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    End of an Era: Russia Retires Its Cold War Behemoth, the Dmitry Donskoy Submarine

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    The decommissioning of the Dmitry Donskoy, a Project 941 Akula-class heavy nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine, signifies the end of an era for Russia’s naval power, as reported on February 8, 2023.

    This Cold War leviathan has been a stalwart of Russia’s naval power, contributing to the country’s strategic capabilities for more than four decades.

    The decommissioning process was set in motion due to Dmitry Donskoy’s spent nuclear core.

    A source close to the Russian Navy told TASS, “The Dmitry Donskoy could no longer be in service due to its spent nuclear core.” Additionally, the significant costs associated with replacing the nuclear core, coupled with the sub’s lengthy service, sealed its fate. The source explained that replacing the nuclear core with a new unit “was deemed as inexpedient due to the high cost of this operation.”

    The Dmitry Donskoy, initially launched on September 29, 1980, and formally accepted into service on December 29, 1981, has been a formidable component of Russia’s Northern Fleet.

    The submarine was constructed at the Sevmash Shipyard and was at the forefront of a series of six heavy nuclear-powered missile-carrying subs developed by the Rubin Central Design Bureau of Marine Engineering.

    The Akula-class vessel was named after the Russian historical figure Dmitry Donskoy.

    Once one of the largest submarines in the world, the Dmitry Donskoy’s primary armament was intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) of the D-19 strategic missile system.

    However, in 2002, the sub underwent an upgrade under Project 941UM, after which it played a pivotal role in testing the seaborne Bulava ICBM.

    In a show of might and agility, the Dmitry Donskoy made an inter-fleet transit to the Baltic Sea in the summer of 2017, where it participated in Russia’s Main Naval Parade.

    Relevant articles:
    Russia to decommission nuclear-powered sub that was one of biggest ever, The Jerusalem Post, Feb 9, 2023
    Russia’s Akula-class sub Dmitry Donskoi decommissioned due to spent nuclear core — source, TASS
    Spent Nuclear Core Forces Russian Navy to Decommission Akula-class Submarine, Defensemirror.com, Jun 2, 2023
    Russia decommissions Akula class nuclear submarine Dmitry Donskoy, Navy Recognition, Feb 8, 2023

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