Russia bases high-tech nuclear sub closest to Norway

The Yasen class submarine "Severodvinsk" is built at a navl yard in the city she is named after.

Weapon tests are completed and the submarine will soon sail towards her new homeport, less than 60 kilometres from the NATO border in the north.


What was supposed to be a revolution for the Soviet navy is finally ready for duty. The high-tech sub, filled up with advanced cruise-missiles and torpedoes, is said to be the most silent-sailing underwater warfare system ever created by humans.

K-560 “Severodvinsk” is the first of the new 4th generation nuclear powered multi-purpose submarines in the Russian navy.

Information has now been published about where “Severodvinsk” will make her home-port calls.

She is assigned to the 11th Submarine Division, berthed at the Bloshaya Lopatka bay of the Zapadnaya Litsa fjord on the Barents Sea coast of the Kola Peninsula. The crew will get apartments in Zaozyorsk, a secret navy town hidden behind the hills on the highway from Murmansk towards Norway.

The distance from the quays in Bolshaya Lopatka to the Norwegian border is less than 60 kilometres. No other places does Russia have naval tactical nuclear weapons closer to a NATO border than here. If any of the cruise-missiles on board “Severodvinsk” will be tipped with nuclear warheads is still to be answered.

The first information hinting that “Severodvinsk” would be based at Russia’s nearest naval base to Norway appeared a time ago in a blogpost on Rossiskaya Voyennaya Tehnika (Russian Military Equipment). This week, the information is confirmed by the state-own news agency RIA-Novosti.

Although “Severodvinsk” is Russia’s latest nuclear powered submarine, designing the vessel started in Soviet times. Construction started in 1993, but moved slowly forward during the years of economic problems in the 1990ies. New technologies, including weapons, were developed and the sub first set sail for sea trails from the yard in the city she is named after in September 2011.

The flag raising ceremony took place in Severodvinsk on June 17 this year.

By choosing Zapadnaya Litsa as homeport for “Severodvinsk”, the Russian navy follows the traditions of the Soviet navy. Most other first-of-a-class and proto-type submarines have been assigned to the base since the first nuclear powered submarine, the legendary K-3 “Leninski Komsomol” sailed into the base in 1958. Others are the K-19 with the first liquid-metal cooled reactor, the deepest diving K-278 “Komsomolets”, the fastest ever K-222 and not least to mention the infamous Typhoon-class, the world’s largest submarines ever built.

In addition to be the most advanced submarine in the Russian, “Severodvinsk” is also said to be the most expensive naval vessel ever built in Russia with price-tags speculated to be between $1 billion to $2 billion.

Severodvinsk” is 120 meter long, has a crew of 90 and is equipped with 24 SS-N-26 Oniks cruise missiles in addition to torpedoes.

Another seven sister vessels of the Yasen class will be built by 2020.