It should be noted that nuclear submarines with ballistic missiles (SSBNs) currently exist only in the “nuclear club” countries, which is associated with a number of different factors: from the complexity of the construction and operation of such ships to the characteristics of their combat work. At the same time, the leading states of the world already have extensive experience in operating SSBNs. Thus, in the USA and the USSR, such ships appeared in the sixties of the last century, and subsequently the operation of such submarines began in several countries.
All owners of SSBNs not only exploit the existing equipment, but also develop plans for updating it or replacing it with new models. Some countries are already engaged in the construction of new submarine missile carriers, while others are still working on new projects. Consider promising projects with which the countries of the “nuclear club” plan to update the maritime component of their strategic nuclear forces.
For twenty years, the Russian Navy did not receive new submarines with ballistic missiles. It should be noted that in domestic practice instead of the term SSBN it is customary to use the abbreviation SSBN (strategic missile submarine cruiser). The last Soviet-built missile cruiser (K-407 Novomoskovsk, project 667BDRM) was adopted fleet in 1990. The next SSBN replenished the naval forces only at the end of 2012. It was the lead submarine of the project 955 "Borey" - K-535 "Yuri Dolgoruky", built since 1996. The Yuri Dolgoruky submarine was the first step in updating the naval component of strategic nuclear forces.
At present, Russian shipbuilders are implementing a program for the construction of eight new XPSUM projectors. Three ships have already been built, tested and accepted into the Navy. Three more buildings are currently in various stages of construction. In the 955 year it is planned to lay the seventh and eighth series boats. Thus, by the end of the decade it is planned to build and put into operation eight new submarines. It should be noted, only three series of SSBNs (already built by Yuri Dolgoruky, Alexander Nevsky and Vladimir Monomakh) belong to the basic 2015 project. Starting from the third serial (“Prince Vladimir”), submarines are built according to the renewed 955А project, which differs from the basic one in a number of features, equipment composition, etc.
The new submarines of the 955 and 955А projects have an underwater displacement of 24 thousand tons and a total length of 170 m. Such dimensions allow the 16 new submarine cruisers to be equipped with D-30 missile launchers. The main attack weapons of the Borey-type SSBN are the P-30 Bulava ballistic missiles. These missiles are capable of flying at a distance of up to 8-9 thousand km and carry a divided warhead with warheads of individual guidance. According to open data, with a launch weight of 36,8 T, the P-30 rocket carries a drop weight of more than 1100 kg.
As a result of the construction of eight submarines, the Russian Navy will be able to simultaneously hold up to a new type of 128 ballistic missiles. For comparison, the fleet includes three SSBNs of the 667BDR Kalmar project and six submarines of the 667BDRM Dolphin project in total are capable of carrying the same number of missiles. Nevertheless, in view of the gradual withdrawal from the fleet of the outdated Squid, the maximum possible number of deployed missiles will be reduced. To compensate for this reduction in quantitative terms, as well as to improve the quality indicators of the submarine strategic fleet should new submarines of projects 955 and 955А.
Completing the construction of a series of eight Borevs in the medium term will allow preserving and even to a certain extent increasing the impact potential of the naval component of the Russian nuclear triad. A few years ago, there was an active discussion of the construction of a larger number of SSBNs of the 955 / 955А project. It was proposed to increase the series to 10 or even 12 packages. However, in the current State Armaments Program, calculated up to 2020 of the year, only eight “Boreev” expenses are envisaged. However, this does not negate the possibility of continuing the construction of such submarines at the end of the state program.
Do not forget that our country does not have the opportunity to build a large number of "Boreev" for both economic and military-political reasons. Russia fulfills the terms of the START-3 treaty, which limits the maximum possible number of deployed nuclear warheads and their carriers. Thus, the required number of new SSBNs should be determined not only in accordance with the financial capabilities of the country, but also taking into account various aspects of the formation and development of strategic nuclear forces, primarily the distribution of carriers and charges between land, sea and aviation components.
Since the early eighties in the United States Navy, SSBNs of the Ohio type have been operated. The original plan involved building 24 of such submarines, but in the end it was reduced and only 18 was built. At the beginning of the two thousandth, it was decided to reduce the number of strategic missile carriers by converting them into multi-purpose submarines. From the 2002 to 2010, four Ohio boats underwent repairs and upgrades. Thus, at present, only 14 SSBNs of the Ohio type remain in the US Navy's combat strength.
