The Russian Federation is soon to be deploying a new class of submarine, the Project 885 “Yasen” -class, or “Graney” -class. The “Yasen” (“Ash tree” in Russian) or “Graney” (the NATO designation) has been in development since 2003, when funds ran out and development was postponed until roughly 2010, when it made its first trials at sea in 2011.
The Graney-class submarine will come armed with a capability of twenty-four cruise missiles, eight torpedo-launching tubes and the capability to deploy mines. Unlike other ICBM-capable submarines, or “boomers” (a nickname for ballistic missile submarines used by the U.S. Navy) the Graney-class is designed to be much more stealthy. The hull of the Graney-class utilizes low-magnetic steel that has the capability to reduce its magnetic signature, thus making it more difficult to find, as well as other countermeasure systems such as the NATO-designated “Rim Hat.”
Another unique feature of the Graney-class is that the torpedo tubes are designed to be slanted in order to make room for the (unusually large) spherical Irtysh-Amfora sonar, which is the being utilized by a Russian naval vessel for the first time aboard the Graney-class. This is an important quality of the Graney-class, that it is utilizing the newest technologies and being made to be more efficient than not only other Russian warships, but also other countries’ as well. For example, it is not only smaller than the Akula- (Russian for “shark”) class ships it is intended to replace, but carries more firepower than them as well. It also requires a crew of roughly fifty sailors, whereas the Virginia-class submarine used by the U.S. Navy requires a crew of roughly one-hundred thirty-four.
The first Graney-class submarine to set sail for the Russian Navy, called the Severodvinsk, did so in 2010 with another two Graney-classes in production: the second one is called the Kazan, and the third is called the Novosibirsk. It is unknown how effective these submarines will actually be when they enter active service, but after the incident in August, 2012 when an Akula-class conducted operations in the Gulf of Mexico for weeks without discovery, it can be expected that we may never know exactly where and when the Graney-class will be deployed.