History of the Borei Class
The first design work on the project started in the mid-1980s and the construction of the first vessel started in 1996. Previously, a short-lived, smaller parallel design appeared in 1980s with designation Project 935 Borei II. A new submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) called the R-39UTTH Bark was developed in parallel. However, the work on this missile was abandoned and a new missile, the RSM-56 Bulava, was designed. The submarine needed to be redesigned to accommodate the new missile, and the design name was changed to Project 955. The vessels were developed by Rubin Design Bureau are being built by Russia's Northern shipyard Sevmash in Severodvinsk.
It was reported in 2013 that the arrival of the Borei class will enable the Russian Navy to resume strategic patrols in southern latitudes that had not seen a Russian missile submarine for 20 years.
Launch and Trials
The launch of the first submarine of the class, Yury Dolgorukiy (Юрий Долгорукий), was scheduled for 2002 but was delayed because of budget constraints. The vessel was eventually rolled out of its construction hall on 15 April 2007 in a ceremony attended by many senior military and industrial personnel. Yuriy Dolgorukiy was the first Russian strategic missile submarine to be launched in seventeen years since the end of the Cold War. The planned contingent of eight strategic submarines was expected to be commissioned within the next decade, with five Project 955 planned for purchase through 2015.
Yuriy Dolgorukiy was not put into the water until February 2008. By July 2009, it had yet to be armed with Bulava missiles and was therefore not fully operational, although it was ready for sea trials on 24 October 2008. On 21 November 2008 the reactor on Yuriy Dolgorukiy was activated and on 19 June 2009, the submarine began its sea trials in the White Sea.
In August 2009 it was reported that the submarine would undergo up to six trials before being commissioned, but the problem with the Bulava missile could delay it even more.
On 28 September 2010 Yuriy Dolgorukiy completed company sea trials. By late October the Russian Pacific Fleet was fully prepared to host Russia's new Borei-class strategic nuclear-powered submarines. It is expected that four subs will be deployed in the Northern Fleet and four subs in the Pacific Fleet. On 9 November 2010 Yuriy Dolgorukiy passed all sea trials directed to new equipment and systems.
Initially, the plan was to conduct the first torpedo launches during the ongoing state trials in December 2010 and then in the same month conduct the first launch of the main weapon system, RSM-56 Bulava SLBM. The plan was then postponed to mid-summer 2011 due to ice conditions in the White Sea.
On 2 December 2010 the second Borei-class submarine, Alexander Nevskiy, was moved to a floating dock in Sevmash shipyard. There the final preparations took place before the submarine was launched. The submarine was launched on 6 December 2010 and began sea trials on 24 October 2011.
On 28 June 2011 a Bulava missile was launched for the first time from the Borei-class submarine Yuriy Dolgorukiy. The test was announced as a success. After long delays finally the lead vessel, Yuriy Dolgorukiy, joined the Russian Navy on 10 January 2013. The official ceremony raising the Russian Navy colors on the submarine was led by Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu. It was actively deployed in 2014 after a series of exercises.
On 17 November 2017, the fourth Borei-class submarine and the first of the improved Project 955A, the Knyaz Vladimir was moved out of the construction hall at the SEVMASH shipyard. The submarine was launched a year later and subsequently started its factory trials.
On 25 October 2022, the first photo of the Generalissimus Suvorov, the sixth vessel in the class, were published while performing sea trials. On 7 November, all trials were finished and she was being prepared for commissioning.