Russian Akula class submarine Dmitry Donskoy to remain in service several years

According to information published by Tass on August 16, 2022, the Project 941 (Akula-class) heavy nuclear-powered submarine Dmitry Donskoy will remain in service for several more years.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Russian Akula class submarine Dmitry Donskoy (Picture source: Fishki)

Earlier, several sources in the shipbuilding industry and uniformed agencies in north Russia dismissed media reports that the submarine was about to be decommissioned.

Submarine Dmitry Donskoy

The submarine Dmitry Donskoy was launched on September 29, 1980 and was made operational with the Russian Navy on December 29, 1981. Initially, intercontinental ballistic missiles of the D-19 complex were the main weapon of the submarine.

In 2002, the sub was upgraded under project 941UM. Then, it was used to test the Bulava missile. In the summer of 2017, the Dmitry Donskoy sailed to the Baltic Sea to take part in the Navy parade.

In total, the Sevmash Shipyard (part of the United Shipbuilding Corporation) built six Project 941 submarines for the Navy. All the subs were operational with the Northern Fleet.

As of today, three of them have been disposed of with US funding. Two submarines, the Arkhangelsk and the Severstal, have been withdrawn from service and are awaiting disposal.

Besides its missile armament, the submarine features six torpedo tubes designed to handle RPK-2 (SS-N-15) missiles or Type 53 torpedoes. She could stay submerged for 120 days in normal conditions, and potentially more if deemed necessary (e.g., in the case of a nuclear war). Its primary weapons system was composed of 20 R-39 (NATO: SS-N-20) ballistic missiles (SLBM) with a maximum of 10 MIRV nuclear warheads each.

The submarine features multiple pressure hulls which simplifies internal design while making the vessel much wider than a normal submarine. In the main body of the sub, two long pressure hulls lie parallel with a third, smaller pressure hull above them (which protrudes just below the sail), and two other pressure hulls for torpedoes and steering gear.

This also greatly increases its survivability – even if one pressure hull is breached, the crew members in the other are safe and there is less potential for flooding.

The Akula class Dmitry Donskoy has a length of 175 m (574 ft 2 in), a beam of 23 m (75 ft 6 in), and a draught of 12 m (39 ft 4 in). She is capable of traveling at 28 knots (52 km/h; 32 mph) submerged.