Saturday, May 24, 2008

Carriers - What Good Are They Anyway?

Published in the Independent Military Review 20th May, 2008:

Strategic Projection: The Admirals will allocate money to build carriers, but where are they going to get the ship building capacity?

Oleg Leonidovich Sergeyev is a Technical Sciences PhD and a Colonel.

On the eve of the May holidays, the Commander in Chief of the Navy Vladimir Vysotsky elaborated on the prospective development of the national fleet. Special attention was given to the plans to construct 5-6 aircraft carriers by the middle of the century, but not as individual ships with carrier aviation, but as systems as part of a multi-purpose task group and strike formation. There will be 5-6 such systems in the Pacific and Northern Fleets. The construction of the aircraft carriers must begin in the 2012-2013 time frame.

The ambitious plans to develop the Navy are based on the concept of the deterring a potential enemy – the USA - in the littoral zone under the cover of anti-missile and anti-aircraft systems and periodic build up of naval presence in regions of strategic interest to Russia. So as to cover the sea with aircraft carriers, driving poachers from their shores, is completely wasteful from an economic point of view. But there isn’t any easily defined operational doctrine explaining the necessity of such ships and none is foreseen for now. Today, that’s why the only Russian aircraft carrier “Admiral Kuznetsov” spends a month or two in the Atlantic once a year, just showing the flag and the ambitions of the high command, absent any easily definable task.

By the way, the US naval strategy is now under the influence of a new threat – high tech terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, piracy – this is a serious change from when the priority was the deter the USSR and Russia aspired to control over the world ocean with the participation of not less than thousands of ships in the international fleet.

The very name “carrier strike group” says that aircraft carriers are offensive weapons systems, acting far from home shores. But Russia has no pretensions to mastery of distant waters, she has enough of her own territory to spare. A clear answer as to why she needs aircraft carriers has as of yet not been received from the admirals and politicians.

The airwing is the key element of the carrier strike groups, determining the composition and specification of the combat employment of a given formation of ships and the allocation of infrastructure, scientific-technical and production centers focused on the realization of the “life cycle” of the sea-based aviation weapons systems. Complicating the military ship construction policies without a system of organization of efforts to modernize weapons usually leads to economic losses. It was in this way in the Khrushchev Era that half finished artillery ships and shore based aircraft went straight to the scrap pile.

The service life of an aircraft carrier with planned maintenance between deployments is about 30 years or more, and the construction tempo (assuming financing) determines the number of graving docks. The realistic service life and corresponding number of these ships in service with the USSR and Russia was determined by the lack of repair facilities and the neglect of the production base. For this reason the first ships were authorized to be repaired in the Nikolayev shipyard, and further reconstruction in shipyards in the Northern and Pacific theaters. The fruition of these plans were not in the cards and the heavy aircraft carrying cruisers of the Pacific Fleet were stricken and sold for scrap before their time – earlier than the 20 year service life – in the middle of the 90s.

Seven to ten years are needed in order to introduce the specialized production ability in order do repairs and modernization of the aircraft carrier and all of its systems in a quality manner. For now it isn’t obvious that the new chairman of the council of directors of the Unified Shipbuilding Company, Igor’ Sechin, will be able to resolve this issue.

Not having resolved this task, even if there were dock space in the north and east of Russia in 2012-2013, three aircraft carriers with be withdrawn from service in the fleet by the middle of the 21st century – two “new” construction and the only one that is active today – the TAVKR “Admiral Kuznetsov”. Accordingly, Russia should start building in this period up to 10 aircraft carriers, whose average time of construction is 8 years, based on the production rate at the Black Sea Nikolayev shipyard and based on the cooperation of hundreds of subcontractors all over the USSR. To this number it is also necessary to add dozens of ships that make up the carrier strike groups.

Can the aircraft carrier fleet become a breakthrough project or is it the latest in a series of conceptual soap bubbles, far from realization? One can divine the answer to that this way – by technical cooperation of national production, outsourcing potential to the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States, most of all, Ukraine and by widespread use of management by objective. On the other hand, the mark of failure will be the creation of new Directorates – in their number per capita we are well ahead of the rest of the planet.

For Sale - Gators! And an old Coot...

