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Delta IV class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine.

The Delta class (Project 667B "Murena", Project 667BD "Murena-M", Project 667BDR "Kalmar", Project 667BDRM "Delfin") are a common name of four types of submarines which formed the backbone of the Soviet and Russian strategic submarine fleet since its introduction in 1973. They carry nuclear ballistic missiles of the R-29 Vysota family, with the Delta I, II, III and IV carrying the R-29 (NATO reporting name: SS-N-8 'Sawfly'), R-29D (SS-N-8 'Sawfly'), R-29R (SS-N-18 'Stingray') and R-29RM (SS-N-23 'Skiff') respectively. The Delta I carried 12 missiles, the Delta II was a "stretched" Delta I that could carry 16 missiles; the Delta III and IV carry 16 missiles with multiple warheads and have improved electronics and noise reduction.

The R-27 Zyb missile carried by the Project 667s of the late 1960s had a range of just 2,500–3,000 km (1,600–1,900 mi), so the earlier subs were forced to patrol close to the North American coast, whereas the Deltas could launch the >7,700 km (4,780 mi)-range R-29s from the relative safety of the Arctic Ocean. In turn the Deltas were superseded by the larger Typhoon class submarines. The early Deltas remained in service until 1990s with treaties such as START I. High running costs and the retirement of the TyphoonsR-39 missiles meant that some Delta III's were reactivated in the 2000s (decade) to replace the Typhoons.

As of December 2014, Pavel Podvig and estimated the strength of the Russian strategic submarine fleet at one Typhoon class submarine (used to test the R-30 Bulava missile), four Delta III, and six Delta IV class submarines, and one Borei.[1] They will ultimately be replaced by the new Borei class submarines (also known as the Dolgorukiy class). Five Delta IV boats have been overhauled in recent years, with work continuing on the last one.


In the 1960s the Soviet Navy wanted new submarine-launched nuclear missiles that could threaten targets in North America without their launch platforms needing to pass the SOSUS sensors in the GIUK gap to be within range. [1]

Delta I (Project 667B, Murena) 18 boats

Delta-class submarine
A Delta I class submarine
A Delta I class submarine
Class overview
Name: Delta I class submarine
Builders: Severodvinsk and Komsomolsk
Operators: Soviet Union
Preceded by: Yankee I class submarine
Succeeded by: Delta II class submarine
Completed: 18
Retired: 18
General characteristics

Surfaced: 7800 tons

Submerged: 10,000 tons
Length: 139 m (456 ft)
Beam: 12 m (39 ft 5 in)
Draught: 9 m (29 ft 6 in)
Propulsion: two pressurized water-cooled reactors powering two steam turbines driving two shafts and each developing 38.7 MW (52,000 shp)

Surfaced: 12 knots

Submerged: 25 knots
Range: Unlimited, except by food supplies
Complement: 120
Armament: D-9 launch tubes for 12 R-29 (SS-N-8 Sawfly) SLBM's and 4 533 mm torpedoes tubes

The Delta-class submarines could deploy on alert patrols in the marginal ice-seas of the Soviet Arctic littoral, including the Norwegian and Barents seas. Consequently, unlike their predecessors, they no longer needed to pass through Western SOSUS sonar barriers to come within range of their targets. To improve the accuracy of the missiles, the Delta I submarines carry the Tobol-B navigation system and the Cyclone-B satellite navigation system.

After authorization of the development of the class in 1965, the first Delta-I, K-279, was commissioned into the Soviet Northern Fleet on the 22nd of December, 1972. A total of 18 submarines of this class were built, and all served Soviet Navy, under the designation Project 667B Murena (eel).

As of 1991, nine Delta-I submarines were still in active service. Their decommissioning began in 1994, with removal of the missile compartments scheduled by 1997. All submarines of this class were taken out of service by 1998 and were scrapped by 2005.

