Russia Conducted Cruise Missile Test Launches From Nuclear Submarine

December 2, 2020 Topic: Security Region: Europe Blog Brand: The Buzz Tags: TsirkonZirconHypersonic MissileHypersonicsRussia

Russia Conducted Cruise Missile Test Launches From Nuclear Submarine

Moscow is pushing foward with developing a variety of new weapons.

The Russian military has been busy conducting numerous tests of its latest military hardware in its northern waters. Just days after a Mach 9 Tsirkon hypersonic missile was launched from a Project 22350 frigate in the White Sea against a target in the Barents Sea, a cruise missile was test-fired from a nuclear-powered submarine in the same region.

According to Tass, the nuclear-powered submarine Kazan successfully launched the missile while in the White Sea as part of the final stage of state trails the Russian Defense Ministry reported earlier this week.

“Today, the Project Yasen-M lead nuclear-powered underwater missile-carrying cruiser Kazan successfully fired an anti-ship cruise missile against a sea target,” the Defense Ministry said. “The target position was successfully struck by the warhead of an Oniks cruise missile.”

The test launch was conducted on Monday afternoon, and vessels of the Northern Fleet’s Belomorsk naval base provided security of the water area during the test-fire. The Kazan is the second Yasen-class nuclear-powered attack submarine to enter service with the Russian Navy. It is an upgraded Project 885M design that has been described as being far more capable than the lead boat of the class, K-560 Severodvinsk.

The Yasen-M is part of a modernization effort that was meant to account for the sixteen-year gap between the commissioning of the Severodvinsk and Kazan. The Yasen-M line is expected to occupy the same performance league as the U.S. Navy’s Virginia-class of fast-attack submarines.

Lessons Learned, Technology Upgraded

The Project 885M lead nuclear-powered submarine Kazan was laid down on July 24, 2009 and floated out on March 31, 2017. The Russian Navy took delivery of Kazan in 2018, and in addition to incorporating new technological developments that emerged since the construction of her sister submarine began in 1993, the upgraded boat also takes advantage of lessons learned that came from tests of the platform.

According to state media, the submarine entered the final stage of state trials with the crew and the acceptance team on November 21. During the combat training naval ranges, the submarine’s crew will practice maneuvering in the surface and submerged positions at various depths, and additionally will check the operation of the submarine’s basic systems. When it is deployed to the sea, specialists will check the Kazan’s systems and assemblies and shipborne armament.

The submarine is currently undergoing trials and is expected to join the Russian Navy as early as the end of this month. The nuclear-powered submarine will operate in the Northern Fleet. The Project 885 and 885M nuclear-powered boats carry Kalibr-PL and/or Oniks cruise missiles as their basic armament.

The addition of Kazan is part of the Russian Navy’s major efforts to modernize its submarine force and equip its Northern Fleet. This comes as the Arctic region has become ever more militarized in the context of global Russian-North Atlantic Treaty Organization competition. Five additional boats of the class are currently in various stages of construction at the Sevmash Shipyard, which is part of the United Shipbuilding Corporation.

Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on

Image: Reuters.