Russian Belgorod submarine with Poseidon underwater ICBM joins the fleet

K-329 is the only representative of project 09852, an underwater cruiser carrying unmanned underwater vehicles of the Poseidon type.

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Joseph P Chacko
Joseph P Chacko
Joseph P. Chacko is the publisher of Frontier India. He holds an M.B.A in International Business. Books: Author: Foxtrot to Arihant: The Story of Indian Navy's Submarine Arm; Co Author : Warring Navies - India and Pakistan. *views are Personal

A large nuclear-powered submarine, named after the city Belgorod, tasked with search, exploration and rescue at great depth, and equipped with Poseidon long-range submarine torpedoes, also nuclear-powered, was delivered to the Russian Navy with a short ceremony on July 8.

The Poseidon torpedoes or drones, NATO name Kanyon, can be armed with nuclear, conventional warheads or research equipment. The British edition of The Times claims that the “Kremlin has stolen the lead in the new underwater arms race.” The British tabloid The Sun called the Belgorod “Putin’s sea monster” and noted that “the super sub’s weapons can dodge NATO’s underwater defenses to hit entire cities, naval bases and aircraft carriers anywhere in Europe or on the US East Coast.” The American magazine Popular Mechanics claimed that the submarine’s weight was about 30,000 tons, nearly double that of the US Navy Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines. 

The submarine belongs to project 949A Antey ( modified Oscar II), which was specially redesigned for the Poseidon system.

The Belgorod, the Project 09825 submarine, was built by the Jsc Sevmash shipyards, a part of the United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC). 

Russian Navy commander, Admiral Nikolay Yvemenov, says that Belgorod helps Russia conduct research, scientific expeditions or rescue operations in remote areas of oceans around the world.

Belgorod was supposed to be delivered in 2020, but the project suffered delays in completing tests. In addition to Belgorod, at least two more submarines of the class, Khabarovsk and Ulyanovsk, will carry Poseidons. “Khabarovsk” was planned to be launched back in 2019, but this has not yet happened. “Ulyanovsk” should be part of the fleet until 2027, along with autonomous underwater vehicles.

Last year, Russia announced testing the Klavesin-2R-PM Autonomous Underwater Vehicle, a critical component for monitoring the operations of the Russian nuclear-powered Poseidon torpedo dubbed underwater ICBM.

Belgorod submarine

Russia began constructing the nuclear submarine Belgorod back in 1992, but two years later, the facility was mothballed. The vessel was relaid in 2012 and launched in the spring of 2019.

In September 2000, after the tragedy on the submarine “Kursk”, Russia decided to resume the construction of “Belgorod”. By the end of 2004, the ship’s hull was assembled, but there was no technical equipment and missile silos. Then the cost of completing the construction of the nuclear submarine was estimated at about 100 million rubles. Financing of the work was carried out in a minimal amount, and on July 20, 2006, during a visit to the enterprise, Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said the submarine wouldn’t enter Russian naval service. At that time, the readiness of the submarine was estimated at 80%. In early 2012, Commander-in-Chief of the Navy Vladimir Vysotsky announced that the construction of Belgorod was being completed as a special project. In December 2012, the boat was re-laid under project 09852. 

K-329 is the only representative of project 09852, an underwater cruiser carrying unmanned underwater vehicles of the Poseidon type. It was rebuilt from the nuclear submarine of the Antey project with the insertion of additional compartments, thanks to which the Belgorod became the longest submarine in the world – 184 meters, 11 meters more than the project 941 Akula “Shark”.

The technical characteristics of the ship have not been disclosed. As per the open sources, the boat is distinguished by low noise due to the lead screws of a special design. The ship can carry up to six Poseidons and other submersibles.

As per the Russian media, Belgorod is tasked to study the bottom of the Arctic shelf, look for minerals in the depths of the sea, and transport various equipment for the global control of the bottom of the Arctic seas. Izvestia, citing Vadim Kozyulin, a professor at the Academy of Military Sciences, claimed that the Belgorod would be the just the largest but also a unique Russian fleet submarine.

According to some reports, Belgorod will become the AS-31 Losharik autonomous deep-sea station carrier. It will transport and install autonomous nuclear underwater modules on the seabed that charge uninhabited underwater vehicles. The submarine would ensure the deployment of a global system for monitoring the underwater situation, which the Russian navy is building at the bottom of the Arctic seas.

A Belgorod blogger ‘masterok’ writes that despite the impressive size of the Belgorod, its crew will be 130 people. The Belgorod nuclear submarine has two nuclear reactors on board, each with a capacity of 190 MW; according to experts, this ship is capable of autonomous navigation for 120 days, that is, a third of a year, the blogger writes.

Vladimir Putin spoke about the submarine for the first time in 2018. It is assumed that Poseidon’s payload has a range of at least ten thousand kilometres and a diving depth of a thousand meters. “Poseidon’s” will be able to reach speeds of up to 185 kilometres per hour and hit various targets, including aircraft carrier groups and coastal fortifications. Poseidon is expected to enter service with the Russian fleet by 2027.


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