The advanced Yasen-M nuclear-powered submarine has been launched in Russia. The new ship, which is expected to join the Navy next year, is capable of carrying all existing Russian cruise missiles – and likely more.
The launch ceremony was held at the Sevmash shipyard in Russia’s northwestern city of Severodvinsk on Wednesday. It comes just a few days after the shipyard marked its 80th anniversary – and an event such as this is the best way to mark the occasion, Deputy Director General of Sevmash Sergey Voronko said.
Footage of the launch ceremony was released to the general public – and it does not show much, since the new vessel remains top secret. The video only shows the stern of the submarine and its propeller in detail, giving room for speculation.
The new vessel called the Novosibirsk, which is expected to join the ranks of the Russian Navy next year, is the first mass produced submarine of its type. The maiden Yasen-M submarine, the Kazan, is still undergoing naval trials and is expected to join the Navy in 2020 as well. Four more submarines of the type are under construction, and at least two more are expected to be laid down later – presumably next year.
While little is known about the new submarine, it is said to be significantly more advanced than its predecessor – the original Yasen-class submarine. The new vessels are capable of using every type of Russian naval-based cruise missile – the multi-purpose Kalibr and anti-ship Oniks in particular – as well as carrying massive 533-mm homing torpedoes.
The submarines are also likely to carry the new Zircon hypersonic cruise missile, since it can be launched from the same tubes used for the Kalibr and Oniks – though there has been no official confirmation yet. Moscow has been keen on fitting new munitions on more of its ships lately – and this is unlikely to exclusively affect surface vessels.
The launch of the Novosibirsk did not go unnoticed, creating quite a fuss in the Western military media. The National Interest called the new vessel a Russian “Christmas gift for the US Navy,” branding it Moscow’s “deadliest submarine ever.”