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    Russian Naval Construction Plans and Statistics Update

    Singular_Transform
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    Post  Singular_Transform Fri May 18, 2018 8:17 am

    It happens with every new product.

    New product needs new process, it needs debugging/fine tuning .

    So, if the lead time of the components are say 12 month, and you learn the process , there can be cases when you recognise issue only during the final assembly affecting the design/beginning of the manufacturing process..

    Means you have to re-manufacture the part, and potentially you have to repeat it several times.

    So, the first part is the most time consuming to make, the second and consecutive units are faster/ cheaper than that.

    See the Ford carrier issues, they have to re-design the whole ship - and they had to do it because of the use of a new supplier for arresting gear/catapult, who has to learn the processes.


    So ,the most important ship of the RuN is the Kazan, if they commission it then the rest of the submarines will be easy ride. Or the surface ships : )
    LMFS
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    Post  LMFS Fri May 18, 2018 2:03 pm

    Hole wrote:A lot has to do with politics and the Navy not knowing what it wants.

    You start building a ship and than someone comes and tells you: "Stop using this or that component, because it´s foreign" or part of your suppliers stops delivering items because you are in Russia... Well, that´s not good for productivity.

    Then look at the Steregutschij. Series production in the first yard was accelerating, then comes the Navy and wants the ships with cruise missiles. The yard stops production, the ship is redesingned and the production starts over again. But years are lost. Same with the Gren. First the Navy wants six vessels, mostly for coastal and littoral areas. But it should be well armed. Than they change their mind, reduce the weapon load, just to save a few bucks. Then Medveded/Serdukhov come along and decide, that the Mistral will be bought. The production is stopped for years.
    Sure

    Lack of money + unclear priorities + change of components + inefficient production--> delays --> need for redesign --> start the cycle again

    Definitely not looking good. Let's see if they manage to correct this trend
    Hole
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    Post  Hole Fri May 18, 2018 5:08 pm

    Is already happening. Look at he Karakurt. Designed from the outset with all-russian systems. Navy is also on board (no pun intended), because there are now contracts with four (?) yards for 18+ ships.
    Singular_Transform
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    Post  Singular_Transform Fri May 18, 2018 6:54 pm

    LMFS wrote:
    Sure

    Lack of money + unclear priorities + change of components + inefficient production--> delays --> need for redesign --> start the cycle again

    Definitely not looking good. Let's see if they manage to correct this trend


    They call it as "learning curve".
    Again, see ford carrier.
    LMFS
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    Post  LMFS Fri May 18, 2018 7:04 pm

    Singular_Transform wrote:
    LMFS wrote:
    Sure

    Lack of money + unclear priorities + change of components + inefficient production--> delays --> need for redesign --> start the cycle again

    Definitely not looking good. Let's see if they manage to correct this trend


    They call it as "learning curve".
    Again, see ford carrier.
    The Ford case looks rather like a fiscal cliff, is not the best example of how things should work IMO.
    Of course I assume they will eventually get over it but the issue is when you are so ineffective you spend and spend and go nowhere. This non acceptable for the government since you lose money and get nothing in return. I am crossing my fingers to start seeing faster deliveries to the navy in coming years.
    Hole
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    Post  Hole Fri May 18, 2018 10:18 pm

    Singular_Transform wrote:
    LMFS wrote:
    Sure

    Lack of money + unclear priorities + change of components + inefficient production--> delays --> need for redesign --> start the cycle again

    Definitely not looking good. Let's see if they manage to correct this trend


    They call it as "learning curve".
    Again, see ford carrier.

    What do you mean? Ford is perfect... for the "shareholder" of the MIC.
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    Post  Singular_trafo Fri May 18, 2018 11:01 pm

    LMFS wrote:
    Singular_Transform wrote:
    LMFS wrote:
    Sure

    Lack of money + unclear priorities + change of components + inefficient production--> delays --> need for redesign --> start the cycle again

    Definitely not looking good. Let's see if they manage to correct this trend


    They call it as "learning curve".
    Again, see ford carrier.
    The Ford case looks rather like a fiscal cliff, is not the best example of how things should work IMO.
    Of course I assume they will eventually get over it but the issue is when you are so ineffective you spend and spend and go nowhere. This non acceptable for the government since you lose money and get nothing in return. I am crossing my fingers to start seeing faster deliveries to the navy in coming years.

