Russiaisready to launch its second Yasen-class nuclear submarine on 30 May. Called Kazan, the new vessel is an improved project of the 885M project which is in many ways much more capable than the leading vessel of the class, K-560 Severodvinsk.
“Kazan is expected to be deployed and launched on May 30,” a Russian defense source told the Moscow-based TASS news agency.
The Russian Navy will take delivery of Kazan in 2018. Once the ship is operational, it will be the most formidable enemy submarine that the US Navy has ever encountered. “This is probably the nuclear submarine most likely to be used by a potential adversary,” said Naval Analysis Center Michael Kofman, a Russian military affairs specialist at The National Interest.
Indeed, Kazan should be significantly improved on his older sister, the Severodvinsk. The ship integrates the new technological developments that have emerged since Severodvinsk. Kazan also incorporates the lessons learned from the testing of the old vessel.
“The 885M is really the first ship in the class,” Kofman said. “The 885M is designed as a substantial improvement, based on lessons learned from the long elaboration, construction and testing process for the 885.”
The ships of project 885 depart from the old models of Soviet and Russian submarines. Unlike former Soviet vessels, the submarines of project 885 are multi-mission vessels similar to the concept of US ships like Seawolf or Virginia-classes.
“[Severodvinsk] is Russia’s first truly versatile submarine,” wrote Michael Kofman and Norman Polmar in the US Naval Institute’s Proceedings. “The Severodvinsk is capable of antisubmarine, antiship, and ground attacks. Among the most interesting features are a large arc-shaped sonar dome for the Irtysh-Amfora sonar system and a battery in the middle of the eight vertical launch cell that can carry 32 Kalibr (SS-N-27/30 Sizzler) or Oniks SS-N-26 Strobile) cruise missiles. These anti-fouling weapons and ground attacks are particularly significant after Russian surface vessels and submarines fired long-range missiles in Syria in 2016. ”
Russia plans to build seven submarines of the 885M – Novosibirsk, Krasnoyarsk, Arkhangelsk and Perm project under construction at the Sevmash shipyards in the port city of Severodvinsk.
Meanwhile, Russia is considering developing a class of follow-up attack submarines that would chase submarines of American ballistic missiles. According to the authors of this article, “Now in development is a new Russian submarine” hunter-killer “. The main role of this SSN will be to counter Western SSBNs. The new SSN is probably an important program but very little is known about it other than the construction is scheduled to start in the near future.
The Russians undoubtedly have the technical skills to develop a formidable class of attack submarines. The question is that the Kremlin has the financial means to finance a new costly defense project?