The Russian Navy is set to conduct the first Borei-class submarine tests later this year in June 2023. At the end of the year, Imperator Aleksandr III (Emperor Alexander III) was inaugurated. Generalissimus Suvorov, another submarine of the same class, was also commissioned at the same time.

By the end of 2031, Russia would have purchased 12 Borei-class submarines.

Emperor Alexander III and Generalissimus Suvorov are the sixth and seventh submarines in this class, respectively. Once the Emperor Alexander III submarine tests are successful in August 2023, they will enter service.

The Borei-class submarines are intended to replace Russia’s ageing submarines of three classes: Delta III, Delta IV, and Typhoon. Borei-class submarines are nuclear-powered and built by the Russian shipyard Sevmash.

Borei class submarines are smaller than Typhoon class submarines. This is true not only for the tonnage of the submarines, but also for the service personnel. A submarine of this class is expected to cost slightly more than $700 million. The submarine was first shown in 2013, but the concept dates back to the 1990s.

According to the National Interest, this class of submarines is much quieter than both its Soviet predecessors and a large portion of NATO’s submarine fleet. Experts attribute this to the pump-jet propulsion system, which consists of one OK-650V nuclear reactor, one steam turbine, 50,000 SHP, and one pump-jet.

Under water, the maximum speed is 29 knots. The depth to which the submarine was submerged during testing of the first six submarines of this class was 400 metres. The main armament, which makes the submarine extremely dangerous, is 16 Bulava submarine-launched ballistic missiles. They are equipped with nuclear warheads and thus form a structural component of Russia’s nuclear triad.

This class of submarine can be outfitted with six or eight torpedo tubes. The submarine is anti-torpedo protected by six 533mm external Special Purpose External Tubes (SPETS) REPS-324 Shlagbaum. The third armament of the submarine includes RPK-2 Viyuga anti-submarine/ship missiles.

RSM-56 Bulava

The Bolava class submarines were outfitted with this ballistic nuclear missile. This is a new Russian weapon that entered service in 2018. One missile is estimated to cost slightly more than $32 million. The missile was built in 2011 and went through several tests before being put into service. The first test was conducted in the same year [2011], when the leading Borei-class submarine Yury Dolgorukiy successfully launched it.

The missile’s conventional version has an operational range of up to 8,300 km. However, Russia has begun to upgrade the Bulava, and it now has a range of slightly more than 10,000 kilometres. Each missile can carry 6 to 10 nuclear warheads, which are equivalent to 100-150 kt MIRVs.

The rocket has a diameter of 2 meters and a length of 11.5 meters. It is nearly 37 tons in weight and is propelled by an engine via a three-stage solid and liquid head stage. The engine runs on liquid fuel and solid propellant.

Russia has made significant investments in modernizing its ageing Soviet navy. The Oscar II-class Belgorod submarine is one of the Russian Navy’s most recent acquisitions. The submarine was launched in 2022.

Immediately after its inclusion in the Russian fleet, sometime in November 2022, the submarine vanished from NATO radars for an unknown period of time. At the same time, there was public speculation that Moscow was preparing to conduct a nuclear weapon test.

Podvodnzia Belgorod is the carrier of Russia’s newest nuclear weapon, the Poseidon underwater drone/torpedo, which is regarded as the most destructive nuclear weapon in service anywhere in the world. As far as we know, no clear test was conducted, but the disappearance of the Belgorod caused concern, as NATO lost a Roxas submarine from its radars. This means Belgorod is very good at remaining “invisible” or “silent” underwater.