Borei-A: Russia's Latest Ballistic Missile Submarine Could Kill Millions

Borei-Class Submarine from Russia
February 7, 2024 Topic: Security Region: Europe Blog Brand: The Buzz Tags: RussiaMilitaryBorei-ClassBorei-A ClassRussian NavySSBN

Borei-A: Russia's Latest Ballistic Missile Submarine Could Kill Millions

Earlier this month, the eighth Borei-class and fifth upgraded Borei-A nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine was floated out at the Sevmash shipyard, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced per a report from The Barents Observer.

Russia's Newest Borei-A Submarine Has Been Floated Out - Earlier this month, the eighth Borei-class and fifth upgraded Borei-A nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine was floated out at the Sevmash shipyard, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced per a report from The Barents Observer.

The Knyaz Pozkarsky – named after the Russian prince Dmitri Pozarsky who led the Polish-Muscovite war (1611-1612) – is expected to begin its sea trials in the coming months before being commissioned to the Russian Navy's Northern Fleet, likely sometime next year.

The Russian Navy could eventually have a flotilla of at least a dozen of the Borei-class ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) in the coming years. Originally developed to replace the Cold War-era Project 941 Akula (NATO reporting name "Typhoon) and  Project 667B Murena, Project 667BD Murena-M, Project 667BDR Kalmar, Project 667BDRM Delfin, (NATO reporting names Delta I, Delta II, Delta III, Delta IV respectively) submarines, the Project 955 Borei and Project 955A Borei-A (NATO reporting name Dogorukiy) are significantly smaller and operate with a smaller size crew.

Yet, despite having half the displacement of the Akula-class, the Russian Borei-class submarines can carry a similar number of missiles. When all of the planned dozen Borei-class/Borei-A submarines are delivered sometime after 2031, they will make up the backbone of Russia's navy nuclear deterrence and replace the outgoing Delta-III subs in the Pacific Fleet and the Delta-IV subs sailing with the Northern Fleet.

The lead submarine of the improved class, Knyaz Vladimir, entered service with the Russian Navy in June 2020.

Borei-A: Small But Powerful

All of the boats of the Borei-A-class are reported to be equipped with either one or two towed sonar arrays stored in tubes inside the vertical rudders that retract inwards. Additionally, there is also a noticeable bulge running alongside the hull for much of its length, which is likely a 'flank' sonar array. This array could allow the Borei-A-class to 'see' into the ocean with sonar in both the port and starboard directions.

The submarines are armed with sixteen Bulava ballistic missiles, a three-stage solid-propellant sea-launched variant of the Topol-M, which has a range of over 8,300 kilometers. Each of those missiles can carry six to ten nuclear multiple warheads yielding 100 to 150 kilotons apiece. The Bulava can be further fitted with 10 to 40 decoy warheads. In addition, the Project 995A submarines are also furnished with 533mm torpedo tubes.

Such a weapons loadout could easily kill millions of people in a nuclear war. 

A total of 14 Project 995/Project 995A submarines were planned. As of this year, seven have been completed and six are now in service while an additional three are reportedly under construction. The Russian SSBNs will form a core component of the Russian nuclear triad until at least 2040, and likely beyond.

Sea Trials Coming Soon

According to The Barents Observer, during the testing period, the Knyaz Pozharsky will sail from Belomorsk naval base in Severodvinsk with experts from both the Russian Navy and the shipyard.

Borei-Class Submarine SSBN

Navigation, diving, propulsion, and weapons will be tested in the White Sea before the vessel formally will be handed over to the Russian Navy.

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Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu. You can email the author: [email protected].