The Project 955, also known as the Borei class (named after the North wind), is the latest Russian ballistic missile equipped, nuclear powered submarine (4th generation). The Borei class is intended to replace several older Russian submarines of the same class, such as the Delta-3 and Delta-4 submarines, and the Typhoon class submarine. The Yury Dolgoruky was the first submarine of the Borei class and it was laid down in 1996. However, due the to economic problems that Russia faced during the 1990′s, the submarine was not launched until 2007, and completed sea trials in 2010. Yury Dolgoruky was the first strategic submarine launched by Russia since the Soviet Union dissolved. On December 6th, 2010, a second Borei class submarine, the Alexander Nevsky, was launched and began sea trials during the following year.
The Borei class submarine has an estimated cost of 890 million dollars. The Borei class is 560 ft long, 43 ft wide, and has a max speed of 25 knots. The Borei class was specifically designed to carry SS-N-30 Bulava ballistic missiles, and can carry a total of 16 such missiles. The Bulava program had quite a few ups and downs, which left the Project 955 without a main weapon. However, recently the Bulava completed all testing, and the Borei class submarines will now be armed with them. The Borei class is also armed with torpedoes and RPK-2 cruise missiles.
There are currently two completed Borei class submarines, and two more under construction. The fourth one, named Svyatitel Nikolay, is expected to be modernized and renamed to the Project 955U Borei-2 class. One of it’s upgrades will be the ability to carry 20 Bulava missiles (instead of 16). By 2015, the Russian Navy plans to have 8 more Borei Class submarines in service, which will probably be upgraded Project 955U’s.