The Russian Navy's new Borey-class strategic nuclear-powered submarine, the SSBN Yury Dolgoruky, is expected to complete an initial sea trial this week.
A Sevmash source told RIA Novosti that the vessel would enter into service with the Russian Navy in the near future following successful sea trials; however, the boat's future primary armament, the Bulava intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), will not be tested during the trials.
Around eight Borey-class submarines have been planned to be constructed by 2015, which are expected to form the core of its modern strategic submarine fleet and to replace the existing Project 941 and Project 667 (Nato Typhoon and Delta-3 and Delta-4) class ballistic missile submarines.
The submarine construction costs a total of $713m, including $280m for research and development.
Capable of carrying 16 ballistic missiles, the 170m-long Yury Dolgoruky has a hull diameter of 13m, a depth of 450m and can cruise at a speed of 29k, while accommodating a crew of 107.
In December 2011, Russia test-fired two of the Bulava missiles from the Borey-class Yury Dolgoruky nuclear-powered submarine in the White Sea.
Russian defence minister Anatoly Serdyukov and former navy commander admiral Vladimir Vysotsky had previously announced in a joint statement that the Borey-class boats and Bulava would enter service in the autumn of 2012.
However, the Navy is likely to conduct salvo launches of two Bulava missiles from the other Borey-class submarine, the Alexander Nevsky, and should the test be successful it would be accepted into service in 2012.
Designed by the Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology, the Bulava is expected to replace the R-39 solid-fuel submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM).
Image: Russian Navy's Yuri Dolgorukiy submarine undergoing sea trials. Photo: courtesy of Schekinov Alexey Victorovich.