Russia’s powerful Northern Fleet has acquired the first of a new class of submarines that are worrisome to the U.S. Navy

Russian Navy Yasen-class nuclear submarine Kazan

The Russian Navy Northern Fleet Yasen-class nuclear submarine Kazan will arrive at the headquarters of Severomorsk on the Arctic coast of Russia on June 1, 2021. Lev Fedoseyev TASS via Getty Images

  • In May, the Russian Navy finally commissioned a new, fully modern guided missile submarine, Kazan.

  • Kazan is the culmination of more than a decade of effort, a significant improvement over its predecessor, which NATO commanders were already concerned about.

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May 7th, finally the Russian Navy Entrusted Kazan is the first Yasen M-class nuclear guided missile submarine (SSGN).

Kazan Yasen classThe first Severodvinsk was commissioned in 2013.

Kazan is the culmination of more than a decade of efforts to achieve a new and completely modern SSGN, and is more prominent in almost every respect than its predecessor, who was already concerned about US commanders and NATO allies. It’s an improvement.

Severodvinsk and Kazan represent a new chapter in Russian submarine forces-long Considered The most important part of the Russian Navy.

Yasen class

Russian submarine Arctic

Russian submarine K-560 Severodvinsk. Russian Ministry of Defense

The Yasen M class has an interesting history. Though considered to be Russia’s most advanced and expensive submarine class, the original Yasen design dates back to the end of the Cold War.

The Yasen program has been plagued by delays and setbacks since its inception. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Russian Navy’s budget was significantly reduced, eroding important shipbuilding infrastructure and expertise.

Severodvinsk was laid down in 1993 but was not commissioned until 2013. Construction of Kazan did not begin until 2009.

The 456-foot-long Severodvinsk has 10 torpedo tubes (first for a Russian submarine) and eight vertical launch tubes, each located near the central stanchion instead of the bow. Can carry multiple missiles.

Russian Navy K-560 Severodvinsk submarine sailor

Crew of K-560 Severodvinsk during basic training in Zaozyorsk, a closed city in Murmansk on March 14, 2018. Lev Fedoseyev TASS via Getty Images

Severodvinsk is also armed with one of the 32 aircraft P-800 Onyx Or 40 3M-14 Caliber Missiles, or a combination of both. Both missiles have variants that can be used to attack land targets or enemy warships.

Calibble commissioned in 2015 Especially threat, More than 1,500 miles to the Russian Navy Long-range attack mission with conventional weapons For the first time.

Severodobinsk also has much more advanced quieting technology than its predecessor, and has already proven to be able to avoid detection.

In 2019, Pentagon officials said60 minutesThe submarine sailed to the Atlantic Ocean in 2018, avoiding any effort to find it “for weeks”.

Yasen M

Russian Navy Yasen-class nuclear submarine Kazan

On June 1, 2021, Kazan will arrive at the headquarters of Severomorsk. Lev Fedoseyev TASS via Getty Images

The development of Kazan took so long that we were able to incorporate the advanced technology developed in the last few years. Its overall design has also been refined and placed in distinct subclasses.

“In many ways we have a radically new submarine,” said Jeffrey Edmonds, a research scientist at the Naval Analysis Center.

The Yasen-M class is slightly smaller than Severodvinsk, but with new control systems, new quieter technologies, new sensors, new personnel rescue systems, new damage control systems, and even the latest designed to reduce noise. It even has a nuclear reactor. ..

The Yasen-M has only eight torpedo tubes for every ten in Severodobinsk, but it can carry the same type and number of missiles.

There is also Report Kazan armed Zircon, Russian hypersonic missiles are reported to be able to reach speeds between Mach 6 and Mach 8.The final test of zircon is expected Start in June.

At first glance, Yasen may seem less threatening than Russia’s nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines, especially the new Borei-class submarines.

However, these ballistic missile boats are more predictable.They are covered by contracts such as New START Treaty, And their nuclear weapons can only be used in the absolute worst-case scenarios.

Yasen, on the other hand, is equipped with advanced conventional weapons capable of attacking inland targets. Combined with their stealth abilities and their ability to be almost everywhere in any ocean, Yasen’s threat cannot be underestimated.

“Severodvinsk [meant] “During the war, I was worried about the berths of Seberodvinsk submarines on the east coast and the Pacific coast,” Edmonds said.

“No longer a sanctuary”

Russian Navy Yasen-class nuclear submarine Kazan

On June 1, 2021, Kazan will arrive at the permanent deployment base in Severomorsk. Lev Fedoseyev TASS via Getty Images

The US Navy has repeatedly warned of the increased capabilities and activities of the Russian Navy.

Vice Admiral Andrew Lewis, Commander of the 2nd Fleet, Warned last year “Our vessels can no longer be expected to sail in safe shelters on the East Coast or simply cross the Atlantic Ocean unimpeded.”

Vice Admiral Darryl L. Cowdle, Commander of the Navy Submarine Unit, Echoed Those September concerns, “It is well known that our homeland is no longer a sanctuary, so we need to prepare here for high-end combat operations in the local waters.”

These concerns are primarily due to improvements in the Russian submarine fleet, especially Severodvinsk and Kazan.

The completion and commissioning of Kazan and the completion of the Yasen-M design are believed to reduce the time it takes to build Kazan’s sister ships.

The second Yasen-M, Novosibirsk, was launched in December 2019 and is expected It will be handed over to the Navy by the end of this year. The third boat, Krasnoyarsk, launch Scheduled for August, it will be operational in late 2022.

Navy destroyer submarine periscope

A US Navy destroyer seen from the periscope of the Los Angeles-class nuclear submarine San Juan during an exercise on September 12, 2020. US Navy / MCS Seaman Jimmy Ioi III

If Russia sticks to that schedule, five more Yasen-M will join the fleet by the end of the decade.

Severodvinsk and Kazan are part of Russia’s Northern Fleet based in Severomorsk, while Novosibirsk and Krasnoyarsk join the Pacific Fleet.

In total, four Yasen Ms and Severodvinsk belong to the Northern Fleet, and the other four belong to the Pacific Fleet. Russia does not deploy nuclear submarines in the Baltic Fleet or the Black Sea Fleet due to lack of easy access to the open sea.

Because more Yasen are commissioned Russia’s strategic deterrent It has been greatly enhanced.

“This could bring a fight to the US mainland,” Edmonds told Insider. “I think Severodobinsk has a certain aspect of traditional non-nuclear deterrence, which influences the larger strategic framework in which Russia operates.”

“It’s just a formidable undersea platform,” Edmonds said.

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