Russian Navy’s Newest Strategic Missile Submarine Knyaz Vladimir Enters Service

The Russian Navy’s newest nuclear ballistic missile submarine Knyaz Vladimir has entered service on Russia Day (June 12), the country’s Ministry of Defense announced.

The commissioning ceremony, held at the Sevmash Production Association JSC in Severodvinsk, was presided by the Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy Admiral Nikolai Evmenov. The ceremony saw the raising of Russian Navy ensign (St Andrews’s flag) on the submarine.

The ceremony was also attended by the Commander of the Northern Fleet, Alexander Moiseev, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation Oleg Ryazantsev, Acting Governor of the Arkhangelsk Region Alexander Tsybulsky, Head of Severodvinsk Igor Skubenko, President of the United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC) Alexei Rakhmanov and General Director of Sevmash Mikhail Budnichenko.

After announcing the order of the Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy to include the submarine in the Navy, the St. Andrew’s flag (Russian Navy ensign) was raised on the submarine by her commander, Captain 1st Rank Vladislav Druzhin.

Russian submarine Knyaz Vladimir
K-549 Knyaz Vladimir, the first Borei-A (Project 955A) class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) of the Russian Navy. Photo: Russian MoD.

Last month, it was announced that the Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy approved the acceptance certificate for the submarine. The acceptance certificate was approved on Northern Fleet Day following the successful completion of tests and the readiness of the builder Sevmash enterprise [part of United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC)] for the transfer of the submarine to the Navy.

With the commissioning, the submarine will now begin performing missions as part of the Russian Navy’s Northern Fleet Submarine Forces.

K-549 Knyaz Vladimir

Knyaz Vladimir is the Russian Navy’s fourth Project 955 Borei-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) and the first of the upgraded Project 955A Borey-A class. She is named after Prince Vladimir the Great.

The submarine was laid down on 30 July 2012, floated out on 17 November 2017 and began the first stage of factory trials by late November 2018.

The submarine completed a cycle of state trials last year. During the trials, the submarine conducted the first test-firing of a Bulava submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM). The missile was fired by the submarine while submerged in the White Sea to the Kura Missile Test Range, located on the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russian Far East.

The submarine has a surface displacement of 14,720 tonnes and a submerged displacement of 24,000 tonnes. The Borei has a maximum operating depth of 400 meters and can develop a surface speed of 15 knots and a submerged speed of up to 29 knots. It has a sea endurance of 90 days and a crew of 107.

The submarine will be armed with the newest submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) developed in Russia, the R-30 (RSM-56) Bulava (NATO designation: SS-NX-32). Borey-A class boats have 16 missile tubes each. If armed with Bulava SLBMs with ten warheads atop each, a single Borei-class SSBN could then carry 160 warheads.

The first three Borei-class submarines – the Yury Dolgoruky, the Alexander Nevsky and the Vladimir Monomakh – have been already actively deployed by the Navy and have conducted multiple Bulava launches. Knyaz Vladimir and her sister ships will eventually replace the Soviet-era Delta and Typhoon-class strategic submarines of the Russian Navy.

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