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22 Dec, 2021 07:56

Russia gets nuclear boost in the Pacific

The Russian Navy has added two brand new nuclear-propelled vessels. The ballistic missile submarine Knyaz Oleg and the cruise missile submarine Novosibirsk have become part of the Pacific Fleet.

Both entered military service on Tuesday during a ceremony at the Sevmash shipyard, the nation’s primary builder of nuclear-powered submarines, which incidentally celebrated its birthday on the same day. The event in the city of Severodvinsk in the European north was attended virtually by President Vladimir Putin and Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu via a video link.

The Knyaz Oleg – named for a 10th century Prince of Kiev and Novgorod – is the fifth Borei-class submarine and the second member of the upgraded Borei-A subclass, which has improved stealth capabilities and weapons-control automation. Each Borei-A vessel carries up to 16 Bulava-class submarine-launched ballistic missiles.

The Knyaz Oleg was floated last year. In October, she test-launched a Bulava missile as part of her sea trials, according to Defense Ministry reports.

The Novosibirsk is the third Yasen-class cruise missile submarine to join the Russian Navy. She carries Onyx and Kalibr missiles as her primary armament, which allow them to engage in anti-ship warfare and attack targets on land.

Compared to the first-of-class boat Severodvinsk, other members of the class have a slightly different design, dubbed ‘Yasen-M.’ They are somewhat shorter and use only domestically produced equipment. The Novosibirsk was floated in late 2019.

Both vessels constitute a “formidable strike capability,” President Putin said during the commissioning ceremony. They will be serving in the Pacific Fleet of the Russian Navy.