Russian Navy - no longer Blue Water?

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.
His Pilots and Captains seem to be infected with the same blatant disregard for safe practice and normal procedures.

 

Yokel

LE
Opinion: Russia's reducing naval might - NWI - Naval Warfare - Shephard Media

The reality facing the Russian Navy is that it is an increasingly elderly fleet built around a core of Soviet era vessels such as the Slava-class cruisers and the Udaloy-class destroyers. These vessels are capable, but as they age will require increasing amounts of repair and maintenance to remain seaworthy and operational. The sole Russian carrier Admiral Kuznetzov now appears to be on the verge of being deleted from service following major damage sustained in dry dock, leaving Russia without any major carrier in service.

The submarine service appears to be faring little better. Despite grand aspiration, for example the 2011-20 State Arms Programme called for the delivery of 24 new submarines of which very few have been delivered, there appears to be a disconnect between aspiration and reality. Submarine construction is proceeding slowly, with a trickle of vessels entering service compared to projected plans.

It is not just the age of the force that matters, but the wider ability of the Russian state to design and build the next generation of vessels. The ability to design and build complex warships and submarines is a quickly perishable skill, as the UK found out in the 1990s with delays to the Astute class programme as a result of skills fade.


Has naval power ever been that important to Russia? They just want to interfere with NATO (and other) Sea Lines of Communication.
 

W P

LE
Opinion: Russia's reducing naval might - NWI - Naval Warfare - Shephard Media

The reality facing the Russian Navy is that it is an increasingly elderly fleet built around a core of Soviet era vessels such as the Slava-class cruisers and the Udaloy-class destroyers. These vessels are capable, but as they age will require increasing amounts of repair and maintenance to remain seaworthy and operational. The sole Russian carrier Admiral Kuznetzov now appears to be on the verge of being deleted from service following major damage sustained in dry dock, leaving Russia without any major carrier in service.

The submarine service appears to be faring little better. Despite grand aspiration, for example the 2011-20 State Arms Programme called for the delivery of 24 new submarines of which very few have been delivered, there appears to be a disconnect between aspiration and reality. Submarine construction is proceeding slowly, with a trickle of vessels entering service compared to projected plans.

It is not just the age of the force that matters, but the wider ability of the Russian state to design and build the next generation of vessels. The ability to design and build complex warships and submarines is a quickly perishable skill, as the UK found out in the 1990s with delays to the Astute class programme as a result of skills fade.


Has naval power ever been that important to Russia? They just want to interfere with NATO (and other) Sea Lines of Communication.
Russia has always been much more focused on land (&, since the 20th century, air) power. Though the Imperial navy was one of the largest navies in the 18th century, by the end of that century it had declined very badly. The state of their navy's been up & down like that ever since. The Soviet navy was big but in terms of importance in the Soviet armed forces it ranked 5th - behind the Strategic Rocket Forces, Land Forces, Air Defence Forces, & Air Forces - & submarines & carriers were considered much more important than other combat vessels. Hence the rust-bucket surface fleet. I think, to them, naval power is something that would be nice to have but not if it takes resources away from strategic nuclear, land & air power. Unless the Russian economy improves in leaps & bounds, the navy won't either.
 
May I just put my tuppence in. Russia did not start a Navy under Peter, for anything other than trade, his primary concern was for warm water ports for trade, not really to project power. The way he projected his power was by obtaining the Ports in the first place. The second thing was that the ships he had built followed the conventional concept of armed traders, but as with all nations in the 19th /20th century a military naval projection capability became essential simply because every one had one. The Chinese are following that line now. So as WP points out it was always primarily land focused. The Soviet navy Really cut it’s teeth against the Germans in the Baltic during the last war.
 
(...) Has naval power ever been that important to Russia? They just want to interfere with NATO (and other) Sea Lines of Communication.
They also want to defend their coastal regions and internal sea communications from outside aggression. This is why they had very large missile and ASW boat forces in the 500 to 1000 ton range. They had limited endurance, but they were only expected to be able to operate within the coastal waters.

Their general type is typically translated to English as "corvettes", but they are much smaller than what other countries consider to be corvettes. They also have lots of small mine countermeasures ships as well.

They are building frigates in the 4,000 to 5,000 ton range.

There are proposals for a class of very large, powerful destroyers, but whether that will ever see the light of day is another question.

In terms of what they are actually building today, the emphasis seems to be heavily focused on small coastal defence and ASW forces along with some mid size frigates. As their older ships get retired it would seem that unless some of the proposed replacements actually get built then the Russian navy will see the average size of ship actually in commission shrink quite dramatically and the surface fleet to be primarily for local defence.