    Both case, the Ford (F35) and the Kazan is the result of the same problem, but with different solutions.

    The Ford main problems are the arresting and catapult systems.
    Both of them new and challenging design, and both of them manufactured by a company without any experience on the field.

    Due to that it takes one decade to mature the design - at least.
    With the Kazan the Russian MIC faced similar issue.
    The Yassen was a finished soviet submarine, but for the Kazan they had to rebuild the complete supply chain, re design major elements, create new businesses ,processes .

    The similarity ending here.

    With the Ford the US choose the path to aim the original schedule, and try to keep the cost low ( yes, this is the low cost version of the Ford building : ) )

    It means that they installed the systems without proper test, and finalized the ship design without proven equipment.

    To rub salt into the wound they already building the second and third carrier.

    Means that instead to say increase the arresting gear dimensions by 200mm, they have to spend enormous amount of money to found a way to fit the final equipment into the limited space.Or accept that the ship will not ever work as intended ( looks like this will be the favored solution (

    Te Russians simply stopped the construction process, and shifted the consecutive ships to the right.
    Means that they still have opportunity to modify the ship if it needed with way less cost.
    George1
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    Post  George1 Sun Jun 03, 2018 1:40 pm

    Under construction ships and submarines as of 01.06.18

    Russian Naval Construction Plans and Statistics Update - Page 9 58499_900

    https://navy-korabel.livejournal.com/192082.html
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    Post  Tsavo Lion Wed Jun 20, 2018 7:49 pm

    Northern Design Bureau is designing an amphibious ship with a displacement of 8,000 tons for the RFN:
    https://iz.ru/756623/2018-06-18/dlia-vmf-proektiruiut-novyi-bolshoi-desantnyi-korabl
    for comparison, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mistral-class_amphibious_assault_ship has
    Displacement: 16,500 tonnes (empty);

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Ocean_(L12) has
    Displacement: 21,500 t (21,200 long tons; 23,700 short tons);

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dokdo-class_amphibious_assault_ship has Displacement: 14,300 tons (empty);

    Even the WWII CVEs were bigger, except 1:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Escort_carrier

    Well, they have to start somewhere!
    Russia will begin to build helicopter carriers after 2020 - the deputy head of the Navy
    http://www.ng.ru/news/619476.html?print=Y
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    Post  George1 Wed Jul 04, 2018 11:58 pm

    The ship's composition of the Russian Navy (warships of 1-2 rank, NK - from 2,000 tons full) as of 01.07.2018

    Russian Naval Construction Plans and Statistics Update - Page 9 63696_original

    Russian Naval Construction Plans and Statistics Update - Page 9 63902_original

    https://navy-korabel.livejournal.com/194440.html
    LMFS
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    Post  LMFS Thu Jul 05, 2018 1:57 am

    The Ministry of Industry and Trade named the reasons for the constant disruption of the construction of warships


    The ministry said that "the fundamental problem with the renewal of the fleet of the domestic fleet is the imperfection of state planning"

    http://tass.ru/ekonomika/5344257
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    Post  walle83 Fri Jul 06, 2018 2:40 pm

    LMFS wrote:

    The Ministry of Industry and Trade named the reasons for the constant disruption of the construction of warships





    The ministry said that "the fundamental problem with the renewal of the fleet of the domestic fleet is the imperfection of state planning"

    http://tass.ru/ekonomika/5344257

    Just would like to add that this is exactly what I said a few months ago and I was was critized for saying it. Russia lacks long term planning for its navy.
    Isos
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    Post  Isos Fri Jul 06, 2018 5:41 pm

    Russia lacks long term planning for its navy.

    They lack interest in navy compared to ground and air forces.
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    Post  PapaDragon Fri Jul 06, 2018 9:38 pm

    walle83 wrote:
    LMFS wrote:

    The Ministry of Industry and Trade named the reasons for the constant disruption of the construction of warships



    The ministry said that "the fundamental problem with the renewal of the fleet of the domestic fleet is the imperfection of state planning"
    http://tass.ru/ekonomika/5344257

    Just would like to add that this is exactly what I said a few months ago and I was was critized for saying it. Russia lacks long term planning for its navy.


