unification and other methods of reducing the cost of construction, it will be possible to build a series of at least 10-12 boats of various modifications. Such construction will continue until the mid or late thirties.

Nevertheless, so far we can only speak with confidence about the existence of a new project and about the possible start of construction at the beginning of the next decade. Probably, in the future, there will be new information about the boats "Husky", but so far the available information does not provide answers to most of the questions.

In parallel with nuclear submarines, the domestic industry will build ships with diesel-electric power plants.Last year, the construction of six Project 636.3 Varshavyanka submarines for the Black Sea Fleet was completed. Soon, the military department announced plans to build similar diesel-electric submarines for the Pacific Fleet. Over the next few years, it is planned to build six "Varshavyankas" necessary for the rapid and effective rearmament of one of the largest fleets.


Flag raising ceremony at the Severodvinsk nuclear submarine. Photo of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation /

In the very near future, the laying of the first two "Varshavyanka" for the Pacific Fleet should take place. According to reports, these ships were named "Mozhaisk" and "Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky". Construction of other submarines of the new order will begin soon. Previously cited information, according to which four of the six new submarines will be completed by the beginning of the next decade. The remaining two are planned to be entered into the combat structure of the Navy at the very beginning of the twenties.

According to official data, while the fleet plans to receive 12 diesel-electric submarines of project 636.3, intended for the rearmament of the two main associations. At the same time, there are already assumptions about the possible ordering of the next series of such submarines for the Northern or Baltic Fleet. Whether such an order will appear is anyone's guess. If the corresponding contract is signed, then this will not happen earlier than the beginning of the twenties, i.e. already during the new state armaments program.

The further development of the non-nuclear submarine fleet was previously planned to be carried out with the help of promising submarines of the Kalina type, equipped with a new air-independent power plant. So, last year it was stated that the first boat of this type would be laid down in 2018. However, the plans of the Ministry of Defense subsequently changed. During the recent International Maritime Defense Show in St. Petersburg, it was announced that in the very near future there will be a contract for the construction of two serial diesel-electric submarines of project 667 "Lada". At the same time, "Kalina" was no longer mentioned.

It should be recalled that submarines of the "Lada" type were already considered as a means of renewing the fleet of equipment, and it was precisely on them that the emphasis should be placed. At some point, the Ministry of Defense planned to build up to 12-14 such boats. Nevertheless, technical problems with the lead ship Saint Petersburg led to a revision of such plans. The constructed boat was transferred to trial operation, and the construction of new submarines was suspended indefinitely.


"Novorossiysk" - the lead diesel-electric submarine of project 636.3 "Varshavyanka", 2015. Photo of the RF Ministry of Defense /

According to the latest reports, an order should soon appear for two new diesel-electric submarines of project 677, which are planned to be built before 2025. After this period, the construction of "Lad" will be continued. Thus, there is reason to believe that the main problems of the project in its existing form have been successfully solved, and now it is ready for serial construction. Considering the terms of the contract, it can be argued that two new Lada will be built under the new state armament program.

Simultaneously with the construction of new submarines, it is planned to carry out the repair and modernization of existing ships. Some of these plans have already been announced. In early June, the leadership of the Ministry of Defense announced their intentions to modernize four Project 949A Antey multipurpose nuclear submarines, currently serving in the Pacific Fleet. These submarines are quite high performance, but their age leads to known problems. In this regard, a new modernization project should appear in the near future, according to which the renewal of boats will soon begin. The necessary work will be carried out both within the framework of the current and in the course of the next state armaments program.

According to the announced information, the proposed modernization of "Anteev" provides for the replacement of a number of general ship systems, which will improve the main technical characteristics. In addition, the submarines will lose the existing Granit missile system. The existing silos will house the means for transporting and launching Kalibr missiles. Thanks to this, the submarines will receive new combat capabilities, as well as significantly increase their ammunition capacity. The first of the four boats planned for modernization, Irkutsk, is already undergoing repairs. The next three ships will go for rebuilds later.

Since 2014, a project has been underway to modernize project 971 Shchuka-B multipurpose nuclear submarines. Within the framework of this program, it is planned to repair and upgrade six submarines in the fleet. The project involves the replacement of a number of on-board systems and a significant upgrade of the weapons complex. In its original form, the "Shchuki-B" carry mine and torpedo weapons and the RK-55 "Granat" missile system. Last year, it was announced that the armament complex of such nuclear submarines in the course of modernization will be reinforced with new Caliber missiles, which are proposed to be launched through standard torpedo tubes.

In the past, it has been argued that the modernization of the Shchuk-B is of particular importance to the submarine forces of the fleet. The improved old submarines of this type and the new Yaseni built were to become the basis of the grouping of multipurpose nuclear submarines of the Russian Navy. Due to certain technological, economic and organizational problems, the modernization of the Project 971 boats was noticeably delayed. Because of this, all the necessary work will be completed only by the middle of the next decade. Thus, three or four "Shchuks-B" will be rebuilt and improved within the framework of the new state armaments program.


Nuclear submarine "Leopard" (project 971) shortly before being sent for modernization. Photo Wikimedia Commons

It should be noted that the new state program for 2018-25, apparently, does not provide for the modernization of all available submarines of projects 949A and 971. Thus, the fleet will retain a certain number of such ships in the existing configuration and with existing combat capabilities. The same will probably be done with the multipurpose nuclear submarines of projects 945 Barracuda and 945A Condor. Earlier, the possibility of deep modernization of these ships was repeatedly mentioned, but the required work was never started. It can be assumed that the command decided to do without a major upgrade of such submarines.

Quite expectedly, the new state armaments program, planned for 2018-2025, is a continuation of the current one, which is being implemented from 2011 to 2020. In the context of the renewal of the submarine forces of the navy, this, in particular, leads to the fact that the construction of a new ship or the renewal of an old one starts during the execution of one program and ends already during the period of the next one. This is exactly the situation with a number of construction projects at once, both in the field of strategic missile carriers and in the field of multipurpose nuclear submarines.

Let's summarize. During the implementation of the next state armaments program by the industry, the Russian Navy will have to receive five strategic missile submarine cruisers of the project 955A "Borey". Perhaps the beginning of construction of the head cruiser of the "Husky" class. The grouping of multipurpose nuclear submarines will be replenished with six ships of the project 885M Yasen. The non-nuclear submarine fleet will receive six Project 636.3 Varshavyanka diesel-electric boats and two Project 677 Lada ships. Four Project 949A Antey nuclear submarines and six Project 971 Shchuka-B submarines will undergo modernization. Naturally, this list does not include submarines of one type or another, plans for the construction or modernization of which have not yet been announced by officials. However, information on this matter may appear in the very near future.

The new state armaments program, calculated for the end of this decade and the first half of the next, is a direct continuation of the already ongoing program, which ends in 2020. The continuity of the programs is clearly manifested in the context of the development of the submarine fleet - an area characterized by rather long periods of building new combat units. Nevertheless, despite all the characteristic features of submarine shipbuilding and possible difficulties in fulfilling new orders, we can already say that by the middle of the next decade, the submarine forces of the Russian Navy will noticeably increase their potential in all main directions.

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