Russia Launches Drone Carrier Submarine
Apr. 24 (EIRNS)—Russia’s newest nuclear submarine, the Belgorod, was floated out of its slipway at the Sevmash shipyard on Severodvinsk, yesterday, opening a new chapter in the development of Russian strategic capabilities. The Belgorod is important because it is the first Russian submarine designed to carry the Poseidon nuclear-powered, nuclear-armed torpedo drone. The Poseidon is one of the new generation of Russian strategic weapons that Russian President Vladimir Putin revealed during his famous March 1, 2018 nationally televised address to the Federal Assembly.
Construction of the submarine is not yet completed, but the work is to be finished at dockside. The Belgorod is scheduled to undergo sea trials in 2020 and then be delivered to the Russian Navy by the end of that year. A source in the defense industry told TASS that the new submarine would be able to carry six of the Poseidon drones.
A separate report in TASS states that the Belgorod originally began construction in 1992 as an “Antey”-class cruise missile submarine, called Oscar II by NATO. The Oscar IIs are the second largest submarines in size, exceeded only by the Typhoon ballistic missile submarines, and are armed with 12 supersonic P-700 Granit anti-ship missiles with a range of 550-600 km. Construction of the Belgorod was suspended in 1997 and not resumed until 2010 when the decision was made to redesign it as a special purpose submarine, which would be capable of a range of missions, including deep-water survey and special operations, as well as being the carrier for the Poseidon drone. TASS writes that Izvestia reported on April 21, 2017, citing the Navy’s command, that engineers had redesigned the sub’s central section, replacing the missile compartment was a new and longer hold for special equipment and airlock chambers for divers and the crews of deep-water submersibles.