ST. PETERSBURG --- The United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC) will ramp up the production of submersible drones, USC President Alexei Rakhmanov told journalists on Thursday.
"Actually, unmanned vehicles are all the rage now. They are virtually everywhere in the armed services - ground, aerial, waterborne and submersible ones. I cannot think up a single reason why we should not pursue the line of work. Certainly, we will," Rakhmanov said.
"Programs are in very different phases now. Some unmanned vehicles are being made, some are being prepared for production. I would not comment on who does what, however," he added.
As was reported in the US press, Russia is developing an unmanned submersible vehicle able to carry nuclear weapons and threaten US ports and coastal cities. According to media reports, the Russian Defense Ministry named the secret program Canyon. The system is a self-contained attack submarine carrying a high-yield nuclear warhead. The unmanned submarine can travel fast and far. The US Navy itself has been proactive in developing unmanned submarines, with the efforts being high on its priority list.
In addition, Alexei Rakhmanov said that no decision has been made on postponing the dates of the laying down of the seventh Project 955A Borei-A-class (NATO reporting name - Dolgorukiy class) nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) and delivery of the Project 885M Yasen-M-class (Severodvinsk class) Kazan nuclear-powered multirole attack submarine.
The keel of another Project 955A SSBN is expected to be laid down in December 2015. At present, the series is being built in the improved Borei-A variant. The first Borei-A submarine is the Duke Vladimir laid down in 2012. As many as two submarines of the class - the Duke Oleg and Generalissimo Suvorov - were laid down in 2014.
The Kazan is scheduled to be delivered in 2017. A source in defense industry had said that the delivery of the Kazan - the first production submarine of improved Project 885M - would slip behind schedule by a year, until 2018. However, Russian Navy Commander-in-Chief Viktor Chirkov said later that the delivery dates for the Yasen- and Borei-class submarines remained on schedule.
The USC president added that the shipyard intended to deliver all warships before year-end as planned.
"The submarine program has been completed, though there have been minor issues with the surface ship program indeed. However, the Navy and we are working hand in glove to resolve them by combining the builder’s sea trials and official trials, when this is allowed by the regulations," the USC president said.
The Navy is to take delivery of 17 combatant ships and craft and 52 auxiliary vessels, including 12 built by USC, in 2015.