After 41 years in Arctic waters, the giant Cold War weapon TK-208 “Dmitri Donskoy” is withdrawn from service.
The Typhoon was the largest class of nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines ever built. With a hull composed of two placed side-by-side, the 48,000 tons and 172-meter-long vessels could carry 20 missiles, each holding up to 10 nuclear warheads.
The “Dmitri Donskoy” was the lead submarine in the class of six similar vessels that were all based in Zapadnaya Litsa, the westernmost base on the Kola Peninsula.
Her service as part of Moscow’s nuclear deterrence, however, lasted for less than a decade. The sub entered service in February 1982, but with the collapse of the economy following the breakup of the Soviet Union, her repair and upgrade that started in 1990 lasted until 2002.
From 2002 to 2023 “Dmitri Donskoy” served as a test platform for the Bulava missile and other gear for underwater warfare tested and developed at the Sevmash shipyard in Severodvinsk by the White Sea.
The official announcement of withdrawal came on Monday.
“The heavy nuclear-powered strategic missile submarine Dmitri Donskoy has been withdrawn from the combat strength of the Russian Navy,” said head of the Fleet Support unit, Vladimir Maltsev to news agency TASS.
Of the original six Typhoon subs, three were decommissioned and cut up in the early 2000s as part of the arms reductions agreement with the United States under the so-called Nunn-Lugar financial support program. Two more, the “Arkhangelsk” and “Severstal” were taken out of active service in the mid-2000s and placed in reserve in Severodvinsk.
The “Dmitri Donskoy” will be laid up together with the two other Typhoons, awaiting scrapping.