Ohio Class Submarine vs. Borei Class Submarine

The most important component of the nuclear triad is the submarine ballistic missile. Submarines are used by the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, France, India, and China to transport and potentially launch nuclear missiles. These countries have three nuclear strike options: land-based missiles, bomber aircraft, and submarines. This combination is known as the nuclear triad

In case one of these nuclear-armed countries strikes first, it could target and destroy all of its adversaries’ land-based nuclear missiles and bomber aircraft. However, it may be unable to detect and destroy all the mobile and ultra-stealth submarines. 

As a result, these nuclear-armed submarines are considered the symbol of nuclear deterrence. Today, we will compare the United States Ohio-class and Russia’s Borei-class nuclear-armed submarines to determine which is the king of the deep waters.

United States Ohio Class Submarine Overview

Ohio Class Submarine vs. Borei Class Submarine

The Ohio-class nuclear-armed submarines guarantee that any attack will not go unanswered no matter what happens on the U.S. mainland. The first boat of the class was commissioned in 1981, and a total of 18 Ohio-class subs were built for the U.S. Navy. Four of them were later converted into cruise missile submarines. Each boat has a submerged displacement of 18,750 tons, making them the third-largest submarines ever built.

Russia’s Borei-Class Submarine Overview

Borei class
Borei class

The Borei-class submarines are much smaller than the Soviet-era Typhoon class but are super stealthy and almost impossible to detect. Most of them are launched from some of the northernmost bases in the world. The first submarine in this Borei-class series was deployed in 2013, and the Russian Navy operates five submarines of the Borei-class with a submerged displacement of 24,000 tons. These are the world’s second-largest submarines ever built, and with the Borei class, the Russian Navy has resumed strategic patrols in southern latitudes after a gap of 20 years.

Ohio-class submarine Design

An Ohio-class submarine costs around three billion dollars per unit. These submarines are outfitted with three logistic hatches to resupply and repair. Ohio-class submarines are some of the quietest and most difficult-to-detect submarines ever invented. 



During sea trials in 1982, the Ohio was virtually undetectable. The length of an Ohio-class submarine is 560 feet, and its beam is 42 feet. Operated by a crew of 155, these subs carry about half of the U.S.’s active strategic thermonuclear warheads.

Borei-class Submarine Design

The inflation-adjusted cost of a Borei-class sub is around 1 billion dollars. Each Borei-class sub is constructed with 1.3 million components. The total length of piping is 68 miles, and the length of wiring is 373 miles. The boat’s acoustic signature is noticeably quieter than that of previous generations of subs, with the Russians claiming that the noise level is five times lower than a Kilo-class and two times lower than that of the U.S. Virginia-class submarines. 

Ohio Class Submarine vs. Borei Class Submarine

The Borei class is approximately 558 feet long with a diameter of approximately 44 feet and can accommodate a crew size of 107. The vessel is equipped with a floating rescue chamber designed to accommodate the entire crew.

Ohio class Submarine Performance

The Ohio class is powered by a nuclear reactor that powers two steam turbines, producing around 70,000 horsepower. The submarine is equipped with a 325-horsepower auxiliary diesel engine. Equipped with a seven-bladed shaft, the sub can reach top speeds in excess of 12 knots when surfaced and 25 knots when submerged. The operational range of the boat is only limited by food supplies, and the submarine has been tested at a maximum depth of 800 feet.

Borei class Submarine Performance

The Borei class is powered by a nuclear reactor that drives a steam turbine engine. These subs are Russia’s first to use a pump-jet propulsion system. The vessel can travel at a top speed of 15 knots when surfaced and 33 knots when submerged. With a nuclear reactor, the subs theoretically have an unlimited range as they only need to return for supplies occasionally. The planned test depth of the submarine is around 3,000 feet.

Ohio-class Submarine Firepower

Ohio Class Submarine vs. Borei Class Submarine

Each Ohio-class submarine can carry up to 24 Trident nuclear-armed missiles capable of attacking a target 7,500 miles away. This means there’s virtually no target on Earth that is out of reach. Additionally, Ohio-class submarines are outfitted with four torpedo tubes to fire Mark 48 torpedoes guided by wires or can utilize their own active or passive sensors. The torpedoes are designed to detonate beneath a surface ship’s keel, breaking the keel and destroying the ship’s structure.

Borei class Submarine Firepower

Ohio Class Submarine vs. Borei Class Submarine

The Borei class is armed with 20 Bulava-class nuclear missiles, and a single missile can split into 6 to 10 multiple independent re-entry vehicles with a yield of 150 kilotons each. The missiles have an estimated range of over 6,200 miles, meaning virtually any global target is within reach. The submarine also carries six tubes for launching 533-millimeter torpedoes to target enemy ships and subs within 28 miles. The payload ranges from a simple depth charge to a 200-kiloton thermonuclear warhead powered by a solid-fuel rocket. The maximum speed of a torpedo is around Mach 0.9.

Ohio Class Submarine vs. Borei Class Submarine:  Comparison

The Ohio class is two billion dollars costlier than the Borei-class submarine. Both vessels are nuclear-powered and come with operational ranges only restricted by supplies. These subs are virtually undetectable, and even if you could detect and destroy one, there are potentially others in a completely different location. Both submarines are similar in size; however, the Russian sub requires fewer crew members to operate it. The Borei class is heavier; however, it can outrun the American sub at its top speed of 33 knots in comparison to the 25 knots of the Ohio class. As far as firepower is concerned, an Ohio class carries more nukes than the Russian sub.


In summary, the United States’ Ohio-class and Russia’s Borei-class submarines are formidable and critical components of their respective countries’ nuclear deterrence strategies. The choice between the two ultimately depends on various factors, including budget, crew requirements, and specific mission objectives.