Russian Navy - no longer Blue Water?

In 1905 they were, but then they ran into a little Jap and it was tears before bedtime
In some respects it's a bit like us and the Germans in 1916. As an Island Nation, which the Japs are, they modelled their navy on ours. Chuck in a bit of Samurai. Point is that Russia is so vast, that in order to get ships to Port Arthur from Murmansk they chose to circumnavigate. Germany never had a true Navy, rather an Army in boats and I suspect the Russians are more like that.
 
(...) If Russia can still build large hulls, then why did they order the Mistrals from France?
The Mistral contract was for more than just the ships. The French were to also modernise and improve the Russian shipbuilding industry as part of it. The project was as much or more about economic development and diversification as it was about getting ships for the Russian navy.
 
In some respects it's a bit like us and the Germans in 1916. As an Island Nation, which the Japs are, they modelled their navy on ours. Chuck in a bit of Samurai. Point is that Russia is so vast, that in order to get ships to Port Arthur from Murmansk they chose to circumnavigate. Germany never had a true Navy, rather an Army in boats and I suspect the Russians are more like that.
The Russians were in a very bad geographic position from a naval perspective. Due to geography they had to operate what amounted to four independent fleets that were not able to support one another or readily concentrate their forces - the Arctic, the Baltic Sea, the Black Sea, and the Pacific. They are still face that same problem today which will limit what they can really do.
 
The Russians were in a very bad geographic position from a naval perspective. Due to geography they had to operate what amounted to four independent fleets that were not able to support one another or readily concentrate their forces - the Arctic, the Baltic Sea, the Black Sea, and the Pacific. They are still face that same problem today which will limit what they can really do.
I am intrigued if the northern Coast of Russia, being in the Arctic circle is still a problematical today as it was then. Subs aside. The advantage being that it is all their coast line.
 
Russian SSNs and SSBNs are self-evidently blue-water and pose a considerable threat to Western shipping and national infrastructure. Russian Navy surface capability is less established but recent combat deployments from the Northern Fleet to the Mediterranean illustrate growing confidence and reach.

It’s also easy for westerners to look at this through western eyes and focus on the Kuznetsov’s woes. However, they’ve never cared much about carrier aviation and now have some very capable surface combatants which significantly out-gun and out-reach NATO equivalents. Nor should we consider only their naval vessels.

Putin has shown ruthless disregard for international norms by employing radiological, chemical and cyber weapons against Western civilian areas and infrastructure irrespective of the implications for innocent bystanders. He’s also a master of exploiting and blurring international law and using deniable ‘little green men’ in Syria, the Ukraine and numerous other locations.

Therefore, it’s fair to assume that he’d be willing to use civilian registered ships to deniably attack Western interests. We may laugh at a rusty old oiler barely capable of making headway due to its smokey and poorly maintained engine. However, maybe that rust-bucket is purposely moving slowly or is capable of dredging undersea cables which can shut down UK critical infrastructure.

So when people laugh at Russian naval capabilities, I’d suggest it’s similar to when British officers dismissed Japanese fighter pilots pre-war and believed they’d be no good as they all wore glasses, or US refusal to believe early reports from China of the Zero’s range.

Regards,
MM
 

Yokel

LE
Russian SSNs and SSBNs are self-evidently blue-water and pose a considerable threat to Western shipping and national infrastructure. Russian Navy surface capability is less established but recent combat deployments from the Northern Fleet to the Mediterranean illustrate growing confidence and reach.

It’s also easy for westerners to look at this through western eyes and focus on the Kuznetsov’s woes. However, they’ve never cared much about carrier aviation and now have some very capable surface combatants which significantly out-gun and out-reach NATO equivalents. Nor should we consider only their naval vessels.

Putin has shown ruthless disregard for international norms by employing radiological, chemical and cyber weapons against Western civilian areas and infrastructure irrespective of the implications for innocent bystanders. He’s also a master of exploiting and blurring international law and using deniable ‘little green men’ in Syria, the Ukraine and numerous other locations.

