Severodvinsk will launch, repair, decommission and redesign nuclear warships this year.
Earlier this year, manager of Sevmash yard in Severodvinsk, David Pashaev, said the budget plan for the year 1999 was far better than the last year’s. It seems that he was right about that. The yards plan to launch a nuclear submarine, start repair works on nuclear cruiser, dismantle a submarine and resume work on the forth generation nuclear submarine under construction.
The shipyards at Severodvinsk, Zvezdochka and Sevmash, exist to build, repair and, more recently, dismantle nuclear submarines. The yards are heavily dependent on state funding and have suffered an economic squeeze ever since the dissolution of Soviet power. In 1998 the crisis reached its peak: new submarines under construction received nearly no funding while the decommissioning of older nuclear subs was not budgeted for.
Nuclear cruiser to undergo repairs
Nuclear powered cruiser, the Admiral Nakhimov, will be towed to Sevmash shipyard to undergo repairs shortly. Sevmash has designed a tow rig especially for this occasion. The fact that the cruiser will be tugged to its destination shows how badly it needs repairs. Experts say that towing a vessel from the Kola Peninsula, where the cruiser is currently stationed, to Severodvinsk is a dangerous and risky operation.
The Admiral Nakhimov, a Kirov-class nuclear powered cruiser was put into operation in 1988. The Russian Navy has three cruisers of the same class in service. Two of them, the Admiral Ushakov in the Northern Fleet and the Admiral Lazarev in the Pacific Fleet, might be decommissioned shortly if the government does not provide funding to effect their repairs. The newest cruiser, Peter the Great, entered service in 1996 and is assigned to the Northern Fleet.
New submarine to be launched
Leadership of Sevmash yard says the Akula-class submarine – Gepard – will be launched in September 1999. It will take some time before the submarine is actually taken into active service, but still it is a progress. The submarine was laid down in 1991 and originally scheduled to enter service in 1996. The last submarine was launched at Sevmash in 1996, Oscar-class Omsk.
Work will continue as well on a Borey-class, fourth-generation strategic submarine, the Uriy Dolgoruky. A year ago it was decided that the submarine would be redesigned, although it is hardly 10% completed. The decision to change the submarine’s design followed the realisation that the Bark-class strategic missiles to be installed in the Uriy Dolgoruky proved to be unreliable as they failed several tests.
Construction of the Borey-class boat began on October 25, 1996. When funding zeroed out in 1997, Uriy Dogoruky’s commissioning was delayed a year to 2002 or 2003. Finally, reports during last year’s economic drought pessimistically pegged the sub’s completion date at sometime around 2010.
One submarine to get scrapped
A submarine of Delta-IV-class (apparently K-114) arrived at Zvezdochka shipyard to get scrapped. Decommissioning of the submarine is funded by the Co-operative Threat Reduction program (CTR) – a U.S. Congress effort to help Russia secure its nuclear weaponry stocks and cope with arms reduction agreements. A submarine of similar class is undergoing overhaul repairs at Zvezdochka yard to return to an active service.
Another submarine of Delta-I class will be defuelled and decommissioned shortly as well.