The missile submarine K-18 Karelia has once again been rolled out in front of sailors. This Del'fin class nuclear missile carrier has long been an object of jealousy for other militaries. The best designers in the world have been unable to replicate such a design for their own navies. But in principle, that isn't possible. The submarine K-18 has always been undergoing modernization. But today, the submarine which has traveled 140,000 miles has once again become new. Our correspondent has become acquainted with Karelia's present capabilities.
The orchestra plays the Russian national anthem and the crew stands behind a rope line preparing for the ceremony. The boat stands on the graving dock ready for launch and in accordance with long standing maritime tradition, a bottle of champagne awaits breaking.
Karelia is a boat with a history. In 15 years of active service, the boat has gone to sea thirty eight times and has traveled 140,000 miles. It was the crew of the Karelia that planted the Andreyevskiy Flag on the North Pole for the first time. And in 2000 the boat had the honor of hosting Vladimir Putin. In 2004, the Karelia went to Severodvinsk for overhaul. Now the boat stands at 71 percent readiness. According to the shipyard, most of the modernization work went into reducing the noise levels on the submarine.
...so that when she is in combat service, the noise levels don't exceed the norms...
The reliability of this boat is comparable to a Kalashinikov automatic rifle, but instead of bullets, she fires ballistic missiles. The captain of the shipyard crew Ivan Shindyapin says that not only will the boat go to the North Pole, but she will go considerably farther.
The possibilities are colossal, not only in terms of sailing the world oceans, but also in terms of her other capabilities. I hope that in the future other boats of her class will also be overhauled in order to support the nation security of our country.
After the modernization the boat will be armed with the new ballistic missile system Sineva which was accepted into service last year.
The champagne bottle was smashed, in two weeks the boat will be in the water. Ahead lay the pierside testing and trials and then sea trials next summer.
K-18 is the fifth boat of the Project 667BDRM class to undergo modernization at the Zvezdochka shipyard. The sixth boat, the Novomoskovsk, is next. It is said that in two years the third generation Bars (Akula) and Granit (Oscar) class boats will arrive for overhaul.
Vladimir Nikitin, General Director Zvezdochka Shipyard: This is in the 2010 defense orders. We are ready for this boat as well as the titanium hulled Project 945 Barakuda (Sierra II). We'll be ready to overhaul her at Zvezdochka.
The Project 667BDRM will be the backbone of our strategic force for the next decade. Zvezdochka will be ready to turn the boat over to the Navy next year.