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The development of the 667BDR Delta III ballistic missile submarine began in 1972 at the Rubin Central Design Bureau for Marine Engineering. This strategic submarine is equipped with the D-9R launch system and 16 R-29R missiles, and is the first submarine that can fire any number of missiles in a single salvo.

The R-29R missile is the first sea-based Soviet ballistic missile carrying 3 to 7 multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRVs), with a range of 6,500 to 8000 km, depending on the number of reentry vehicles.

The Delta III is equipped with the "Almaz -BDR" battle management system ensuring firing of deep-water torpedos. The inertial navigational system "Tobol-BD" is of the Delta II was replaced with the "Tobol-M-1" system, and subsequently with the "Tobol-M-2". The Delta III is also equipped with the "Bumblebee" hydroacoustic navigational system to determinate its position through hydroacoustic buoys. Instead of the hydroacoustic system "Kerch" was used on the 667BD submarines, the Delta III uses the new "Rubikon" hydro-acoustic system.

The advanced Delta III SSBN entered service in 1976, and by 1982 a total of fourteen submarines were commissioned. All of them were build at Severodvinsk. The operational lifetime of these submarines is estimated to be 20-25 years. The Delta III submarines which served in the Northern fleet formed a division and were based in the port of Sayda in the Yagyelnaya bay and in the Olyenya port. In the early 90s the ballistic missile submarines were transferred to Yagyelnaya. The Delta III that served in the Pacific Fleet formed a division of SSBNs which is based on Kamchatka.

When the START-1 treaty was signed in 1991 five 667BDR SSBNs still served in the Northern (3 - in Yagyelnaya, 2 - in Olyenyey ) and nine in the Pacific Fleet. One Delta III submarine of the Northern fleet was decommissioned in 1994. The Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program is scheduled to dismantle 25 Delta-class, five Typhoon-class, and one Yankee-class ballistic missile submarines capable of launching over 400 missiles with over 1,700 warheads, by the year 2003. As of September 1999 US specialists had helped disassemble one Yankee- and six Delta-class submarines, while the Russians had destroyed another five ballistic missile subs on their own using American equipment.

As of June 2000 the Russian Navy claims that it operates 26 strategic nuclear submarines carrying 2,272 nuclear warheads on 440 ballistic missiles. This force is said to consist of 5 Typhoon class submarines, 7 Delta-IV class submarines, and 13 Delta-III class submarines [which only adds up to 25, not 26 submarines]. Not all of these submarines are presently seaworthy. The Russian Navy reportedly believes that 12 strategic nuclear submarines with ballistic missiles represent the minimum necessary force structure. According to media reports a classified presidential decree of 04 March 2000 established this force goal for the period through 2010.


Soviet Designation

667BDRM Dolphin


Delta IV

Development began


Design Bureau

Central Design Bureau for Marine Engineering "Rubin"

Chief designer

S.H. Kovalev


Nr. 402 Severodvinsk

Construction and Outfit


Service time


Number of ships



D-9 RM launch system with
16 R-29R missiles
4-533mm torpedo tubes

Power Plant

2 pressurized water reactors, 90 MW each
2 steam turbines, 20.000 hp each


2 7 blade fixed-pitch


155 meters


11.7 meters


8.7 meters


8,940 tons Surfaced
10,600 tons Submerged

Operational depth

320 meters (design)
400 meters (maximum depth)


13-14 knots Surface
22-24 knots Submerged


130 men


80 days

Class Listing

#numberName Laid Down Launched Comm. Stricken
1K-441 26 Zvezda KPSS 402 Sevmash 1975197612/**/1976 ---------- 04/1992 unnamed
1996 in reserve
2K-424 402 Sevmash ---------- ---------- 1977---------- 1997 in reserve
3K-449 402 Sevmash ---------- ---------- 1977---------- 1996 in reserve
4K-455 402 Sevmash ---------- ---------- 1978---------- 1998-99 in reserve
5K-490 402 Sevmash ---------- ---------- 1978---------- 1998-99 in reserve
6K-487 402 Sevmash ---------- ---------- 1978---------- 1998-99 in reserve
7K-44 402 Sevmash ---------- ---------- 1979---------- 1997 in reserve
8K-496 402 Sevmash 197601/**/1978 1979
9K-506 402 Sevmash 197701/**/1979 1979
10K-211 402 Sevmash 197701/**/1979 1980
11K-223 402 Sevmash ---------- ---------- 1980---------- 1998-99 in reserve
12K-180 402 Sevmash 197812/**/1980 1980
13K-433 402 Sevmash ---------- ---------- 1981---------- 1997 in reserve
14K-129 402 Sevmash 197912/**/1981 1981---------- 1997 in reserve
possibly still in operation

Sources and Resources

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Implemented by John Pike, Charles Vick, Mirko Jacubowski, and Patrick Garrett

Maintained by Webmaster
Updated Thursday, July 13, 2000 8:46:45 AM