Behold the Severodvinsk—the pride of the Russian Navy, the first of the post-Soviet era Yasen-class submarines. It entered service at the end of December 2013 and it will replace the old Akula-class and Alfa-class subs. But unlike those warships, and thanks to a new cruise missile, the Severodvinsk has strategic and tactical nuclear weapon capabilities.
According to the Barents Observer, the Severodvinsk successfully tested its nuclear-capable Caliber missiles during a trial run in 2012:
The new supersonic missile hit its target, reports Rossiskaya Gazeta. The Caliber missile has a flight range that exceeds 2,500 kilometer, according to the portal NavalToday. With such range, the cruise missile can be defined as a strategic weapon if tipped with a nuclear warhead. The new START agreement between Russia and USA does, however, not include long-range cruise missiles into account, a fact said to weaken the deal.
Another cruise missile the submarine is believed to carry has an even longer range, 5,000 kilometer according to an infographic posted by RIA Novosti.
Nice! The Severodvinsk started development in the 1970s. It was hit by many budget-related delays thanks to the fall of the Soviet Union. It was supposed to enter service in 1998 but it was finished in 2010. After three years of testing, it finally entered active service in 2013. In fact, for all we know, it may be in the Mediterranean right now.
Caliber cruise missile testing.
Photo by tyson85 at Arkhangelsk Oblast, Russia.
But don't let those delays fool you. If there's something the Russians do well, that's nuclear submarines.