Latest Russian Submarine

November 24th, 2008  

Topic: Latest Russian Submarine



This story comes courtesy of the Office of the Asia-Pacific Policy Advisor at Maritime Forces Pacific."

The General Director of the Zvezdochka ship-repairing facility in Severodvinsk said last Friday that all of Russia's decommissioned nuclear submarines will be scrapped by the beginning of 2012. To date, 200 of 250 subs have been dismantled with financial support from Norway, Japan and the UK, with most from the Northern Fleet already dismantled, and those remaining to be scrapped in the Pacific Fleet. Zvezdochka, Russia's largest nuclear submarine facility, can dismantle four boats annually. Russian media is also reporting that the first of a new class of nuclear-powered attack submarines will be delivered to the Russian Navy in 2010. Severodvinsk is the first of its class of the same name, combining the ability to launch a variety of long-range cruise missiles up to 5,000 kilometres with nuclear warheads, and effectively engage hostile submarines and surface warships. Work on Severodvinsk started in 1992, but construction was significantly delayed for financial reasons, with work suspended until 2001.

Meanwhile the Russian Navy will keep the Nerpa, an Akula II-class submarine, on which 20 people recently died when the fire extinguishing system was set off, instead of handing it over to the Indian Navy (IN) as originally planned. The IN reportedly paid as much as USD $780 million for a ten-year lease of the Nerpa, though the funds for the deal, negotiated between Russia's Rosoboronexport and India's Amur Shipbuilding and the Indian Ministry of Defence, will be credited towards alternate acquisitions of Russian weapons. Nerpa will join seven other Akula submarines in Russia's Pacific Fleet.

In addition, the drama that is the Russian-Indian carrier deal continued to deepen this week when Moscow announced that they would need more time and USD $2 billion extra to finish the repairs and refurbishing of the Admiral Gorschkov aircraft carrier. There is now rampant speculation that Russia intends to keep the carrier as the price tag for the repairs climbs ever-higher. This speculation was reinforced this week by statements out of the Russian Defence Ministry, where a senior defence official was quoted as saying, "if India won't pay the money, we will keep the aircraft carrier ourselves." Earlier this year, Russia issued a report calling for the construction of five aircraft carriers by the year 2020, and numerous analysts have felt that Moscow would like very much to keep the Gorschkov to kick-start this plan since the carrier is over 80 percent complete. From India's point of view, they need the carrier if they are to fulfill their own plans of having two operational carrier strike groups by the middle of next decade, though the escalating price tag is making the purchase politically difficult for the Indian government.

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