Mar 18 2007 9:41AM
Yury Dolgoruky strategic submarine to be launched April 15 - Sevmash
MOSCOW. March 18 (Interfax-AVN) - Russia's leader strategic submarine, the Yury Dolgoruky (Project 955, Class Borei,) is expected to be launched on April 15, officials with the Sevmash ship-building enterprise told Interfax-AVN.
"The most advanced strategic missile nuclear submarine will be moved to the water from the shipyard's slipway on April 15," he said.
"It will be put through a series of tests - dockside, factory and, finally, state tests. The submarines will be prepared to be handed over to the Navy next year," the official said. said.
AN IMAGE OF A MODEL OF THIS
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AND HERE'S SOME BACKGROUND INFO
Russia Tests Yury Dolgoruky Submarine
The Yury Dolgoruky was developed at the Rubin Design Bureau for Marine Engineering
The first tests of the Yury Dolgoruky nuclear submarine will begin at the Sevmashpredpriyatie enterprise in the Russian city of Severodvinsk in 2003, the Interfax news agency reports. This will be a preliminary test, as the submarine is not yet completed, head of the RF Navy’s shipbuilding department Rear Admiral Anatoly Shlenov said on Tuesday. Time until completion of work will not be revealed.
It was declared earlier that construction of the strategic nuclear submarine would be finished in 2005. Construction the 995 class Yury Dolgoruky, which is a improved model of the 677 class (which is comparable to NATO's Delta IV) was started in 1996 at Sevmashpredpriyatie. The submarine has displacement of 14,720/24,000 tons, and its maximum submersion depth is 450 meters. The submarine is armed with D-9RMU ballistic missiles, 533 caliber torpedoes, Waterfall torpedo missiles and Igla-1 anti-aircraft missiles. The submarine operate for100 days without docking. Its crew consists of 107 people including 55 officers. Missile launching can be done at a depth of 55 meters in rough sea (a storm with a magnitude of 6-7) and at a speed of up to 6 knots. The submarine is equipped with an escape chamber . The Yury Dolgoruky was developed at the Rubin Design Bureau for Marine Engineering.
Anatoly Shlenov says that tests of the Dmitry Donskoy submarine will not continue for the rest of the year. Work on the submarine is progressing according to schedule. Preparation for loading nuclear material into the submarine's reactors is supposed to start in the middle of June.
Tuesday , 06 March 2007
Today, it is safe to say that only a handful of people remember that Bulava ('Mace' in Russian) was a 'surprise' project for the Russian Navy. Originally, the navy planned to develop a new solid-propellant missile complex - called 'Bark' - for advanced submarines. But in the fall of 1997, a Bark missile exploded during a test launch, and then President Boris Yeltsin ordered that the V.P. Ma-keyev State Missile Design Center put the project on hold. That was done not without the involvement of Marshal Igor Sergeyev, commander in chief of the Strategic Missile Forces, who had long-standing contacts with the Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology (MITT).
MITT directors promised the Defense Ministry that they would create a new submarine-launched ballistic missile within a short time frame. Additionally, MITT directors say they would build it on the Topol-M missile road-mobile ICBM platform. They also pledged to cut costs, specifically by reducing the number of test launches from 15 to 10. The presidential decision was backed up by the National Strategic Nuclear Force Development Program, approved by the RF Security Council.
Fifteen years of work on the Bark Project, which involved massive financial resources, went down the drain. Although the missile complex was 70-75 percent ready, the test failures led to the project's closure. Today, the Bulava missile system is on equal par with the Bark system in terms of the number of unsuccessful launches. No less problematic is the issue concerning the colossal financial resources that were spent on redesigning the Borei [Boreas] class submarines to adapt them to the Bulava system.
Navy's Cup Half Full
Three consecutive failed launches of the cutting-edge intercontinental ballistic missile, Bulava, are well within the norm, said Sergei Ivanov, former defense minister but now first deputy prime minister overseeing the defense-related sectors of industry. Ivanov made his statement to a session of the lower house of Russia's parliament, the State Duma.
"If the missile was adopted for service and then malfunctioned, that would be a nightmare," he said. "But we have not adopted it yet."
That the unsuccessful launches were only test launches is a point well made, but the failures highlight not so much specific design flaws as miscalculations in the entire concept of creating a unique weapon system.
The R-30 solid-propellant ICBM (Bulava-30) is the submarine-launched version of Russia's most advanced missile, the Topol-M (SS-27) ICBM. It has a launch weight of 30 tons and a range of about 8,000 kilometers. The missile will be equipped with up to 10 MIRV (multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle) warheads. Each of these will be allegedly capable of overcoming modern as well as future defense systems. As President Vladimir Putin said, "it makes no difference for such a system whether there is a missile shield or not."
The designers say the Topol-M and Bulava missiles will serve as a sufficient deterrent until at least 2040, forming the core of the Russian nuclear forces for the next 35 years. The missiles are said to be second to none in terms of their ability to survive a nuclear strike or attempts to destroy them by lasers.
And so this new-generation missile system, approved at the highest level, veered off course one minute after liftoff on September 7, 2006 and fell into the White Sea. A special governmental commission concluded that the cause of the failure was a malfunctioning control system.
Then, on October 25, another R-30 missile deviated from a preset trajectory and self-destructed.
On December 24, the Bulava missile once again demonstrated its erratic behavior, dropping into arctic waters shortly after launch.
All of the failed missile launches came from the Dmitry Donskoi, a Typhoon-class nuclear-powered ballistic-missile carrying submarine in the White Sea.
Bulava is becoming a truly "golden missile"
The Bulava series production is to be launched at the Votkinsk plant in the Republic of Udmurtia, which currently manufactures Topol-M missiles. The new missiles will be used on new-generation Borei-class submarines (Project 955). Presently, three nuclear-powered missile-carrying submarines are under construction at the Severodvinsk shipyard - the Yury Dolgoruky, the Alexander Nevsky, and Vladimir Monomakh. The lead ship was to have been commissioned back in 2006, but the deadline was moved up to 2007 and then to 2008.
Nevertheless, there is still enough time to work out the glitches on the Bulava system. There must be no rush or economizing, military insiders say.
Yet from every indication, money seems to be in short supply. For example, Navy Commander-in-Chief Adm. Vladimir Masorin said that "the Bulava missile system is very expensive, so military experts and scientists will try and optimize tests and reduce the number of launches as much as possible." But reducing the number of launches any further is clearly going too far: As the well-known adage goes, a miserly person always pays twice.
Jumping the Gun
What is troubling the Bulava? Some observers attribute the cause to the MITT specialists who are developing the submarine-launched ballistic missile, because they allegedly have no experience with such technologies since they have only worked on ground-based ICBMs. That is in inaccurate conclusion.
The Makeyev Design Bureau has developed more than just one effective missile system for nuclear-powered missile-carrying submarines. All test launches (submerged and surface alike) have been successful. These tests started in 2003 in the White Sea with an unarmed missile launched from the Dmitry Donskoi. In September 2004, a Bulava-30 mockup missile was launched underwater. After the launch, the Dmitry Donskoi maintained the preset depth, thus showing that the developers had coped with the problem of submerged launches.
The real problem is the desire to expedite work on the complex and save budget funds. That explains the decision to scrap ground missile launch tests, moving directly ahead with underwater launches.
On September 27, 2005, a live missile (not a mockup) was successfully launched from a surface position. Thus, Sergei Ivanov, then-defense minister, vowed to adopt the new strategic missile complex for service in late 2007. At that time, the minister was not immediately informed that the Bulava warhead had failed to hit its designated target on the Kamchatka Peninsula.
The problem was rectified on December 21, 2005, when a successful launch was conducted from an underwater position.
Officials decline to comment on Bulava's problems. Anatoly Perminov, the head of the Federal Space Agency (Roskosmos), was probably the most forthright in this respect. Two days after the unsuccessful launch, he told a news briefing, in particular, that it was necessary to improve Bulava's flight characteristics by placing a greater emphasis on fine-tuning the system "at the ground level" - that is to say, by going exactly through the stages that had been skipped for economic considerations.
The situation is all the more lamentable considering that Project 955 submarines are a priority program for the Russian Navy: In other words, it is supposed to be funded at the expense of other programs (e.g., Project 22350 frigate) with all the ensuing consequences.
Nevertheless, Perminov said the Bulava-30 missile program will continue as planned.
"Flight tests and submerged tests are being conducted. Some are successful and some are not very successful. Between 12 and 14 flight test launches are required before the missile complex can be adopted for service," he said.
Therefore, the number of test launches should be expected to increase from 10 to 14-15, which was recently confirmed by the Defense Ministry.
Although this is bound to put off the commissioning of new missile-carrying submarines, it seems that the military establishment should wait until the Bulava becomes a real weapon, not just a toy.
6 March 2007
The Moscow News