Donald McKelvy
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14 August 2009
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In the mid 1980s, the Soviet Navy determined that a new weapon system was needed to deal with the ever-increasing power of US Navy carrier battle groups. At the time, the Project 949 (Granit) and Project 949A (Antey), NATO reporting names Oscar I and Oscar II, nuclear-powered guided missile submarines (SSGN) did not seem sufficiently effective over the long term. As a result, TsKB Rubin began work on the Project 881 nuclear-powered guided missile submarine, codenamed Merkuriy (Mercury), under the leadership of Chief Designer IL Baranov.

The submarine was intended to use the then in development Bolide anti-ship missile, which was a further development of the P-700 Granit, NATO reporting name SS-N-19 Shipwreck, with the range increased to 800 km (432 nm, 497 m). The submarine was to be armed with 24 of these missiles housed in inclined launchers. As a result, Project 881 grew enormously and became equal in size to a nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine. Length is estimated at 170 to 180 meters, 558 ft to 591 ft, with an underwater displacement of at least 25,000 tons, which would have made it the largest underwater carrier of tactical weapons in the world.

The design of Merkuriy almost completely corresponded to the draft of the Project 935, Borey?, nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine except for a large hump concealing the upper part of the missile launchers. The Irtysh-Amphora sonar system, which was to be standard for the fourth generation boats, was housed in the bow of the boat. Besides forward antenna were located the large onboard of sonar antennas, similar established on Projects 885 and 09780 Axon-2, on which they tested. Six torpedo tubes, supposedly of the 533 mm diameter, were to be arranged immediately after the bow sonar complex. The tail assembly was a standard cross-shaped configuration.

The Merkuriy project was canceled in 1989.

Despite the cancellation of the Merkuriy project, work on the Bolide anti-ship missile continued. On July 9, 1990 it was decided to conduct joint flight tests of the Bolide missile and to re-equip the first boat of the Project 949 class, Arkhangelsk (K-525), for this purpose. The Bolide missile system was intended to arm the Project 949B Atlas class, whose series was to begin immediately after the completion of the last Project 949A class boats Belgorod , Volgograd, and Barnaul. These plans were disrupted stemming from the collapse of the USSR and the ensuing economic crisis.

Based on a translation by Ender at the Warship Projects Discussion Boards 3.0 forum.

From an original post in Russian:

Photograph of Project 949 model alongside Project 881 model.

Line drawing of Project 881 nuclear-powered cruise missile submarine.


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author of above mentioned research is Alexey Konovalov aka Deep Blue Sea
flateric said:
author of above mentioned research is Alexey Konovalov aka Deep Blue Sea

Thanks for the information Gregory. Is the 1980s Project 935 SSBN mentioned by Alexey Konovalov the same project as the current Project 935, later designated Project 955, Borey class?

I would be interested in finding out information about additional unbuilt Soviet Navy projects that appear in the Russian-language discussion forums if you would be willing to translate and share this information.
this is Alexey's review of unbuilt Soviet sub projects

level of knowledge and analytical skills of this young future shuipblider from Gettingen are really amazing
According to The Naval Institute Guide to World Naval Weapon Systems by Norman Friedman, Naval Institute Press 2006, the Bilode missile system, spelled Bilod in the book, may have been given the GRAU designation 3M15 or 3K15.

This missile appears to be different than the submarine encapsulated version of the P-800 Onicks/Yakhont, named P-800 Bilod. NATO reporting name SS-N-26 and GRAU designation 3M55.
Triton said:
According to The Naval Institute Guide to World Naval Weapon Systems by Norman Friedman, Naval Institute Press 2006, the Bilode missile system, spelled Bilod in the book,

Naval Institute sucks. It's Bolid. Bolide.
As one guy said, those who will spell beans on Bolide, will get free vacations at Khodorkovsk.
Bolide is a type of meteor named for... a missile! This name is also used for the second generation RBS-70 missile.

The word bolide comes from the Greek βολις, (bolis) which can mean a missile or to flash. The IAU has no official definition of bolide and generally considers the term synonymous with fireball. The bolide term is generally used for fireballs reaching magnitude -14 or brighter.[8] The term is more often used among geologists than astronomers where it means a very large impactor. For example, the USGS uses the term to mean a generic large crater-forming projectile "to imply that we do not know the precise nature of the impacting body ... whether it is a rocky or metallic asteroid, or an icy comet, for example".[9] Astronomers tend to use the term to mean an exceptionally bright fireball, particularly one that explodes (sometimes called a detonating fireball).
Will Yasen be armed with Yakhont AShM missile in the VLS tube or do they have something else for yasen ?

Bolid was suppose to be arming the Oscar 2 after mid life upgrade is what I read.
Model of Project 881 SSGN. Photos by Sergey Kuznetcov aka Pilot



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