Photographs from the rollout of the first Project 955A ‘Borey-A‘ nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) Knyaz Vladimir for the Russian Federation Navy have revealed a number of design changes from the three earlier Project 955 ‘Borey’ boats Yuri Dolgoruky , Alexander Nevsky, and Vladimir Monomakh .
Knyaz Vladimir was officially ‘launched’ from the building shed of Sevmash (part of United Shipbuilding Corporation) in Severdvinsk on 17 November. Delivery to the navy is planned for 2018.
Developed by the Rubin Central Design Bureau for Marine Engineering (also part of the United Shipbuilding Corporation), the original Project 955 design was drawn up in the early 1990s.
According to a report by Russian news agency TASS, the key drivers for the updated design were improved quietening, better habitability, increased manoeuvrability, improved sensor performance, and the introduction of updated electronic equipment.
One noticeable change is the shape of the fin (sail) structure. Whereas the original Project 955 fin exhibits a distinctive forward slant at the leading edge, Knyaz Vladimir has a more traditional ‘blunt’ fin leading edge but with a faired step at the base to reduce hydrodynamic flow noise.
TASS has also reported the development of a new anechoic coating designed to reduce target echo strength.
Another notable change is the repositioning of the towed array cable duct from the top of the rudder to the horizontal fin surface. This is most likely explained by the move to fully articulating rudder surfaces in place of the hinged rudders fitted to the earlier Project 955 boats.
Analysts have noted that each of the earlier Project 955 boats in fact had slightly different rudder shapes. The move to a fully articulating rudder design reflects the desire to improve the manoeuvrability of the design.
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