It should be kept in mind however that the parts of the world the Russians tend to really care about are quite close at hand and often directly adjacent to their borders.

Grisha ASW boat:


Missile boat (the class goes under various names).


Buyan-M missile boat, their latest model.


Alexandrit class MCM.


Admiral Gorshkov class frigate.
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
RIP
Russia has to worry about the Pacific (and with it, China), the Baltic, the Black Sea, and the Arctic (which presents its own problems). The ships needed for each are different. In the case of the Black Sea, Russia seeks port facilities in the Med to stop it being bottled up - hence cosying up to Assad. The Baltic presents problems of icing and also of being on sufferance to the littoral states there, particularly now it does not have Poland and the Baltic Republics under its thumb. The money has to be prioritised between the four Fleets as above. Gorshkov, a naval visionary if ever there was one, for a short while gave the USSR Global Reach of a sort but in so doing ran Gorbachev out of cash. The only Reach Russia now has is based on its SSBNs which don't give Russia anything at a lower level and if used would result in Russia's utter destruction (I hope).
 
...submarines & carriers were considered much more important than other combat vessels...
Submarines yes but certainly not carriers which have always been of limited interest to Moscow as evidenced by their half-hearted design efforts (Kiev and Kuznetsov classes), and the fact they’ve never developed a true naval fighter (unless you count the Yak-38 ).

Compare that to the evolution of Soviet and Russian surface combatant classes such as the Kashin, Udaloy, Sovremenny, Slava and Kirov.

...The only Reach Russia now has is based on its SSBNs which don't give Russia anything at a lower level...
I’d completely disagree.

The Akula and particularly the Severodvinsk are extremely capable SSNs which regularly demonstrate global reach with both conventional (as employed in Syria) and nuclear CMs. Similarly, despite the recent accident involving Losharik, their special mission submarines and large SSK fleet are equally impressive.

Operated alongside the their surface combatants and a large ‘ambiguous’ fleet of civilian vessels, Russia presents a significant ‘hybrid’ threat to critical national infrastructure in the maritime domain, just as they do on land.

If anything, it is the credibility of the UK’s strategic deterrent which is being undermined by a limited conventional capability.

Regards,
MM
 
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W P

LE
Submarines yes but certainly not carriers which have always been of limited interest to Moscow as evidenced by their half-hearted design efforts (Kiev and Kuznetsov classes), and the fact they’ve never developed a true naval fighter (unless you count the Yak-38 ).

Compare that to the evolution of Soviet and Russian surface combatant classes such as the Kashin, Udaloy, Sovremenny, Slava and Kirov.
Carriers as distinct from carrier design & construction programmes, which were certainly late & lacklustre. (The Kiev class design was a collection of compromises. The navy wanted a supercarrier, but the govt didn't want to pay for it. Kuznetsov was more ambitious but by that time it was too late - the USSR collapsed before she was fully operational. Today the Russians keep Kuznetsov on life support at enormous expense whilst many other ships are left to rot.) The weak effort at producing them didn't detract from the Soviet navy's belief in the importance of carriers relative to other surface ships.
 
...The weak effort at producing them didn't detract from the Soviet navy's belief in the importance of carriers relative to other surface ships...
Mmmm, still not convinced the Sovs/Russians placed carriers above their CG and DDG assets, let alone their subs.

Regards,
MM
 

Yokel

LE
Just out of interest, what is the largest surface ship that can be constructed in Russia? There is currently talk of the new Priboy class LPH - somewhere between 14 000 and 24 000 tonnes.

Does Russia still produce lots of oil tankers and other merchant vessels?
 

Yokel

LE
Russia still has the ability to scare the West by mounting submarine operations en masse:

Extensive Russian Submarine Operation in North Atlantic

Russia has sent about 10 submarines into the North Atlantic in the largest such operation since the end of the Cold War, the Norwegian military said on Tuesday.

Since last week, the Russian submarines -- based on the Kola Peninsula in Russia's far north -- have been dispatched for manoeuvres in the Atlantic Ocean, according to information from the Norwegian Intelligence Service, first reported by broadcaster NRK and later confirmed to AFP.

"There's a lot of activity in the North Atlantic at the moment and Norway together with other Nato states are monitoring with air and surface capabilities," Brynjar Stordal, a spokesman for the Norwegian armed forces, told AFP.

This is the largest operation of its kind conducted by Russia "since the end of the Cold War by the number of assets operating at the same time," he added.

According to sources cited by NRK, the Russian submarines, which all left their base in submerged mode, are seeking to reach as far into the Atlantic as possible -- ideally waters west of Greenland -- without being detected.

