Images of Russia's Project 955A SSBN Demonstrate Design Improvements

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Naval Industry News - Russia
 
 
 
Images of Russia's Project 955A SSBN Demonstrate Design Improvements
 
The official photographs taken during the rollout of the first Project 955A (Borey-A-class) nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) 'Knyaz Vladimir' intended for the Navy of the Russian Federation have revealed a number of design changes from the three earlier Project 955 (Borey-class) boats, according to the experts of the IHS Jane`s think-tank.
     
Project 955A SSBN analysis 5Project 955A SSBN analysis 6Whereas the original Project 955 fin exhibits a distinctive forward slant at the leading edge, 'Knyaz Vladimir' has a more traditional blunt fin leading edge but with a faired step at the base to reduce hydrodynamic flow noise. Picture via Covert Shores.
     
"A low-quality image of 'Knyaz Vladimir' in build is believed to be the first showing the new Project 955A SSBN’s bow, top torpedo tubes, and sail," the analysts of IHS Jane`s pointed out. The updated design of the submarine is understood to feature reduced noise, increased habitability, enhanced maneuverability and improved sensor performance, they said citing Russian media outlets (particularly, TASS). "One noticeable change is the shape of the fin (sail) structure. Whereas the original Project 955 fin exhibits a distinctive forward slant at the leading edge, 'Knyaz Vladimir' has a more traditional blunt fin leading edge but with a faired step at the base to reduce hydrodynamic flow noise. Another notable change is the repositioning of the towed array cable duct from the top of the rudder to the horizontal fin surface. This is most likely explained by the move to fully articulating rudder surfaces in place of the hinged rudders fitted to the earlier Project 955 boats," the experts of IHS Jane`s emphasized.
     
Project 955A SSBN analysis 1One of the main difference between the new Project 955A and the previous 955 variant: All moving rudders and vertical endplates added to the hydroplanes (with towed array in it). Picture via Covert Shores.
     
"Although the propulsion elements were covered during the ceremony, this image of Russia’s new Project 955A SSBN 'Knyaz Vladimir' clearly shows the revised tail arrangement," the analysts said. The 'Knyaz Vladimir' SSBN was official launched at the Sevmash production association, a subsidiary of the United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC), on November 17. The delivery of the submarine to the Russian Navy is scheduled for 2018. The Project 955 underwater combatants are reported to have been designed by the Rubin Central Marine Design Bureau, a subsidiary of USC.
     
Project 955A SSBN analysis 7Project 955A compared to the previous 955 variant. Picture via Covert Shores.
     
According to them, each of the earlier Project 955 boats in fact had slightly different rudder shapes. "The move to a fully articulating rudder design reflects the desire to improve the maneuverability of the design. Analysis of [the official] photographs of the event has also revealed the presence of a flank array sonar running along the bottom of the hull of the 'Knyaz Vladimir' submarine," the analysts added.
     
Project 955A SSBN analysis 8Project 955A received a pair of flank sonar arrays. Picture via Covert Shores.
     
During the official launch ceremony, the Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy Vladimir Korolyov said that the share of modern SSBNs in service with the Russia`s naval strategic forces had exceeded 80%. According to him, 'new special training programs' for the crew of the submarines under construction had been developed. In 2017, the training centers of the Russian Navy trained over 30 crews, the official; pointed out. "The development and building of the Borei-A strategic submarines and the creation of the Borei-B submarines with the following building of the fifth-generation nuclear-powered underwater combatants are stipulated by Russia`s naval doctrine. [These measures] are aimed at the maintenance of high level of the equipping of the Pacific Fleet and the Northern Fleet with strategic submarines," Korolyov said.

According to him, the active works on the Borei-B project would start in 2018. "The terms [of the development] will be fixed in accordance with the results of the first stage, the basic designing," Korolyov concluded.

The Russian Navy has already received three Project 955 submarines. Two submarines were laid down in 2014 ('Knyaz Oleg' and 'Generalissimus Suvorov'), one in 2015 ('Imperator Alexander III') and one in 2016 ('Knyaz Pozharsky'). Each ship is armed with cutting-edge submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM).

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Navy Recognition comment:
For more details, check out the in depth analysis and photo report by our colleagues at Covert Shores.
 

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