    Russian government is allowing Naval command to screw around with them.

    They have Navy that want to build a fleet around some strategy that they keep changing every couple of months and keep demanding different ships and modifying existing ones under construction as a result.

    MoF should just tell them: ''You can have only two types of ships, one smaller and one larger. That is it. You will not be getting anything else for another ten years when we will do revision of what two types you can get for following decade. End of discussion.''

    Instead of letting them try to build a fleet around strategy (and fuck up in the process) they should force them to build a strategy around fleet that is given to them.
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    Post  Guest Sat Jul 07, 2018 12:34 am

    Isos wrote:
    Russia lacks long term planning for its navy.

    They lack interest in navy compared to ground and air forces.

    Yes, lack of interest coz there is no money, no facilities and sadly often lack of know-how. You would not be interested in building swimming pool if you had a spoon on your disposal now, wouldnt you? If they had 30 billion a year to spend on building of new ships and 2 or 3 shipyards capable of dispatching on average 20.000t of displacement a year they would be interested as Hell.
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    Post  Isos Sat Jul 07, 2018 8:52 am

    Militarov wrote:
    Isos wrote:
    Russia lacks long term planning for its navy.

    They lack interest in navy compared to ground and air forces.

    Yes, lack of interest coz there is no money, no facilities and sadly often lack of know-how. You would not be interested in building swimming pool if you had a spoon on your disposal now, wouldnt you? If they had 30 billion a year to spend on building of new ships and 2 or 3 shipyards capable of dispatching on average 20.000t of displacement a year they would be interested as Hell.

    Well, yes and no. S-400 are costly too but they buy them in big numbers. 500 million export price for one. The price of one and a half gorshkov so yes navy lacks interest for russian MoD.

    I'm talking about the situation right now. "If they had ...", they don't have. "If" scenarios are often far from reality.
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    Post  franco Tue Jul 10, 2018 10:27 pm

    Until early 2019, the fleet will receive two modernized large missile boats (corvette) of the legendary Soviet project 1241 Molniya. They were originally intended for a foreign customer, but the contract was canceled, and the domestic Navy became interested in ready-made buildings. In the process of completing the "Lightning" will equip with modern means of navigation and communication, the latest weapons. The architecture of the ship will change, the conditions for the crew will improve. Boats will receive X-35U anti-ship missiles and Pantsir-M sea-based anti-ship missiles.
    "Shuya" will try the naval "Pantsir". Tests ship version of anti-aircraft complex will be held on a missile boat

    According to experts, the updated "Lightning" will become a formidable fighting machine, which in this case will be less vulnerable to aviation and more comfortable for crews.

    As Izvestia was told in the Navy Commander in Chief, this year the fleet should be handed over the first of two large Molniya missile boats of Project 1241, which are being completed at the Rybinsk plant. The second boat is scheduled for delivery in 2019. The timing can be adjusted depending on the readiness of the air defense system. It is assumed that one corvette will go to serve on the Black Sea, the other - to the Caspian.

    These boats were built for export as far back as the beginning of the 1990s according to the legendary and most massive Soviet project 1241, but the contract broke down, and the finished corps for a long time "hung" at the enterprise. Currently they are being completed, but with modifications.

    The highlight of the two modernized "Lightning" is the newest air defense system. If before the project 1241 had to be content with automatic anti-aircraft guns and MANPADS, now they will receive full protection. They will install the "Pantsir-M" - a naval version of a unique anti-aircraft missile and cannon system that can fight both aircraft and enemy missiles. Currently, the tests of "Pantsir-M" are in the final stage.

    The main caliber will also change. Instead of obsolete PCR "Mosquito" for the updated "Lightnings" will put the complex "Uranus" with eight universal missiles X-35U with a range of flight up to 260 km. With a relatively small mass and dimensions, these missiles have a powerful warhead and an autonomous guidance system. X-35U are well protected from interference, they attack the target in groups and can break through enemy air defenses at low altitude.

    To ensure the effective use of modern weapon systems, the "Lightning" will be equipped with the newest radar station with an active phased array.

    The updated "Lightning" will be a powerful combat vehicle, capable of solving a wide range of combat missions, says naval expert Dmitry Boltenkov.