The Russian Ministry of Defense DRMO site has a couple of interesting new entries:

The Large Landing Ship BDK "Mitrofan Moskalenko" and her sister ship, the BDK "Aleksandr Nikolayev" are being put up for sale and re-use.


Caveat Emptor: The Moskalenko is in Severomorsk and the Nikolayev is in the Vladivostok area and it is probably cash and carry. Ships may not be in the condition depicted in the above photo.

Plus - for the ultra-paranoid personality, who cant get to their underground lair when the nuclear war hits and needs to coordinate their forces during the Battle of Armageddon, you can buy your very own Il-22 Coot B airborne command post.


Hired goons to fly the plane, operate the gear and give the orders to fire the "lasers" not included.

A Russian Mil Blogger turns his gaze on the Georgian Navy

A Russian Mil Blogger turns his gaze on the Georgian Navy:

The creation of the Georgian Navy was entrusted to a former Soviet submarine commander, Captain First Rank Alexander Dzhavakhishvili in 1990. However, as a result of political strife, Georgia failed to get all the ships of the Soviet 194th Brigade of Coast Guard ships, in which there were five small anti-submarine ships, one escort ship, two sea-going, three base and two roadstead minesweepers, missile, torpedo and artillery cutters, eight landing cutters, three cable layers, two training vessels and a few auxiallary vessels of various classes. Some of these ships Russia claimed for itself, the rest were simply let go in poor condition and to refit them, with a few exceptions, Georgia just couldn’t do. One can also speak of the Border Guards cutters belonging to the former USSR KGB left behind.

In the opinion of The Independent Review, “If Georgian authorities had been more amenable to Mr. Yeltsin in defending Russian national interests, having set the goal of acquiring these ships and boats and not occupied the apartments seized from the Russian population in Poti, maybe Georgia would have had the capacity to deploy a small, but rather decent and well balanced national Navy by 1992.”

Officially only seven Mi-14PL amphibious anti-submarine helicopters were transferred to the Georgian Navy (all of them are unserviceable, and subsequently Georgia bought a pair of Mi-14PL from Ukraine).

Today Georgia has two independent Naval structures:

- the Navy (Samkhedro Sazgkhvao Dzalebi – Naval Defense Forces)
- the Coast Guard (formed in 1996)

According to some reports, the President of Georgia Mikhail Saakashvili inquired about their unification. The commander of the Navy since 2005 is Colonel Koba Gurtskaya, (born 1966), a graduate of the Georgian Institute of Subtropical Culture. By the way, he studied at the Ukrainian Armed Forces Staff Academy. From 1992 to 1998, Colonel Gurtskaya served as the physical training and sports officer of an independent tank battalion. From 1998, Gurtskaya was in the Navy and commanded an independent Marine battalion, Chief of Staff of a Marine brigade, Chief of Staff and the Navy and Executive Officer for Coastal Defense.

The Georgian Naval Order of Battle consists mostly of types of cutters.

The rocket cutter (RKA) “Dioskuriya” – the former Greek “R 17 Ipoploiarchos Batsis” (a French LaCombattante II built in 1971), transferred to the Georgian Navy April 22nd, 2004. It is the flagship of the Georgian Navy. Underwent repairs in Greece at the beginning of 2003. Total displacement 255 tons, designed maximum speed 36.5 knots, armed with four Exocet MM38 launchers, two twin 35mm Oerlikon AA mounts, two 533mm torpedoes.

RKA project 206MR (Matka/Vikhir class) “Tbilisi” (hull number 302) – transferred from Ukraine 30th June, 1999, the former “U-150 Konotop”, the former Black Sea Fleet RKA R-15 (in service 29th October 1981). The cutter is on hydrofoils. Four P-15M “Termite” anti-ship cruise missiles (SS-N-2C Styx w/auxillary IR seeker head) were transferred with her. All the original armament (two Termite launchers, one 76mm AU-176 gun, one 6 barrel 30mm AK-630M gun) is preserved. It underwent refit in Ukraine.

Project 205P (Stenka class) AKA (artillery cutter) “Batumi” (hull number 301) – the former “PSKR (Border Guard Escort Ship)-648”. Built in Ukraine in 1976. Armed with two 37mm automatic guns. Went into refit in Balaklava but not refit.

