The first ship of the class, K-424, was laid down on 30 January 1974 in Severnoye Mashinostroitelnoye Predpriyatie (Sevmash), Severodvinsk, as the last ship of the Delta II class. During construction the new D-9R missile system was integrated into the Delta II hull without any changes in other equipment. The ship was launched on 11 February 1976 and passed sea trials in November 1976. Then tests of the new missile system were started in the White and Barents seas; 22 missiles were launched (4 x R-29PL, 6 x R-29R, 12 x R-29RK) and the missile system was commissioned in September 1978.
Most submarines served in the Pacific fleet at Rybachiy submarine base near Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. Seven under-ice Arctic voyages and two along the Southern territories were completed to 1980. Under-ice voyages were very difficult. In some places the depth of the sea is less than 50 meters and the thickness of ice about 15 meters. That gives only a few meters around the submarine. Such a voyage can be performed only by manual steering, which imposes a great burden on the crew and commander.
Two submarines served in the Northern fleet at the Gazhiyevo submarine base and three at the Olenya submarine base. From the 1990s all the Northern fleet subs were at Gazhiyevo.
All Delta III submarines passed general overhaul refuelling and upgrade in Zvezdochka shipyard, Severodvinsk, or in Zvezda shipyard, Bolshoy Kamen, since 1991, when the Soviet Union collapsed. An upgraded missile system, D-9R, with lightly modified R-29R missiles, was delivered from 1987 to 1990. On some ships the sonar station Avrora-1 was installed.
Most of the ships were decommissioned from 1995, when their next overhaul became due. Only the newest submarine, K-44 Ryazan, had a second general overhaul and refueling during 2005–2007, which gives it a potential service life to 2017.
In 1994–2002 the submarine K-129 was rebuilt in Zvezdochka shipyard to be a special purpose submarine of Project 09786 (carrier of mini submarine) and renamed as BS-136 Orenburg.
On September 30, 2008, a Russian Navy spokesman reported that Ryazan had successfully completed a 30-day transit from a base in northern Russia under the Arctic ice cap to the Rybachiy submarine base, Kamchatka Peninsula. The Navy added that Ryazan would soon be assigned to regularly patrol the Pacific Ocean. As of July 2008, six Delta III boats were active, of which two were believed to be in the process of decommissioning.
Read more about this topic: Delta III Class Submarine
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