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ARKHANGELSK, December 19 /ITAR-TASS/. The Alexander Nevsky nuclear submarine will be handed over to the Russian Navy on December 23, two days later than was initially scheduled, the Sevmash defence shipyard, which built the craft, told ITAR-TASS.
It did not specify the reasons for the delay. Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu is expected to attend the ceremony.
The Alexander Nevsky is the first serial Project 955 ship of the Borei Class. It was laid down on March 19, 2004. The leading submarine of the series, Yuri Dolgoruky, went into service in January 2013.
Sevmash started building two more submarines of the same series, Vladimir Monomakh and Knyaz Vladimir, in 2006 and 2012, respectively. The former is expected to go into service in 2014.
An informed source in the defence industry told ITAR-TASS in November that the newest Borei-class nuclear submarines Alexander Nevsky and Vladimir Monomakh (Project 955) would not join the Russian Navy before the summer of 2014 because of problems with the Bulava intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) they are armed with.
“How can we adopt new underwater missile carriers for service in the Navy if the first of them, Alexander Nevsky, fired a Bulava only once, and it was an abortive launch, and the second one, Vladimir Monomakh, has not fired its missile at all and will not do so in the remainder of the year,” the source said.
According to the test schedule announced by Navy Commander-in-Chief, Admiral Viktor Chirkov, new Bulava launches have been postponed until 2014 and can begun in the White Sea not earlier than late May or early June because of the weather.
“Acceptance certificates for the submarines can be signed and they will be adopted into service in the Navy only after faultless Bulava launches from them,” the source said.
Chirkov said on November 13 that the Russian Navy would adopt two Borei strategic nuclear submarines by the end of the year.
“We are finishing the testing of two Borei submarines this year. One of them has already completed it. Based on the results of the testing we will make decisions [on its adoption by the Navy],” Chirkov said.
He said a fifth Borei nuclear submarine would be laid down in 2014.
Chirkov said that no more ballistic missile launches were scheduled for this year. New launches will take place in 2014. “No more [Bulava] ballistic missile launches from Boreis are scheduled until the end of the year. They are to take place in 2014 in accordance with the testing and combat training plans,” the commander said.
The last Bulava launch on September 6 from the Borei-class submarine Alexander Nevsky in the White Sea was a failure. The causes of the incident have not been announced so far.
The Alexander Nevsky is the first Project 955 serial Borei-class submarine. The leading submarine of this class, Yuri Dolgoruky, was handed over to the Navy in December 2012.
The submarine joined the 31st Submarine Division of the Northern Fleet stationed at Gadzhiyevo on January 10, 2013.
The Yury Dolgoruky was the first strategic missile submarine to be launched in seventeen years since the end of the Soviet era. It was the first Russian (rather than Soviet) vessel.
The Vladimir Monomakh was taken out of the dock on December 30, 2012 for launching and sea trials.
The Defence Ministry plans to build at least eight new Borei-class submarines that should become the main naval component of Russia's strategic nuclear forces.
Borei-class submarines are designed by the St. Petersburg-based Naval Design Bureau Rubin. Each submarine can be armed with 12 ICBMs with MIRVs. They will also have an escape capsule for all crewmembers. A Borei-class submarine is 170 metres long and 13.5 metres wide, it can sink to a depth of 450 metres and has a crew of 17 sailors.
The Borei claims to be a state-of-the-art submarine, featuring characteristics superior to any submarine currently in service, such as the ability to cruise silently and be less detectable to sonar. Advances include a compact and integrated hydrodynamically efficient hull for reduced broadband noise and the first ever use of pump-jet propulsion on a Russian nuclear submarine.
The submarine will be armed with Bulava missiles. The Bulava carries the NATO reporting name SS-NX-30 and has been assigned the GRAU index 3M30. In international treaties, the common designation RSM-56 is used.
The Yuri Dolgoruky is the 129th nuclear-powered submarine built by Sevmash and the first one in the past 12 years. Prior to that, in December 2001, the shipyard handed over the multirole submarine Gepard (carrying no ballistic missiles) to the Navy.
The Alexander Nevsky is a second Borei-class submarine. Its construction at the Sevmash shipyard began in 2004 and the submarine is a fourth generation strategic underwater missile cruiser.
The Project 955 submarine is the first serial strategic rocket carrier of the Borei class. It is 170 metres long, 13.5 metres wide, maximum operating depth is 450 metres, and underwater speed is 29 knots.
Borei class submarines are designed to serve as the basis of Russia's strategic nuclear capabilities for the decades to come.