Project 386T AKA “Axmetaa/Akmeta” (hull number 102) – former Soviet Navy torpedo retriever, which is assumed to be one of a number of cutters left by the Black Sea Fleet in Poti in 1992. It was built around 1970. It is armed with two 37mm guns and a 40 barrel 122mm Army BM-21 “Grad” launcher.

SKA (rescue cutter) “Iveriya” (201) and “Mestia” (203) – former Greek 75 ton rescue cutters “R 269 Lindos” and “R 267 Dilos” of Greek construction in 1978 to a West German design, transferred to Greece without weapons in February 1998 and Sepetember 1999 respectively, armed by the Georgians with two Army ZU-23-2 each. Displacement 86 tons, speed 27 knots.

SKA “Kutaisi” (202) – tranfered from Turkey 12th May, 1998, the former Turk class cutter “AV-30”, displacement 170 tons, built to a French design in 1969. Speed 22 knots. Armament – one 40mm Bofors, one Army ZU-23-2 installed by the Georgians, two 12.7mm machine guns.

PKA (border cutter) “R-22 Aeti” – former German Lindau-class base minesweeper M1085 “Minden” (German project 320/331B, built 1960), transferred 15th November, 1998. Full displacement 463 tons, speed 16 knots, armament – one 40mm Bofors, two 12.7mm machine guns, minesweeping gear was removed before transfer.

Project 205P PKA “R-21 Georgiy Toreli” – former “PSKR-629” transferred unarmed by Ukraine in 1999. Armed by the Georgians with two old 37mm single barreled guns. It differs from the “Batumi” in that it doesn’t have a general search radar, only a navigation radar.

Project 1400M (Zhuk-class) PKA – eight units with the numbers R-102 through R-104 and R-203 through R-207. It is supposed that cutters R-206 and R-207 are the former “P-139” and “P-518”. Part of the USSR Border Guards, left in Georgia in unserviceable condition and repaired by the Georgians. It is known that three others (P-203 through P-205) were transferred by Ukraine in 1997-1998 and three more (R-102 through R-104) were built in the Batumi Shipyard (before 2004 they were in the Order of Battle of the Adzhariya Coast Guard), where the Zhuks were built in the Soviet era. The Georgian built cutters, according to some sources, have American-built General Motors diesels and a speed of around 12 knots. Six cutters are armed with one 12.7mm machine gun, but the Georgians armed two (R-204 and R-205) with Army 23mm ZU-23-2 mounts. Right now almost all the cutters are in a conservation state, out of the water and on blocks (and some have been stricken).

The “Tskhaltubo” also belongs to the Georgian Naval Order of Battle – a former Black Sea Fleet liaison cutter, “Gantiadi” – a former medium fishing seiner, armed in 1992 or 1993 with two Army ZU-23-2 and two 12.7mm machine guns, “Gali” – a converted Black Sea Fleet Project 371U launch, three small Project 1398 (Aist-class) patrol craft from the USSR Border Service.

There are also amphibious forces – the Soviet Project 106K MDK (small landing ships) “Guriya” and “Atiya”, former Bulgarian reserve MDKs 608 and 612, and also the Project 1176 landing craft “MDK-01” and “MDK-02” (the former Black Sea Fleet “D-237” and “D-293”).

The Auxillary Force counts in its number the Project 364 PZhK (firefighting cutter) “Psou” (the former Black Sea Fleet PZhK-67), the training cutter “Poti”, two former Turkish launches, the Project 1896 large hydrographic cutter “DHK-81” (assumed to be the former Black Sea Fleet “BGK-176”), and Project 1415G DHK-82” (the former “BGK-1628”), and also around a dozen former Project 1398 Black Sea Fleet small hydrographic cutters.

The whole Georgian fleet does not, of course, present a serious force and is capable of perhaps combating the navy of the unrecognized Abkhazia and also of patrolling its own coastline. Only the obsolete missile boats “Dioskuriya” and “Tbilisi”, which the Georgians in a wave of nationalist feeling have proudly called “cruisers”, offer any real military value.

