Russia starts development of 5th-generation strategic submarine

The Arcturus class, presented by the Rubin Design Bureau at the Army-2022 exhibition, was intended as the next generation of Russian ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs), aiming to replace the existing Borei class by 2037. This model introduces an angled outer hull intended to reduce the sonar signature, a feature that aligns with contemporary submarine stealth technologies, including the application of anechoic coatings and vibration-isolating measures for machinery. The design indicates a 20% decrease in displacement compared to current models, plans for a crew complement of around 100, and a length of 134 meters. It is designed to carry 12 nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missiles, tailored for operations in Arctic conditions, reflecting a strategic move towards fewer but more advanced missiles.

The Arcturus class incorporates new elements such as the Surrogat-V autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), designed for anti-submarine warfare, equipped with a sonar array, and a non-acoustic detection system known as SOKS, aimed at tracking submarines through chemical and radiation trails. The inclusion of AUVs indicates an expansion of the submarine’s operational roles beyond traditional missile delivery. The design features a compartment for AUV launch and retrieval, suggesting an emphasis on versatility and reconnaissance capabilities within its strategic framework.

The Arcturus submarine is planned to incorporate a nuclear power plant, distinguishing it from traditional designs, as it is proposed to use a shaftless power system to potentially lower noise levels, a crucial aspect for submarines aimed at stealth, similar to the German Type-212CD and the British Dreadnought-class submarines. The propulsion system is intended to use two stern water jets housed within the submarine’s structure. These jets, operated by drawing in water through openings on the sides and expelling it through rectangular nozzles, are designed with trapezoidal vertical planes to potentially enhance noise reduction efforts.

Despite the advanced features presented in the Arcturus class design, its construction prospects are uncertain, largely due to Russia’s current economic conditions and historical delays in submarine production.

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