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Delta IV class

Ballistic missile submarine

Delta IV class submarine

The Delta IV class ballistic missile submarine is a further development of the Delta III class

Entered service 1985
Crew 135 men
Diving depth (operational) 300 m
Diving depth (maximum) 400 m
Sea endurance 90 days
Dimensions and displacement
Length 166 m
Beam 12.3 m
Draught 8.8 m
Surfaced displacement 13 500 tons
Submerged displacement 18 200 tons
Propulsion and speed
Surfaced speed 14 knots
Submerged speed 24 knots
Nuclear reactors 2 x ?
Steam turbines 2 x  44.7 MW
Diesel generators 2 x 1 074 hp
Auxiliary motors 1 x 1 007 hp
Missiles 16 x SS-N-23 'Skiff' nuclear ballistic missiles, SS-N-16 'Stallion' ASW missiles
Torpedoes 4 x 533-mm bow tubes for up to 18 torpedoes


   Development of the Project 667 BDRM Delfin (dolphin) class, known to NATO as the Delta IV, began on 10 September 1975. The first boat, K-51 was commissioned into Northern fleet in December 1985. Between 1985 and 1990, seven Delta IVs were constructed by the Sevmashpredpriyatiye Production Association in Severodvinsk.

   The Delta IVs were constructed in parallel to the Typhoon class, in case the larger boats proved unsuccessful. The Dolphin is a further modification of the Delta III, with an increased diameter pressure hull and a longer bow section. Displacement has increased by 1 200 tons and it is 12 m longer.

   The Delta IV is a strategic platform, designed to strike military and industrial installations and naval bases. The submarine carries the RSM-54 Makeyev missile (NATO designation: SS-N-23 'Skiff'). The RSM-54 is a three-stage liquid-propellant ballistic missile with a range of 8 300 km. The warhead consists of four to ten multiple independently targeted re-entry vehicles (MIRVs), each rated at 100 kT. The missile uses stellar inertial guidance for a CEP of 500 m.

   The submarine can also launch the Novator (SS-N-15 'Starfish') anti-ship missiles or Mk 40 anti-ship torpedoes. 'Starfish' is armed with a 200 kT nuclear warhead and has a range of 45 km.

   The operational lifetime of these submarines was estimate to be 20-25 years, assuming normal maintenance schedules, but in the 1990s everything changed. When the START-1 treaty was signed in 1991, five Delta IIIs served in the Northern and nine in the Pacific Fleet.

   Russia was scheduled to dismantle one Yankee-class, five Typhoon-class and 25 assorted Delta-class ballistic missile submarines by the year 2003.

   By September 1999, US specialists had helped disassemble one Yankee and six Deltas, while the Russians had destroyed another five ballistic missile subs on their own using US equipment.

   As of June 2000, the Russian Navy claimed that it operated five Typhoon-class submarines, seven Delta IV-class submarines, and 13 Delta III-class submarines, which between them carry 2 272 nuclear warheads on 440 ballistic missiles. With the chronic funding shortages affecting the Russian navy, it is likely that many of these boats are of suspect seaworthiness.

   However, the Russian navy reportedly believes that 12 nuclear ballistic missile submarines is the minimum necessary force structure for national security, and this force goal is likely to be maintained up until 2010 at least.


Additional Info
Delta IV class submarine

Delta IV class submarine

Delta IV class submarine