Russian submarine Dmitriy Donskoi (TK-208)
Russian submarine Dmitriy Donskoi (TK-208)

World’s Largest Nuclear Submarine Dmitriy Donskoi (TK-208) Returns to Home Base

Russia’s nuclear-powered submarine The Dmitry Donskoy, the largest in the world, has returned to the Northern Fleet’s base at Severodvinsk. On July 26, the Dmitry Dontskoy nuclear submarine returned from the White Sea to the Belomorsk naval base in Severodvinsk. For about a month, the submarine was performing various combat training tasks. The submarine’s crew is engaged in all combat training events of Rusisa’s Northern Fleet. Besides, it is taking part in trials of various submarines currently being built by the Sevmash shipyard. At 175 metres in length, she became the world’s largest submarine, a record held along with other Typhoon-class submarines until the K-329 Belgorod was launched on 23 April 2019.

Dmitriy Donskoy (TK-208) was a Russian Navy nuclear ballistic missile submarine, designated Project 941 Akula class (NATO reporting name Typhoon). In 2021 it was reported that the submarine would remain in service until at least 2026. However, its role was also reportedly limited to that of a weapons test platform. Dmitriy Donskoy and the rest of the Typhoons are to be replaced by the Russian fourth-generation submarine class, the Borei class. In 2021, a new Dmitriy Donskoy, now of the Borei-class, began construction. On 20 July 2022, it was reported that Dmitriy Donskoy had been decommissioned. This report has not been officially confirmed to Russian state news agency TASS by the time of the publication.

In 1990, she entered the dry dock in Severodvinsk for upgrades and repairs. Due to both economic and technological problems, the completion was severely postponed. In 2000, work on the submarine was intensified. In June 2002, now serving in the Russian Navy, TK-208 finally left the Severodvinsk dry dock. After 12 years of overhaul and modifications, she had now received the name Dmitriy Donskoy, named after the Grand Duke of Moscow Dmitry Donskoy (1359–1389), the reputed founder of Moscow. The first launch of a Bulava missile was carried out by submarine on 27 September 2005. The vessel was surfaced and fired the missile from a point in the White Sea. On 21 December 2005, the new missile system was tested underwater for the first time.

In August 2009, Patriarch Kirill visited the Dmitriy Donskoi and met the crewmen. On 9 December 2009, Dmitriy Donskoy launched a Bulava missile. The third stage of the missile failed, and it was visible in Norway making a glowing spiral in the sky. On 7 October 2010, the submarine launched another Bulava ballistic missile from the White Sea. Targets at the Kura Test Range in the Russian Far East were successfully hit. The submarine was reported active as of 2020 and had been upgraded to carry the RSM-56 Bulava submarine-launched ballistic missile (SBLM). Designed by Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology, development of the Bulava was launched in the late 1990s as a replacement for the R-39 Rif solid-fuel SLBM. However, the scope of that upgrade was unclear.