- It is better to spend money on new ships, a source in Russia’s Defence Ministry says to Izvestia explaining the decision to finally scrap the three remaining Typhoon submarines.
The three vessels in question are “Dmitry Donskoi”, “Arkhangelsk” and “Severstal” – the two last are been laid-up in Severodvinsk and have their missiles removed.
“Dmitri Donskoi” has served as a test-platform for the new Bulava missile and is regularly sailing in the White Sea area. That might come to an end now, as the latest test-launch of the new missile took place from the first Borei-class submarine, the “Yuri Dolgoruky” earlier this summer.
The Defence Ministry says potential need for the Typhoon submarines is gone-history as the new Borei-class submarines are cheaper to operate; they have less crew and are more difficult to detect than the way larger Typhoons.
In January BarentsObserver reported on the possible plans to re-build the Typhoons to carry new missiles, but the costs will be too high according to the Defence Ministry.
Also, the new START agreement signed by Medvedev and Obama in 2010 limits the strategic arsenal of nuclear weapons to 1,550 for each country. With the existing Delta-IV class submarines in the Northern fleet and the coming new Borei-class subs to sail for the Pacific fleet the numbers of submarine based warheads will be 1,100 according to Izvestia. The rest of strategic warheads will be on land-based launchers. Therefore, no need to rebuild the Typhoons.
Alternative use for the three Typhoons has been discussed for years. Sevmash, the yard that originally built the giant submarines in the 80teis, say they could rebuild the submarines for underwater transport of liquid natural gas (LNG) in the Arctic, or even for oil or other cargo to Russia’s Arctic ports.
The 175 meter (574 feet) long and 24,000 tons heavy submarine is the largest nuclear powered submarine ever built. During the Cold War the six Typhoon-class submarines were based at the naval base in Zapadnaya Litsa on the Kola Peninsula, only some 50 kilometers from the border to Norway.