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Latest Russian submarines should carry Lasta antitorpedoes - Part 2 analyzed Kazan Yasen-M class SSGN characteristics, as well as strong and weak points. A revolution in non-acoustic submarine search took place in the world. It mostly includes radars to detect disturbances on the sea surface triggered by submarine movement in the depth.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Kazan Yasen-M class SSGN (Picture source: Grams luftfartsblogg)

The Soviet Union began to research the detection method yet in 1970s, however at present several specialists doubt its effectiveness despite objective results.

There is a substantiated opinion that the new method doubts the necessity to build big displacement submarines. The non-acoustic search method doubts the size of project 885M SSGN and calls to design smaller fifth-generation nuclear submarines.

The Vzglyad business newspaper writes that Yasen-class project 885 submarines were initially perceived in a different way. The technical assignment for project 885 was issued in late 1970s. The submarines had to replace Granit-class SSGN of project 949. Their construction began in 1975.

Project 885 submarines were initially perceived as the carriers of a major arsenal of cruise missiles with a bigger displacement than SSN.

A big size means the movement of major water masses and a bigger range of detection by low-frequency sonars. The same concerns non-acoustic detection means used by the US patrol aircraft. The bigger the submarine, the bigger is the chance to detect it by an antisubmarine aircraft because of water movement on the sea surface.

The submarine is propelled by a big-diameter screw with reduced rotation. It increases the signature in low-frequency band. Besides, the propeller denies a possibility to simultaneously move at a fast speed and with a low noise. Only a water jet provides such a possibility. It is therefore used in Borey and Borey-A-class SSBN of projects 955 and 955A designed by Rubin bureau. US Seawolf and Virginia subs, British Astute and other submarines also have water jets. Experts believe a water jet can produce the same noise as a propeller, but at a two-three times faster speed. At the same speed, a submarine with a water jet has a much smaller signature.

It would be insignificant, if the Navy preserved the structure, in which project 885 SSGN had to play the initial role. They did not have to fight SSN. The carrier of cruise missiles had to sail to the launch area, while accompanying SSN were engaged in combat with hostile submarines.

However, the Soviet Navy command later decided to develop project 885 into a multirole submarine, which has to launch numerous cruise missiles and fight hostile SSN. It increased in size, as it needed an upgraded sonar and more torpedo launchers.

The previously acceptable drawbacks of SSGN became critical. It is much more likely that a hostile SSN will be the first to detect and attack it. Antitorpedoes are necessary for defense.

The list of drawbacks of new submarines is short. They can be rapidly rectified. Only a corresponding decision is necessary.

The Yasen class, Russian designations Project 885 Yasen and Project 885M Yasen-M, also referred to as Graney class, are a series of the newest nuclear-powered cruise missile submarines designed by Malakhit and being constructed by Sevmash for the Russian Navy. Based on the Akula class and Alfa class designs, the Yasen class is projected to replace the Russian Navy's current Soviet-era nuclear attack submarines.

The Yasen-class nuclear submarines are presumed to be armed with land-attack cruise missiles, anti-ship missiles, anti-submarine missiles including the P-800 Oniks SLCM, Kalibr family SLCM or 3M51 SLCM. Kalibr-PL has several variants including the 3M54K (terminal-supersonic) and 3M54K1 (subsonic) anti-ship, 91R1 anti-submarine, and the 3M14K land-attack variant.