Silent Killer: Submarine is Latest in New Fleet of Russian SSBN, Jan.  1, 2013

Russia has begun testing the latest in its fleet of new nuclear submarines nearly seven years after it was started to be built.  The silent submarine, the Vladimir Monomakh, which is the third ship in Russia's Borei project, began its sea trials on Sunday as it bids to become fully operational this year.

The submarine was laid down at Russia's largest shipbuilding complex Sevmash on the shores of the White Sea in Severodvinsk, northern Russia in March 2006, which, coincidentally, was the 100th anniversary of the Russian submarine fleet.

It has been armed with a new missile system featuring between 16 and 20 Bulava missiles, which are intended to become the cornerstone of Russia's nuclear triad, and is the most expensive weapons project in the country.

The submarine is part of a class of cruisers with the latest generation of nuclear reactor, which allows the ship to dive to a depth of 480 meters, has reported. 
It is also able to spend up to three months in autonomous navigation.

The sub forms part of the Borei family of ships, which Russia hopes will provide the basis of its nuclear naval forces over the next few decades.  The first of the Borei class is the Yury Dolgoruky, which has reportedly cost $770m and has recently completed its test programme.  It was was due to be taken on by the Russian Navy on Sunday.

In a statement on Saturday the Rubin deisgn bureau that designed the submarine said: 'The hoisting of the flag and the signing of the acceptance act is to be adopted at the Sevmash shipyard in Severodvinsk on Sunday, December 30.'

Another missile cruiser in the Borei family, the Aleksandr Nevsky, is undergoing tests, Borisov has said.  Meanwhile, the Knyaz Vladimir, the fourth, more advanced submarine, is currently being built.  The Russians plan to have built ten Borei submarines over the next eight years, according to the state armaments program of 2011-2020.