Russia’s Belgorod special-purpose nuclear-powered submarine of Project 09852 began the manufacturer’s sea trials in the White Sea. The construction of Belgorod began in July 1992 in the yards of the shipbuilder Sevmash, in the port city of Severodvinsk. The initial tactical number was assigned as K-139, and remained so for many years before being changed to K-329. In January 2021, the director-general of the Russian Shipbuilder Sevmash, Mikhail Budnichenko, stated that ‘tests’ on Belgorod were proceeding.
This strategic submarine is attached to the Oscar II class (NATO designation) and is one of the last weapons systems presented by Russian President Vladimir Putin during his annual speech on March 1, 2018. Intended for special missions, the K-329 Belgorod is part of the 29th Submarine Division of the Northern Fleet, thus, its operational capacities confine it to the almost exclusive service of the Main Directorate of Deep-Sea Research [ru] (GUGI), which reports directly to the Russian Defence Ministry.
K-329 Belgorod is also identified to become the first submarine to utilize the Status-6 Oceanic Multipurpose System currently in the testing phase. The exact operational characteristics of the K-329 Belgorod are classified and therefore officially unknown to date. Those presented below are therefore provisional and subject to correction (in terms of size, the K-329 – built on a very modified base of a classic Oscar II class submarine – is about ten meters longer than the Typhoon-class submarine, but narrower.)
The K-329 submarine and the Status-6 Poseidon drone are jointly part of the new weapons systems designed by Russia to respond – among other things – to the United States’s new nuclear capabilities, in the context of the abandonment of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty between these two countries. To this first component of the K-329 Belgorod as a vector of weapons, is added that of a vector of specialized teams in deep waters. This submarine could thus become one of the russian major components within the framework of actions carried out.