Therefore, it’s fair to assume that he’d be willing to use civilian registered ships to deniably attack Western interests. We may laugh at a rusty old oiler barely capable of making headway due to its smokey and poorly maintained engine. However, maybe that rust-bucket is purposely moving slowly or is capable of dredging undersea cables which can shut down UK critical infrastructure.

So when people laugh at Russian naval capabilities, I’d suggest it’s similar to when British officers dismissed Japanese fighter pilots pre-war and believed they’d be no good as they all wore glasses, or US refusal to believe early reports from China of the Zero’s range.

Regards,
MM
I think I have pointed out that part of our key national infrastucture is underwater - communications cables, oil and gas pipelines, the electrical interconnection under the Channel, and marine renewables such as tide and wave power generation.

As you point out, merchant vessels could be used to cut cables, collide with warships or or 'crisis response shipping', sow mines etc. No wonder the Admirals are concerned with getting more out of our ships and people.

As you also point out, the Russians are Submarine heavy, therefore NATO needs to be ASW heavy. Some think tanks thinking the UK should take the lead in an ASW task group - carrier centred. Additionally if Russia is dependence more on long range aviation once more, it makes the air defence capabilities of carrier aircraft more important. Does this change the recent "carriers are for power projection only" paradigm?

God willing, direct conflict with Russia is a remote possibility. However Geo-political conflict will still occur, and proxy conflicts with the combatants furnished with Russian intelligence are not.

We should also be aware of Russian influence activities, such as a Russian General telling a naive journalist that Russia was not worried about Trident/Typhoon/carriers, but was worried by the ability to rapidly deploy light forces.

As for the new 'VTOL fighter' - to me this points to renewed espionage and cyber activities.
 
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As you also point out, the Russians are Submarine heavy, therefore NATO needs to be ASW heavy. Some think tanks thinking the UK should take the lead in an ASW task group - carrier centred...
Significant care is always required when on this topic so I shall remain very generic and base my arguments only around the laws of physics...

ASW helicopters (whether operating from carriers or other vessels) are an important part of our defence against the Russian (and Chinese) submarine threat which must also include FFGs, SSNs, MPAs and all the supporting elements they require.

However, a hostile SSN can simply choose to outrun a ship (and the helos on it). There's nothing classified here, it's just the laws of physics. For instance, a Sevromorsk can sustain over 30 kts (open source figures) when submerged which will considerably outstrip a FFG or carrier even in favourable sea states. While it's doing that, it'll be noisier, but that doesn't matter if you're unable to bring alternative sensors or weapons to bear. Then, once out of reach, it can adopt ‘hole in the water’ mode again.

The only assets capable of keeping up with an SSN will be another SSN or an MPA. As others have said, geography favours us but ASW remains a team sport.

Regards,
MM
 
I think I have pointed out that part of our key national infrastucture is underwater - communications cables, oil and gas pipelines, the electrical interconnection under the Channel, and marine renewables such as tide and wave power generation.

As you point out, merchant vessels could be used to cut cables, collide with warships or or 'crisis response shipping', sow mines etc. No wonder the Admirals are concerned with getting more out of our ships and people.

As you also point out, the Russians are Submarine heavy, therefore NATO needs to be ASW heavy. Some think tanks thinking the UK should take the lead in an ASW task group - carrier centred. Additionally if Russia is dependence more on long range aviation once more, it makes the air defence capabilities of carrier aircraft more important. Does this change the recent "carriers are for power projection only" paradigm?

God willing, direct conflict with Russia is a remote possibility. However Geo-political conflict will still occur, and proxy conflicts with the combatants furnished with Russian intelligence are not.

We should also be aware of Russian influence activities, such as a Russian General telling a naive journalist that Russia was not worried about Trident/Typhoon/carriers, but was worried by the ability to rapidly deploy light forces.

As for the new 'VTOL fighter' - to me this points to renewed espionage and cyber activities.
I think ASW has always been a strong point of the RN, especially in the Atlantic - capabilities honed from the cold war days. That's my assessment anyways.
 
I think ASW has always been a strong point of the RN, especially in the Atlantic - capabilities honed from the cold war days. That's my assessment anyways.
In the Cold War we had a lot more assets and a huge technological advantage. Both have atrophied.