    - "Lightning" is well proven, so they were willingly bought and built under license by other states, - explained the expert. - So the completion of existing buildings is absolutely logical decision. After the installation of new weapons, these boats will perfectly cope with the protection of coastal waters.

    According to the expert, before the project 1241 problem was the weakness of anti-aircraft weapons.

    "Automatic cannons with interception of missiles can still cope, but the plane or a helicopter they no longer have teeth," said Dmitry Boltenkov. - With the advent of "Pantsir-M" this problem will be solved.

    Dmitry Boltenkov added that modern electronics has become much more compact, which means that the project 12418 will be able to release more space for the crew and improve not only combat capabilities, but also habitation.

    The Molniya missile boats were built for the Soviet Navy and its allies since the early 1980s. They were intended for the destruction of combat surface ships, transport and landing ships of the enemy in the coastal zone and the open sea. Currently, the Russian fleet operates about 30 "Lightning". Especially a lot of them in the Pacific Fleet.
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    Post  Tsavo Lion Tue Jul 10, 2018 10:47 pm

    Better translation & 2 pics here: https://www.navyrecognition.com/index.php/news/defence-news/2018/july-2018-navy-naval-defense-news/6346-russian-navy-to-get-two-upgraded-molniya-class-missile-boats.html

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarantul-class_corvette#Project_1242.1/1241.8_'Molniya'
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    Post  PapaDragon Wed Jul 11, 2018 1:19 am

    Tsavo Lion wrote:Better translation & 2 pics here: https://www.navyrecognition.com/index.php/news/defence-news/2018/july-2018-navy-naval-defense-news/6346-russian-navy-to-get-two-upgraded-molniya-class-missile-boats.html

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarantul-class_corvette#Project_1242.1/1241.8_'Molniya'

    Translation is better but those photos are not representative of final product (those are Vietnamese ships, standard version with 4x4 Uran missiles)

    These two will be significantly different. Missiles will be moved to the back (2x4 Urans) and entire front part will be expanded in a similar way that Svetlak-class coast guard ships were (hence crew comfort). I posted photos several months ago but can't find them now, they are here somewhere though...

    I know that they have been beavering away at them for quite some time and I have been wondering what's with lack of news. So it turns out it was because they decided to drop a Pantsir on them.

    These boats are looking better and better. I expect them to send both to Caspian Sea but it looks like there is still shortage of ships elsewhere. Anyway, I definitely expect them to both end up in Caspian once Black Sea fleet is stocked with ships.
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    Post  Tsavo Lion Mon Jul 16, 2018 11:14 pm

    Strategic Missile Boat
    https://iz.ru/766965/denis-komarovskii/raketnyi-kater-strategicheskogo-naznacheniia

    BSF got 1 more ship with Calibres
    https://iz.ru/750730/2018-06-01/chernomorskii-flot-vooruzhili-korablem-s-kalibrami

    Pacific fleet will receive 3 corvettes with Calibers by 2020
    https://iz.ru/718644/2018-03-11/tikhookeanskii-flot-do-2020-goda-poluchit-tri-korveta-s-raketami-kalibr

    Reality check:
    Even under the most optimistic projections, the  Russian Navy will not have a serious expeditionary capability for at least 15 years. Planning for large amphibious ships and aircraft carriers is still very much in the early stages.  Whether the Navy should build either type of ship is still highly disputed among both the expert community and military planners. If they are built in the numbers currently being discussed and in the most likely timelines, then the United States may have to be prepared to deal with expeditionary Russian forces in the mid-to-late 2030s. It is far more likely, however, that financial and industrial limitations will lead to the cancellation or significant reduction of plans to develop a naval expeditionary capability.
    ..The construction of a fairly sizeable fleet of small missile ships and corvettes equipped with land attack cruise missiles, combined with a strong layered coastal air defense capability, obviates to a large extent the need to build a sizeable fleet of large combat ships. Russian missile ships will be able to target most of its smaller neighbors and a large part of Europe without leaving the relative safety of enclosed seas where Russian forces are dominant.
    In summary, although the Russian Navy will continue to have problems with its platforms, its offensive capabilities will increasingly not be dependent on the size and range of its ships. The new generation of ships will allow the Navy to mount new generations of long-range cruise missiles in a modular fashion on a variety of platforms. While the Navy will not be able to project power globally or reach the levels of the U.S. Navy, it will be able to target U.S. allies in Europe and states it wants to influence on its borders. Since these countries are likely to be its primary targets in any case, Russia’s naval capabilities will be good enough to achieve Russia’s main maritime military goals in the short to medium term.
    https://russiamil.wordpress.com/2015/10/29/russian-naval-shipbuilding-is-it-possible-to-fulfill-the-kremlins-grand-expectations/

