Presently, the United States has the most optimal SLBM: Trident II. Nevertheless, Russian liquid-fueled R-29RMU2s dig in the heels of their competitor; moreover, experiments have already proved that a mass launch of all sixteen SLBMs of this type is possible, whereas more than four Trident IIs have never been launched at a time. As for the R-30 Bulava missile, it is still “raw” and needs certain improvements to qualify for a reliable means of deterrence. There is enough time for this: Project Dolphin SSBNs will operate at least until 2025–30.
Regarding the most strategic missile carriers, the Russian Borei is clearly and by far exceeds the Ohio in low noisiness, which means that until the introduction of the first SSBN(X)s in the 2030s, Russia will have an obvious technological advantage over the United States in this area.
What can be said for sure is that both the Russian and U.S. submarine groups may presently cause an irrecoverable damage to any opponent, thereby ensuring strategic deterrence.
In the final material, we will talk about the balance in the field of strategic aviation, summarizing the results based on the information of all the three articles.
Leonid Nersisyan is a military columnist for the REGNUM information agency, Moscow, Russia.
Image: Flickr/Submarine Group Ten