955A: serialization, names, distribution by fleets
Recently, the efforts of a number of Russian news-makers (central news agencies, specialized Internet resources, television companies and social networks) in the program for the construction of the 4th generation SSBN, pr. 955A (Borey-A) - such as it is It seems to a wide audience - there are serious discrepancies. They relate to the number of ships planned for construction, the actual names assigned to them and the distribution among the fleets. The purpose of this record is to try to establish the truth.Seriality
For the first time about the continuation of the Borei series (955 and 955A), which at that time consisted of eight combatant and built SSBNs, it became known in May 2018, when a source in the defense industry told the media about the decision to build six more boats of Project 955A on Sevmash (link 1). In mid-2019, a message appeared about the planned conclusion of a state contract for two Borea-A in the framework of the Army-2019 forum (link 2). The contract was not signed at the forum, as evidenced by Deputy Minister of Defense A. Krivoruchko (ref. 3) and the Army’s official website (ref. 4), but at the end of November the date for laying the 9th and 10th Boreev was announced - May 9, 2020 (ref. 5).
The informational failure occurred on February 21 after the announcement of the decision to conclude a contract for the 9th and 10th submarines on the Army 2020 (23-29.08) and lay them on Sevmash in 2021 (ref. 6). Having misinterpreted the above (who doesn’t happen to anyone), colleagues from flotprom.ru decided that in addition to those planned for the Victory Day bookmark, we are talking about two other SSBNs, the number of which "in the Russian Navy" may increase to 12 units "(reference 7). On March 10, their opinion was made without reference to the source in Regnum (link
, which VKontakte duplicated the authoritative profile resource Storm of Depth (link 11), thereby “legitimizing” the erroneous point of view.
The truth in this case is that today we can talk about the seriality of pr. 955 in 10 units with a possible increase to 14. Since the SSBNs are not only part of the Navy but the naval forces’s strategic nuclear forces, to give any reasoned arguments in favor of that or another number of “Boreev” is quite difficult. Paragraph 2 of Article II of START III, which, God willing, will be extended, states "each of the parties has the right to independently determine the composition and structure of its strategic offensive weapons" (ref. 12), which makes ensuring the parity of marine parts of nuclear triads unnecessary.
As of January 1, 2020, the U.S. Navy's Strategic Nuclear Forces had 220 deployed SSBN launchers and the same number of Trident II SLBMs (Ref. 13), i.e. 11 out of 14 Ohio type boats with 20 out of 24 missile silos (four launchers are formally in a state of "impossibility of launching SLBMs" - ref. 14). Another 60 launchers were considered non-deployed (in total - 280). In the future, after replacing the Ohio with Columbia, the number of deployed and non-deployed launchers will be reduced to 192 (16 launchers per 12 SSBNs).
If you choose the serialization of 955A between 10 and 14 (ref. 1), the number 12 seems most reasonable. First, even if it is not so important, it will correspond to the plans of the Pentagon. Secondly and thirdly, it is completely divided into two (more on this later) and three, which corresponds to the principle of tripling the payroll already mentioned more than once in the blog to ensure a permanent presence in the ocean when one of the three ships one class in one of the fleets is in combat service, the other is in combat readiness or in the process of preparing for a long voyage at a permanent base, the third is in repair or modernization (ref. 15).Names
The message that the ceremony of laying the new “Boreevs” is timed to Victory Day (ref. 5), gave rise to understandable assumptions that their names would be associated with a significant date. These assumptions did not get any confirmation, but in the Russian-language Wikipedia article on Ave. 955, there appeared "Marshal Zhukov" (manager No. 209) and "Marshal Rokossovsky" (No. 210) (link 16-22.12.2019 15:51) . The military observer Regnum found the information not supported by links to be completely reliable and broadcast it to a audience of one and a half million (link
. It is sad, but the Storm of Depth also believed in the fiction.
Meanwhile, at the end of February this year (two weeks before the publication of Regnum) a letter was published on the network dated December 23, 2019 signed by the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy N. Evmenov, addressed to the chairman of the Vladivostok Sea Assembly. The letter says: "the military council of the Navy supported the proposal to assign the real name" Rurik "to the sixth serial strategic missile submarine cruiser [Head # 209], project 955a, planned for construction for the Pacific Fleet" (ref. 17).
