Our vision of a possible future of ballistic missile submarines (SSBN): a SSBN concept Arcturus.
New SSBNs will replace SSBN Borey-A class not earlier than in the second part of the XXI century, so they will operate in different environment. The shifts that could be anticipated today define the shape of Arcturus. Ongoing improvement of missile weaponry allows to reduce a number of missiles onboard while keeping the strike potential of the ship. Along with the new shape, these modifications will make Arcturus displacement 20% less than that of modern missile submarines. She will have length 134 meters, width 15.7 meters and complement of 100. Stealth will remain the defining feature of the SSBN, but as methods of detecting submarines evolve constantly, so the ways of ensuring stealth are to change too. Noise reduction leads to active low-frequency systems playing an increasing role in detection. The new "faceted" shape of the Arcturus, together with size reduction and an advanced active coating, reduce the reflected sonar signal and diminish the detection range of the vessel. A distributed shaftless power plant with full electric propulsion brings down radiated noise, while two propulsors increase the maneuverability and reliability of the boat. These solutions make Arcturus especially suitable for operations in the most perspective region: high latitude Arctic. The interest in that theater will only go up in the nearest decades.
The faceted shape of the submarine simplifies breaking the ice during the surfacing and allows ice to slip from missile tube hatches. Improved maneuverability is important for taking a position under an ice hole.
Versatility of the design causes its relevance in the hardly predictable conditions of the second half of the century. Arcturus can carry not only strategic weaponry, but also unmanned underwater vehicles of various classes. Small and medium UUVs can be carried in the submarine's missile tubes, large UUVs are carried under the casing in free-flooded spaces.
Through launching UUVs, Arcturus will better sense the environment, will earlier detect any opposition and effectively evade attacks. Arrival of new models and types of UUVs will keep the SSBN at the state-of-the-art level or will give it a totally new set of missions.