Source: forum
(Translation by Russian Navy Blog)

Submarine Disaster of the Day/Video of the Day

The history of K-118, which also served as communications submarine SS-429 in order to comply with the terms of SALT I, can be found here. One incident stands out and can serve as the Submarine Disaster of the Day:

1973: The (Golf class K-118) SSB was preparing for post-repair sea trials. Literally on the eve of getting underway, after the consumables stores load, like (TR Note – I’m guessing here: loose B-64 type oxygen candles), one of the workers was trying to weld some sort of cleat to the upper deck plates above the gyros. Without ensuring that there weren’t any fuel lines or cable raceways below him, he started welding. Meanwhile, there were these B-64s crammed into the overhead of the secure navigation station against the overhead deck! A fire broke out. Smelling smoke, the CDO, thinking that it was a result of the just finished welding, gave the command to ventilate the boat through the access hatch in the 8th compartment. This ventilated the conn well enough but spread smoke through the rest of the boat. This triggered a re-adjustment of the ventilation systems in the missile compartment, whose built in ventilation systems were cut off from fresh air. After a while, the ventilation cut off, the fire was extinguished, but the boat needed repairs and equipment replaced since it was covered in soot…
K-118 today:

Google Earth Image of the Day

Severodvinsk Shipyard

Will the "Neustrashimyy" be at BALTOPS-2008? describes BALTOPS as:
...a U.S. invitational multinational maritime exercise conducted in the Baltic region each year. BALTOPS provides a basis for promoting mutual understanding and maritime platform interoperability between U.S. Navy, NATO, and non-NATO participants through a series of multilateral training exercises in air warfare, shallow water undersea warfare, electronic warfare, air control, air defense, surface warfare, communications, fast patrol boat operations, seamanship, and mine warfare.

The author participated in BALTOPS-97 on the USS Cape St. George and had a blast in port in Aarhus, Denmark and Gdynia/Gdansk, Poland as well as at Fleet Week in Wilhelmshaven, Germany, where I went out in my Dress Blues in the pouring rain. The smell of wet wool combined with the disgusting taste of three Lapin Kulta beers caused me to vomit into a planter with a couple of other sailors. And to the scumbag who stole my 1968 Canon T-1 SLR camera when my back was turned for five seconds on the Cape St. George quarterdeck, you need a friggen' photography degree to operate the damn thing, what is YOUR dumb ass going to do with it? Anyway...
Back in '97, the Russians participated. Sort of, kind of. But now, they are usually fully integrated into the exercise. But will they be this year? Accoring to one denizen of a Russian forum, maybe not:
The "Neustrashimyy" is now preparing for BALTOPS-2008. This is despite a serious accident in April. The ship came back into port under tow with a gash. I don't know the details, guess something happened internally. The ship was docked quickly and now the deal is that there isn't anyone to send to BALTOPS. Bad for the Baltic Fleet in the near term...

Stay tuned...

Cool Pic of the Day

USS Nimitz conducts an unrep while the SKR "Zharkyy" looks on and wishes the Soviets could do the same thing...

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Secret of Nezametnaya Cove

Nezametnaya Cove is located on the Kola Peninsula in Zapolyar’ye and is part of Olen’ya Bay, inside a restricted zone. Access there is only possible by those who have local residency permits or access passes. Paths from the nearest towns of Gadzhievo and Snezhnogorsk crisscross the area. Earlier, before the war, a rest house stood there used mainly as a dacha for the commanders. Now all that is left are walls. Once there was a wooden pier. Higher up on the hill the foundations of other buildings are visible, the purpose of which are undetermined. A chemical storage warehouse was built on the shore in the post war years, abandoned sometime in the late ‘80s. A railway running between the wooden piers and the building for little rail cars is preserved. Inside there is a large quantity of drums with chemicals…

Sometime in the ‘70s, Nezametnaya Cove became a ship graveyard. Back then the shipyards had a hard time keeping up with the regular and urgent orders, so as a rule, they didn’t even begin to deal with dismantling old submarines. So they resolved the problem of their scrapping very simply: if they weren’t sunk as targets during exercises, they were towed to the next cove over where the hull soon just floated on the surface. According to the accounts of veterans, there were still some ships and boats floating there. Afterwards the Navy decided to either recycle the metal or the rust and POL from the hulls contaminated the water. A couple of hulls were dragged ashore by a crane. The crane itself is still extant, 100 meters up the hill.

