GarryB wrote:Having a base in the Med would be useful, and having one in south east asia would be useful too but if Russia wants bases that extend reach and reduce operational costs and increase times on station then each fleet needs a base near its operational area... for the Northern Fleet unless you want it to be an arctic ocean force then bases further afield makes more sense and bases in Cuba or Venezuela mean voyages from Russia don't need so much food and supplies because when they reach Cuba they can refuel and the crew can have a break before heading to south and central America or Africa. For the Pacific fleet a base in Vietnam means trips to allies in India or countries like Malaysia and Indonesia that are buying Flankers is an easy visit, and trips to south america are much shorter without having to pass through the panama canal.
Bases in the med are useful for the top of africa visits and the belly of europe visits but a base in southern Iran or the Persian gulf or even Pakistan or India would allow long term operations on anti piracy missions off the coast of africa that don't require support ships traveling from Tartus through the Suez all the time.
Having bases closer to operational areas means more time on station doing the job and much less time in transit without starvation rations or any other drastic measures.
Obviously basing agreements need to be carefully worked out and the country has to be stable and Russia needs good relations with those in power and those who are legitimate opposition groups (as opposed to the illegitimate rebels in Syria who kill people to get the west involved... just as the KLA did in Kosovo).
I agree with many of your points; smaller logistics bases would probably make more sense than some large naval bases in the traditional sense. But why would the Russian navy need to make regular trips to South America? To generate PR material for Hugo Chavez?
No thanks, the Russian navy just doesn't have the numbers it used to - it makes sense to limit its areas of operation:
- Arctic for establishing a safe playground for Russia's nuclear subs, ensuring clear skies for its strategic bombers and access to Arctic resources
- Baltic for ensuring a guaranteed transit and supply route to Kaliningrad from the mainland, in case of a crisis with NATO and/or the EU
- Black Sea, just because Russia can establish full military dominance there - it probably should; couldn't hurt as it borders several regions where Russia may have a conflict in the future.
- Pacific Ocean, balancing Chinese, Japanese and American naval forces there, ensuring strategic deterrence with nuclear-tipped cruise missiles, maintaining a Russian presence in the region.
And the Medditeranean, South China Sea and Indian Ocean for reasons already mentioned.
Altogether - that nicely encompasses the continent of Asia and part of Europe - Russia will have its naval firepower protecting it from all sides and beyond.
As you can see, Russia has enough priorities as it is. Heading out into Africa, South America, Australasia & the Southern Pacific Ocean, etc... would be nice for some occassional expeditions and task forces - but we won't have the numbers or resources to make it a regular thing anyway, so why bother with a base.