Thursday, March 21, 2019

The Russian Navy: When Inertia Runs Out

There is a lot of ruin in a nation, and a once great and powerful Soviet Navy still lurks here and there ... as a slowly decreasing part of the Russian Navy.

Regionally powerful with a few dangerous submarines - but will the Russian Navy be a global power or sustainable at distance?


Nice summary by Kyle;
After years of coasting on the largesse of the Cold War, Russia’s navy is set to tumble in size and relevance over the next two decades. Older ships and equipment produced for the once-mighty Soviet Navy are wearing out and the country can’t afford to replace them.
AToday, 28 years after the end of the Soviet Union, Russia still relies mostly on Soviet-era ships. The country’s sole aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, has suffered from repeated mechanical problems and should be, but probably won’t be, retired immediately. Russia has built no cruisers since 1991, relying on the five impressive-but-aging Kirov and Slava-class cruisers to act as the country’s major surface combatants. Russia has built only one destroyer since the Cold War, the Admiral Chabanenko. Chabanenko was laid down in 1989 and commissioned into service in 1999.

Likewise, most of Russia’s submarine fleet still consists of Soviet-era submarines, including Delta-class ballistic missile submarines, Oscar-class cruise missile submarines, and Akula, Sierra, Victor, and Kilo-class attack submarines, which have been in service for so long they are still referred to by the code names they were given in Soviet service.t the end of the Cold War, Russia, the largest of the ex-Soviet republics, inherited the lion’s share of the USSR’s military equipment. Among naval forces this included several Kiev and Riga-class aircraft carriers, Kirov-class nuclear powered battlecruisers, destroyers, frigates, and more than two hundred submarines—including the enormous Akula-class ballistic missile submarines. Russia, struggling to switch from a planned to market economy, could not afford to maintain such a truly massive force and scrapped much of it, preserving only the newest equipment.
ussia is concentrating its naval resources on mission number three, protecting its submarine-based nuclear deterrent. Moscow’s submarine-launched nuclear weapons are the country’s ultimate deterrent against nuclear attack, and arms control experts believe that as of 2018 the Russian Navy has 810 nuclear weapons under its control. Russia has spent a considerable amount of money keeping its submarine-based deterrent viable, developing the Bulava nuclear missile and the new Borei-class ballistic missile submarines. Even still, the aging out of ex-Soviet submarines means by 2030 Russia is expected to field only half the number of missile submarines it does now.

Russia’s spending on surface ships has been limited to small but heavily-armed frigates, corvettes and patrol boats designed for coastal missions.
Those ships showed their quality in the Syrian Civil War ... but the makings of a blue water fleet they are not. Really, Russia does not need a blue water fleet - and I think they know it.

Nazi Germany wasted precious resources in a vanity big-ship fleet that did very little. A proper analysis of the best use of naval forces for a continental power would have kept them focused on regional punch. The Soviets had different ambitions than the Russians do ... so maybe the modern Russians appreciate that fact.

That doesn't make them any less dangerous should we move in to what they consider their waters.

No comments: