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New Russian Carrier Killers
by James Dunnigan
November 8, 2009

In Russia, the fifty man crew for the first Yasen (Graney) class SSGN (nuclear powered cruise missile sub) arrived at the Sevmash shipyards where their boat is being built. The crew was put together four years ago, and has been training ever since. The crew will continue training, increasingly on the first boat of the class (the Severodvinsk), which will be launched in a few months and enter service within two years.

Last July, construction began on a second Yasen class SSGN. Russia plans to complete six boats of this class within the next six years. Construction of the first Yasen class boat, the Severodvinsk, began in 1993, but lack of money led to numerous delays. Originally, the Severodvinsk was to enter service in 1998. Work on the Severodvinsk was resumed six years ago. If work is not interrupted, the second Yasen class boat should be ready in less than  six years.

The 9,500 ton Yasens carry 24 cruise missiles, as well as eight 25.6 inch torpedo tubes. Some of the cruise missiles can have a range of over 3,000 kilometers, while others are designed as "carrier killers." The larger torpedo tubes also make it possible to launch missiles from them, as well as larger and more powerful torpedoes. The ship is highly automated, which is why there is a crew less than half the 134 needed to run the new U.S. Virginia class boats. The Yasen design is based on the earlier Akula and Alfa class SSNs. Russia had originally planned to build 30 Yasens.


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