    RUSSIA’S NEW AND UNREALISTIC NAVAL DOCTRINE
    https://warontherocks.com/2017/07/russias-new-and-unrealistic-naval-doctrine/:
    Most interestingly, the doctrine spells out the priority areas for Russian naval development. These include ensuring the Russian Navy secures its place as the second most powerful naval force in the world. Given that Russia has no pretensions to overtaking the U.S. Navy, this passage suggests it will focus on remaining stronger than the rapidly expanding Chinese navy. As part of this effort, Russia will seek to further strengthen its navy’s ability to strike targets on land with both conventional and nuclear missiles. It will also seek to improve the sustainability of its naval forces in order to ensure continued presence in strategically important maritime regions around the world regardless of distance from Russian home ports. In times of war, the doctrine highlights the Russian Navy will be able to defend itself and Russian territory from opponents equipped with advanced high-precision weaponry in all spheres of naval warfare (anti-air, anti-ship, anti-submarine, and anti-mine), in both coastal and blue water environments.
    The doctrine seems particularly focused on the role the Navy can play as an instrument of deterrence. Russia’s leadership seems to be particularly worried about the U.S. military Prompt Global Strike concept, which would use hypersonic glide vehicles to strike targets anywhere in the world about an hour after launch. They see as aimed squarely at neutralizing Russia’s nuclear deterrence capability. The Russian Navy is described in the doctrine as a potentially particularly effective tool at deterring such conventional global precision strike attacks. This effectiveness is characterized by a combination of a high level of readiness with the ability to deploy to any part of the world and to remain there for an extended period of time without requiring permission from other states. Using its recently developed long-range high-precision conventional weapons, the Russian Navy can threaten high-value military and dual use targets from the sea. The doctrine argues that this capability will allow Russia to deter global strike or other conventional attacks against itself.
    To achieve these goals, the doctrine states the Russian Navy is to build a balanced force, both maintaining its existing strengths in ballistic missile submarines and developing a qualitatively “new look” for its conventional forces so that the latter are to be able to fulfill the conventional strategic deterrence mission. In order to carry out this mission while also being prepared for regular naval warfighting missions, the doctrine calls on the Navy to procure the full range of possible naval equipment including multipurpose nuclear and conventional submarines, multi-purpose surface combat ships, naval aviation, coastal defense forces, and even ground effect vehicles.
    What is it Really About?
    Here we get to what most likely is the real purpose of the naval doctrine document. It appears to be yet another salvo in the ongoing rearguard action by the Russian Navy to protect its procurement budget in the context of pressure to reduce naval procurement in the next State Armament Program, which is expected to be finalized later this year. What’s more, the Russian Navy is seeking to ensure its procurement priorities are enshrined in official documents for the long term. To this end, the doctrine states that while through 2025 the main conventional armament of the Navy will consist of high-precision long-range cruise missiles, subsequently these will be supplemented with hypersonic missiles and various automated systems such as unmanned underwater vehicles.
    The problem with this plan, as has been pointed out by a number of Russian analysts, is that it is entirely unrealistic. (One commentator has described it as “riddled with nostalgic reminiscences of late Soviet naval construction.”) In the real world, Russian surface ship construction remains woefully slow. No combat ships larger than a frigate have been built since the 1990s and none are likely to be completed in the next ten years. While nuclear submarine construction remains a strong suit, the development of a new generation of non-nuclear powered submarines remains hampered by the lack of a working air-independent power system, leaving the fleet dependent on existing diesel engine-based designs. .. And the current economic environment means financing for military shipbuilding is likely to decline in the next decade.
    What’s more, all the talk about the important role the Russian Navy could play in conventional deterrence may well be designed to mask the lack of need for larger combat ships given the essentially defensive nature of the Russian Navy’s actual primary missions. Thus, although the newly approved doctrine on the surface seems to indicate Russia is primed to rebuild its surface combat fleet, the reality is that this doctrine is poised to join many other similar pronouncements on the Russian Defense Ministry’s already rather full shelf of unfulfilled aspirational documents. The likelihood that Russia will retain its position as the world’s most powerful navy after the United States until 2030 remains quite low.