 

Yokel

LE
Russian and Chinese naval vessels are exercising with South African ones - see here.

In the latest sign of the changing strategic balance in Africa, the first ever tripartite naval exercises between South Africa, Russia and China will occur during the week of 25 November. The exercise (known as ‘Mosi’) will bring together a range of ships from all three countries to conduct joint operations near Cape Town.

While these exercises are unlikely in themselves to mark a step change in military capability in the region, they do reflect the growing reach, and appetite for engagement by both Russia and China militarily in Africa as part of wider engagement. In the medium term this could be part of a wider strategic shift, potentially reducing Western influence and access in the region.


Whilst China seems to be seeking a full spectrum capability to compete with the Americans, Russia seems to be focusing on peacetime influence and a crisis/war role of sea denial - stopping NATO reinforcements with submarines and long range aircraft.
 
it is the credibility of the UK’s strategic deterrent which is being undermined by a limited conventional capability.
Not to mention Corbyn’s refusal to countenance the use of it?
It would be interesting/frightening to imagine the contents of Corby’s 'letters of last resort.'

Ms Griffith may be a little more credible than Defcon 1/Thornberry, but Corbyn’s long held antipathy to the Nuclear deterrent is a matter of record. His plan to have subs minus missiles was particularly hilarious :?
 
Not to mention Corbyn’s refusal to countenance the use of it?
It would be interesting/frightening to imagine the contents of Corby’s 'letters of last resort.'..
Until Corbyn gets in, he has no impact on the credibility of our strategic deterrent.

If - god forbid - he did however, it’s credibility would immediately be undermined. Indeed, I have little doubt that his first order as PM would be to recall the at-sea deterrent, or at least direct that weapons could only be fired on the express orders of the Cabinet.

In the inevitable SDSR which followed, I have no doubt that nuclear weapons would be found to be obsolete, Dreadnought would be cancelled, and the money diverted to his welfare reforms with a tiny amount used as a fig leaf for ‘relevant’ Defence capabilities such as generating his ‘Ministry of Peace’ and foreign aid.

Even if he didn’t, I suspect the US would have to re-evaluate their support to the UK deterrent.

Regards,
MM
 

Yokel

LE
Until Corbyn gets in, he has no impact on the credibility of our strategic deterrent.

If - god forbid - he did however, it’s credibility would immediately be undermined. Indeed, I have little doubt that his first order as PM would be to recall the at-sea deterrent, or at least direct that weapons could only be fired on the express orders of the Cabinet.

In the inevitable SDSR which followed, I have no doubt that nuclear weapons would be found to be obsolete, Dreadnought would be cancelled, and the money diverted to his welfare reforms with a tiny amount used as a fig leaf for ‘relevant’ Defence capabilities such as generating his ‘Ministry of Peace’ and foreign aid.

Even if he didn’t, I suspect the US would have to re-evaluate their support to the UK deterrent.

Regards,
MM
The letters of last resort in the Captain's safe in the V boats will be replaced with copies of Das Kapital and Mao's Little Red Book?

On a serious note, the thought of a link up between the SNP and Labour under Corbyn worries me. Has there ever been a regime that was hostile to the West, or a terrorist group, that he did not sympathise with. I wonder if the Germans have any files on what he did on his trips to East Germany - where Marxism was so good they had to shoot people to stop them from escaping?
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
They only got serious about building a blue-water navy in the late '30s, but WW2 chucked a spanner in the works of that project. Their big shipbuilding programme didn't kick off until the mid-'50s, with the intention that submarines were to outnumber surface vessels. Then it was determined that submarines would be excellent platforms for missiles...
They had an impressive fleet pre dreadnought days and were modernising when the Japanese slapped them about in 1905!
 
The letters of last resort in the Captain's safe in the V boats will be replaced with copies of Das Kapital and Mao's Little Red Book?

On a serious note, the thought of a link up between the SNP and Labour under Corbyn worries me. Has there ever been a regime that was hostile to the West, or a terrorist group, that he did not sympathise with. I wonder if the Germans have any files on what he did on his trips to East Germany - where Marxism was so good they had to shoot people to stop them from escaping?
I can answer that one: the papers crawled all over the BStU archive of Stasi documents back in 2016 and the archivists found precisely nothing.
 
But how many naval battles did they win?
The Battle of Sinop where the Russians crushed the Ottomans is considered to be one of the classic naval battles of the 19th century. It was a major eye-opener for other naval powers in that it showed the effectiveness of explosive shells against ships.
 

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