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The Russian Shark - The Oscar of Arctic

Updated: Oct 31, 2022

Russian Stealth Submarine

Russia is known for its giant, powerful, deadly submarines to bring NATO aircraft carrier battle groups down. Russian submarines are designed to clash with NATO members in mind, and now the Arctic Circle power struggle and defence in mind. Oscar II Class (Project 949.A) (Kursk) is a cruise-missile submarine. This submarine carries and launches cruise missiles ( SLCMs and anti-ship missiles) as its primary armament. A cruise missile is a low-flying strategic guided missile with a nuclear or conventional warhead.

Oscar is an attack submarine operated by the powerful Russian Navy. Russian Navy in recent times is going down on its power ratings, but renewed interest in the Arctic Circle has brought new keenness to invest in Naval weaponry. Oscar II is one of the prized possessions of the Russian Navy. Its length is 155m and is built by Seymash with a displacement of 24,000 tonnes. These submarines were built at the Sevmash yard in Severodvinsk (RUSSIA). To overcome the resource problems, the Russians, in the 1990s, made efforts to preserve their core submarine force capabilities as NATO kept expanding.


The Russian Navy, even after resource crunches, continued to invest in new construction. In the late 1990s, they completed many third-generation Oscar II. 11 of the larger Oscar submarines were built between 1985 and 1999. 3 were decommissioned, and 1, the Kursk had sunk with all on-broad dead. The grand Oscar II submarines are active in the Northern fleet.

This fleet is strategic to the Russian defence and interests in the Arctic Circle as the Americans are gearing themselves up for the Arctic game of thrones, which will decide the fate of this century's new trade, energy and supply chain routes. 2 submarines are active as of now in the Northern fleet. Control over the Arctic Circle will be cemented with a strong Naval presence, defence and attack capabilities.

5 Oscars are active in the Pacific Fleet of the Russian Navy. The Pacific Fleet is getting 4 Oscar II submarines with a 3M-54 Kalibr family of powerful and modern cruise missiles by 2021 as part of a multi-year programme.

These submarines can also be armed with 3M-54 anti-ship, 3M-14 land-attack missiles, and PT91 anti-submarine warfare (ASW) torpedoes, which gives the Oscar holistic and overall battle and clash capabilities to react and attack in a powerful and precise manner. Each Oscar can accommodate a crew of 107 members. These upgraded submarines are designated as Project 949AM. These submarines are designed for delivering missile blows on groups of ships and coastal installations. Oscar II can prove to be a dangerous weapon in one’s arsenal during a time of conflict. The upgraded version has one additional compartment, which has improved the internal arrangement of pieces of equipment and armaments. Some Oscars are in the modernisation phase. The new Yasen-Class, which is stealthier, is expected to replace the Oscars. As of now, only 2 are active.

russian submarines


The Oscar is divided into 10 compartments and is a double-hulled submarine with a reinforced rounded cover of the sail, which is intended to break through the ice of the Arctic ice cap. This Kill machine is ready and ready when it comes to the conflict zone of the Arctic Circle. Russians master cold-weather ice-breaking submarines and have the experience to operate in the region, giving them an edge over their adversaries.

It has 2 periscopes, radio sextant and radar masts located within the retractable device area. It is fitted with a floating antenna buoy to receive radio messages, target designation data and satellite navigation signals at a great depth and under the ice. This gives it greater operability and capability in the Arctic. With 3.5m separation between inner and outer hulls gives it significant reserve buoyancy and improved survivability against conventional torpedoes.

These submarines have a submerged speed of 30 knots which is sufficient to keep pace with the targets. The killer Oscar has been equipped with 22 SS-N-19 Granit (NATO codename “Shipwreck”) cruise missiles with a range of 550km and a speed of Mach 1.5. Under the START treaty, nuclear warheads for these missiles are replaced with high-explosive warheads. Missiles are launched when submarines are submerged.

These missiles are fired from tubes, arranged in 2 rows of 12, each covered by 6 hatches on each side of the sail. The launchers are placed between the inner pressure hull and the outer hydrodynamic hull. The torpedo tubes fire torpedo and shorter-range anti-ship missiles. 2 dozen weapons are carried, including the SS-N-16 missile, which has a range of 50km and can carry Type 40 torpedo or explosive warheads. Oscar has 4 RPK-2 “Starfish” anti-submarines missiles.


As the Russian forces modernise and prepare themselves for the test of the upcoming decades of holding control over the Arctic Circle. We see significant investments being made to modernise Russia’s Northern Fleet to cover and guard the Arctic. The Oscar Class may be getting old and less advanced, but for now, it is Russia’s geopolitical dominance prized weapon in the high cold Northern Ocean. The Russians have started developing modern submarines for even harsher, brutal and battle-ready conditions and situations.

The Russians are gearing up for facing challenges in the Arctic. If the Aircraft carrier is the king of the open, warm seas, the submarines are the kings of the ice sheet cold seas.

Oscar’s greater damage, detection, survivability, and deadly ice-crushing capabilities in the Northern region where the Arctic game is heating up make it a killer weapon in the hands of the Russian Navy.

Yasen-Class submarines will replace the Oscars, but the legend and current power-weight that the Oscars bring to the Russian Navy for defending, guarding and patrolling the region remain intact. Oscar is the de facto shark of the Northern Ocean.




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