Despite international sanctions stymieing Russia’s economy, the Kremlin manages to keep the nation in the global military conversation. This is in large part due to a creative approach investing in new weapons technology: getting the best doomsday bang for the struggling Russia buck, or more aptly, ruble.
This allows Russia to field notably capable, and not so capable, weapons technologies in extremely small numbers, giving the country boasting rights even where true strategic capability is lacking. Now, with the unveiling of Russia’s newest submarine, Belgorod, defense experts are trying to determine what the massive new submersible is: a strategic asset worthy of concern, or a trophy ship unveiled for the press.
Officially known as Project-09852, the Belgorod submarine is longer and displaces significantly more water than America’s largest Ohio-class submarines, weighing in at a positively immense 30,000 tons when submerged. At 604 feet long, the Belgorod is a true one-off design, starting its life as an Oscar II-class cruise missile submarine.
Initially, the government halted its construction due to a lack of funds. Then it decided to green light completion of the unfinished hull, converting it into a “special mission” submarine due to a lengthy addition to the ship’s midsection and a number of other unique modifications.