January 23, 2014

Russian submarine development, Rubin designer's views

Comparison of US and Russian submarine sizes. Note the massive difference between the conventional Russian Kilo and nuclear US Ohio and Russian Typhoon.

Sergey Sukhanov, "responsible for the creation of nuclear-powered boats", Rubin Design Bureau made the following comments on  http://defencerussia.wordpress.com/2013/11/13/the-future-of-russian-fifth-generation-submarines/ :

"The Future of Russian Fifth-Generation Submarines"

Russia’s fifth-generation strategic and attack submarines will most likely be non-nuclear-powered, more compact and less “visible,” a senior designer at the Rubin design bureau said Monday.
975596310Large nuclear-powered vessels, including Russia’s Typhoon-class strategic boats, have so far dominated past and current trends in combat submarine construction.
Today, all countries that have their own submarine development programs search for new types of propulsions, alternative hull forms, methods of use of weapons, targeting and information exchange methods based on new physical principles. In this case, in any event automation of fifth-generation submarines will be substantially increased, and the method of their use in combat will be linked with the concept of “network-centric warfare” when the enemy will have to engage in battle not with individual combat units, but with a single, monolithic system that will be composed of surface ships, submarines, air, ground and space-based facilities. All the submarines of the future will be oriented on the functioning of the “network”.
reactor-image1“The fifth-generation boat will also be less ‘visible’ compared with existing submarines. They could also feature a new power plant, including fully electric,” Sukhanov said, adding that changes could affect other sub-systems of future submarines.
The designer said the most likely substitution for a nuclear reactor on strategic and attack submarines would be an air-independent propulsion plant (AIPP)[AIP], which would make them stealthier than nuclear-powered boats.
The AIPP allows a non-nuclear submarine to operate without the need to access atmospheric oxygen.
sub_line-up01While a nuclear submarine’s reactor must constantly pump coolant, generating some amount of detectable noise, non-nuclear boats running on battery power or AIPP can be practically “silent.”
“The endurance of submarines with this type of propulsion should be sufficient [for patrol or strike missions] – for a month or even more,” Sukhanov said.
He said the construction of fifth-generation submarines in Russia could start in the next 10 to 15 years.
The Russian Navy currently relies on third-generation submarines, with fourth-generation subs of the Project 955 Borey class of strategic boats and Project 885 Yasen class of attack boats just beginning to be adopted for service.
Russia is planning to build eight Borey-class and eight Yasen-class submarines by 2020. They are expected to become the mainstay of the country’s nuclear-powered submarine fleet for at least two decades.
Bulava submarine-launched ballistic missileAt the moment, the first two production boats of this project are actually ready and planned to be transferred to the fleet by the end of this year. Wherein, there is not any point of criticism concerning the boats themselves. “It means that the crew can work out in the sea other combat training missions before resolving all technical issues with the”Bulava,” said to “RIA Novosti” the representative of the General Staff.
Nuclear-powered submarine of the new generation “Vladimir Monomakh” is the third in a series of Project 955 “Borey” – in December will begin the state tests and complete them before the end of 2013, said Sergey Sukhanov, responsible for the creation of nuclear-powered boats."

See interesting Rubin Design Bureau subsites including:

-  Nuclear-Powered Ballistic Missile Submarines http://www.ckb-rubin.ru/en/projects/  

Connect With:

Russian Conventional Submarine Development – Kalina Class, April 4, 2014 http://gentleseas.blogspot.com.au/2014/04/russian-conventional-submarine.html which describes the 5 classes (generations) of Russian SSKs; and

China’s Yuan Class Submarine Related to Russia’s Kilo and Possibly Lada Classes, April 7, 2012,  http://gentleseas.blogspot.com.au/2010/09/chinas-yuan-class-submarine-related-to.html



jbmoore said...

Interesting. I find it surprising that they publish details such as max depth. I have to imagine that some of those details are fiction.

Pete said...


Yes some of the stats look a bit explicit for the usually secretive Russians.

The author talking of a new propulsion system, with less nuclear and more AIP for future Russian subs, may be an attempt to through Western analysts off the scent as well.


jbmoore said...


Possibly. However, the Russians could develop both. They could build a littoral class AIP sub for coastal patrols and Asian conflict as well as export. It would be a cheap stealthy attack sub which is what they'd want, perfect for surprising an American carrier group off of Japan say. That would leave them nuclear attack and ballistic subs for America and Europe to play tag with American attack and ballistic missile subs. If the latter take too long, the former would be adequate to fill service levels until the delays are resolved on the nuclear vessels. A hybrid fleet of AIP and nuclear subs would be very practical and flexible which should appeal to Russian design sensibilities.


Pete said...


I agree the Russians are likely to develop increasingly high tech nuclear subs and conventional subs (with AIP).

In terms of conventional subs an advanced development of the Kilo is the AIP equipped Lada Class http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lada-class_submarine . Two or three Ladas (described as "5th generation") have been built for test purposes.

A class of "6th generation" AIP subs of greater size, with more missiles, would be a logical future step.


Anonymous said...

Ha ,ha 450m maximum dept.No way . Other report 6oom for the new Russian Borei class . That's more likely .