Monday, July 17, 2017

Budget Cuts Seriously Constraining Modernization, Expansion of Russian Sub Fleet, Moscow Expert Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, July 17 – Russia does not have enough operational submarines to carry out the tasks Moscow has set the navy and does not have enough money to modernize existing boats, especially the aging ones Russia inherited from the Soviet Union, or to build new ones to fill the gap, according to military analyst Ilya Kramnik.

            In an extraordinarily detailed article whose URL tells the story – there is “not enough money” it says – the military expert describes the ways in which Moscow is being forced to cut back its modernization and building programs, leaving  the country for the next decade or more, without the submarines it needs (

                At present, there are “formally” 26 multi-purpose submarines in the Russian navy, but “half of them” are either being refitted or scheduled to be refitted. And those on service, Kramnik says specialists have told him, only about half are fully capable of performing in the absence of upgrading.

            The Russian navy had ambitious plans to address this problem, he continues, but “reductions in spending on the navy obviously have forced it to reduce its appetite for modernization and, where modernization is occurring, to reduce its extent because it has been found that the costs of refitting now nearly equal the costs of building new ships.

            The number of Russian submarines in service now is rated by officials as “absolutely insufficient.”  Moscow needs at least “twice more” than it has, but budgetary constraints are making the achievement of that goal almost impossible, despite public declarations that more is being done.

            What makes Kramnik’s article important are the specific details he provides about the situation in various classes of Russian submarines and in various drydock facilities.  The appearance of such information suggests that someone in the Navy is trying to frighten civilian political leaders into coming up for more money despite budgetary stringencies. 

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