Submarines: A New Wave Of Russian SSGNs

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March 23, 2011: The Russian navy believes it has government support to build ten of the new Graney class SSGN (nuclear powered cruise missile sub). The first one recently received its crew and began testing. Russia had originally planned to build 30 Graneys. The 9,500 ton Graneys carry 24 cruise missiles, as well as eight 650mm (25.6 inch) torpedo tubes. Some of the cruise missiles can have a range of over 3,000 kilometers, while others are designed as shorter range "carrier killers." The larger torpedo tubes also make it possible to launch missiles from them, as well as larger and more powerful torpedoes. The ship is highly automated, which is why there is a crew less than half the 134 needed to run the new U.S. Virginia class boats. The Graney design is based on the earlier Akula and Alfa class SSNs.

Russian submarine building has been on life support since the Cold War ended in 1991. Many subs under construction at the end of the Cold War were cancelled, and the few that avoided that fate, spent a decade or more waiting for enough money to get finished. The Graneys got lucky.

Two years ago, construction began on a second Graney class SSGN. Previously, the navy planned to build only six boats of this class by the end of the decade, but now ten are planned by the end of the decade. Construction of the first Graney class boat, the Severodvinsk, began in 1993, but lack of money led to numerous delays. Originally, the Severodvinsk was to enter service in 1998. Work on the Severodvinsk was resumed seven years ago. If work is not interrupted, the second Graney class boat should be ready in less than five years.

During the Cold War, Russian pioneered the development of SSGNs (particularly the Charlie class boats), and the U.S. responded by adding cruise missile launch tubes as standard equipment on its SSNs.

 

 

 


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