The Yury Dolgoruky, a ‘fourth generation’ (Project 955) Borey class nuclear missile submarine is expected to be launched this week at the Sevmash submarine shipyard in the northern Arkhangelsk Region. The new submarine is the first vessel expected to be equipped with the Bulava ballistic missile (the naval version of the SS-27 Topol M). The submarine will undergo sea trials in 2007 and is scheduled to be fully equipped with weaponry in 2008. However, due to the continued problems encountered with the development of the Bulava M missile, the validity of this timetable is now questionable. Despite these setbacks, Russia is determined to pursue with the Bulava program. President Vladimir Putin was quoted that Russia’s submarine fleet, particularly the fourth-generation submarines armed with Bulava missiles, would form the core of an entire fleet of modern submarines.
According to the Novosti RIA news agency, the submarine has a length of 170 meters (580 feet), a body diameter around 13 meters (42 feet), and a submerged speed of about 29 knots. It can carry up to 16 ballistic missiles. Two other Borey-class nuclear submarines, the Alexander Nevsky and the Vladimir Monomakh, are currently under construction at the Sevmash plant, with a fourth submarine on the future production schedule list.