    Last edited by Tsavo Lion on Tue Jul 17, 2018 4:22 am; edited 2 times in total
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    Post  PapaDragon Mon Jul 16, 2018 11:41 pm


    They don't need expeditionary capability, they need some non-ancient ships in the water to cover the basic defense work
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    Post  Tsavo Lion Tue Jul 17, 2018 4:19 am

    Some expeditionary capability is needed for permanent force in the Med. Sea. Not all of those ships, if any, will be homeported in Tartus, Syria.
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    Post  Tsavo Lion Tue Jul 17, 2018 9:40 pm

    The BSF will be without a flagship for [at least a few more] years
    http://www.ng.ru/armies/2018-07-17/100_moscow170718.html?print=Y

    Bad news. To plug this gap, they may transfer a CG from the NF or PF.
    In a few years, the Ukraina fate may also be resolved- we will see if Russia will get her before she's scrapped!
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    Russian Naval Construction Plans and Statistics Update - Page 9 Empty Re: Russian Naval Construction Plans and Statistics Update

    Post  George1 Sun Aug 05, 2018 12:25 pm

    Construction of warships of the ocean and far sea for the Russian Navy as of 08/01/2018

    Russian Naval Construction Plans and Statistics Update - Page 9 65871_original

    https://navy-korabel.livejournal.com/197079.html
    PapaDragon
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    Russian Naval Construction Plans and Statistics Update - Page 9 Empty Re: Russian Naval Construction Plans and Statistics Update

    Post  PapaDragon Sun Aug 05, 2018 7:42 pm


    Now before y'all start celebrating keep in mind that they are talking about overall number of ships not tonnage (Karakurt=/=Arleigh Burke) but they do correctly point out core differences in geography, strategy and weapons. US or Chinese fleets can still mop the floor with Russian one (as long as it's far away from Russian mainland otherwise it's whole different ball-game)

    Also, since author (D.Axe) is generic dipstick (note how he calls it ''Putin's fleet'') and source is usual toilet paper I posted whole thing here so you don't have to click on the link:


    LITTLE RED CORVETTES? Russia’s Building Warships Faster Than America—or even China

    Putin’s burgeoning fleet is meant to fight his kind of war, not Washington’s.

    https://www.thedailybeast.com/russias-building-warships-faster-than-americaor-even-china

    The Russian navy will get a total of 26 new ships in 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced this week at a reception honoring Moscow’s fleet.

    In raw numbers, the Russian navy is adding ships faster than the U.S. and Chinese navies are doing. Putin is preparing for a naval war. But the kind of war Putin is preparing for might not be the same kind of war the United States expects.

    At one level, Russia’s official shipbuilding numbers are deceptive. Putin included small boats and support vessels in his tally—ship types the U.S. Navy, for one, rarely bothers to include when it counts its own warships.

    What’s more, Russia’s new ships on average are much smaller than new American and Chinese vessels, and are less capable of traveling long distances to fight overseas wars.

    But all that might not matter.
    Experts told The Daily Beast that Putin’s new fleet is well suited to his increasingly aggressive foreign policy along Russia’s borders. “They are a land power after all,” Michael Kofman, a Russia expert with the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington, D.C., told The Daily Beast.

    There are big vessels as well. The Russian navy still possesses large, Cold War-vintage warships that it’s upgrading, including an aircraft carrier and a nuclear-powered battlecruiser that’s one of the biggest surface warships in the world, plus an impressive force of submarines.

    “The Kalibr, a rough analogue to the U.S. Navy’s own Tomahawk cruise missile, is central to Moscow’s efforts to build a fleet of small but powerful warships.”

    Many of these big old ships may be unreliable—they’re what Moscow deploys when it wants to make an impression—but Russia’s new warships, by contrast, are small, nimble, relatively anonymous, and surprisingly heavily armed with new Kalibr cruise missiles.

    “What they are doing is selectively dipping into the best of the old vessels—surface ships and submarines—and giving them more powerful weaponry while accelerating the build rate for smaller combatants with relatively big punch,” Iain Ballantyne, author of The Deadly Trade, a history of naval warfare, told The Daily Beast.


