Russia’s Pacific Fleet to Upgrade Submarines with Supersonic Cruise Missiles
Russia’s Pacific Fleet plans to upgrade four Project 949A Oscar II-class nuclear-powered guided missile submarines (SSGN) with 3M-54 Kalibr cruise missiles, Russia’s Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov said during a visit of the Zvezda shipyard in the Russian Far East.
"We plan modernization of the multi-purpose nuclear submarines of Project 949. The outdated Granit missiles will be replaced with Kalibr missiles, which have demonstrated themselves well, including in the Syrian conflict", Borisov said.
In addition, the Project 949A submarines will also be upgraded with a new navigation and life support systems. "In fact, the old submarine will have new qualities", the deputy defense minister said.
The 3M-54 Kalibr, a supersonic cruise missile available in land-attack, anti-ship, and anti-submarine variants, has been specifically designed to evade active air defenses and electronic countermeasures. The submarine-launched anti-ship variant of the missile, dubbed 3M54K, has an estimated range of 270 to 410 miles.
There are over a dozen variants in the Kalibr missile family (some nuclear-capable), and the subs could also likely be equipped with a land-attack version of the weapon system, dubbed Kalibr 3M14T and 3M14K (NATO designation: SS-N-30A), with a substantially larger range estimated between 1,000 and 1,500 miles.
Project 949A submarines were built from 1985 to 1999, and are primarily designed to attack of enemy carrier strike groups as well as coastal targets. Project 949 subs are the largest cruise missile submarines currently in service in Russia capable of carrying up to 24 P-700 Granit (NATO designation: SS-19 Shipwreck) anti-ship cruise missiles. The Russian Navy currently operates two Project 949A subs in its Northern Fleet and five with the Pacific Fleet.