OSINT: first candid photo of Belgorod submarine
Russia’s TYPHOON Class submarine, featured in The Hunt for Red October, was once very camera shy. As the world’s largest submarine, during the Cold War it held a certain fascination and was the subject of wild speculation even within sober defense circles. Today only one of these behemoths remains in service, TK-208 Dmitriy Donskoi. And it is nearing the end of its useful life. Consequently, the Russian Navy are now willing for photographs of this impressive beast to be pasted around the internet. In this vein, on 16th August Russian State media outlet TASS posted several excellent high resolution images of TK-208 in an article (https://tass.ru/armiya-i-opk/6762357) and on its Twitter feed. The images are outstanding, but of particular interest is that another submarine is just visible in the background of one of them: K-329 Belgorod. This latter boat is today’s Cold War TYPHOON, the largest new submarine, mysterious, secret and subject to wild speculation. This is the first candid image of her and shows the full profile above the waterline.
main Belgorod article w/Cutaway
Official images of the submarine when it was launched in April by Oleg Kuleshov (@fotoflota) were highly restricted and only show the tail of the submarine, traditionally its most sensitive part. But most of Belgorod’s secrets lay in the forward part of the submarine which houses the Poseidon Intercontinental Nuclear-Powered Nuclear-Armed Autonomous Torpedo. Other sensitive details include the docking station for the AS-31 (/AS-12) Losharik nuclear-powered deep-diving midget submarine, the boat on which 14 Russian hydronauts lost their life in July. The new photo thus casts fresh light on many details of this submarine.
Among the subtle information in the photo, it confirms the cross-section of the forward hull and degree of bulbousness of the bow. These give clues about the internal arrangement, particularly regarding the Poseidon weapon.
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