The main weapons The first eight Ohio SSBNs were Trident I C4 missiles. Later boats were built on the updated project, according to which they received the Trident II D5 missile system. In the second half of the last decade, all the available submarines of this type were converted to use newer missiles. Despite the installation of new equipment, the number of launchers has not changed. All Ohio type missile carriers have 24 launchers. Trident II D5 missiles are capable of carrying 12 warheads at a distance of up to 11,3 thousand km.
According to the existing plans of the Pentagon, Ohio-type submarines in the version of strategic rocket carriers will remain in the naval forces, at least until the end of the twenties. Only by 2030, it is planned to write off the first of these submarines. By this time, construction of new submarines should be started. A promising project has not yet received its own designation, because of which so far it appears under the names Ohio Replacement Submarine and SSBN-X. The “full-fledged” name should appear later when the project development is completed and the construction of new SSBNs starts.
In 2007, preliminary work began on creating requirements and defining the financial aspects of a new project. Calculations have shown that submarines that can replace existing Ohio-type SSBNs will cost the budget approximately 4 billion each. In the future, other prices were called, up to 8 billion per boat. Disputes about the number of required submarines are still going on. While it is believed that to replace the existing technology will be enough 12 new submarines.
At the end of the last decade, the approximate timing of the project was determined. According to calculations, in order to be in time by the end of the twenties, it was necessary to begin design work in 2014. In this case, the design of SSBN-X SSBNs should have taken about 60 million man-hours. In accordance with 2011 plans for the year, construction of the Ohio Replacement head submarine is due to begin in 2019. In 2026, it should be lowered into the water, and the next three years will be put to the test. However, a little later, it was announced that for several reasons, the program was somewhat behind this schedule.
In the spring of last year, the command of the US Navy and shipbuilders completed the formation of the appearance of promising SSBNs. The main requirements and design features of the new ships were identified. In the future, all work will be carried out in accordance with this document, which is expected to make it possible to complete all the necessary work in a timely manner.
There are some requirements for promising American submarines. They will have a total length of about 170 m and a width of the order of 13 m. The underwater displacement may exceed 20-21 thousand tons. The expected service life of submarines is 42. During this time, each of the SSBN-X will have to perform more 120 hikes and combat patrols. Boats should receive a new nuclear reactor that does not need to be replaced with fuel during service. One refueling should be enough for all 40-plus years of work.
The main weapon for the SSBN Ohio Replacement is now considered Trident II D5 ballistic missiles. Each submarine will be able to transport such missiles on 16 in vertical launchers. Earlier it was reported that the ammunition of new submarine missile carriers could be reduced to 12 missiles, but this was not confirmed. In addition to the missile submarines will receive torpedo tubes. High combat effectiveness is expected to be achieved by reducing noise and using the most modern models of onboard equipment.
Submarine ballistic missiles are considered to be the main strike weapons of US strategic nuclear forces. The 14 available Ohio type SSBNs can carry up to 336 Trident II D5 missiles. The total ammunition planned for the construction of SSBN-X will be noticeably less: to 192 missiles (12 boats, 16 missiles). This may mean that in the long run, the United States intends to change the distribution structure of carriers and deployed warheads between the existing components of the nuclear triad. In addition, it may indicate that the Pentagon plans to reduce strategic nuclear forces, transferring some of their functions to the new systems of the so-called. lightning global strike.
In 1993, the Royal Navy of Great Britain received the lead submarine of the Vanguard project. Until the end of the decade, four SSBNs of this type were built and handed over to the customer. These submarines replaced the outdated Resolution-type ships and in fact were their further development. In size and displacement, the existing British SSBNs are inferior to some foreign ships of their class. So, they have a length of the order of 150 m and an underwater displacement at the level of 15,9 thousand tons. At the same time, boats of the Vanguard type carry the 16 of Trident II D5 ballistic missiles.
The strategic nuclear forces of Great Britain have several specific features. First of all, it should be noted that in the mid-nineties the last intercontinental ballistic missile and the last nuclear combat unit used by the Air Force were written off, after which all the tasks of nuclear deterrence began to be assigned to the fleet. However, in the case of the Royal Navy, it was not without curious, but controversial decisions related to both the construction and arming of submarines.
