Aleksandr Nevskiy, the second submarine of the Project 955 class, left port today to begin sea trials. The submarine was moved from the dry dock in December 2010.
Do we think work has continued on the Vladimir Monomakh? With the development issues with the Bulava, work was “suspended” on the third class 955 boat back in 2010. There hasn’t been any confirmations from the Kremlin that work had restarted. By the way, has the keel been laid down on the forth of class? Just curious.
suspension was in regards to the fourth hull. Steel for it has been cut, and naked sections welded, but there was no "ceremony" or official contract.
Reports say Vladimir Monomakh is on schedule and is going to be launched fairly soon-ish.
Is the forth submarine in question still named the Svyatitel Nikolay? Word from the Kremlin was the forth boat was to be an “improved” Project 955, the Borei II class. Have there been any posting on what exactly the “improvements” will consist of? We aren’t talking about a new hull design, are we?
No, "Svyatitel Nikolai" (St. Nicholas) is the invention of the former Sevmash director, Nikolai Kallisttratov. It was never formally approved by the Navy Staff, which assigns the names.
As for improvements, I am having trouble pinpointing any kind of confirmation from the Kremlin of its exact features. Some possible modifications are bandied about (20 missile tubes, spherical sonar array, side torpedo tubes, forward rudders moved to the conning tower, new submarine lifetime reactor, etc.), but I would not take any of these for granted.
I would personally expect a more modest improvement (e.g. Akula => Akula II) rather that a complete redesign (e.g. Delta I => Delta II)