The Russian Navy (Voyenno-Ðœorskoi Flot) has taken delivery of improved Project 955A (Borei-A) nuclear-powered submarine, Knyaz Vladimir (K-549), on Thursday. The ceremony was held at the Sevmash Shipyard for signing an acceptance certificate for the strategic missile-carrying underwater cruiser Knyaz Vladimir. The improved Project 955A Borei-A lead submarine Knyaz Vladimir has completed state trials and is being prepared for its delivery to the Russian Navy. The submarine is named after Prince Vladimir the Great.
Knyaz Vladimir is the first unit of the Project 955A sub-class and will differ by several modifications from the previous units of the project 955. These modifications will include major structural changes, reduced acoustic signature, and more modern communication equipment. While initially reported to have four more (20 in total) launch tubes, the 955A includes 16 missile tubes same as the project 955. The submarine will be armed with the newest Russian submarine launched ballistic missile (SLBM), the RSM-56 Bulava. Knyaz Vladimir and its sister ships will eventually replace the Soviet-era Delta and Typhoon-class submarines in the Russian Navy.
The Russian Navy currently operates three baseline Project 955 Borei submarines: the Yuri Dolgoruky, the Vladimir Monomakh and the Alexander Nevsky. Four more Borei-A submarines (the Knyaz Oleg, the Generalissimus Suvorov, the Emperor Alexander III and the Knyaz Pozharsky) have been laid down and are at various stages of their construction. There are plans to build two more. The Borei and Borei-A submarines have been developed by the Rubin Central Design Bureau for Marine Engineering. Compared to the baseline Borei series, Borei-A subs feature better acoustic stealth, maneuvering and deep-sea running capabilities and an improved armament control system.
The Borei submarines are approximately 170 metres (560 ft) long, 13 metres (43 ft) in diameter, and have a maximum submerged speed of at least 46 kilometres per hour (25 kn; 29 mph). Smaller than the Typhoon class, the Boreis were initially reported to carry 12 missiles but are able to carry four more due to the decrease in mass of the 36-ton Bulava SLBM (a modified version of the Topol-M ICBM) over the originally proposed R-39UTTH Bark. Compared to the baseline Borei series, Borei-A subs feature better acoustic stealth, maneuvering and deep-sea running capabilities and an improved armament control system.