It was originally planned to build 6-7 submarines of the "Vanguard" type, but the end of the Cold War allowed to save on expenses by reducing the series to 4 ships. Thus, in theory, the Royal Navy could hold up to the 64 ballistic missiles. However, only American-made 58 missiles were leased to arm the new SSBNs. In addition, the missiles were staffed with twice the combat equipment, which is why no more than 96 may be present on board one submarine instead of 48 warheads. Such economic and technical solutions were determined by the intention to keep only one out of four submarines on duty.
Since the late nineties, the UK has developed various programs aimed at ensuring strategic security, including through nuclear weapons. Various ideas have been suggested, but most of them have not yet come to fruition. In developing such plans, much attention is paid to existing SSBNs, armed with American-made missiles. According to the authors of some proposals, this technique needs to be replaced or, at least, upgraded. The situation is further complicated by the fact that, according to various estimates, the lead submarine Vanguard can only serve until the end of this decade, after which it will have to be written off and replaced.
In 2006, the UK Department of Defense created a preliminary plan for the modernization of strategic nuclear forces. In accordance with it, it was planned to spend about 25 billion pounds. This amount included expenditures on the reconstruction of the fleet infrastructure, on the development of nuclear warheads and on participation in the project to modernize the Trident II D5 missiles. At the same time, most of the money (up to 11-14 billions) was to be spent on building new SSBNs. There was also a proposal to modernize existing strategic missile carriers using modern components and technologies. It was assumed that such an update would extend the life of the Vanguard boats by at least 5 years.
In the spring of 2011, the British government approved a revised version of the billion-dollar program. By this time, some requirements for promising submarines were formed. SSBNs with the codename Trident - if they are built - will be able to carry Trident II D25 missiles used by existing Vanguards. Prospective submarines should receive a new nuclear reactor, and their equipment will be built using the developments of the Astute multi-purpose submarine design.
Trident project development has not yet begun. The final decision on the fate of this project will be made only in 2016 year. It is then that the military and political leadership of Great Britain must analyze the proposals and draw the appropriate conclusions. If it is decided to build a new proprietary SSBN, the head boat of the new project will be transferred to the Royal Navy approximately in 2028 year.
For several reasons, the fate of the Trident project or another British program designed to update the SSBN fleet remains questionable. It is already clear that this project will be very expensive for the budget. In addition, there are doubts about the ability of the UK to build such a technique. There is a proposal that the British military should abandon the project of its own design and take part in the American Ohio Replacement program. Nevertheless, the British Ministry of Defense has not yet decided on its plans, and the parliament continues to discuss the prospects for updating strategic nuclear forces and even the advisability of maintaining them in the future.
From 1997 to 2010, the French naval forces received four submarines of the Triomphant type. These submarine missile carriers replaced the outdated Redoutable boats. After the complete abandonment of ground-based ballistic missiles, the new SSBNs became the basis of the French strategic nuclear forces. Submarines 138 m long and 14,3 underwater displacement thou. T are equipped with 16 launchers for French-developed ballistic missiles. In addition, the submarines are armed with torpedoes.
The head and the first two serial SSBNs of the Triomphant type carried the M45 ballistic missiles developed by Aérospatiale. This weapon allows you to attack targets at ranges up to 6 thousand km. Missiles with a launch weight of 35 T carry six TN 75 combat units with a thermonuclear charge of power 110 CT. The M45 rockets are a further development of the old M4, used on Redoutable submarines since the mid-eighties. The main difference between the two missiles is the range: during the modernization, the maximum value of this parameter was increased by 20%. It is known that in the mid-nineties a contract was signed for the supply of 48 rockets M45. Thus, the delivered missiles made it possible to fully staff all the submarines planned for construction. It was possible to simultaneously patrol two of the four SSBNs available.
