Russia Navy getting improved 885M submarines in 2016 but next subs could use composite structures

The Russian Navy will take delivery of an improved Project 885M Yasen-class attack submarine in 2016. They hope to procure a minimum of eight Yasen-class attack boats.

The Yasen-class boats do not make use of a double-hull—instead it has hybrid design with a lighter structure over the vessel’s pressure hull according to Russian media reports. Another unique feature for a Russian vessel is that it incorporates a spherical bow sonar called the Irtysh-Amfora for the first time. As a result, Severodvinsk has its torpedo tubes located at about mid-ship like U.S. submarines. The vessel has eight torpedo tubes, four of which are 650mm tubes while the rest are 533mm tubes. Combat Fleets of the World estimates that the Yasen-class may carry as many as 30 torpedoes.

The Project 885M is an impressive and very capable vessel, it is not quite an equal to the latest American Virginia-class boats in terms of acoustical or sensor performance. In terms of raw performance, the Severodvinsk and her sisters are likely more similar to the U.S. Navy’s three Seawolf-class attack boats.

A next-generation Russian nuclear submarines may use composite structures — imagine something akin to a cutting-edge carbon fiber — in an attempt to drastically reduce their acoustical signatures.

Multilayer composite coatings for the body, bow and stern rudders, stabilizers, cutting the fence, even propellers and shaft line could be used in the new generation of Russian submarines. The goal is to dramatically reduce the detectability of the boat.

The use of composites in the construction of new ships can not only reduce the weight and increase the reliability but also reduce operating costs, because composites do not require painting and are not subject to corrosion. This type of design can be manufactured in one process, which reduces the complexity of manufacturing the housing parts or assemblies 30-40% mechanisms.

Currently, decisions on the basis of composite materials are bench testing. According to Valery Polovinkina first adaptive composite propeller can be presented to the full-scale tests already in 2018.

The appearance of these boats is expected after the completion of the current shipbuilding program for 4th generation submarines: strategic submarines of Project 955 Type “Northwind” and multi-purpose attack submarines of Project 885 type “Ash”.