Newest Russian Project 855 Yasen nuclear-powered cruise missile submarine (SSGN) Severodvinsk failed second phase of the state trials late in Oct 2012, say members of the state acceptance board, reports business newspaper Vzglyad referring to Izvestiya. One of the board's members, active submarine officer told Izvestiya that an array of defects had been found.
"First trial round was held in October 2011. Then we revealed hundreds of failures and defects, and manufacturing shipyard Sevmash promised to eliminate them in the shortest possible period. But now the number of defects is even larger", he said.
As for naval mariners, main problem is cruise missiles Caliber, the sub's basic attack weapon. According to trials program, the submarine performed three test launches, including those from underwater position and at moving sea targets. One underwater launch failed.
"Now the Navy command and United Shipbuilding Corporation are facing the problem whether to redesign the sub and repeat state trials or deliver her to the Navy and eliminate defects while in service. Project 855 subs have been in batch production for 13 years now, and that's a good time to make a decision", said the naval officer.
He added that the board was inclined to elimination of serious problems and fastest commission of the sub into the Navy. In this case, Severodvinsk would be put in service in the first half of 2013 or even by the coming New Year holidays. On the other hand, third state trials would shift the sub's commissioning to the second half of 2013 or even later.
However, unlike submariners, Russian Navy command takes problems of Severodvinsk easy and declines frustration of delivery deadlines. A source in Navy Main HQ said it was not state trials held in Oct 2012 but intermediate missile firing tests.
"Not only naval representatives and shipbuilders but directors of Novator design bureau developing Caliber missiles attended the trials. Primarily, the emphasis was put upon hitting of sea surface targets", he said.
As for him, all faults were eliminated. Propulsion plants, water drain systems, main ballast, nuclear reactor, and other key systems of the submarine operate normally. That was proved in 2012 at dockside and manufacturer's sea trials that precede the state acceptance ones.
The staff officer explained that Project 855 is technically and technologically very sophisticated. Primarily, the missile must be "fraternized" with the new-generation combat information and control system of the submarine. Except for that system, Severodvinsk is full of other "electronic brains" requiring special qualification of the crew.
"For one, there are aircraft-type electronic joysticks instead of usual hydraulic-controlled diving rudders. After all adaptations, the sub will be recommended for the new state trials", said the interviewee.
However, the submarine officer directly participating in the trials insisted there were state trials, but not the intermediate ones, as was said by the Navy HQ.
"Chief designers of all onboard systems or their deputies took part in the October trials. Common firing tests are not held in this way", stressed the officer.
Official representative of United Shipbuilding Corporation Alexei Kravchenko declined to give comments. According to another participant of the trials, all trials-related documents are classified. Spokesmen of defense ministry were not available for comments as well, writes Izvestiya.