The Russian nuclear fleet might disappear in 10 years

Publish date: November 26, 2004

The Russian navy is incapable to provide the necessary military presence of Russia in the world oceans.

According to the daily Nezavisimaya Gazeta, the Russian navy can hardly take part in the international actions of humanitarian and military character. This was stated at the external meeting of the Russian Federation Council committee on defence and security in Murmansk region in the end of October. The representatives of the navy commanders and navy shipyards also took part in the meeting. The participants complained about scarce financing of the arms state program for 2001-2010.

They also stated that the quantity of the submarines equipped with nuclear missiles reduced dramatically. Only Typhoon submarines and 7-8 Delta-III and Delta-IV remain in service. But, according to the experts from the Federation Council, they will be taken out of service and decommissioned during next 10 years. Despite the plans to launch production of the fourth-generation submarines of Yury Dolgoruky type with Bulava-30 missile system, the current construction of the multipurpose nuclear submarines of Akula class and project 677 submarines is put on hold.

The state of the Russian surface ships is also bad. At present only five cruisers are in service. Some experts from the Defence Ministry and the Navy Headquarters believe the time for such big ships is over. The small destroyers should substitute the cruisers. The Russian navy, however, has not more than 10 destroyers available. Moreover, multipurpose ship Stereguschy was laid down in St Petersburg in 2001, and Soobrazitelny – in 2003. The navy is supposed to receive the first ship in 2005. The other destroyers can enter service depending on the state financing of the shipbuilding program.

According to the experts’ estimations, the Russian navy receives only 14% from the total budget of the Defence Ministry, what does not allow the navy to develop its shipbuilding programs and even to support the existing ships. Due the money shortages, missile cruisers Admiral Nakhimov and Admiral Lazarev are in sad plight. The same reason can lead to the situation in 2010 when 100% of the support vessels will not follow the safety requirements of the Russian Ship Register. The tankers, dry-cargos, tug boats etc. supporting the battle ships have from 2 to 3 lifetime extensions. Some of the are dangerous at sea: the navy single-hull tankers are not allowed to enter international ports and straits. The support fleet needs also significant investments otherwise the Russian battle ships will lose the supplies in the world oceans, reports Novaya Gazeta.

Today the Russian navy is based on enthusiasm and the previous experience of the navy officers. The navy lacks education centres for the mariners. Low educated conscripts are incapable to serve complicated modern equipment. The Russian navy has only 24% of the contract seamen and sergeants due to the poor wages and severe living conditions. The participants of the meeting concluded that if the navy programs not to be fully financed then the Russian navy would never be able to defend the interests of Russia in the World Ocean, Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports.