Construction moves ahead on Russia’s fourth Borei-class submarine

Prince Vladimir, the Russian Navy’s newest Borei-class submarine (first of the Borei II, Project 955A sub-class), has passed another construction milestone as the Sevmash yard begins hydraulic testing. The new Russian boomers will be equipped with RSM-56 Bulava SLBMs and replace Delta and Typhoon classes currently in service.

Гидравлические испытания начались на АПЛ “Князь Владимир”

“Князь Владимир” – первая АПЛ, строящаяся по усовершенствованному проекту 955А, была заложена 30 июля 2012 года. Относится к новейшему поколению атомных стратегических ракетоносцев, вооруженных баллистическими ракетами “Булава”.

© Фото: Предоставлено пресс-службой «Севмаш»

МОСКВА, 22 окт — РИА Новости. Гидравлические испытания начались на стратегическом подводном ракетоносце нового поколения “Князь Владимир” (проект “Борей”), сообщает во вторник “Севмаш”.

“В настоящее время на корабле ведется формирование прочного корпуса. Основная часть сборочно-сварочных работ близится к завершению. Идет важный этап строительства — гидравлические испытания”, — говорится в сообщении.

Следующий год станет для подлодки одним из ключевых — начнется монтаж оборудования и систем. Сейчас составляются графики проведения работ, постепенно увеличится число людей, задействованных в строительстве ракетоносца.

На сегодняшний день завод “Севмаш” передал ВМФ России головной стратегический ракетный подводный крейсер “Юрий Долгорукий” проекта 955 “Борей”, который был принят в состав флота 10 января 2013 года.

Второй крейсер проекта “Александр Невский” проходит госиспытания. “Владимир Мономах” был спущен на воду 30 декабря 2012 года, а в январе 2013-го начались его швартовые испытания.

“Князь Владимир” — первая АПЛ, строящаяся по усовершенствованному проекту 955А, была заложена 30 июля 2012 года. Относится к новейшему поколению атомных стратегических ракетоносцев, вооруженных баллистическими ракетами “Булава”.

Russian Navy *STILL* doesn’t want to accept delivery of the K-329 Severodvinsk

The Russian Navy still doesn’t want to take delivery of the Yasen-class ‘Severodvinsk’, which was laid down in 1993 and originally scheduled for delivery in 1998. The phrase “plagued with problems” doesn’t even begin to cover it.

Controversy about readiness of new high-tech sub

Media reports claim navy refuses to accept Russia’s brand new “Severodvinsk” multi-purpose submarine, while United Shipbuilding Corporation says testing will be completed and the sub delivered by year-end.


BarentsObserver’s reporting about delivering of “Severodvinsk” is becoming a multiple-year row of headlines entitled “ready by year-end.” The submarine, of which the construction started 20 years ago, was originally scheduled for commissioning in 1998. Eleven years later, the plan was to deliver the sub in 2010. Rescheduled to 2011. Rescheduled to 2012. Rescheduled to 2013. And today, a new dispute between the builder and the navy about the sub’s readiness has emerged.

The newspaper Military Industrial Courier this week reports that navy sailors are not at all satisfied with the technical readiness of the submarine after the last few months of test sailing in the White Sea.

There are problems with the bearing liners of the propeller shafts. The shafts, connected from the turbine that run by steam from the reactor, can’t increase the speed the way it should without risking that the liner falls apart.

“Tests again show unresolved technical problems. It is too early for the fleet to take over the vessel. Now we have prepared a report on the test results to the Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu, where our arguments about the causes of failure are,” a senior naval officer says to Military Industrial Courier under condition of anonymity.

The newspaper sources also lodge claims that not everything works well with the weapons onboard either, including problems with firing the supersonic cruise missiles.

In total, “Severodvinsk” has been on 14 sea trails since her maiden voyage in 2011. The last test trials started on May 27 and where supposed to continue until mid-August, but the sub had to return to the Sevmash yard in Severodvinsk on July 19 to fix some technical problems. On July 30, the submarine again set sail for the White Sea. Another round of tests is scheduled for November and December.

On Tuesday, United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC), owner of the Sevmash yard, issued a press-release strongly disproving any technical problems.

