The Alexander Nevsky (K-550) is a relatively new ballistic missile submarine commissioned by the Russian Navy as part of a major rearmament and modernization program concerning all of the main Russian service branches. The vessel is nuclear-powered, giving it essentially unlimited range under water, while its armament fit gives it the capability to deliver nuclear payloads. Such power serves as both a deterrence and a defense against foreign meddling and military incursions against the Russian state.
The Nevsky began its construction on March 19th, 2004 by shipbuilder Sevmash of Severodvinsk, Russia. She was launched on December 6th, 2010, conducted her sea trials during 2011 and was formally commissioned on December 23rd, 2013 as the second boat of the advanced Borei-class of ballistic missile submarines. The class represents the Russian Navy's first such vessels to be commissioned since the end of the Cold War (1947-1991). Led by the Yury Dolgorukiy, the group was adopted as a successor to the "Delta III" and "Delta IV" series boats (detailed elsewhere on this site) as well as the massive "Typhoon" line of the Soviet era. A total of eight to ten boats are intended for the class.
The vessel displaces at 14,720 tons (short) when surfaced and 24,000 tons (short) when submerged. Its dimensions include a running length of 557.8 feet, a beam of 44.2 feet, and a draught of 32.9 feet. Her profile is very traditional with a rounded nosecone, forward-set sail, and finned aft section. Along her spine and aft of the sail are the Vertical Launch Systems (VLSs) for her primary nuclear payload while her bow contains conventional torpedo launchers. Propulsion is by way of an OK-650B nuclear reactor along with an AEU steam turbine driving a single shaft. Maximum speeds reach 28 knots making her a very fast submarine while attention has been paid to her construction in regards to helping her run quiet. The typical crew complement is 130 officers and enlisted.
In terms of armament, the primary war load of the Nevsky is 16 x 3M30 "Bulava" (NATO: SS-NX-32) Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBMs). These three-stage, solid-fuel/liquid-propellant systems stand some forty feet tall and feature a 6.6 foot diameter, capped by a warhead which can fit up to ten re-entry vehicles each featuring a nuclear yield of 150 kilotons. The submarine also carries a basic torpedo-launching function made up of 21" (533mm) six tubes and these also support the launching of RPK-2 "Viyuga" cruise missiles against land-/ship-based targets.
Despite setbacks in the Bulava missile program, the Nevky's commissioning was pushed forward. It is said that the vessel has already completed successful launching of the troublesome missile which is a good step forward for the class as it grows to strength. As of this writing (2015), the Alexander Nevsky maintains an active presence in the Russian Fleet.