How Does the World's Largest Nuclear Submarine Work?

The most feared weapon of all

By on June 5th, 2007 15:18 GMT
Among the arsenal of the most advanced military superpowers, one weapon is the most feared. It's not the atomic bomb, it's even more powerful, while being almost undetectable and can launch a devastating surprise attack on almost any country in the world.

Operating underwater at pressures beyond the range of unaided human survivability, submarines, first widely used in World War I, are used by all major navies today. They are indeed, more powerful than an atomic bomb, since an Ohio class nuclear submarine can carry up to 32 Trident II D5 multiple warheads nuclear missiles. That is enough to wipe out an entire country.

The roles of military submarines are almost limitless, but the most technologically advance ones are used for military purposes. The race to build the best submarine has been a continuous effort over decades, since it has been considered the ultimate stealth weapon.

The largest submarine in the world is...Russian. Surprised? You shouldn't be. The Russians have a thing for building the largest of almost everything and it's been well demonstrated in many military applications, like tanks, rockets, missiles, trucks, in fact the entire army.

The Typhoon class submarine is a type of nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine deployed by the Soviet Navy in the 1980s. With a maximum displacement of 48,000 tonnes, Typhoons are the largest class of submarine ever built.

The largest submarine in the world is the Mk 941-U SSBN (Strategic Submarine Ballistic Nuclear) Typhoon', of the Shark (Akula) - class. For this, it has been included in the Guinness Record Book at the beginning of the 1980s.

Only six of them were built at the naval base in Severodvinsk and they were designed as a response to the US's construction of the first Ohio nuclear submarine with 24 ballistic missiles on board. The Russians succeeded in surpassing the Ohio, and the Mk 941-U SSBN Typhoon is, even today, the largest submarine in the world.

The dimensions of this leviathan are truly impressive. It's 564 feet long (172 meters), has a beam of 74.8 feet (22.8 meters), and an underwater displacement of 50,000 tons. The maximum speed is over 30 knots and it can stay submerged for 120 days, with a maximum crew complement of 130.

Its weaponry is also impressive. For close combat, it's got two torpedo tubes (one 533-mm torpedo tube and one 650-mm torpedo tube) and can carry up to 36 torpedoes at a time. Even more dangerous is the long-range nuclear arsenal it packs, 24 Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM) replete with 10 nuclear warheads each. These have a range of up to 10,000 km (6,213 miles).

Typhoon submarines are among the quietest sea vessels in operation, being quieter and yet more maneuverable than their predecessors and have a maximum diving depth of 500 meters (1,640 ft), with an operational one of 380 meters (1,246 ft).

Only one of these monsters is required to start a war with many of the world's countries and in the same end the war through its total annihilation ability.

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