TASS Russian news agency
“In July, a contract was signed with the Defense Ministry for the construction of another two Borey-A-class nuclear submarines. They are the Dmitry Donskoy and the Knyaz Potemkin,”
Sevmash shipyard CEO Mikhail Budnichenko
Budnichenko recalled that the Knyaz Vladimir lead submarine of upgraded project 955A was handed over to the Navy in June 2020. The Knyaz Oleg SSBN was rolled out of the slipway in July. The shipyard is building four SSBN — the Knyaz Oleg, the Generalissimo Suvorov, the Emperor Alexander III and the Knyaz Pozharsky.
Sevmash laid the Knyaz Vladimir in July 2012 and floated it in November 2017. It joined the Navy in June 2020 making the construction time last 96 months. The Knyaz Oleg was laid in July 2014 and floated in July 2020. It has to join the Navy in 2021.
The Generalissimo Suvorov was laid in December 2014, the Emperor Alexander III in December 2015, and the Knyaz Pozharsky in December 2016.
If the fifth and sixth SSBN are laid in 2021, they may join the Navy in 2027-2028. Thus, Russia will have ten project 955 and 955A SSBN (the Yuri Dolgoruky, the Alexander Nevsky and the Vladimir Monomakh of project 955 and seven SSBN of project 955A).
The Russian Navy currently operates four SSBN of projects 955 and 955A, one SSBN of project 677BDR (the Ryazan), six SSBN of project 677BDRM (the Verkhoturye, the Yekaterinburg, the Tula, the Bryansk, the Karelia and the Novomoskovsk) and one SSBN of project 941 (the Dmitry Donskoy). It makes a total of twelve SSBN. All Soviet-built submarines are to be decommissioned and replaced by new SSBN by the end of the decade.
The naming of a new SSBN after Dmitry Donskoy means that the last SSBN of project 941 with the same name would be decommissioned. The Navy will also get rid of project 667BDR submarines. It is unclear which project 677BDRM subs will be replaced. The decision will depend on the technical state of each submarine.
If Sevmash signs another contract for two SSBN of project 955A in the coming years, it will fully switch the sea component of the Russian nuclear deterrence to fourth-generation SSBN by early 2030s.