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Russia readies Kashalot submarine for Belgorod role

Russia is set to return the Project 1910 Kashalot (NATO reporting name ‘Uniform’) nuclear-powered special-mission submarine AS-15 to service for operations from the Project 09852 nuclear-powered research mother submarine Belgorod, according to local press reports.

AS-15 is the second of three titanium-hulled Project 1910 submarines commissioned between 1986 and 1994. The latter class is designed to dive to extreme depths for operations on the seabed.

Launched in April 2019, Belgorod is due to start state trials from the Sevmash shipyard in Severodvinsk in May. Following trials, Belgorod will join the Project 09787 submarine Podmoskovye in service with the Northern Fleet’s 29th Independent Submarine Brigade. Podmoskovye is a former Delta IV submarine relaunched in 2015 after a conversion and hull stretch to accommodate mini-submarines for clandestine missions.

It is thought that AS-15 is being modernised at the Zvezdochka Ship Repair Centre in Severodvinsk, part of the United Shipbuilding Corporation. The submarine has been at Zvezdochka since 2013 and it was reported that its reactor core was removed in 2020.

Quoting industry sources, TASS and other Russian media on 27 March reported that the “repair and modernisation of the nuclear deepwater submarine AS-15 is underway”, adding that Belgorod will be used as “the carrier of the vessel”.

It appears that AS-15 is being returned to service to take on the role previously assigned to the Project 10831 special-purpose submarine AS-31 Losharik. This nuclear-powered deep sea research submarine suffered a fire in July 2019, killing all 14 crew on board.

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