Karl Soper, IHS Jane's Navy International
1 October 2015
Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu has set out details of an ambitious effort to reinvigorate Russia's shipbuilding and submarine order of battle.
During a visit to the Zvezda shipyard at Bolshoy Kamen on Russia's Pacific coast in September, the minister is reported to have informed Russian journalists that six nuclear-powered submarines are under repair and modernisation at Zvezda.
According to navy and shipyard representatives, the boats are planned to receive new missiles and other weapons, with the modernisation work also intended to extend their service lives by 20 years. The work aims to bring the submarines up to the same technological level as Russia's next-generation nuclear-powered boats, such as the new Project 885M Yasen-class submarines.
The six boats are reported to include Schuka-B/Project 971 Akula-class nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs) and Antyey/Project 949A Oscar II-class guided-missile submarines (SSGNs) that were built in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Specifically, the boats are the Akula SSNs Kuzbass and Magadan , and the Oscar II SSGNs Irkutsk , Chelyabinsk , and Tver . The Kalmar/Project 667BDR Delta III-class SSBN Ryazan also arrived at Zvezda for repairs in April.
Irkutsk , Chelyabinsk , and Tver will become known as Project 949AM submarines after modernisation work is completed. Along with improved acoustic, electronic, navigation and communications systems, Project 949AM submarines are understood to be receiving NPO Mashinostroyeniya 3M55 Oniks (SS-N-26 'Strobile') anti-ship cruise missiles to replace their 3M45 Granit (SS-N-19 'Shipwreck') missiles. The order in which modernisation work on the Oscar IIs will be re-fitted remains unclear.