In the complete formation of Russian military power, nuclear weapons and their means of delivery are extremely important. Among them, the Russian Navy has nuclear submarines, especially ballistic missile submarines, that can compete with were designed and built to be able to compete with the United States, including the largest submarine ever built in human history – project 941 “Akula” class (NATO named “Typhoon”) nuclear submarines, and now, the last “Typhoon” – the first submarine “Dmitry Donskoy” after 41 years of service finally retired from active service from the Russian Navy.
On the 20th of this month, the Russian Navy released a news report that the strategic nuclear submarine “Dmitry Donskoy” with the hull number TK-208 was officially decommissioned. Although this nuclear submarine is not as famous as its younger generation, the Type 955 “Borei-class”, it is actually the first submarine of the famous Soviet-Russian third-generation strategic nuclear submarine “Typhoon” class, and it is also the six completed “Typhoon” subs. The last one to be retired is also the only Type 941UM that has been modified to launch “Bulava” submarine-launched nuclear missiles. It has a very legendary life experience.
“Dmitry Donskoy”,the lead Submarine of the “Typhoon” class, construction started in June 1976 in the important town of Russian nuclear submarine construction – Severodvinsk “Northern Machinery Manufacturing Complex” (Sevmash) Shipyard started construction and the sub was launched on September 29, 1980, and commissioned in December 1981. After that, the shipyard built 5 more “Typhoon” classes, which served from 1983 to 1989. Due to the nuclear disarmament of the United States and the Soviet Union, the No. 7 Submarine TK -210 was demolished on the slipway, it also became the protagonist of the Hollywood blockbuster “The Hunt for Red October”, all “Typhoons” were deployed in the Northern Fleet, planning to launch doomsday against the United States from the Barents Sea.
The Typhoon class is the largest submarine ever built. Its length is 172.8 meters, the width reaches an astonishing 23.3 meters, the surface displacement is 23,200 tons, and the submersible displacement reaches 48,000 tons, which is more than twice the size of the “Ohio” class (submersible weight 18,000 tons) built by the US Navy at the same time. The “Granite”/949A “Antai” class (“Oscar I/II”) cruise missile nuclear submarine and the 955 class are twice as large. Because the Soviet and Russian nuclear submarines use the double-hull design all the year round, the submarine displacement is also generally larger than US-made nuclear submarines.
Such a large hull is all for “arranging” the killer weapons of the “Typhoon” class submarine-launched intercontinental ballistic missiles. It can hold up to 20 R-39 (NATO calls SS-N-20 “Sturgeon”) missiles, the second and first solid-fuel submarine-launched missile in Russia, weighing 90 tons. The largest submarine-launched ballistic missile in human history can carry ten 200,000-ton TNT-equivalent split-guided nuclear warheads with a range of 8,250 kilometers. Although this missile is powerful, it is more powerful than the “Trident IID5” developed by the United States at the same time. “A lot more, the latter is only 59 tons.
Because of this, the “Typhoon” class is extraordinarily large. Since the width of the hull is over 20 meters, it brings great difficulties to the construction of the pressure hull. The “Ruby” design bureau innovatively used two pressure hulls made of titanium alloy and light steel in a juxtaposed combination. Once completed, the R-39 missile pod was cleverly arranged in the middle non-pressure hull. During the final assembly, the “Northern Machinery Manufacturing Consortium” shipyard specially built the world’s largest indoor hull for the “Typhoon” class.
Due to its large size, the “Typhoon” class also has a good living environment that most soviet and russian nuclear submarines did not have. In order to relax the crew who perform underwater tasks for a long time, the “Typhoon” class is equipped with a swimming pool and a Russian-style sauna. Although the “Borei-class” also has similar looking facilities, the “Typhoon” class is the most impressive. What is amazing is that there is an indoor sunroom, with lights and a lot of lounge chairs, which can allow the crew to fully rest, and there are big benefits if these facilities.
However, the service career of the six “Typhoon” class Submarine was generally mediocre, and they encountered the background of the era of nuclear disarmament between the United States and the Soviet Union and the United States and Russia. The original plan to build 10 Submarine was eventually reduced to 6 Submarine. In the 1990s, Russia became independent. After encountering economic difficulties, under the “flickering” and very limited financial support of the United States, the “Typhoon” class No. 2 Submarine (TK-202), No. 3 Submarine (TK-12) and No. 4 Submarine (TK-13) was completely demolished from 2005 to 2008.
The No. 5 Submarine (TK-17) and No. 6 Submarine (TK-20) were scrapped after 2004 due to the disrepair of the R-39 missile, and there is no money to dismantle them until now, but the oldest TK was modified in order to test the new generation of “Bulava” submarine-launched intercontinental missiles, in 2002, it was renamed “Dmitry Donskoy”, and it has been in service so far. The 18th Submarine Division of the Northern Fleet, which originally consisted of six “Typhoons”, was also abolished.
As a big country spanning Europe and Asia, Russia has a natural geographical advantage in developing sea-based nuclear forces. The Barents Sea and the Sea of Okhotsk are natural “fortress sea areas” far from the edge of the US Navy, despite sanctions and economic difficulties. , Russia will still tighten its belt, sell iron, and give priority to building more technologically advanced submarines to deter the United States and its allies.