A new Project 09852 special-purpose nuclear-powered submarine Belgorod built for Russian Navy has been launched on 23 April.
Russian President Vladimir Putin watched the submarine’s launch ceremony via a TV link-up.
As Sevmash Head Mikhail Budnichenko said during the ceremony of floating out the submarine from the slipway, “the enterprise’s shipbuilders will fulfill all the tasks of building ships within the established timeframe and with high quality.” After that, Ship Commander Captain First Rank Anton Alyokhin traditionally smashed a bottle of champagne against the ship’s board.
According to TASS state news agency, the Belgorod is a nuclear-powered special-purpose and research submarine. Its exact operational characteristics have been classified. Russia’s Defense Ministry did not officially comment on media reports on this submarine.
But, sources familiar with the matter say the new submarine is designed to carry the Poseidon nuclear-capable underwater drones or a nuclear-armed underwater vehicle.
The submarine was laid out at the Sevmash Shipyard on July 24, 1992. On December 20, 2012, it was laid down again under Project 09852. Belgorod would be the first carrier of Poseidon nuclear-capable underwater drones.
Presumably, the Poseidon has been developed as a result of R&D work under the Status-6 program. The new submarine would be able to carry six strategic underwater drones.
The completion of the submarine’s construction afloat, the tests of its nuclear reactor and its dockside trials are expected to be implemented during 2019. A TASS source said the Belgorod would undertake shipbuilders’ sea and state trials in 2020, after which it would be delivered to the Navy by the end of that year.
The underwater drone named Poseidon was unveiled by Russian President Vladimir Putin in his State-of-the-Nation Address to the Federal Assembly on March 1, 2018. The Russian leader said that Russia had already developed drones capable of moving at very large depths and to an intercontinental distance at a speed multiply exceeding the speed of submarines, the most advanced torpedoes and all types of surface ships. As the Russian president said, these drones can be armed with conventional or nuclear munitions, which will allow them to strike a broad range of targets. The Poseidon drone will feature an unlimited operating range and an operational depth of over 1 km.
#Russia launched its super-submarine Belgorod today. Putin present. No photos(!!). Here’s my analysis-based illustration of what I think they are not showing you. Will update as more info creeps out. More info https://t.co/Niienq0adX #Navy pic.twitter.com/hgFkOz4Lti
— H I Sutton (@CovertShores) 23 April 2019