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.
This is one of those rare cases where you can try the product of the factory while you fly to it. Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Rogozin flew the Sukhoi Superjet-100 to Novosibirsk, and within a few hours was able to see how the plane was made. In this Novosibirsk factory, the head and tail of the fuselage of Russia’s newest airliner are being built. 20 of these aircraft are planned for this year, while by 2014, the plan is to produce 3 times that amount.
But most important for the Deputy Prime Minister was the production line of the Su-34 front-line bomber. 12 Su-34’s are already in service with the Russian air-force, part of a contract for 32 aircraft. The plan is to make this aircraft the main force behind Russia’s frontal aviation. The journalists were not allowed to peak inside the su-34’s cockpit, while Dmitri Rogozin promised that the orders for this aircraft would grow, as well as the salaries and job openings. Very soon, many young specialists will be needed. By 2020, 70% of Russia’s military is to be modernized, and this factory will play a key part in that.
More photos here.
The Gaz-2330, also known as the Tiger (Tigr in Russian), is a high mobility vehicle that was originally developed for the UAE. However, after the deal went through, the Russian military expressed interest in the vehicle as a replacement for the UAZ-469 workhorse. In 2002, the first prototype was showcased, and in 2005, the Tiger entered production. The Tiger can be used to transport Special Forces soldiers, conduct patrols, and escort convoys. This vehicle is highly versatile and is being used by the Police, the Army, and Special Forces, just like its predecessor, the UAZ-469 was. The Tiger can carry a payload of up to 1500 kg and can be equipped with various weapon systems, as well as radars, ladders, and other equipment for civilian use. Within the past 7 years, production of the Tiger has been swift. Over 350 of these vehicles are reported to be in service, and can be found in service in various departments of the Russian military and Police. The standard Tiger configuration gives it room for one driver and eleven passengers.
The Gaz Tiger comes in several versions, such as weapons-carrying, troop-carrying, heavily armored, etc. The armed versions can be equipped with weapons systems ranging from a small armament comprising a Pecheneg machine gun and an AGS-17 automatic grenade launcher, to heavily armed dedicated variants that can be equipped with anti-tank and anti-aircraft missile launchers. The Tiger can operate in temperatures as low as -50 C, and can be equipped with one of several engines, including the Cummins B-214, which is rated at 215 hp. The Gaz Tiger uses parts from the BTR-80 (which is produced by the same factory) and is available with either an automatic or a manual transmission. Russia is the only current operator of the Tiger to date, with Brazil having expressed interest in the vehicle, as well.
The Tiger-6A is an up-armored version of the Tiger, and is reported to have Level-5 or higher protection. Instead of the common configuration which had a pair of side doors and a pair of doors in the back, this version is a four-door variant and thus, can only carry up to 5 people. Of course, if the MOD is willing to buy the 4-door IVECO with Level-5 protection, the Tiger-6A seems like an optimal option to stop the purchases of the IVECO.
Video taken by Vitaly Kuzmin.
More info about the AK-12 here.
Developed in the late 1980’s by the Tupolev bureau, the Tu-160 White Swan (NATO designation: Black Jack), was the last strategic bomber produced by the Soviet Union, and the most modern strategic bomber currently in Russian service. A total of 35 of these aircraft have been built, and 16 are currently in service with Russia’s strategic bomber fleet. The Tu-160 White Swan is the largest combat aircraft in the world, the largest supersonic aircraft in the world, and the largest aircraft with sweeping wings in the world. Excluding transports, no other military aircraft has a heavier takeoff weight than the Tu-160.
The Tu-160 has a speed of Mach 2, and an endurance of 15 hours at cruise speed. It is equipped with 4 Kuznetsov NK-321 after-burning turbofans, which are the most powerful engines ever used on combat aircraft. The Tu-160 has an integrated air-to-air refueling system, but it is rarely used due to the aircraft’s long endurance. Although the Tu-160 is not a stealth bomber, it was designed to have a lower radar signature, like its American counterpart, the B-1B. The Tu-160 is piloted by a crew of 4, and includes a toilet and a rest area for long-range flights. The Tu-160 is equipped with two internal weapon bays, with each capable of carrying up to 20,000 kg of ordnance.
The Tu-160 was developed to carry out long range strikes with conventional and nuclear weapons, in response to America’s B-1 strategic bomber project. It got its name, the White Swan, from its white anti-flash finish and maneuverability. The Russian air-force began modernizing its Tu-160’s in 2006. Some of the new upgrades for the Tu-160 included a new EWS (Electronic Warfare Suite) systems, full steering and cruising support via GLONASS, upgraded and more reliable engines, and new avionics that are resistant to nuclear emissions. The upgrade also allows the bomber to fire Kh-55 satellite-guided cruise missiles and laser-guided bombs. There is also a planned upgrade that will allow the bomber to fire missiles that launch civilian and military satellites.