The first submarine of the Triomphant project serves a little over 20 years, the fourth - less than 5 years. Thus, these submarines do not need serious repair or replacement. However, before the end of the construction of the existing boats, it was decided to develop a modernization project. According to the updated version of the project was built the latest SSBN series - Terrible. The main difference between the basic and finalized projects lies in the weapons used. The fourth submarine of the series received a new M51 rocket. With similar dimensions, this rocket is heavier than the previous M45 (starting weight - 52 t), and also has a greater range - 8-10 thousand km. The combat equipment of the M45 and M51 missiles is the same. The development of a new warhead with units of increased power.
Despite some problems at the testing stage, the M51 rocket completely suits the French military. For this reason, in the future such weapons should receive all existing Triomphant type SSBNs. During scheduled repairs, it is planned to equip the first three submarines of the series with new equipment. The first weapon should receive the second serial submarine Vigilant, then the head Triomphant will be repaired, and the last will be Téméraire. It is expected that all such work will be completed by the end of this decade.
An interesting fact is that France is not going to build new SSBNs yet. To increase the potential of strategic nuclear forces, it is proposed to develop and introduce new missiles with enhanced characteristics. This method will allow to preserve the required combat effectiveness for a long time, as well as save on the construction of new submarines.
In the early eighties, it became known that the Chinese shipbuilders handed over the submarine of the project "Type 092" to the naval forces of the People’s Liberation Army of China. According to some information, another such submarine was subsequently built, however, reliable evidence of its existence did not appear. There is a version that the second SSBN project died in the mid-eighties.
The 092 Type 12 launchers for missiles are provided in the robust hull of the submarine. During the service, the submarine underwent a series of upgrades and currently carries the JL-1A missiles. This weapon is no different novelty and high performance. A rocket created in the early eighties, with a starting weight of just under 15, can deliver a monoblock warhead to a range of no more than 2500 km. Thus, the submarine of the project "Type 092" with JL-1A missiles can be considered an experimental model and technology demonstrator. The backlog in characteristics from the technology of the leading countries of the world hardly allows using this SSBN as a full-fledged means of nuclear deterrence.
In the first half of the two thousand years in China, construction of new SSBNs of the “Type 094” project started. According to reports, it was planned to build 5 or 6 ships of this type. As American intelligence reports, 5 submarines eventually left the stocks. These submarines with an underwater displacement of the order of 11 KT must carry 12 or 16 ballistic missiles. The first version of the project involves the use of 12 launchers, but a few years ago, images of the 094 Type SSBN with 16-like systems appeared. Probably, Chinese experts have developed an updated version of the project.
Submarines of the project "Type 094" carry ballistic missiles JL-2. According to some sources, this rocket for the fleet was developed on the basis of the "land" DF-31, which affected its appearance. The JL-2 rocket with a launch weight of about 42 T, according to some estimates, carries up to 2-2,5 T combat load. Exact information about the combat equipment is not available. JL-2 is equipped with a liquid engine, providing a range of about 7,5-8 thousand km.
The marine component of China’s strategic nuclear forces is not distinguished by a large number of carrier submarines. Nevertheless, this country is doing everything possible to develop such an important direction. Over the past few years, there has been a discussion of a new project of the Chinese SSBN, known under the designation “Type 096”. Earlier, China showed a model of such a submarine, which allows you to make some assumptions. Prospective submarines must be larger than existing ones. In addition, there is reason to believe that the "Type 096" will carry 24 missiles. Presumably, the main weapon of the new Chinese SSBNs will be JL-3 missiles with a range of up to 10-11 thousand km.
The status of the project "Type 096" is unknown. Official reports of the construction or start of operation of such submarines have not yet been received. However, according to rumors, the head boat "Type 096" has already been built and is being tested.
In its current form, China’s strategic nuclear forces are clearly biased toward land-based missile systems. All five Type 094 submarines can carry no more than 80 JL-1A and JL-2 missiles, but the exact number of products of this type produced is unknown. By some estimates, China has no more than 100-120 ballistic missiles of various types with nuclear warheads, including several dozen JL-2. Thus, it cannot be excluded that the PLA Navy does not have the necessary number of such missiles to simultaneously arm all existing SSNBs Type 094.
China is currently actively developing its naval forces, including nuclear submarines with ballistic missiles. Pretending to lead the world, China is engaged in many new projects in several areas, and the SSBNs are no exception. Therefore, it is possible that in the very near future there will be information about new projects of submarines and ballistic missiles for them.
