UK-based Navy Lookout magazine has shared an artist rendering of a secret Russian submarine for special missions.
A series of depictions showing a customized Oscar-class SSGN specialty boat, commonly known as the Belgorod (Project 09852), designed to be the “mother” of the Losharik deep-diving dwarf submarine.
Data on the current technical characteristics of the submarine are classified as of today.
According to open sources destined for special missions, the Belgorod is in the 29th Autonomous Division of the Northern Fleet and reports directly to the Russian Defense Ministry, but not to the Russian Navy.
The submarine’s design was improved to carry mini-submarines, including the Losharik submarine (Project 10831), and to carry portable nuclear reactors (on the rear case) to power underwater sensor arrays. The front part of Belgorod was also adapted to launch the Poseidon oceanic multipurpose system (formerly known by its Russian code name Status-6) using underwater drones and armed torpedoes.
As for Losharik, it is a Russian nuclear submarine that dives deep. The pressure hull consists of seven spheres that can withstand high pressure, and it can dive to a depth of at least 2,000 m. It is equipped with robotic arms to carry out work and runners to rest on the seabed. It is powered by nuclear power, but limited crew facilities limit its stamina and it is transported to the scene by a host’s submarine.
It is also important to note that in July 2019 14 seafarers died on board a battery compartment fire off the coast of Norway. In addition, the Russian Defense Minister announced that a civilian expert from the country’s state defense industrial complex was in the submarine at the time of the accident. This could suggest that Losharik was involved in testing new equipment during the disaster.
Losharik was reportedly tied to his mothership when the fire broke out or his crew returned the submarine to his mothership just before the fire overwhelmed them and the civilian was rescued.