Sometime at the end of the ‘90s, a private entity took over dismantling the hulls. By that time, the following hulks were located there:
- two Project 41 submarines (pre-war Series XIV-bis class) converted into training vessels,
- two submarines of Projects 629 and 629A (Golf I and II class). One of the hulls was preserved in good condition while the second was partially disassembled in factory conditions and probably was used as a block ship. The railing around the conn and part of the superstructure was cut off as well as half of the first compartment and a hermetically sealed bulkhead was installed in their place.
- Three Project 1124 (Grisha class) MPKs (small anti-submarine ships) and two Project 1265 (Sonya class) BTs (base minesweepers).
- Sections of floating piers and a missile loading crane, which were delivered to Gadzhievo, but for whatever reason had construction deficits and failed to satisfy requirements and so were thrown into the ship graveyard.
Alert local residents visiting the stricken ships brought to the attention of authorities that supposedly there is ammunition disposed of there also. And although these missiles didn’t pose any sort of danger, sailors had to row into the cove in a skiff and take the missiles by hand and transport them back to their unit. Afterwards, these missiles sat for a long time up against the fence not far from the piers at Olen’ya Bay.

According to information provided by local ecologists, the following hulls are sunk in Nezametnaya cove: MPK-141 (673 tons), MPK-152 (673 tons), BT-454 (390 tons), RT-829 (88 tons, RT = fishing trawler), BUK-520 (48 tons, BUK = tug), and seven pontoons (366 tons).

The first ships to be scavenged were one of the MPKs and one BT. The hull of the BT was made of wood, nailed together with copper nails. To speed up the process of removing the nails, it was decided to simply burn the hull. It burned to the waterline and all the nails melted. The MPK hull was chopped up in a most interesting way, since they were made of aluminum alloy. After softening up the hull, the water was pumped out and the bronze propellers were removed and the hull was lifted and dragged ashore.

The submarines are the most interesting for investigation. The hulls of two of them are in relatively good condition. Among the type “K” boats that served in the Northern Fleet, the most well known is “K-21”. After her service in the fleet, she was converted into UTS-5 (Training hulk-5) and was laid up for a long time in the Yekaterininskaya harbor in Polyarnyy. Afterwards it was converted again, this time into a museum and placed on a pedestal in Severomorsk.

It is known that the ship disposal facility at Cape Zelenyy in Murmansk cut up “K-51” at the end of the ‘80s.

Theoretically, the following hulls could reside in Nezametnaya Cove:
- UTS-7 (the former “K-53”, stricken in 1960)
- UTS-31 (the former “K-52”, stricken in 1978), and
- UTS-58 (the former “K-55”, stricken in 1979).
According to the testimony of veterans, “K-52” was moored at Olen’ya Bay as a trainer and a museum was even set up there, describing the combat record of the boat. Therefore there is practically no doubt that one of the hulls belongs to “K-52”, since there isn’t any sense towing a stricken boat elsewhere if two kilometers away there is already a ship graveyard. It is also known that “K-55” served as a trainer at Gremikha. It is highly likely, based on disposal date that they were indeed left at Nezametnaya. You can guess at the hull number by the remains on the railing. On the lower part you can make out either three or five. Behind them there is another number, but only the lower rounded edge, that is, the number can be either 3, 5 or 8. As is known from photographs, the training hulks could have the original hull number it carried in service and not the training hulk number. So, the following combinations are possible – “53”, “55” and “58”. If it is allowed that “K-53” disposed of in 1960 didn’t end up in Nezametnaya, then the remaining two numbers belong to one boat: “UTS-58” (the former “K-55”). Accordingly the second boat in Nezametnaya is “UTS-31” (the former “K-52”). In order to fully fill in the picture with confidence it remains to find out where “K-53” served as a trainer and what her final fate was.

What happened to the hulls of the SSBs is significantly easier. Four submarines of this project finished their service in the North Fleet: “K-102” (the former “B-121”, factory number 805, modernized according to project 605), “BS-107” (the former “K-125”, “K-107”, “B-107”, factory number 806, modernized according to project 629R, “B-118” (the former “B-149”, “K-118”, factory number 601 and as “RZS-439” served in Gremikha) and “BS-110” (the former “K-110”, “B-110”, factory number 814). Two boats are on this list. “B-118” was disposed of in a half-sunken condition in the waters of the “SRZ-35 “ (TR Note – SRZ = shipyard) after decommissioning and cutting out the missile compartments. She was raised at the end of 2006 and towed to the FGUP “Nerpa” in Kut Cove for dismantlement. “BS-107” finished her service in Ura Bay and sank at the piers there at the end of the 90s at a fairly deep depth. That its “BS-107” that is lying there is confirmed by many inspection dives, some of them on video.

