President Vladimir Putin has unveiled a submarine capable of carrying six thermonuclear warheads on Tuesday ahead of its deployment in 2020-2021.
Russia’s naval submarine called “Belgorod” will be the world’s longest submarine ever built, measuring 184 meters, The Barents Observer has estimated.
Belgorod’s refit added nearly 100 feet to the boat’s overall length. This makes the K-139, also known as the Project 09852, longer than even the monstrous Soviet-era Typhoon-class ballistic missile submarines, of which only one remains in limited service with the Russian Navy.
Officially known as Project-09852, the submarine was originally an Oscar II-class cruise missile submarine that the Russian government ran of funds to complete. The submarine hull sat unfinished until Moscow decided to complete it as a special mission submarine.
The hull was lengthened to approximately 184 meters (604 feet) and the ship’s displacement ballooned to 30,000 tons submerged–more than fifty percent greater than the U.S. Navy’s Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines. The result of an unfinished hull the Belgorod is a one-off, and there will not be another one like it.
The nuclear-powered Belgorod is neither an attack submarine nor a ballistic missile sub. A special mission submarine, Belgorod will be a mothership to other undersea vessels. The sub can carry a payload on its back, behind the sail, or a Losharik class mini-submarine that attaches and detaches to the bottom of the hull.
The Belgorod will be able to carry six underwater “Poseidon” drones
“Together, we will inevitably maximize Russia’s status as a great naval power,” Putin said in St. Petersburg ahead of the ceremony at a shipyard 1,000 kilometers further north in Severodvinsk.
Construction of the Belgorod will continue on the water following factory and state tests next year, and is set to be deployed by the end of 2020
Construction on the vessel started in 1992 but was delayed several times due to financing issues.
Russian media reports say the Belgorod will carry deep-water rescue vehicles and autonomous underwater drones. The drones themselves are expected to be ready for service in 2027, according to media reports citing a U.S. intelligence assessment.