Work on Russia’s fourth Borey-class (Project 955A) strategic nuclear-powered submarine is expected to officially begin today, Russia’s Fleet commander vice-admiral Viktor Chirkov has confirmed.

As part of a state 2020 rearmament procurement programme, the Russian Navy placed orders for the construction of eight Borey-class submarines, which are expected to be complete by 2015.

The new vessels will replace the existing ageing Project 941 and Project 667 (Nato Typhoon and Delta-3 and Delta-4) class ballistic missile submarines.

The first of three Borey-class submarines, Yury Dolgoruky, is currently undergoing sea trials, while the second and third submarines, Alexander Nevsky and Vladimir Monomakh, are under construction at the Sevmash shipyard on the Kola Peninsula, Russia.

Powered by an OK-650 nuclear reactor, an AEU steam turbine, a shaft and a propeller, the Yury Dolgoruky submarine is scheduled to be operational with the Russian Navy before the end of the year.

"The Yury Dolgoruky submarine is scheduled to be operational with the Russian Navy before the end of the year."

Construction of the submarine will cost a total of $713m, which includes research and development expenditure of $280m.

In addition, the rearmament procurement plan also comprises acquisition of ten Graney-class nuclear attack submarines, as well as 20 diesel-electric submarines and six Varshavyanka-class vessels.

The fourth-generation Borey-class submarines are expected to form the core of Russian modern strategic naval fleet by 2020 and will be armed with Bulava (SS-NX-30) sea-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM).

Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology-built Bulava missile is designed to replace the R-39 solid-fuel submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) for the submarines. It has been designed to carry up to ten MIRV warheads and has a range of more than 8,000km.

Image: The Russian Navy’s first Borey-class submarine Yury Dolgoruky being launched. Photo: courtesy of Iliya Pitalev.