Russia Just Accepted Its New Super-Quiet, Cruise Missile-Packed Submarine Into Service

More than seven years after its last nuclear-powered cruise missile submarine, or SSGN, entered service, the Russian Navy has commissioned its next such vessel, the Kazan, the lead ship of a new subclass. The event marks an important advance in the overhaul of Russia’s mainly Cold War-era nuclear submarine fleet, which had previously introduced only one SSGN of all-new design, the Severodvinsk, since the collapse of the Soviet Union. The new type is based on the design of the Severodvinsk, the sole Project 885 Yasen vessel.

The Kazan, first of the Project 885M Yasen-M subclass, was officially commissioned into service today at the Sevmash shipyard in Severodvinsk, on the White Sea in northwest Russia. Construction work on the submarine had started back in 2009 and, after much delay, it had finally been launched in March 2017.

Quoting a statement from the United Shipbuilding Corporation, the Sevmash shipyard’s parent organization, Russia’s Interfax news agency previously reported that the Kazan completed its state trials last December 28, clearing the way for it to enter service. “Sevmash has now completed all work to address the criticisms and prepare the submarine for handover to the navy,” the statement added.

As part of those pre-commissioning trials, last November, the Kazan carried out a test launch of one of its Oniks supersonic cruise missiles, according to Interfax. Before that, the submarine also launched an example of the Kalibr subsonic cruise missile, the same report said. Those missile types are available in different anti-ship, land attack, and anti-submarine versions, with optional nuclear warheads, and are delivered from vertical launch system (VLS) tubes. In the future, the Yasen-M boats are also likely to deploy the shadowy hypersonic 3M22 Zircon missile, too.

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