Delta II (Project 667BD, Murena-M) 4 boats

Delta-class submarine
A Delta II class submarine
A Delta II class submarine

|module3= Class overview Name: Delta II class submarineBuilders: SeverodvinskOperators: Soviet UnionPreceded by: Delta I class submarineSucceeded by: Delta III class submarineCompleted: 4Retired: 4 |module2= General characteristics Displacement:

Surfaced: 9,350 tons

Submerged: 10,500 tonsLength: 155 m (508 ft 6in)Beam: 12 m (39 ft 5 in)Draught: 9 m (29 ft 6 in)Propulsion: two pressurized water-cooled reactors powering two steam turbines driving two shafts each developing 41 MW (55,000 shp)Speed:

Surfaced: 12 knots

Submerged: 24 knotsRange: Unlimited, except by food suppliesComplement: 130Armament: D-9D launch tubes for 16 R-29D SLBM's, four 533 mm and two 400 mm torpedo tubes }} The Delta-II class submarine was a large ballistic missile submarine designed to remedy shortcomings in the Delta-I class submarine. The design was essentially the same, however the submarine was lengthened in the 4th and 5th compartments by 16 meters to allow the installation of 4 more missile tubes. The new type of Delta also received additional quietening measures including having the steam turbines mounted on shock absorbers, having all pipes and hydraulics separated from the hull through rubber insulation, and a special hydroacoustic coating being applied to the hull.[citation needed] The NATO reporting name, Delta-II indicates this submarine as a visually distinguishable new class. The Soviet designation, 667BD Murena-M indicates this submarine is an improved Delta-I. Only four submarines of this class were built, apparently in favor of building the following class, Delta-III, and all Delta-IIs were out of service by 1996.

Delta III (Project 667BDR, Kalmar) 14 boats

Delta-class submarine
A Delta III class submarine
A Delta III class submarine

|module4= Class overview Name: Delta III class submarineBuilders: SeverodvinskOperators: Soviet Union, RussiaPreceded by: Delta II class submarineSucceeded by: Typhoon class submarine & Delta IV class submarinesCompleted: 14Active: 5 |module2= General characteristics Displacement:

Surfaced: 13,500 tons

Submerged: 18,200 tonsLength: 166 m (544 ft 7 in)Beam: 12.3 m (39 ft 6 in)Draught: 8.8 m (29 ft)Propulsion: two pressurized water-cooled reactors powering two steam turbines delivering 44,700 kW (60,000 shp) to two five-bladed fixed-pitched shrouded propellers.Speed:

Surfaced: 14 knots

Submerged: 24 knotsRange: Unlimited, except by food suppliesComplement: 135Armament: 16 missiles and four 533 mm (21 in) torpedo tubes in the bow. }}

The 667BDR Kal'mar (Squid) Delta-III class submarine is a large ballistic missile submarine. Like the earlier Delta class submarines the Delta III is a double hulled design with a thin low magnetic steel outer hull wrapped around a thicker inner pressure hull. Development began in 1972 at the Rubin Central Design Bureau for Marine Engineering.[citation needed] The submarine was the first that could launch any number of missiles in a single salvo, also the first submarine capable of carrying ballistic missiles with multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles. The submarine carried 16 of the R-29R missiles each carrying 3 to 7 MIRVs, with a range of 6,500 to 8,000 km, depending on the number of re-entry vehicles.

The Delta III was also equipped with a new battle management system the Almaz-BDR for the fire control of torpedoes in deep-water, also a new inertial navigation system Tobol-M-1, and later the Tobol-M-2. A hydroacoustic navigational system called Shmeľ (Bumblebee) allows the submarine to determine its position from hydroacoustic buoys. Finally a new sonar system called Rubikon was fitted.[citation needed]

On September 30, 2008 a Russian Navy spokesman reported that Ryazan had successfully completed a 30-day transit from a base in northern Russia under the Arctic ice cap to a base on the Kamchatka Peninsula. The Navy added that Ryazan will soon be assigned to regularly patrol the Pacific Ocean.[2] As of July 2014, six Delta III boats were active, of which two were believed to be in the process of decommissioning.[citation needed]

K-433 Svyatoy Georgiy Pobedonosets was involved in a collision with a fishing vessel on September 22, 2011. The submarine did not sustain serious damage.[3]

