Combat Approved

Yasen-M: Destroyer of the Depths. Potent electronic weapons & supersonic missiles – a sneak peek at Russia’s Yasen-M sub

The Yasen-M is an entirely new class of submarine designed from the keel up. Despite being the size of a 9-storey building, this multifunctional, rapid, almost silent vessel is being compared to an underwater jet fighter because it can both act independently or defend a strategic missile carrying sub.

One of the most distinctive features of Yasen-M-class submarines is their hull. Usually, subs have a double hull – a light outer casing and a stronger inner shell. However, the Yasen-M is mainly has a single hull made from materials specially developed for maximum strength and malleability, welded together using special techniques. Another feature is the unconventional placement of the missile launchers and torpedo tubes on the side of the boat rather than the bow. The Yasen-M submarines are entirely covered by a thick rubber-based coating to reduce noise in the water. The subs can remain self-sufficient on patrol for several months.

When it comes to self-defence, the Yasen-M is equipped with an acoustic countermeasures system capable of creating an impenetrable electronic shield that causes incoming homing torpedoes to veer off. It also boasts powerful underwater sonar, which means it can identify enemy vessels from a considerable distance.

Regarding offensive capability, the Yasen-M carries 30 remote controlled and self-guided torpedoes, as well as smart torpedo-like mines that ‘hibernate’ and wait for a hostile sub to approach before attacking. However, the main offensive weapons of Yasen-M-class subs are, of course, their missiles. Along with the Kalibr rockets which were recently deployed in Syria, the boat carries Russia’s new supersonic Onyx missiles, which fly at the speed of a bullet, making them extremely difficult to intercept. A single hit by one of these deadly rockets can sink a modern warship or completely disable an aircraft carrier.

The Yasen-Ms are also armed with a new array of radio-electronic weapons, new combat command and control systems, and a new communications system.

The first Yasen-M submarine, the Kazan, was launched on 31 March 2017, with five more are in production. RTD has unique footage of the sub leaving the shipyard and heading out to open water for sea trials. You can check out the Yasen-M on RTD’s website.