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Russian shipbuilders to double nuclear-powered sub’s strike capabilities after upgrade

The nuclear-powered sub is set to rejoin the Pacific Fleet in late 2023, the source in the industry specified

MOSCOW, December 29. /TASS/. The strike capabilities of the Pacific Fleet’s Project 949A ‘Antey’ multi-purpose nuclear-powered submarine Irkutsk will grow at least two-fold after its upgrade, a source in the shipbuilding industry told TASS on Tuesday.

"During its modernization, the Irkutsk will not simply become a Project 949AM [the improved Project 949A] submarine and instead of 24 Granit anti-ship missiles it will get the capability to carry 48 principally new Kalibr-PL, Oniks and Tsirkon missiles, i.e. the submarine will be able to deliver strikes against coastal targets as well," the source said.

The nuclear-powered sub is set to rejoin the Pacific Fleet in late 2023, the source specified. "The availability of the specific types of missiles on its board will depend on its assigned tasks," he said.

TASS has no official confirmation of this information yet.

It was earlier reported that three launches of Tsirkon missile had been conducted in 2020 as part of flight development tests: two against sea targets and one against a ground target. According to the data of a TASS source in the defense industry, state trials of the Tsirkon missile will begin in 2021. During these trials and the preceding stage of flight development tests, at least seven test-launches will be conducted from the frigate Admiral Gorshkov and the Project 885 submarine Severodvinsk.

The nuclear-powered submarine Irkutsk was laid down at the Sevmash Shipyard (currently part of the United Shipbuilding Corporation) in 1985. It was floated out on December 29, 1987 and delivered to the Navy on December 30, 1988.

In 1990, the submarine made an inter-fleet transition to the Pacific Fleet. The sub was named the Irkutsk in 1993. The submarine has been in reserve since 1997. In 2001, it arrived at the Far Eastern Zvezda Ship Repair Plant for repairs. The sub’s repairs and upgrade began only in 2019. Project 949A submarines carried 24 Granit anti-ship missiles as their basic strike weapons.