Russia launched the longest submarine ever, Belgorod, on 23rd April. The special mission submarine Belgorod has been designed for carrying out different kinds of mission. It will be responsible for carrying out underwater spy missions and launching Poseidon nuclear torpedoes.
Belgorod is six hundred foot long and displaces more quantity of water than a World War 1 battleship did. It is capable of diving to a depth of 1,700 feet. For those of you who are unaware, the Poseidon is a long-range strategic nuclear torpedo. The launch took place at the Sevmash shipyards in Russia. Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, watched the launch via satellite.
The Belgorod is officially known as Project-09852. It was originally an Oscar II-class cruise missile submarine that the Russian Government was unable to complete because of lack of funds. The hull of the submarine sat until Moscow decided to complete the submarine as a special mission submarine. The hull’s length was extended to about 184 meters, and the ship’s displacement was enhanced to 30,000 tons submerged. This is about 50% more than the US Navy’s Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines.
Belgorod is nuclear powered but is not an attack submarine or a ballistic missile sub for that matter. It will serve as a mothership to other undersea vessels. The sub is capable of carrying a payload on its back, behind the sail, or even a Losharik class mini-submarine that can attach and detach to the hull’s bottom of Belgorod.
HI Sutton, a noted authority on undersea warfare said that this special submarine would be operated by GUGI, the secret Main Directorate Deep Sea Research organization, instead of the Russian Navy.
Sutton said, ‘Belgorod was originally laid down as an Oscar-II class cruise missile submarine, but work stopped when the Russian economy caught up with the submarine building program. Work restarted years later in her modified form. So she is already older than many of her crew. The modifications are likely to be extensive and may include some latest technology, but underneath she is still an earlier generation of the submarine, and likely to be less stealthy than the latest generation.’
Sutton has been observing the submarine from afar and says that his details might be wrong given that he is not present at the site. He says, ‘Russia has generally been more successful than the US at protecting her latest submarines from unwanted cameras. Just this week documents allegedly leaked of a nuclear triad briefing for President Trump included a cutaway of the as-yet-unbuilt Colombia class ballistic missile submarine. For Russia’s latest boats we are still guessing many details. Defense observers can piece together a few sources and rumors with traditional analytical techniques to second guess what Belgorod is like. The cutaway (above) represents a best guess before any photos of Belgorod post-modifications emerged.’
However, Sutton is convinced that one particular mission that the Belgorod is meant to carry out is the covert placement of the Harmony submarine detection network. Harmony is a nuclear-powered detection system that can alert the Russian forces of the transition of enemy submarines through key areas.
The most potentially dangerous mission that Belgorod might be used for is the Poseidon nuclear torpedo system. Poseidon measures in at 65 feet in length and 6.5 feet in diameter. It has a range of thousands of miles and a top speed of 60 knots. Belgorod will be carrying six of Poseidon nuclear torpedoes.
What do you think of this submarine by Russia? Do let us know!