This Is Russia’s Newest and Deadliest Nuclear Deterrent Submarine

by Owen James Burke

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One of Russia’s new Borei class submarine prepares for sea trial. Photo: RIA Novosti/RT.

Nearly 20 years in the making, Russia’s new “Borei class” (“North Wind”) SSBN (Ship, Submersible, Ballistic, Nuclear) submarine is the Russian Navy’s first updated nuclear defense submarine since the end of the Cold War. Dubbed “Project 955,” these ultra-sleek black beauties will be replacing “Project 941” Typhoon-class submarines and “Project 667” BDRM Delta IV-class vessels.

These names may come across as arbitrary or irrelevant, and to an extent they probably are, though they do emanate a kind of fear-inducing chill reminiscent of the 50+ year nuclear stalemate between the former Soviet Union and the United States.

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Photo: RIA Novosti/RT.

The 580-foot-long, jet-propelled SSBNs are stealthily silent, designed to dive to 1,500 feet with a submerged cruising speed of 30 knots. They’re also built to carry between 12 and 16 Bulava (RSM-56) ballistic missiles with 5,000-mile ranges and post-launch maneuverability to circumvent western ballistic missile defense systems,

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Nuclear submarine Yury Dolgoruky during a sea trial last year. Photo: RIA Novosti/RT.

Russia is currently planning to have eight of these $713 million, 4th generation SSBNs completed by 2020, reports Naval-Technology, and three of which are already up and running. (Before scoffing, my fellow Americans, the US’ latest Ohio class SSBNs run about $2 billion a piece.) Read more at The Diplomat.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin looking ill at ease before an 83-meter (272-foot) dive beneath the Black Sea. Photo: The Telegraph.

Earlier this month, old Ostrich Legs made waves while poking around Crimean waters in the C-Explorer 3 bathyscaphe mini-sub, inspecting a Byzantine-era shipwreck 83 meters down–“a pretty substantial depth,” he told a televised press conference shortly after surfacing. Watch the Telegraph‘s video of the Russian President’s dive below (expand to fullscreen for a better view of Putin’s face as he descends). –OJB

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