The Russian Navy’s Northern Fleet has finally decommissioned the “Dmitry Donskoy” (TK-208) Typhoon-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN), according to Russia’s TASS agency.
The Dmitry Donskoy was the first and longest-serving strategic nuclear-powered submarine of Project 941 Akula (NATO code name: Typhoon). This was owing to its conversion into a test unit for the Bulava-M ballistic missile system with R-30 SLBM developed for the project 995/995A Borey’s new-generation SSBNs.
The TK-208 SSBN was the prototype for a series of six 941 Akula project units (shark). The “Rubin” Design Bureau created the vessel’s design in Leningrad, which was led by Sergey N. Kovalev.
Since their conception, the SSBNs of Project 941 have piqued the public’s interest. They were prompted primarily by their unrivaled size, which earned them a place in the “Guinness Book of Records,” as well as the outward shape, which sparked speculation about the interior’s construction – which has long remained a mystery.
The Typhoon-class structure consisted of two parallel main pressure hulls with three independent modules stacked above them: command, torpedo, and stern. A swarm of 20 missile launchers was stationed between the main hulls without breaking them. In addition, a hydrodynamic outer shell surrounds the entire structure. Owing to this layout, they were the largest submarines ever built. The TK-208 was 170.023.3 metres long and displaced 48,000 tonnes submerged, making it larger than most WWII battleships!
On July 17, 1976, the keel of TK-208 was laid. The submarine went into service on December 29, 1981, after being launched on September 29, 1980. This class of submarine was expanded by five more. The seventh was abandoned for financial and political reasons, both of which were tied to the demise of the Soviet empire. Dmitry Donskoy underwent project 941UM modernization in 2002, following which it participated in Bulava missile system tests.
Politicians and high-ranking military personnel from the USSR and Russia, such as Gorbachev and Putin, enjoyed flying on Typhoons. Dmitry Donskoy and the heavy cruiser Petr Velikiy, project 11442, traveled from the Northern Fleet to the Baltic in 2017 to participate in the seminal moment of the Fleet Parade.
With US cooperation, three Typhoon-class submarines have already been decommissioned, and the Dmitry Donskoy and two more are currently awaiting disposal.
“The Dmitry Donskoy submarine cruiser has been decommissioned from the Russian Navy,” said Head of the Russian Movement for Navy Support, Vladimir Maltsev.
“It will await utilization at a naval base in Severodvinsk with two other units of this project.”