Delta III class — significant dates
# Shipyard Name Laid down Launched Commissioned Fleet Status
K-424 SEVMASH, Severodvinsk NA 30 January 1974 11 February 1976 30 December 1976 Northern Decommissioned 28 March 1995 for scrapping.[4] Disposed of in 1998[5]
K-441 SEVMASH, Severodvinsk NA 7 May 1974 25 May 1976 31 October 1976 Pacific Decommissioned 28 March 1995 for scrapping[4] Disposed of in 2000.[6]
K-449 SEVMASH, Severodvinsk NA 19 July 1974 29 July 1976 5 February 1977 Pacific in reserve from 1996,[4] decommissioned in 2001, scrapped before 2008
K-455 SEVMASH, Severodvinsk NA 16 October 1974 16 August 1976 30 December 1976 Pacific in reserve from 1998 to 1999,.[4] Disposed of in 2002[7]
K-490 SEVMASH, Severodvinsk NA 6 March 1975 27 January 1977 30 September 1977 Pacific in reserve from 1998 to 1999,[4] Disposed of before 2008[8]
K-487 SEVMASH, Severodvinsk NA 9 June 1975 4 April 1977 27 December 1977 Northern in reserve from 1998 to 1999,[4] Disposed of in 1999-2011[9]
K-496 SEVMASH, Severodvinsk Borisoglebsk 23 September 1975 13 August 1977 30 December 1977 Northern[4] decommissioned on 9 December 2008[10] fuel discharged.[11] Disposed of in 2010[12]
K-506 SEVMASH, Severodvinsk Zelenograd 29 December 1975 26 January 1978 30 November 1978 Pacific Removed from service in 2010, to be decommissioned[13]
K-211 SEVMASH, Severodvinsk Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy 19 August 1976 13 January 1979 28 September 1979 Pacific Active 2010[14][15] retired in 2010[16]
K-223 SEVMASH, Severodvinsk Podolsk 19 February 1977 30 April 1979 27 November 1979 Pacific Active 2010[14][15]
K-180 SEVMASH, Severodvinsk NA 27 December 1977 8 January 1980 25 September 1980 Pacific[4] In reserve from 2004. Disposed of in 2008[17]
K-433 SEVMASH, Severodvinsk Svyatoy Georgiy Pobedonosets 24 August 1978 20 June 1980 15 December 1980 Pacific Active 2010[14][15]
BS-136 (ex K-129) SEVMASH, Severodvinsk Orenburg 9 April 1979 15 April 1981 5 November 1981 Northern 1994-2002 - conversion to support submarine project 09786 (carrier of minisubmarine). Active as 2008 [18] Experimental boat
K-44 SEVMASH, Severodvinsk Ryazan 31 January 1980 19 January 1982 17 September 1982[19] Pacific Overhauled in 2007[20] Active 2010[14][15]

Delta IV (Project 667BDRM, Delfin) 7 boats

Delta-class submarine
A Delta IV class submarine
A Delta IV class submarine

|module3= Class overview Name: Delta IV class submarineBuilders: SeverodvinskOperators: Soviet Union, Russian FederationPreceded by: Delta III & Typhoon class submarinesSucceeded by: Borei class submarineCompleted: 7Active: 6 |module2= General characteristics Propulsion: two pressurized water-cooled reactors powering two steam turbines with two five-bladed fixed-pitched shrouded propellers.Speed:

Surfaced: 24 knots

Submerged: 24 knotsRange: Unlimited, except by food supplies }} Seven Delta IV class submarines were built from 1985 to 1992; all are still in service in the Russian navy today, though K-84 was crippled by a fire while undergoing overhaul in December 2011. The submarines, based at the Sayda Guba Naval Base, operate in the Northern Fleet. The Severodvinsk Shipyard built these vessels between 1981 and 1992. The last vessel was the Novomoskovsk. The design of the Delta IV resembles that of the Delta III and constitutes a double-hulled configuration with missile silos housed in the inner hull. The submarine has an operational diving depth of 320 meters, with a maximum depth of 400 meters. The propulsion system allows speeds of 24 knots (44 km/h) submerged using two VM-4 pressure water reactors rated at 180 MW. It features two turbines of type GT3A-365 rated at 27.5 MW. The propulsion system drives two shafts with seven-bladed fixed-pitch propellers.[citation needed] In December 29, 2011, a shipyard fire broke out in the drydock where a Delta IV vessel named the Yekaterinburg was being serviced. It was reported that the fire managed to spread to the submarine, that all weapons were disembarked from the submarine and the nuclear reactor was shut down beforehand.[21][22][23]