The name of the seventh "Borei-A" is still unknown. One of the most suitable options, according to the author, is Field Marshal Kutuzov (as long as there is a Generalissimo Suvorov). There will be no duplication here, since the cruiser Project 68 bis Mikhail Kutuzov is no longer listed in the fleet, but as a branch of the Central Naval Museum of the Ministry of Defense (ref. 18). Citizen Minin (manager No. 211?), Who is inseparable in history from Pozharsky, whose name is named after manager, should not be ignored. No. 208 - the fifth ship of the "princely" series (even in the Russian Imperial Navy with its class prejudices there were armored cruisers / frigates "Minin" and "Prince Pozharsky"). As for Zhukov and Rokossovsky, there is no doubt that in the foreseeable future warships worthy of the names of the Marshals of Victory will be built for the Russian Navy.
It is believed that in the Soviet Union there was an uneven distribution of SSBNs among the fleets (in favor of the Northern Fleet), but even a cursory glance at the history of the domestic atomic sub-melting suggests that this was not always the case. For example, the ships of the last two modifications of the 667 family were altogether distributed between the Northern Fleet and Pacific Fleet in a proportion close to 1/1 - 7 BDRM and 4 BDR in the North, 10 BDR in the Far East (ref. 20, ref. 22). Currently, the Federation Council’s “strategists” are significantly superior to the Pacific Fleet - 7 versus 3, and after the entry into operation of Prince Vladimir there will be 8 versus 3 (ref. 23). The situation with the probable adversary is inversely proportional, although not so unevenly: on the West (Pacific) coast, 8 SSBNs are based (Navy Kittsap / Bangor), on the East - 6 (Kings Bay) (ref. 24), which is most likely connected with the "Chinese threat."
There are reasons for the preferred deployment of an SSBN in the North. Ilyin and Kolesnikov (Russian Submarines, 2002, pp. 241-242) argue that "when patrolling in the Arctic seas directly adjacent to the Russian coast (including under ice cover) ... almost absolute underwater survival is ensured missile carriers "(due to unfavorable hydrological conditions for the enemy, especially in vast shallow areas). The ice cover of the Arctic Ocean, to the edge of which from Gadzhievo in winter / summer is only 350/450 miles and less than a day's journey at a maximum low noise speed of 20 knots (from Vilyuchinsk four times farther and longer), certainly contributes to stealth deployment. Moreover, the ammunition that paves the way for the Bulava when it is launched from under the ice, as they say, is already undergoing tests (ref. 25).
Information on the military-applied hydrology of the Sea of Okhotsk could not be found in open sources, but its geographical position in comparison with the Barents Sea seems even more advantageous. It’s only 100 km from the Norwegian border to Gadzhievo, and the entrance to the Russian Arctic from the north and west, despite control from the Northern Fleet, is open to warships of NATO countries. In turn, despite the fact that the Sea of Okhotsk is not internal de jure, it is de facto the case (at least in terms of deploying the SSBN). After brigades of submarines of Project 636.3 or 677 and corvettes of Project 20380 (20385) are formed in Kamchatka, the likelihood of penetration of the Japanese Navy submarine or the US Navy submarine into its water area will become minimal. Finally, in terms of remoteness from targets on the territory of a likely adversary, SF and Pacific Fleet are equivalent. From Gadzhievo to Washington on the East coast along an arc of a large circle of 6700 km, to San Francisco on the West - 8000, from Vilyuchinsk - 8500 and 6100 km, respectively (reference 26) (*).
(*) The distance of the "Mace" is 8000–9300 km.
It follows from the above that the number of Boreans on each of the two ocean fleets should be the same (as confirmed by the message at link 27). Due to the strong imbalance in favor of SF, it is urgently necessary to strengthen the Pacific Fleet. First-hand information (from the commander of the submarine forces of the Pacific Fleet) testifies to understanding the problem by the Navy’s commander-in-chief - three Boreas will go to the Far East in a row: Prince Oleg, Generalissimus Suvorov and Emperor Alexander III (ref. 28) (" Military acceptance "lost sight of the first - ref. 29 37:59, the distribution of the other two was announced as early as the day they were laid - ref. 30, ref. 31). The next will be “Rurik” (ref. 17). Thus, the course of events leads to the fact that in order to ensure "nuclear parity" of the Northern Fleet and Pacific Fleet in the "6 by 6" format (after decommissioning all BDRMs), it will be necessary to lay two more Boreya-A for the Northern Fleet (Head No. 211-212).