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Medvedev Launches Superstealth Submarine

Medvedev speaking at the launch of the Severodvinsk submarine in the northern port of Severodvinsk on Tuesday. Vladimir Rodionov

President Dmitry Medvedev on Tuesday launched an ultra-quiet nuclear submarine that took 17 years to build and pledged to invest more money in weapon systems.

The 119-meter submarine, the Severodvinsk, is heralded by the Navy for its stealth as the world's quietest undersea vessel, and its screw propellers remained veiled during the launch ceremony at the northern seaport of Severodvinsk because of secrecy considerations, RIA-Novosti reported.

Russian Orthodox priests blessed the submarine by sprinkling it with water, and naval officers later christened the vessel by smashing a bottle of champagne on its hull, the report said.

Six more Project 885 "Yasen" submarines will be built after the Navy commissions the Severodvinsk following sea tests next year, Rear Admiral Oleg Burtsev, deputy head of the Navy, told reporters.

Work on the Severodvinsk started in 1993 at the Sevmash shipyard.

Despite the long road to completion, Medvedev praised the submarine's designers and Sevmash workers for "brilliantly" executing their tasks while using "the most advanced shipbuilding technologies."

"Most modern countries invest a lot of money in the latest offensive and defense systems. We should do the same," Medvedev said, Interfax reported. "Russia must carry out an efficient modernization of its naval forces."

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