Yuri Dolgorukiy submarine
Photo: RIA Novosti
This year has been marked by a series of significant events in foreign and defense policy. A massive armed forces modernization also covered the Navy which represents the main tool meant for enhancing influence of the great sea power.
Symbolically, the year began with putting in service of the Russian Navy the newest strategic ballistic missile submarine Yuri Dolgorukiy and ends with deploying the same class submarine Alexander Nevsky. Russian President Vladimir Putin notes that the pace at which Russia is building its nuclear underwater fleet allows us to hope that by 2020 the country will manage to completely renew a marine component of its nuclear triad.
Yuri Dolgorukiy and Alexander Nevsky are Borei class submarines. The third missile submarine of this class, Vladimir Monomakh, is now being tested and due to be set for duty next year. The Russian Navy will obtain five similar submarines over the next seven years. And each new version will be improved in some way in comparison to the first submarine of the series. If today each of the above-mentioned models is equipped with 16 new generation ballistic missiles Bulava, modified submarines are expected to carry 20 such missiles. The Bulava missile is capable of delivering from six to ten independently targeted warheads.
Russia has launched such an extensive modernization of its strategic nuclear forces guided by the fact that Soviet nuclear arms systems have become obsolete rather than a desire to have more nuclear weapons than other countries, Igor Korotchenko, a chief editor of Natsionalnaya Oborona magazine (National security in Russian), says.
“When the Soviet nuclear submarines expire, we’ll be employing four Borei in the Pacific Ocean fleet and four – in the North fleet. A non-stop combat patrolling by at least two submarines – one in the North fleet and the other in the Pacific Ocean fleet – are ready to immediately launch a missile against its potential enemy,” he believes.
Apart from Borei missiles, by 2020 the Russian Navy is supposed to employ not less than eight new generation multi-purpose nuclear submarine projects, Yasen, armed with cruise missiles of the fourth generation. A first ship of this series, Severodvinsk, is almost ready. Simultaneously, an upcoming modernization of nine multi-purpose nuclear submarines, dubbed Akula, was announced.
In all, in 2013 the Russian Navy obtained a few dozens of combat and auxiliary ships, including stealth corvettes, frigates, missile carrying ships and speedboats. After the modified Vikramaditya aircraft carrier entered into service with the Indian Navy, debates over the creation of its own carrier fleet resumed in Russian military circles.
According to military men and politicians, unpredictability of the situation on the international arena and geopolitical interests of Russia require the building of new aircraft carriers. There is a point of view that an experience of deep and complex modernization of an aircraft carrier for India may come in handy.
Nevertheless, it’s obvious that carrier themselves are only half the battle, Viktor Litovkin, a managing editor of the Nezavisimoye voyennoye obozreniye newspaper (Independent Military Review in Russian) thinks.
“One aircraft carrier carries a certain number of planes, either destroyers or bombers, and at least one plane of distant radio location and targeting. Besides, an aircraft carrier needs a large convoy escort of ships – several missile cruisers, several destroyers, several corvettes and service ships. So, the task is much more complicated than to build one aircraft carrier. We have to create whole groups of ships. Russia needs at least one such group for its northern seas, and one – for the Pacific Ocean.”
Speaking about the events of the outgoing year that have to do with navy, 2013 will come down in history not only as a year of new inventions in this sphere. The appearance of the Russian navy flag near Syria’s borders speaks of the fact that after a long break, the Russian navy is again entering the world’s seas and oceans.