At the end of 2015, India will enter the narrow circle of SSBN holders. In this country, the construction of the Arihant submarine, which is the lead ship of the project of the same name, was completed not so long ago. The submarine "Arikhant" should become the first strategic missile submarine in the Indian Navy. The adoption of the new submarine in the combat composition of the Navy will be the point in a long and complex program of developing a strategic missile carrier, which started back in the mid-eighties.
The construction of the second submarine of the new project is currently ongoing. It is planned to be launched in the middle of the 2015 of the year and sent for testing in the 2017. In addition, there are contracts for the construction of two more submarines. A total of six new SSBNs are planned to be built. In addition, there is information about the development of two versions of the project, differing in the composition of weapons.
Initially, the main weapon of the Arihant type submarines was to become two-stage solid propellant short-range ballistic missiles K-15 Sagarika. India does not yet have the technology needed to create intercontinental missiles with small dimensions, which is why it is necessary to arm new submarines with weapons with a shorter range. The K-15 rocket with a launch weight of no more than 7 t is capable of flying at a distance of up to 700 km and carrying a payload of 1 tons. It is possible to increase the range to 1900 km, but in this case the weight of the warhead decreases to 180 kg. The Sagarika product can carry both nuclear and conventional warheads.
A new K-4 medium-range missile is being developed. Having a starting weight at the level of 17 t and a solid fuel engine, this rocket will have to fly to a range of about 3,5 thousand kilometers. The K-4's throwing weight can exceed 2 tons. In September, the first test launch of a new missile from a special underwater platform took place on 2013. 24 March 2014, the prototype rocket successfully climbed from the depth of 30 m and arrived at the test site, breaking about 3 thousand km. Trials continue. The exact timing of the adoption of the new missile is not yet known.
After the construction of the submarine SSBN project "Arikhant" is planned to begin construction of a new type of submarines. For obvious reasons, the characteristics of these submarines have not yet been determined. Construction of promising submarines will begin no earlier than the middle of the next decade. Their weapons can be medium-range missiles K-4 or promising intercontinental K-5. The development of the K-5 rocket is in its early stages, due to which most of the information about it is missing. According to some reports, this product will be able to hit targets at ranges up to 6 thousand km.
Present and future
As you can see, all countries that have nuclear submarines with ballistic missiles, not only exploit similar equipment, but also develop promising projects. New submarines and ballistic missiles are being created or planned for creation. At the same time, new projects have a number of interesting features.
Thus, the Indian Navy has not yet received its first Arihant SSBN, which is currently being tested. Only by the end of this decade, the Indian fleet will have several submarines-carriers of short-range ballistic missiles. The current work can be considered a breakdown in the construction of the naval component of the strategic nuclear forces, which may be followed by certain successes. A possible future of SSBNs in India can be seen in the example of similar projects in China. The stage of construction and testing of the first submarines of this class was passed by China in the eighties, and now this country is engaged in the full-scale, within its capabilities, construction of new submarine missile carriers.
Interesting plans for the UK and France. They have a small "nuclear" submarine fleet, which, however, needs to be updated. In this regard, the British military are considering various options for upgrading their SSBNs or building new submarines of this class. France, in turn, solved the existing problems at the end of the last decade, having built one Triomphant submarine according to an updated project and began a program to modernize its three sisterships. New missiles in combination with quite modern submarines should provide a shock potential that meets the requirements of the French military strategy.
While other countries choose between construction and modernization, Russia and the United States are implementing new projects. The United States is preparing to begin developing a new SSBN project designed to replace existing Ohio-type boats. The first submarine of the new type will have to start service in the late twenties. Russia, in turn, is already building new submarine missile carriers, which are assigned the tasks of nuclear deterrence. It is noteworthy that the new Russian submarines are armed with a missile of the new model, the P-30 Bulava, and the promising American SSBN-X, for at least some time, will carry fairly old Trident II D5 missiles.
All countries that are in service with the SSBN are engaged in the development and modernization of this technology. Depending on the financial, industrial and other capabilities of the state choose the most appropriate methods of preserving and developing their combat potential. Nevertheless, despite the development methods used, all such projects have a common goal: they are designed to ensure the security of their country, and since we are talking about nuclear deterrence, then the whole world.
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