Overall design

The submarine design is similar to that of Delta III (Project 667 BDR). The submarine constitutes a double-hulled configuration with missile silos housed in the inner hull. The forward horizontal hydroplanes are arranged on the sail. They can rotate to the vertical for breaking through the ice cover. The propulsion system provides a run speed of 24 knots surfaced and 24 knots submerged. The submarine carries supplies for an endurance of 80 days. The surface of the submarine has an acoustic coating to reduce the acoustic signature.[citation needed]

During the development of the 667BDRM SSBN several measures were included to reduce its noise level. The gears and equipment are located on a common base isolated from the pressure hull, and the power compartments are also isolated. The efficiency of the anti-hydroacoustic coatings of the light outer hull and inner pressure hulls have been increased. Newly designed five-bladed propellers with improved hydroacoustic characteristics are employed.[citation needed]

See Delta III class overview for specifications.


The Delta IV submarines employs the D-9RM launch system and carries 16 R-29RMU Sineva liquid-fueled missiles which each carry four independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRVs). Unlike previous modifications, the Delta IV submarine is able to fire missiles in any direction from a constant course in a circular sector. The underwater firing of the ballistic missiles can be conducted at a depth of 55 meters while cruising at a speed of 6-7 knots. All the missiles can be fired in a single salvo.

The 667BDRM Delphin submarines are equipped with the TRV-671 RTM missile-torpedo system that has four torpedo tubes with a calibre of 533 mm. Unlike the Delta III, it is capable of using all types of torpedoes, antisubmarine torpedo-missiles and anti-hydroacoustic devices. The battle management system Omnibus-BDRM controls all combat activities, processing data and commanding the torpedo and missile-torpedo weapons. The Shlyuz navigation system provides for the improved accuracy of the missiles and is capable of stellar navigation at periscope depths. The navigational system also employs two floating antenna buoys to receive radio-messages, target destination data and satellite navigation signals at great depth. The submarine is also equipped with the Skat-VDRM hydroacoustic system.

The Delta IV submarines are strategic nuclear missile submarines designed to carry out strikes on military and industrial installations and naval bases. The submarine carries the RSM-5 Makeyev missile (NATO reporting name: SS-N-23 Skiff) submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM). The RSM-54 is a three-stage liquid-propellant ballistic missile with a range of 8,300 km. The warhead consists of four to ten multiple, independently targeted re-entry vehicles (MIRVs) each rated at 100 kt. The missile uses stellar inertial guidance to provide a circular error probable (CEP) of 500 m. The CEP value is a measure of the accuracy of strike on the target and is the radius of the circle within which half the strikes will impact.

The submarine is also capable of launching the Novator SS-N-15 Starfish anti-ship missile or Mk 40 anti-ship torpedoes. Starfish is armed with a 200 kt nuclear warhead and has a range of up to 45 km. The submarine has four 533 mm torpedo tubes capable of launching all types of torpedoes, including anti-submarine torpedoes and anti-hydroacoustic devices. The system is fitted with a rapid reloading torpedo system. The submarine can carry up to 18 missiles or torpedoes. All torpedoes are accommodated in the bow section of the hull.

In 2011 K-84 Ekaterinburg successfully tested a new version of the SS-N-23 missile, reportedly designated R-29RMU2 Liner. The missile has improved survivability against anti-ballistic missiles.[24] Later on K-114 Tula conducted another successful launch.[25]


Initially all the Delta IV submarines were based with the Russian Northern Fleet at Olenya Bay. All the submarines of this class serve in 12th Squadron (the former 3rd flotilla) of strategic submarines of the Northern Fleet, which now located in Yagelnaya bay.[26]