The two boats that are there are without a doubt “K-102” and “BS-110”. Veterans that served on board “BS-110” at Olen’ya Bay confirm that after being stricken from the active list the boat was disposed of in Nezametnaya Cove.

The hulls are identified effortlessly. The most intact hull belongs to Project 629, that is without the letter “A”. As it is known, the only boat not to be modernized to Project 629A standard was “BS-110”. By the outlines on the second hull it is noticeable that the missile tubes differ from series production boats. Probably, “K-102” together with “K-118” had their missile tubes cut out at the “SRZ-35” shipyard, after which they were disposed of in different places. This is indicated by the railings of a Project 629 boat that was lying for a long time on the grounds of the SRZ.

(For the original Russian text and some really cool pictures of the graveyard, check out

Sierra Class Submarine "Nizhniy Novgorod" Returned to Service

From a 13 May, 2008 press release by the "Nerpa" shipyard:

The SSN K-534 "Nizhniy Novgorod" left the waters of the "Nerpa" ship repair facility, the Snezhnogorsk affiliate of the "Zvezdochka" shipyard. The shipyard workers of "Nerpa" brought the nuclear powered ship back to life, having restored the technical readiness and extended the service life of the vessel. The Project 945A SSN moored at "Nerpa" in 2001 after an emergency situation in the reactor compartment. The fate of the vessel was unclear for a long time. The possibility of full repair was as likely as scrapping. The design institute looked for a resolution to save the boat from scrapping and prepared project specifications to restore the technical readiness of the SSN. Only after four years after the start of the repair work was the future of the vessel finally determined in favor of continued service.

In the course of two years, "Nerpa" carried out dockside repairs of K-534, restoring its material condition. The reactor compartment endured an almost complete replacement of equipment and machinery, having suffered damage during the accident. The shipyard workers of "Nerpa" had to master titanium welding, putting into service new repair and production departments. The "Nizhniy Novgorod" is the second SSN returned to service by the Ship Repair Center this year. In January, the Strategic Missile Carrier "Bryansk" returned to duty from the Severodvinsk moorings. April has brought the shipwrights a new success.

(Photo: FGUP Zvezdochka)

New Documentary on the TARKR "Kirov"

"Strike Force" on state-owned Channel 1 aired a long documentary on TARKR "Kirov" on 21 May, 2008. Here is the description of the episode:

The first heavy nuclear missile cruiser was built in the Soviet Union in the 70s. Four of the cruisers were constructed. The fourth of cruisers, having received the name "Peter the Great", is the flagship of the Russian Navy. Today it is the most powerful and most heavily defended ship in the world. "Peter the Great" is a highly complex combat and technological system with the most modern weapons surveillance, targeting, navigation and command and control systems.

The film tells the tale of the complicated history of the creation of this unique class of cruiser, the project named for one of the most predatory sea birds - "Orlan".

The following people took part in the production: Vyacheslav Popov - Chairman of the National Maritime Policy Commission, Vilor Perevalov - Chief Designer of the TARKR Project 1144, Northern PKB, Alexander Koval'chuk - Commander, TARKR "Kirov", Northern Fleet (1976-1984).

If this video appears on line, I will post a link to it here.

(Photo: TARKR Peter the Great, photo by author)

Soviet Submarine Disaster of the Day

Collision of two submarines on 01 March, 1975 in the Kola Gulf.

