Typhoon Class Submarine

filed under | submarines | ussr


The Project 941 or Akula, Russian ("Shark") class submarine (NATO reporting name: Typhoon) is a type of nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine deployed by the Soviet Navy in the 1980s. With a maximum displacement of 33,800 tons, the Typhoons are the largest class of submarine ever built, large enough to accommodate decent living facilities for the crew, when the submarine remained submerged for months on end. The source of the NATO reporting name remains unclear, although it is often claimed to be related to the use of the word "Typhoon" by Leonid Brezhnev in a 1974 speech while describing a new type of nuclear ballistic missile submarine. Soviet doctrine for these vessels was to have them launch SLBMs while submerged under the arctic ice, avoiding the traversal of the GIUK gap to remain safe from the enemy attack submarines and anti-submarine forces. Technically Typhoons were also able to successfully deploy their long-range nuclear missiles while moored at their docks. Six Typhoon class submarines were built. Originally, the submarines were designated by hull numbers only. Names were later assigned to the four vessels retained by the Russian Navy, which were sponsored by either a city or company. The construction order for an additional vessel (hull number TK-210) was canceled and never completed. Only the first of these submarines to be constructed, the Dmitriy Donskoy, is still in active service with the Russian Navy, serving as a test platform for the Bulava (SS-NX-32) missile which is currently under development. The Arkhangelsk (TK-17) and Severstal (TK-20) remain commissioned, though not currently active with the Russian fleet. All the R-39 missiles have been retired. The Typhoons are slated to be replaced by the Borei class starting in 2010-11. In 2008 National Geographic released a documentary about the scrapping of one of the Typhoons in the series "Break It Down". Given the date of the documentary this is likely TK-12, which was scrapped over the time period 2006-2008. In late December 2008, a senior Navy official announced that the two Typhoon-class submarines, the TK-17 and TK-20, that are in reserve would not be rearmed with the new Bulava SLBM missile system. They could however be modified to carry cruise missiles or to lay mines, or could be used in special operations. In late June 2009, the Navy Commander-in-Chief, Admiral Vladimir Vysotsky told reporters that the two submarines would be reserved for possible future repairs and modernization. In May 2010 the Navy commander said, that Russia's Typhoon class strategic nuclear-powered submarines will remain in service with the Navy until 2019. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]

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