Delta IV class — significant dates
# Shipyard Name Laid down Launched Commissioned Fleet Status
K-51 SEVMASH, Severodvinsk Verkhoturye 23 February 1981 7 March 1984 28 December 1984 Northern Overhaul completed, back in service until 2019 [27]
K-84 SEVMASH, Severodvinsk Ekaterinburg 17 February 1982 17 March 1985 30 December 1985 Northern Apparently in overhaul; on 29 December 2011 a fire broke out while ship was drydocked and the vessel was partially submerged to control the flames; details still emerging.[23] Re-commissioning is expected in 2014 [28]
BS-64 (ex K-64) SEVMASH, Severodvinsk Podmoskovye 18 December 1982 2 February 1986 23 December 1986 Northern From 1999 is in conversion to a special purpose platform.[29] Cut out all the missile silos[30]
K-114 SEVMASH, Severodvinsk Tula 22 February 1984 22 January 1987 30 October 1987 Northern Active, overhaul in 2006, overhaul complete, upgraded Sineva missiles installed[15]
K-117 SEVMASH, Severodvinsk Bryansk 20 April 1985 8 February 1988 30 September 1988 Northern Active, overhaul 2002-08, overhaul complete, upgraded Sineva missiles installed[15]
K-18 SEVMASH, Severodvinsk Karelia 7 February 1986 2 February 1989 10 October 1989 Northern Active, overhaul 2004-10, overhaul complete,[31] upgraded Sineva missiles installed[15]
K-407 SEVMASH, Severodvinsk Novomoskovsk 2 February 1987 28 February 1990 27 November 1990 Northern Active, overhaul 2006-2012, overhaul complete.[32][33]

Delta class submarines in fiction

  • In the novel Ice by James Follett a Delta II class submarine called the Podorny is dispatched to the South Atlantic to search for a missing British submarine.[34]
  • In the pilot movie for seaQuest DSV a heavily modified Delta IV was being operated by pirates, led by former seaQuest captain Marilyn Stark.
  • In the video game Crysis Warhead, the player character incorrectly identifies a cargo submarine as a Project 914 Delta IV class. The submarine in question has the missile bay removed and replaced with a large cargo bay.
  • In 24, Terrorists seize control of a "Delta IV" submarine in order to launch missiles on civilian targets; however, in reality, it is a U.S. Navy Los Angeles class attack submarine.
  • A Delta III appears in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, where it launches a nuclear missile on the United States.
  • A Delta III class submarine called Firebird sets the stage for the action to the Doctor Who episode Cold War.

See also


  1. "Navy". Russian forces. Retrieved September 2011. .
  2. McClatchy-Tribune, "Russian Sub Ends 30-Day Voyage Under The Arctic", Houston Chronicle, October 1, 2008, p. 9.
  3. "Russian Nuclear Sub Lightly Damaged in Collision". Defense News. 2011-09-22. Retrieved 2011-12-27. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 Korabli VMF SSSR, Vol. 1, Part 1, Yu. Apalkov, Sankt Peterburg, 2002, ISBN 5-8172-0069-4
  13. Зеленоград / Инфопортал Зеленограда / Новости / Атомную подлодку «Зеленоград» утилизируют. Retrieved on 2010-10-19.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 Strategic fleet - Russian strategic nuclear forces. Retrieved on 2010-10-19.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 15.5 15.6 "Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists". Retrieved 2011-08-07. 
  18. К-129, КС-129, Оренбург Проект 667БДР. (2008-02-25). Retrieved on 2010-10-19.
  19. Russian nuclear submarine makes 30-day trip under Arctic ice. Retrieved on 2010-10-19.
  20. Project 667BDR submarines are staying? - Blog - Russian strategic nuclear forces. Retrieved on 2010-10-19.
  21. "News" (report). Yahoo!. December 2014. .
  22. "News". The BBC. 29 December 2011. .
  23. 23.0 23.1 "US: Russia submarine on fire". Reuters. 2011-12-29. Retrieved 2011-12-29. .
  24. "Russian SLBM Liner Completed Flight Tests". Rus Navy. 2011-05-20. Retrieved 2011-12-27. 
  25. "Центр обновления" (in Russian). RU: Severnyflot. Retrieved 2011-12-27. 
  26. "Северный флот" (in ru). Еженедельник "Коммерсантъ", №7 (761). 2008-02-25. Retrieved 13 April 2012. 
  29. "й-64, ая-64 оПНЕЙР 667адпл" (in Russian). Deep Storm. Retrieved 2010-10-19. .
  31. "Russian strategic nuclear forces" (Blog). Russian forces. 2010‐1. Retrieved 2010-10-19. .
  32. "News" (in Russian). Flot. 2010-11-19. Retrieved 2011-08-07. 
  33. "Repairs and upgrade of SSBN Novomoskovsk is in progress". Rus Navy. 2010-11-19. Retrieved 2011-08-07. 
  34. James Follett. Ice. Mandarin. 1989. ISBN 0-7493-0110-4
  • The Encyclopedia Of Warships, From World War 2 To The Present Day, By Robert Jackson.

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