TASS News Agency
The Sevmash Shipyard has delivered the Project 09852 submarine Belgorod able to carry Poseidon nuclear-powered underwater drones to the Russian Navy, the shipyard’s press office said on July 8.
“On July 8, 2022, a special ceremony was held at the Sevmash Shipyard (part of the United Shipbuilding Corporation), Russia’s largest shipbuilding enterprise, to sign the acceptance report for the Belgorod research submarine.”
Sevmash Shipyard press office
The submarine is designed to accomplish various research tasks, implement search and rescue operations, and can carry deep-water rescue and autonomous unmanned submersible vehicles on its board.
As Russian Navy Commander-in-Chief Nikolai Yevmenov said at the ceremony, the Belgorod will open new opportunities in carrying out research.
“The submarine Belgorod opens new opportunities for Russia in holding research and helps carry out diverse scientific expeditions and rescue operations in remote areas of the World Ocean,” he said.
Nikolai Yevmenov, Russian Navy’s Commander-in-Chief
The Project 09852 submarine Belgorod, the first carrier of Poseidon nuclear-powered underwater drones, was floated out on April 23, 2019. The submarine was initially planned to be delivered to the Navy in 2020. According to available data, its delivery was delayed as the program of its trials was not completed, which was also due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Under Russia’s state armament program through 2027, shipbuilders will deliver three special-purpose nuclear-powered submarines to the Russian Navy.
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Naval News comments
The Russian Navy’s newest “special mission” submarine, K-329 Belgorod, designed to give the Russian Navy new capabilities, was launched in Severodvinsk on April 23, 2019.
As Naval News’ contributor H I Sutton stated in his article last year, just after the submarine completed her first sea trials, Belgorod is the largest submarine to be built for 30 years, though the exact specifications weren’t revealed by the officials yet.
Belgorod it’s intended purpose presents Western analysts with an enigma. She will combine two seemingly contradictory roles. The first is as a host submarine (read ‘mothership’) for deep diving nuclear-powered midget submarines. These are capable of working on cables and other objects on the sea floor. The concern in NATO is that these could include the undersea internet cables connecting Western countries. This is termed a ‘special mission’ in navy parlance (which is full of euphemisms for covert activities).
H I Sutton, OSINT Analyst
The second role is that of nuclear attack and deterrence. For this purpose, the ship will be armed with six Poseidon 2м39 torpedoes, which are called “intercontinental nuclear-armed autonomous torpedoes.” At over 20 meters in length, they are indeed giant underwater drones with virtually unlimited range and a nuclear warhead. And their expected performance (about 70 knots and 1,000 meters depth) means they cannot be countered with existing weapons.