The Yasen-M nuclear attack boat (SSGN) Kazan (Project 885M) will be launched by the end of this year. The SSGNs of this class can be deployed in anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, surveillance operations and special missions.
The Russian Navy plans to procure a minimum of eight Yasen-class attack boats – the fourth generation of multipurpose nuclear-powered submarines. Four of them have been ordered thus far with a third vessel, Novosibirsk, having been laid down in July 2013. The first of them, K-329 Severodvinsk (the Yasen class), entered in service with the Russian Northern Fleet in 2014. The Borei and Yasen classes would become the backbone of the Russian sub fleet as the Russian Navy sought to consolidate the capabilities of its different classes of submarines into two types.
Kazan is the second boat of the project, separated from the first by 16 years (1993-2009). Differences in the design and equipment have appeared sufficient to consider her as a new updated version compared to Severodvinsk. The Yasen-M ship reportedly has two more VLS silos (10, compared to 8 on Severodvinsk), 2 fewer torpedo tubes (8, compared to 10 on Severodvinsk) and a pump-jet propulsion system.
The Yasen-class boat does not make use of a double-hull – instead she has hybrid design with a lighter structure over the vessel’s pressure hull. The hull is made of low magnetic steel. Her bow section houses only sonar systems. The torpedo tubes located at about mid-ship.
The boat is equipped with the Irtysh-Amfora, a spherical, bow-mounted type sonar system, with a bow-mounted spherical sonar array, flank sonar arrays and a towed array for rearward detection. She has a MRK-50 Albatross (Snoop Pair) navigation/surface search radar and features a Rim Hat electronic support/countermeasures measures suite.
The submarine’s length is 120 m (390 ft), beam: 15 m (49 ft), draught: 8.4 m (28 ft). She displaces 13,800 tons. Crew: 90 men (32 commissioned officers and 58 enlisted submariners). The relatively small crew size indicates an advanced level of autonomy. The ships reported depth: 600 meters (2,000 feet).
The OK-650KPM two-hundred-megawatt nuclear reactor, good for the life of the boat, drives her to speeds of up to sixteen knots surfaced and over thirty knots submerged. With a maximum speed of 35-40 knots, the submarine is capable of 20 knots in silent mode.
Kazan is equipped with improved electronics and fire-control systems. She is built using only Russia-made materials and components. The submarine has 24 missile tubes which can carry the P-800 Oniks ramjet-powered supersonic anti-ship missiles which can hit targets roughly 200 nautical miles away. The missile uses low-low and high-low flight patterns for targets within 120km to 300km. The maximum speed of the missile is Mach 3.
She can also carry Novator RK-55 Granat nuclear-capable 1,600 nautical mile-range subsonic land attack cruise missiles.
Additionally, the Yasen boats can launch the 3M14 Kalibr, available in land-attack, anti-ship, and anti-submarine variants, and 3M54 Biryuza land attack and anti-ship missiles, which have a roughly 300-mile range, though torpedo tubes. The Biryuza allows to quickly engage enemy submarines with a missile-delivered lightweight torpedo. The submarine also carries 91R anti-submarine missiles and have the capability to lay mines along with her normal complement of torpedoes.
The 650 mm and 533 mm torpedo tubes can be used for launching mines and anti-submarine missiles such as SS-N-16 Stallion, which can be armed with either an anti-submarine torpedo or a nuclear depth charge. The boat can carry as many as 30 torpedoes. Kazan will carry brand new Futlyar 533mm torpedo supplied with an improved homing system with an extended underwater target lock-on range. The torpedo’s range is 50 km, speed: over 50 knots and maximum launch depth: 400 m.
The Yasen-M is likely to be armed with the high speed underwater Shkval torpedo, which has a radius of seven to thirteen km and a speed of up to 200 knots. The SSGN is equipped with active anti-torpedo defenses and has some sort of anti-air capability – the 9K38 Igla surface-to-air missile system.
Russia is «rapidly closing the technological gap» and the «clear advantage that we enjoyed in antisubmarine warfare during the Cold War is waning», wrote Vice Admiral James Foggo III and Alarik Fritz, pointing to a Russian Yasen-class attack submarine commissioned in December 2013, which so impressed the US admiral in charge of submarine construction that he commissioned a model for his office in 2014. Now an even more capable vessel of the class – the best attack submarine Russia ever built – is to enter the Russian Navy. The rearmament drive is in full swing to result in breakneck growth in Russia's naval capacity. The Yasen-M’s launching ceremony will be a milestone in the history of blue water Russian Navy to make it second to none.