In the end of April 2004 the Navy Commander-in-Chief disbanded the division of Project 941 (Typhoon) strategic submarines, based in the Northern Fleet. It was the only division of submarines of this class. It included three submarines – Severstal, Arkhangelsk and Dmitry Donskoi. Only one of them - Severstal - has missiles on board, and even this submarine has only ten out of the full load of 20 missiles. Three other submarines of this class had been decommissioned earlier. This decision leaves Russian strategic fleet without Project 941 submarines and their missiles.
The reason the submarines are being decommissioned is that the R-39 (SS-N-20) missiles that they carry have reached end of their operational lives. The submarines were to be refitted with new missiles during their overhaul originally scheduled in mid-1990s. That became impossible after the breakup of the Soviet Union, since the first stage of the missile was produced at the Pavlograd plant in Ukraine. Production of these missiles in Russia was deemed impractical and the submarines were slated for dismantlement, which began in 2002.
The only submarine that will remain in service is Dmitry Donskoi – the first of this class. It entered overhaul in 1992 and was brought back into operation in 2003 as a test bed for a new Bulava missile. It is, however, not clear when, if ever, it could be operationally deployed with the new missile, which is still on very early stages of development.