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Russia Still Waiting For Subs

Russia Still Waiting For Subs
Krivoruchko and Budnichenko at Sevmash

The press-conference photo shows Deputy Defense Minister and arms tsar Aleksey Krivoruchko with Sevmash general director Mikhail Budnichenko. Heavily scaffolded CGN Admiral Nakhimov provides the backdrop. The Sevmash boss looks like he needs some antacids.

Krivoruchko told the assembled Russian media:

“The quantity of nuclear submarines being transferred to the fleet will be increased, the decision on this has been made. We expect to receive 10 nuclear submarines of projects 955A and 885M by 2024.”

If we’re generous, we could say the Russian Navy got (or will get) five new SSBNs and two new SSNs — a grand total of seven — in the first two decades of the 21st century. 

Now Krivoruchko says Sevmash will finish and deliver ten in the next five years.

Let’s look closer.

The initial 955A — Knyaz Vladimir — is in trials and could be accepted in December 2019.

Krivoruchko also told the media Knyaz Oleg, Yasen-M SSNs Kazan and Novosibirsk, and former project 949A Oscar II SSGN Belgorod — now project 09852 and reported Poseydon “doomsday torpedo” carrier — will be received in 2020.

He also noted that contracts for two more Borey-A (making ten Borey boats overall including seven Borey-A units) and two more Yasen-M (nine Yasen overall including eight Yasen-M) have been signed.

If Kazan arrives in 2020, Novosibirsk seems more likely in 2021. Knyaz Oleg might reach the fleet in 2021.

Krasnoyarsk possibly in 2022, and Arkhangelsk in 2023. Generalissimus Suvorov could be delivered in 2023 or 2024. Perm perhaps in 2024.

The first of the last two Borey-A SSBNs currently on the books — Imperator Aleksandr III — might make the 2024 deadline. But almost certainly not the other — Knyaz Pozharskiy.

So ten new nuclear submarines in Russia’s order-of-battle by the end of 2024 is certainly conceivable, but is it likely? Here are some difficulties:

  • Russia is still taking an inordinate amount of time to build boats. Nine, ten, even 11 years. It hasn’t delivered a new nuclear submarine in five years. Saying it can cut the time to seven or eight years could be specious.
  • 2020 is the big year. If Russian builders don’t deliver the five submarines Krivoruchko promised in 2020, his plan for 2024 becomes impossible. All other boats will be pushed back accordingly.
  • The backlog in the hall at Sevmash will be hard to unwind. Instead of cutting to 7-8 years, build time could stay at 9-10-11 years.
  • Five years is a long time. Political, economic, technological, and military changes could impact Krivoruchko’s schedule decisively.

Perhaps Krivoruchko’s message is just the MOD’s latest effort to hurry Sevmash along.

The extra two 955A SSBNs Krivoruchko mentioned, if built, would give Moscow a force of ten modern boats to split evenly between its Northern and Pacific Fleets.

SubmarineClassDeliveryLaydown to Delivery (Years)
Yuriy DolgorukiyBorey201316
Aleksandr NevskiyBorey201310
Vladimir MonomakhBorey20149
SeverodvinskYasen201420
Knyaz VladimirBorey-A2019-2020 (?)7-8 (?)
KazanYasen-M2020 (?)11 (?)
Belgorodex-Oscar II2020 (?)28 (?)
NovosibirskYasen-M2021 (?)8 (?)
Knyaz OlegBorey-A2021 (?)7 (?)
KrasnoyarskYasen-M2022 (?)8 (?)
ArkhangelskYasen-M2023 (?)8 (?)
Generalissimus SuvorovBorey-A2023-2024 (?)8-9 (?)
PermYasen-M2024 (?)8 (?)
Imperator Aleksandr IIIBorey-A2024-2025 (?)8-9 (?)
Knyaz PozharskiyBorey-A2025-2026 (?)8-9 (?)
???Yasen-M
???Yasen-M
???Borey-A
???Borey-A

Russian Defense Policy

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