On 29 December 2014, Pacific Fleet Delta III-class SSBN Svyatoy Georgiy Pobedonosets returned home from a combat patrol, according to Mil.ru.
The MOD site reported that the submarine arrived in Vilyuchinsk after completing missions at sea. The chief of staff of Pacific Fleet submarine forces greeted its commander and crew with a traditional roast pig. Mil.ru said Pobedonosets will be ready to fulfill new tasks after replenishing its stores.
34-year-old Pobedonosets is one of only three (two operational) SSBNs in the Pacific Fleet order-of-battle.
It conducted an inter-fleet from the Northern to the Pacific Fleet in late 1983. From 1993 to 2003, it was laid up at Zvezda shipyard for extended “medium repair” due no doubt to a lack of funding at the time.
Then-president Dmitriy Medvedev visited Pobedonosets in 2008.
The submarine fired SS-N-18 SLBMs during strategic forces exercises in 2013, 2012, 2010, and 2009. The 2013 shot occurred while the SSBN was on patrol and came from the Sea of Okhotsk, according to the VladNews agency.
The Russian Navy conducted only five SSBN patrols in 2012, according to a FOIA response obtained from U.S. Naval Intelligence by Federation of American Scientists scholar Hans Kristensen. He concludes five were not enough for Moscow to resume continuous SSBN patrols as its Navy CINC promised in mid-2012. They would be 73-day patrols end-to-end.
It seems likely Pobedonosets spent 40-50 days in the Sea of Okhotsk or not far off Kamchatka in the extreme northeastern Pacific.
35-year-old Delta III-class SSBN Podolsk patrolled in 2011, VladNews reported. PrimaMedia indicates that Podolsk fired an SLBM, conducted other training, and possibly even an abbreviated combat patrol in mid-2014.
Russianforces.org noted it was the first launch from Podolsk in more than a decade; all other recent Pacific Fleet firings came from Pobedonosets.
32-year-old Delta III-class SSBN Ryazan inter-fleeted in 2008, launched an SLBM in 2009, but has been inactive undergoing repair since 2011.
So the fleet’s old two-submarine SSBN force performs the arduous job of maintaining some kind of Russian strategic patrol presence in the Pacific. There’s some evidence for maybe four Pacific Fleet SSBN patrols in the last four years.
Meanwhile, the Pacific Fleet awaits the inter-fleet of Borey-class SSBN hulls two and three, Aleksandr Nevskiy and Vladimir Monomakh, in the fall when, the Navy hopes, their new base facilities will be complete. They are already officially Pacific Fleet assets but based temporarily in Gadzhiyevo.
Two additional Boreys (for a total of four) are intended for the Pacific at some point. But, in the meantime, the aged Pobedonosets and Podolsk will apparently conduct occasional patrols.