Sea Platforms

Russia initiates multiyear plan to modernise Oscar II SSGNs

20 May 2016
The Russian Navy's Project 949A Oscar II (Antyey)-class guided-missile submarine Orel, pictured here in dry dock with its missile compartments open in August 2015. Source: Zvezdochka press service

Key Points

  • Modified Oscar II (Project 949AM) SSGNs will carry up to 72 modern anti-ship cruise missiles
  • The upgrade programme will keep the boats running into the 2030s, as the Project 885 Severodvinsk (Yasen)-class SSNs enter service

Russia has commenced a multiyear plan to modernise its Project 949A Oscar II (Antyey)-class nuclear-powered guided-missile submarines (SSGNs).

The upgrade programme includes adding a larger number of more capable missiles to the boats. The updated SSGNs will be known as Project 949AM boats, according to Russian reports.

The Oscar II has been dubbed 'carrier killer' for its primary mission of countering aircraft carrier battlegroups. Of the 11 Oscar IIs built in the 1980s and early 1990s, eight remain in service. At present, they carry 24 Chelomey 3M45 Granit (SS-N-19 'Shipwreck') anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCMs).

First reported in 2011, the modernisation plan aims by 2020 to turn most, if not all, the SSGNs into modified Oscar IIs.

Published state contracts, which describe the scope and cost of the effort, total more than RUB25 billion (about USD372 million) and include one-time design expense contracts. Russian sources estimate a single boat upgrade will cost RUB12 billion.

Plans for the Oscar II modification were made by the Rubin Central Design Bureau, the boats' original developer. Project 949AM boats will have a range of new systems including fire-control, communications, sonar, radar, and electronic intercept equipment. The modernisation will also include updated Omnibus-M combat information and Simfoniya-3.2 navigation systems.

The modified Oscar II boats will reportedly carry as many as 72 ASCMs, including a mix of 3M55 Oniks (SS-N-26 'Strobile') and 3M54 Klub (SS-N-27 'Sizzler') missiles. Installation of these weapons will require no design changes to the hull, as the missiles will fit into existing launchers outside the pressure hull. Missile design bureaus Mashinostroyeniya and Novator are collaborating on a standard launch tube for both ASCMs.

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