Russia is to start building two new advanced nuclear-powered Borei class submarines before year’s end. Once complete, they will be lurking under the sea with 20 Bulava nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles each.
One of the submarines may be named Aleksandr Suvorov after one of the most decorated generals of the Russian Empire, a source in the defense industry told the media. Its construction is expected to start on July 28, which is Russian Navy Day.
The second vessel is likely to be named after Mikhail Kutuzov, the iconic Russian general of the Napoleonic Wars. Its keel is to be laid down in November.
The vessels are to be built by the shipbuilder Sevmash in Severodvinsk in the north of Russia.
Both submarines are of the Borei class, the most modern strategic nuclear-powered submarines in the Russian Navy. The lead vessel of the class, Yury Dolgoruky, officially entered service on Thursday, with two of his sister-ships currently afloat and undergoing trials.
The two new vessels are distinct from those three, being of an advanced Borei-A version of the same design. They will carry 20 nuclear ICBMs each, as opposed to 16 on the older submarines. They will also have improved maneuverability and better weapon control systems and will generate less noise.
Russia plans to build five Borei-A submarines. The first of them, Knyaz Vladimir, is already in construction.
Earlier this week Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said the five ships may be complete by 2018. This would be ahead of the schedule, since the initial plan was to launch the last of the submarines by 2020.
Apart from Borei class submarines, the Navy wants to purchase seven Yasen class attack nuclear powered submarines before 2020. The design is comparable to the US Seawolf class submarine in terms of purpose and characteristics.
The lead ship of the series, Severodvinsk, was launched in 2010, while another submarine, Kazan, is currently under construction.