Atomic hunter

Written by The Frontier Post

Andrey Kots

The Pacific Fleet is waiting for a serious replenishment – the modernized nuclear submarines 949AM “Antey”. According to a RIA Novosti source in the shipbuilding industry, they are able to take on board more cruise missiles than any other ship in the Navy. And in terms of characteristics and combat capabilities, they will come close to nuclear submarines of the last, fourth, generation.
rocket platform
Eight Project 949A nuclear submarine missile cruisers (APRK) serve in the Northern and Pacific Fleets. The boats regularly go on long patrols across the oceans and participate in exercises. The Antei, like the Tu-22M3 bombers, are the trump cards of the Russian fleet in the confrontation with aircraft carrier strike groups. Their only drawback is age.
The youngest boat K-150 “Tomsk” this year turns 26 years old, the rest are already over 30 – a bit too much for naval equipment. However, the Ministry of Defense is in no hurry to write off the Antei, although the next generation nuclear submarines are being built.
The modernization program was developed in the 2010s. The first APRK of the updated project 949AM will be the K-132 Irkutsk (in service since 1988). The cruiser has been under repair for more than 13 years, but for a number of reasons, real modernization began only in 2019. The return of the nuclear submarine to the Pacific Fleet is expected this year.
First of all, Irkutsk will be upgraded with weapons: instead of heavy supersonic anti-ship missiles P-700 Granit, they will get lighter and more powerful Onyxes and Calibers. Moreover, the number will increase to 72 units. Not a single pennant of the Russian Navy has such an arsenal. At the same time, Antey did not even have to redo the hull – only the launch containers were modified.
New life for the Premier League
One incomplete salvo of such an APRK is enough to guarantee the destruction of an aircraft carrier group – there is no shipborne air defense system capable of repelling several dozen high-velocity munitions at once. In addition, the combat power of the Anteev will only grow. Very soon, hypersonic Zircons, placed in the same installations as the Caliber, will go into service en masse. Even in the West they admit that there is nothing to shoot down the latest Russian anti-ship missiles.
The Combat Information and Control System (CICS) “Omnibus-M” will simplify and automate many processes.
In addition, almost the entire electronic filling will be updated, modern communications equipment and a hydroacoustic complex will be installed on the boat.
“Modernization will extend the service life by at least ten years and expand the combat capabilities of the Pacific Fleet,” Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said earlier.
Following the Irkutsk, the K-442 Chelyabinsk will go to the shipyard. The work will last until 2025.
atomic hunter
Submarines 949A in the 1980s and 90s were a real breakthrough. This is a new stage in the development of nuclear cruisers, which, according to the concept of an asymmetric response, opposed aircraft carrier strike formations. Compared to the predecessors of projects 659 and 675, these nuclear submarines were less “noisy”, were faster, had three times more ammunition and radically improved weapons.
Their main “argument” is 24 Granit supersonic anti-ship missiles, which reach the target at altitudes from 25 meters to 17 kilometers and accelerate to two and a half Mach numbers.
It is believed that just one ammunition with a 750-kilogram penetrating warhead will disable a first-rank surface ship. “Granites” were placed outside the strong hull, in side containers tilted forward by 40 degrees. In addition, each ship has two 650 mm and four 533 mm torpedo tubes with 28 torpedoes.
The main power plant is a block one: two nuclear reactors and two steam turbines with a total capacity of 98,000 horsepower. For auxiliary functions, there are a pair of 8700 horsepower diesel generators. The cruising range is not limited, autonomy is about 120 days. The crew is relatively small – 107 divers.
shock tandem
However, the fleet command does not rely solely on modernization. The priority is the purchase of fourth-generation multi-purpose APRK 885M “Ash-M”. Now the Navy has three such cruisers – K-561 “Kazan” and K-573 “Novosibirsk”, as well as the lead one – K-560 “Severodvinsk”.
They have optimized hull contours, an updated element base of electronic weapons, advanced equipment and materials. It is noteworthy that all components are produced in Russia. Previously, a lot was bought in the countries of the former USSR.
In addition to ten 533-mm torpedo tubes, the Ashes carry eight universal vertical launchers, each with five Calibers. Depending on the task – different modifications: anti-ship, anti-submarine or for strikes against ground targets.
The boat can also carry the more powerful P-800 Oniks for firing at large surface targets, as well as the promising Zircons.
Cruisers of the new and previous generations are planned to be used in close conjunction.
“Antei” will be “floating arsenals”, and less noticeable “Ash” will conduct reconnaissance and issue target designation.

About the author

The Frontier Post