    To that end, this year the Russian fleet is accepting into service four surface warships armed with the latest Kalibr cruise missiles, plus three support ships and 19 other vessels, Putin said. By comparison, the U.S. Navy bought 14 large warships in 2018. The Chinese navy doesn’t release official ship counts, but observers counted at least 18 new vessels entering service with Beijing’s fleet in 2016.

    In all, the U.S. fleet includes 284 frontline warships plus another 124 support and transport ships that technically belong to the Defense Department’s Military Sealift Command. In 2015 the Chinese fleet numbered around 300 large ships, according to the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence.

    The Russian fleet also possesses around 300 ships. But nearly half are patrol boats and corvettes—smaller vessels that rarely exceed 1,000 tons displacement. The U.S. Navy operates just 13 similar small surface warships, and doesn’t even include them in its official count of frontline combat vessels.

    America’s most numerous warship type is the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, a $2 billion, 10,000-ton vessel capable of independently sailing thousands of miles from its home port while carrying scores of long-range missiles.

    Today the U.S. Navy possesses around 100 Burkes and other large surface warships. The Chinese fleet operates around 80 ships of similar size and armament to the American destroyers. Unsurprisingly, the Russian fleet includes just 29 such ships.

    Geography favors Russia’s approach to naval warfare. Where the United States must deploy ships across the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans in order to wage America’s wars and China is steadily expanding its own influence across the Pacific, Russia’s conflicts for the most part are along its own land borders.

    The Russian fleet can easily reach from Europe to Asia while still deploying from home ports. Russian territory stretches from Europe’s Baltic Sea to the Bering Strait, where the Russian mainland and the U.S. state of Alaska are only 55 miles apart.

    The high cost of big, long-range ships has made it difficult for the United States to quickly grow its fleet. President Donald Trump campaigned on a pledge to increase the size of the U.S. Navy to as many as 355 frontline ships. But the Navy recently admitted it could take until the 2050s to reach that goal. In favoring small, short-range ships that cost tens of millions of dollars apiece instead of billions, Russia can grow its own fleet more quickly than the United States can do.

    In recent years the Russian fleet has directly supported ground operations in Crimea while putting pressure on NATO along the alliance’s eastern flank. Moscow’s fleet is busiest in the confined, relatively shallow waters of the Black, Baltic, and Caspian seas. Russian warships rarely venture more than a few hundred miles from their home ports.

    But the ships don’t have to sail far in order to give a major boost to Russian military operations. In early 2014 Russian ships quickly cut off and wiped out the Ukrainian navy in the Black Sea as part of Moscow’s invasion of Crimea.

    The short range of Russian warships helps to explain why Putin was keen to intervene in Syria starting in late 2015. As part of the intervention on behalf of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Putin’s fleet gained access to Russia’s only ports on the Mediterranean Sea, giving Russian ships their only direct access to southern Europe’s maritime borders.

    In October 2015, Russian corvettes sailing on the Caspian Sea fired 26 Kalibr missiles at targets in Syria, more than a thousand miles away. It was the combat debut for the 30-foot-long, precision-guided munition. “This is Russia demonstrating on a global stage that it has a lot of reach,” one U.S. military official said of the missile strike.

    Corvettes armed with Kalibrs “can form a small fleet that would be able to come close to an enemy, deliver a missile strike and immediately leave the area,” Russian state media noted.

    The Kalibr, a rough analogue to the U.S. Navy’s own Tomahawk cruise missile, is central to Moscow’s efforts to build a fleet of small but powerful warships. “Why build a huge surface combatant with all the complexity and expense that entails?” Ballantyne asked rhetorically. “You can churn out smaller vessels with Kalibr missiles and then distribute them to your crucial spheres of interest.”

    Russian naval modernization efforts are only just beginning, following years of inadequate funding and industrial dysfunction. “We will continue taking measures aimed at strengthening and developing the fleet, making it better equipped,” Putin said.

    As the Russian fleet rebuilds, small ships with big missiles will probably become an even more significant part of the overall force. With a single corvette costing just $30 million, “it’s easy to keep shipyards full of corvette and light frigate orders,” Kofman said.

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