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Putin attends nuclear sub ceremony

"Knyaz Vladimir" and the other Borei-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile-carrying submarines will become the cornerstone of the Russian navy, President Putin said during the launching ceremony. (Photo: Kremlin.ru)

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin attended yesterday’s ceremony to launch the country’s fourth Borei-class ballistic missile submarine in Severodvinsk, Arkhangelsk.

Location

Russia plans to significantly boost its naval powers and first of all its nuclear fleet in the coming years. Yesterday a ceremony to mark the start-up of construction of the fourth Borei-class submarine, named “Knyaz Vladimir” was held at Sevmash.

 “By 2020 we will have eight submarines of the Borei-class”, Putin said in a speech at the launching ceremony. “I am confident that the whole project will be implemented and that the “Knyaz Vladimir” and her sister vessels will be one of the symbols of the Russian Armed Forces”, the Kremlin’s web site reads.

The first Borei-class sub, “Yuri Dolgoruky”, laid down in 1996, is currently completing its final tests, and will soon be handed over to the navy. Another vessel is undergoing trials while the third one is under construction. All have been built at Sevmash in Severodvinsk, Russia’s largest shipyard. 

Bid for naval dominance
In Severodvinsk Putin chaired a meeting on the state armaments program, where he said that the navy will be reinforced with 51 modern warships and 24 submarines, including the eight Borei submarines, by 2020. Over 4.4 trillion rubles (approximately $140 billion) will be spent on realizing the “potential of the sea-based nuclear force,” he said.

Russia’s navy has always been and remains one of the main tools of “protecting national economic interests,” Putin said, adding that it has a particular importance in such resource-rich regions as the Arctic.

“Our country has to keep and strengthen its position as one of the leading naval powers of the world”, Putin said, expressing two main tasks for the future: to make the missile-equipped nuclear submarines the heart and cornerstone of the Russian Navy, and to develop “multi-purpose naval groups,” which should be capable of repelling military threats from the sea, safeguarding transport communications, protecting the merchant marine and effectively resisting piracy, the Kremlin’s web site reads.

The president also stressed the significance of modernizing Russia’s shipyards. “Otherwise, they will be unable to implement the state armament program in full or they would not provide the quality needed,” Putin warned.

Modernized version of Borei-class
Knyaz Vladimir” is a modernized version of the Borei-class submarine (project 955A). It can carry 20 intercontinental ballistic missiles of the Bulava-class, while the three previous subs have a capacity of 16 missiles. 

The submarine was originally proposed to be named “Svyatitel Nikolay” after Saint Nicholas. The keel laying ceremony was announced to take place during the celebrations of Sevmash’ 70 years anniversary on December 22nd 2009, but was postponed to the first quarter of 2010 because of the repeated problems with the test-launching of the Bulava missile. The ceremony was again postponed until spring 2012. 

By changing the name to “Knyaz Vladimir”, all the four new Borei-class submarines are named after great Russian leaders: Yury Dolgoruky – founder of Moscow (1099-1157), Aleksandr Nevsky – Prince of Novgorod (1220-1263), Vladimir Monomakh – Grand Prince of Kievan Rus’ (1053-1125) and Vladimir the Great – Grand Prince of Kiev and ruler of Kievan Rus’ (960-1015).