Interfaks-AVN reports Borey-class SSBN Aleksandr Nevskiy (K-550) will soon embark on an inter-fleet transfer from the Northern Fleet submarine base at Gadzhiyevo to Vilyuchinsk in the Pacific Fleet.
Nevskiy may not spend another winter in Gadzhiyevo like Monomakh and Dolgorukiy above. Not too many months ago, it was thought Monomakh would also reach the Pacific Fleet this year. That boat apparently needs a second successful Bulava SLBM firing before it can depart the northern waters where it was built.
The Russian Navy conducted a major training assembly on under-ice operations for nuclear submarine crews last February.
An article in Krasnaya zvezda reported that this training was aimed squarely at SSBN and Borey crews particularly. Retired Vice-Admiral Anatoliy Shevchenko, Russia’s most accomplished under-ice submariner, was the featured speaker.
Nevskiy’s inter-fleet along Russia’s Northern Sea Route (Северный морской путь) could begin this month or next.
Soviet submarines built in Severodvinsk used to inter-fleet to bolster the Pacific order-of-battle. The first were November-class SSN K-115 and Hotel II-class SSBN K-178 in September 1963.
But inter-fleet transfers beсame rare in the Russian era. Four Oscar II-class SSGNs traversed the Sevmorput in the 1990s. The last inter-fleet was Delta III-class SSBN Ryazan, which came in 2008 to keep the Pacific Fleet from losing its strategic nuclear strike capability.
According to a Navy Main Staff source, Nevskiy will conduct its third Bulava launch after its arrival in the Pacific Fleet. The second hull of the Borey-class, Nevskiy was officially commissioned in December 2013.
Nevskiy is part of the 25th Submarine Division (25-я Дивизия подводных лодок or 25-я ДиПЛ). Nevskiy (and Monomakh) were long ago inscribed on its roll. But only three aged Delta III-class SSBNs (including Ryazan) are physically present in the Pacific.
We should recall (yet again) that, although President Vladimir Putin intervened personally to save the Pacific Fleet’s SSBN force in 2002, his men still can’t quite finish new basing facilities required for Borey-class boats. Watch for more details on this, possibly tomorrow.
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