“All tests were successful according to the plan…,” the press-release from the USC reads and continues:

“The nuclear submarine performed four trial runs, starting navigation on May 30, which is a record for testing in the White Sea. All of the trial runs, envisioned in the plan, were successfully performed, and all tactical-technical characteristics of the weapon systems and military hardware, installed aboard the submarine, including the speed and maneuverability characteristics, and the technical parameters of the main power plant, have been proven.”

A state commission will after the coming sea trails decides the technical readiness of the submarine and sign the transfer to the navy. “Severodvinsk” will sail for the Northern fleet with submarine bases on the coast of the Kola Peninsula.

Russian sub K-159 sank in 1993, still no plans to salvage 800kg nuclear fuel

K-159 was a November-class (Project 627A) nuclear-powered attack submarine built by Sevmash and commissioned into the Soviet Navy in 1963. Decommissioned in 1989, K-159 was laid up at Gremikha for 14-years as a rusting unmaintained hulk… with her reactors still fueled. When she foundered while under tow to Polyarny on 28 August 2003, K-159 sank in 780-ft (238-metres) with 9 of her crew and 800 kilograms of spent nuclear fuel aboard.

Ten years on, no plan to lift sunken nuclear sub

Last photo: This is how K-159 was looking when she was fastened to the pontoons supposed to keep the submarine floating while being towed from Gremikha on August 28, 2003. On the night to August 30, K-159 sank. (Photo: Courtesy of Bellona Foundation.)

K-159, the rust bucket of a nuclear powered submarine that sank off the coast of Russia’s Kola Peninsula on August 30, 2003, remains on the seabed in one of the best fishing areas for cod.

There are still no definite plans to lift the rusty November-class submarine from the depth of 238 meters in the Barents Sea. K-159 sank during towing from Gremikha naval base towards Polyarny shipyard northwest of Murmansk. The initial plan was to lift the submarine in autumn 2004.

In 2007, the St. Petersburg based design and engineering company Malakhit got the order to prepare a lifting plan. A decision would be taken in the beginning of 2008. That is five years ago. Nothing has happened since and no one is longer talking loudly about concrete steps on how to lift the submarine.

Nine of K-159’s crew members went down with the submarine after one of the pontoons that kept her floating was ripped away. Onboard, the two nuclear reactors still contain 800 kilograms of spent nuclear fuel with an estimated amount of radioactivity of some 600,000 Curie.

The waters outside the Kildin island, where K-159 sank, is one of the best joint fishing areas for Norwegian, Russian trawlers and consequently possible leakages of radioactivity concerns both countries. Ingar Amundsen is head of section for international nuclear safety with the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority.

“It is reported that no serious leakage from the submarine is observed so far and that measurements close to the sub indicate only background activity levels. Our bilateral marine monitoring program does not show elevated levels of radioactivity in the water,” says Ingar Amundsen to BarentsObserver.

Still, Amundsen is concerned about the future.

“K-159 sank under tragic circumstances ten years ago. The nuclear submarine contains spent nuclear fuel in its reactor and therefore represents a potential source or radioactive contamination in the future,” says Amundsen. He continues: “We are in dialogue with the Russian party to increase the monitoring activities in these areas. We also look at what risks objects in the Arctic containing spent nuclear fuel may possess to the Arctic environment.”

Last October, BarentsObserver reported that K-159 was included in a revised draft strategy developed to clean Russia’s Arctic areas. The problem is that Russia today doesn’t have the capacity to do such lifting operation on its own. When the ill-fated “Kursk” submarine was lifted from the bottom of the Barents Sea in 2002, the operation was led by a consortium of European companies headed by the Dutch salvage giant Mammoet.

“Potential lifting of K-159 or other objects in the Arctic is a Russian responsibility,” says Ingar Amundsen. “We have informed the Russian party that the marine resources in the North is of great interest to us, and that we continue to gain knowledge about status of contamination and potential risks in the future, he says.

This year’s quota for North East Arctic cod is 940,000 tonnes and scientists recommend increasing the quota further to 993,000 tonnes for 2014, as previously reported by BarentsObserver.

K-159 had been laid up in Gremikha since 1989 and her hull was rusted through in many places already before the disastrous towing started. How ten years at the sea bed have speeded the corrosion of the hull on the 50 years old submarine is unclear. No underwater photos of the submarine have been published after 2003.