New Russian nuclear submarine to go to sea this year - April, 2008

Vladimir Putin's lasting legacy will be: the modernization and reorganization of Russia's armed services, the recommencement of Russia's strategic air patrols and supplying of Washington's enemies with modern arms...



New Russian nuclear submarine to go to sea this year

April, 2008

Russia will put its first Borey-class strategic nuclear submarine through sea trials in the second half of 2008, the Russian Navy commander said on Friday. The fourth generation Yury Dolgoruky was built at the Sevmash plant in the northern Arkhangelsk Region and was taken out of dry dock last April. It will be equipped with Bulava ballistic missiles upgraded from Topol-M (SS-27) missiles. "The Yury Dolgoruky will go to sea in July. If not in July, then in October or November," Adm. Vladimir Vysotsky said. The submarine has a length of 170 meters (580 feet), a body diameter around 13 meters (42 feet), and a submerged speed of about 29 knots. It can carry up to 16 ballistic missiles. Two other Borey-class nuclear submarines, the Alexander Nevsky and the Vladimir Monomakh, are currently under construction at the Sevmash plant. Last year, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that fourth-generation submarines armed with Bulava missiles would form the core of Russia's fleet of modern submarines.


Russia to finance Venezuelan submarine deal - paper

Venezuela is in talks with Moscow for a loan of about $800 million to partially finance the purchase of four Kilo-class Project 636 diesel submarines, Russian business daily Kommersant reported on Friday. The terms of the deal, estimated at $1 billion, were negotiated late last year, and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is expected to sign a contract for the submarines during his visit to Moscow to attend the inauguration of Russian president-elect Dmitry Medvedev on May 7. Kommersant reported that Dmitry Pankin, a deputy finance minister, had confirmed the loan deal, although he did not disclose any details, but a Venezuelan diplomatic source earlier said the loan would be provided by Russia's Vneshekonombank. The submarines will be built at the Admiralty Wharfs in St. Petersburg and the Amur Shipbuilding Plant in Russia's Far East. The Project 636 submarine is designed for anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface-ship warfare, and also for general reconnaissance and patrol missions. It is considered to be one of the quietest diesel submarines in the world. Kommersant also said negotiations were underway on the purchase of 12 Il-76 Candid military transport aircraft for the Venezuelan Air Force. With the addition of the aircraft contract, the price of the whole deal may reach $1.5 billion. Some Russian experts believe that the loan may be a risky undertaking for Moscow. Despite a steady inflow of revenues from oil sales, Venezuela does not enjoy complete political stability, and President Chavez, known for his fiery anti-U.S. stance, has strong opposition in the country. Officials at Venezuela's Moscow embassy declined to comment on the loan deal. "We cannot either confirm, or deny this information," Venezuelan Ambassador Alexis Rafael Navarro Rojas told RIA Novosti. Venezuela is Russia's fourth largest arms client after China, India and Algeria.


Russia to Create 5-6 Air Carrier Groups

Russia will have six or five groups of air carriers, the RF Navy Commander Admiral Vladimir Vysotsky announced, Interfax reported. “We plan to have five or six air carrier groups overall,” Admiral Vysotsky announced during the news conference Friday. The research is underway to determine the layout of perspective air carrier of Russia, the admiral specified. As to the new weapons, test operations of Bulava-M ballistic missile will be completed in 2008. “The missile will fly and it will fly already this year,” Vysotsky vowed. Past year’s failures were caused by the technical problems, which could be tackled, the officer explained.


Russia’s Troops to Go Dn to 1m by 2016

The strength of the RF troops will be reduced to a million by 2016, said Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov. Armed Forces are to equal a million servicemen by that time,” Serdyukov said in the interview with Komsomolskaya Pravda that was published Thursday. The acceptable strength of the central staff is known as well. “The limit of 10,523 has been determined,” the minister said. There are too many officers in Russia's Army, Serdyukov pointed out. “In our Army, over 30 percent are officers. It is an evident warp. The indicator is from 7.5 percent to 15 percent in the armies of leading nations,” the minister specified.


Russia to fly 20-30 strategic patrol missions every month

Russia is set to drastically increase its number of strategic aviation patrol flights over the world's oceans to 20-30 a month, the Air Force commander said on Friday. "We will be making 20-30 flights a month, not two or three, as was the case until recently," Col. Gen. Alexander Zelin said. He said that during their patrol missions Russian aircraft are accompanied by NATO F-15, F-16 and F-22 fighters, adding that the military alliance's planes do not always comply with international rules. "They behave tactlessly, to put it mildly - they approach too close [in breach of international regulations]," the commander said. Russia resumed strategic bomber patrol flights over the Pacific, Atlantic, and Arctic oceans last August, following an order signed by President Vladimir Putin. The move has been widely seen by the West is a sign of Russia's increasingly aggressive military stance. Russian bombers have since carried out over 70 strategic patrol flights. The Air Force command earlier said that all flights by Russian aircraft were performed by skilled pilots in strict compliance with international laws on the use of air space over neutral waters, without violating the borders of other states.


Russia to start flight tests of fifth-generation fighter in 2009

Russia plans to begin flight tests of a new fifth-generation fighter in 2009, the Russian industry and energy minister said on Thursday. "The development of a fifth-generation Advanced Tactical Frontline Fighter is being carried out under the Sukhoi PAK FA project," Viktor Khristenko said in a report posted on the ministry's website. "The flight tests of the aircraft are scheduled to begin in 2009," he said. The new fighter aircraft, which will feature high maneuverability and stealth to ensure air superiority and precision in destroying ground and sea targets, will be built at the Komsomolsk-on-Amur aircraft-manufacturing plant in Russia's Far East. Some experts believe the PAK FA fighter has been designed to be comparable to both the American F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II. It will eventually replace the MiG-29 Fulcrum and Su-27 Flanker fighters in the Russian Air Force and will be exported to other countries.


In related news:

U.S. missile shield plans due to Russia's increasing influence

U.S. plans to deploy a missile shield in Central Europe were caused by Russia's increasing global power, the chief of the Russian General Staff said Thursday. Russia has "straightened in the good sense of the word its economic, social and military shoulders," Army General Yury Baluyevsky said. "And someone does not like it, that's why the strategic stability we established 15 years ago in Europe has suddenly been destroyed." The U.S. is planning to modify its X-band radar on the Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific and relocate it to the Czech Republic as part of its proposed European missile shield, which will also include deploying 10 interceptor missiles in Poland. The missile defense plans have been fiercely opposed by Russia, which views them as a direct threat to its national security, and have contributed to bringing Washington-Moscow relations to their lowest point since the Cold War.


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