The Russian Navy's third Borey-class (Project 955) ballistic missile nuclear submarine, Vladimir Monomakh, has started moored trials with submarine-builder Sevmash, prior to its shipyard sea trials in mid-2013.
Sevmash was quoted by RIA Novosti as saying: "The fourth-generation missile submarine, Vladimir Monomakh, has been submerged in the water and started moored tests."
Armed with 16 Bulava ballistic missiles and featuring advanced acoustic signature reduction techniques, Vladimir Monomakh will be the third and last vessel to be built under Project 955.
The remaining boats of the class will form part of Project 955A, which are expected to be equipped with 20 missiles.
Russia intends to construct eight Borey and Borey-A class submarines in the next seven years.
Powered by an OK-650 nuclear reactor, AEU steam turbine, a shaft and propeller, the 170m-long vessel has a hull diameter of 13m, a depth range of 450m and can cruise at a speed of 29k, while accommodating a crew of 107.
Expected to form the core of the country's strategic submarine fleet, the Borey-class boats will replace the existing Project 941 (NATO Typhoon class) and Project 667 class (Delta-3 and Delta-4) submarines.
Yury Dolgoruky, the first submarine of the class, was put into operational service this month, while the second vessel, Alexander Nevsky (K-550), is undergoing sea trials and scheduled to join the Russian Navy's Pacific Fleet by 2014, reports RIA Novosti.
Meanwhile, Sevmash shipyard has also started construction on the fourth Borey-class submarine, Knyaz Vladimir.
Image: The first Borey-class (Project 955) ballistic missile nuclear submarine, Yury Dolgoruky. Photo: courtesy of Schekinov Alexey Victorovich.