Russian heavy sub missile cruiser Akula (Shark) was the response of the Soviet Union to the similar project of the US submarines called Trident.
Akula was 49,800 of tonnage while Trident had tonnage of 18,700. Akula Russian missile sub carrier is the biggest in the world and listed in the Guinness Book of Records. Producing this huge submarine was a complicated task, and only 6 such cruisers were produced in 1976-1989.
Akula submarine is 172 meters long and 23 meters wide, it can float as deep as 500 meters and sail autonomously for 120 days. There are 179 people on the sub crew. Akula is armored with R-19 complex having 20 inter-continental ballistic missiles with dividing warheads.
In the end of April, Commander of Northern Fleet Vladimir Kuroedov signed the order 18th sub division’s dismissing. Former Head of Russian Navy, Admiral Igor Kasatonov is concerned that one of the Akula subs was taken for scrapping, although the sub was in a satisfactory condition. Another sub of this class - “Severstal” – has only 10 missiles out of 20.
According to Nezavisimaya Gazeta, scrapping the submarines is funded by the US and Canadian businessmen. Russian budget allocates only $2 million for scrapping one submarine, while it requires $10 million. Foreign companies add $8 more million. Meanwhile, they take hundreds of tons of copper, lead and non-ferrous metals from every sub, and this allows not only to return the money, but also to gain profit.
These atomic submarines carrying missiles, maintain balance of power in terms of nuclear weapons between Russia and the USA. Admiral Kasatonov believes that it is not Russian Navy Command who makes decisions on scrapping this strategic fleet, "this is the issue of the state high-ranking authorities". However, Russian authorities have produced no reaction so far.
Navy Staff gives no comments either. The officers say about some works on the submarine, but do not elaborate what kind of works they mean. Admiral Kasatonov says that modernization and liquidation of the entire class of strategic weapons are different things.
Liquidating Russian submarine cruisers radically changes the balance of power in favor of the USA and NATO. The USA currently has 18 submarines carrying missiles, said Admiral Gennady Suchkov. 8 of them are on alert, they are ready to go on assignment after the first signal. 4-5 submarines are on military duty at sea. In addition, France has 2 submarines and Great Britain has one sub.
Russian navy has 14 submarines. 1-2 of them are on duty at sea. Meanwhile, in 1990 the Soviet Union had 62 submarines of this class.
Russian strategic Naval military forces are being liquidated rapidly, and soon there will be no reason to say about the balance of power, experts say.