Regards,
MM
 

Yokel

LE
Significant care is always required when on this topic so I shall remain very generic and base my arguments only around the laws of physics...

ASW helicopters (whether operating from carriers or other vessels) are an important part of our defence against the Russian (and Chinese) submarine threat which must also include FFGs, SSNs, MPAs and all the supporting elements they require.

However, a hostile SSN can simply choose to outrun a ship (and the helos on it). There's nothing classified here, it's just the laws of physics. For instance, a Sevromorsk can sustain over 30 kts (open source figures) when submerged which will considerably outstrip a FFG or carrier even in favourable sea states. While it's doing that, it'll be noisier, but that doesn't matter if you're unable to bring alternative sensors or weapons to bear. Then, once out of reach, it can adopt ‘hole in the water’ mode again.

The only assets capable of keeping up with an SSN will be another SSN or an MPA. As others have said, geography favours us but ASW remains a team sport.

Regards,
MM
As ever agreed - and like you I sometimes feel frustrated that even the brief talk I received from a PWO(U) cannot be fully repeated here. Any NATO ASW task group will hopefully include not just the carrier with ASW helicopters, but a decent number of frigates with hull mounted and towed array sonar, SSN/SSK, and MPA.

My point was meant to be that because Russia, or anyone else, deploy a certain type of submarine or aircraft ot response has to be the same. Russia is primarily interested in sea denial - as will and proxies or customers of Russian weapons. NATO and the wider West are necessary interested in sea control.
 
I am intrigued if the northern Coast of Russia, being in the Arctic circle is still a problematical today as it was then. Subs aside. The advantage being that it is all their coast line.
The White Sea, just to the east of northern tip of Norway, has long been one of Russia's major points of access to the oceans, and is still holds a major naval base. It forms their only access to the Atlantic which isn't under the control of other countries (as the Baltic and Black seas are).

The rest of the Russian Arctic coast is mainly used for seasonal coastal shipping for mining, oil and gas, and other natural resource development. It is also growing in importance as a navigation route from the Far East to Europe, as it is shorter than going through the Suez Canal. It is however only open to shipping for a few months at the end of summer, being closed by ice the rest of the year. Commerical shipping has to pay a toll to Russia to pass through this route, to cover the use of navigation aids, search and rescue services, ice breaking, etc., without which commercial shipping won't operate.

This Northern Sea Route is pretty tightly under the control of the Russians. as ice to the north prevents surface access from anywhere except close to the Russian coast. However, global warming is causing the rapid retreat of sea ice, making this area one of the upcoming regions of global competition for control.

Ice on the Canadian side of the Arctic is disappearing more slowly (due to winds, current, and islands), which means the Russian side of the Arctic Ocean is opening up faster than the Canadian side. The Russians are putting a lot of military infrastructure in place to take advantage of this.
 

Yokel

LE
Will they repair the Kuznetsov or not?

Russia's Only Aircraft Carrier Is Going to Get a Massive Refit

As previously described by The National Interest, Russia lacks a suitable replacement for PD-50. Instead, the JSC plans to expand the 35th ship repair plant in Murmansk where Kuznetsov was first stationed after the 2018 accident. There, the whopping “52 defects” sustained by Kuznetsov will be repaired, and the rest of the carrier will undergo a deep modernization involving the replacement of its “power equipment, boilers, pumps, flight equipment, observation and control systems.”

Leaving aside the serious hull damage that will cost approximately one billion dollars (seventy million rubles) to repair, the latter upgrades alone will place considerable strain on a Russian naval budget already being stretched thin by ambitious submarine and corvette projects. Now, more than ever, a difficult question stands before the Russian military-industrial complex: at what point does a deep refit become so deep that it makes more financial sense to simply start from scratch on a new aircraft carrier generation?


If Russia has a yard large enough to dry dock Kuznetsov then it would be large enough for a replacement carrier, but ship repair plant is not the same as a shipbuilder.

If only Russia had not upset Ukraine. It is a bit like Argentina buying frigates powered by Rolls Royce engines, then not being able to get spares post Falklands.
 

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