A Soviet Project 667A (Yankee I) Nuclear Ballistic Missile Submarine (SSBN) was returning to base after patrol. The boat should have met the duty escort ship, which would have led her during her entrance into the Kola Gulf. The escort MPK (Small Submarine Ship) got underway late and failed to escort the returning submarine. At the same time, a Project 641 (Foxtrot) diesel submarine (SS) was putting to sea, heading out to the range for training. The commander of the SSBN didn’t properly evaluate the situation and took the contact he had to be the escort ship. Visibility was 30-40 cables, sea state was two, wind was 195 at five meters/second (appx 10 kts). The SS was sighted at 0626 and no precautions were taken on the part of the SSBN since it wasn’t identified at the time. The SS exited the Kola Gulf at 0600 two cables to the port of the channel centerline because of a delay in making the turn. The commander and the navigator of the SS knew about this, but despite this turned off the radar and secured the maneuvering watch in combat. The CO of the SS was informed about the possibility of a meeting with a returning SSBN, but no precautionary measures were taken and she continued to proceed at 9.5 knots. The SSBNs running lights were sighted at a range of 30 cables and the boats continued to close dangerously. The CO of the SSBN continued to count on the fact that the escort MPK was dead ahead, which should have been at a position 10 cables ahead. Because of an incorrect evaluation of the situation, he acted in an indecisive manner and maneuvered dangerously. The Foxtrot was detected by radar at 0615 and in 11 minutes was spotted visually. At 0628 a report from combat came about a dangerous approach and the captain of the Yankee I slowed from ten to seven knots. Within five minutes both boats closed to a distance of four to five cables and the commander of the Foxtrot gave the command, “Hard to port, course 070!” Simultaneously, the SSBN put its rudder “hard to starboard” and in a minute threw the engines full astern. At 0634 the Foxtrot began its left turn and thirty seconds later, stopped its engines. At 0635 the Foxtrot was in a left turn and inertia and a 7-8 knot headway carried it into the bow of the Yankee. The blow came to the starboard side of the SSBN at a 35-40 degree angle. Both submarines suffered damage to the outer hull and the hydroacoustic station on the Foxtrot was completely destroyed.

(Translation by the Russian Submarine Blog. Source:

Google Earth Image of the Day

The Marshal Nedelin class Space Tracking Ship "Marshal Krylov" at its probable final resting place next to the Tarya Bay Missile Loading Facility.

Cool Pic of the Day

In a series of photos dated 20 May 2008, the Black Sea Fleet Project 877 Kilo Submarine "Alrosa" takes on torpedoes:

First Look

Bold Monarch-2008: The Northern Fleet rescue ship "German Titov" is participating in the NATO exercise "Bold Monarch-2008" off the coast of Norway from 23 May until 07 June. According to Navy spokesman Igor Dygalo the goal of the exercise is to test joint NATO and Russian Navy rescue systems and to organize cooperation during rescue operations. Rescue ships from Great Britain and the United States will participate as well as submarines from the Netherlands, Poland and Norway. Additionally, the Dutch rescue ship "Mercury", the Polish diving ship "Lex" and the Norweagian vessel "Tir" will participate. The Dutch destroyer "Rotterdam" will play the role of control ship". Minesweepers from Canada and Norway will maintain range security. Around 40 countries will send observers. During the operation the "Titov" will use the AS-34 rescue apparatus to mate with the notional stricken submarine.

Minister of Defense visits Vilyuchinsk: The Minister of Defense Anatoliy Serdyukov met with the Commander in Chief of the Navy and the Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet in the closed military city of Vilyuchinsk Submarine Base on Kamchatka. The goal of the meeting was not released to the press.
Comment: I bet this has to do with the improvements made to the base in the last few years in anticipation of basing the almost ready for sea Yuri Dolgoruky there.

Final plans for "Northern Eagle-2008" have been finalized in Murmansk: The goal of the exercises are to work out the issues of operational cooperation between the Russian, Norwegian and American Navies. Special attention will be paid to habituating Russian, American and Norwegian sailors to joint operations at sea.
Elements of the training will be inspection operations and antiterrorist operations at sea.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

SS-N-22 Sunburn

Given the concerns that people have that Iran possesses the SS-N-22 Sunburn/Moskit missile, I think now is a good time to link to this clip of the SS-N-22 in action:

Video of the Day

Flight deck video from the Admiral Kuznetsov of a billion Rubles going into the drink:

Russia Introduces the Pantaleyev

Plans by the Navy Main HQ Staff calls for further participation by ships of the Pacific Fleet in international exercises, aimed at strengthening stability and mutual trust in the Asia-Pacific region. Thus, the large anti-submarine ship of the Pac Fleet "Admiral Pantaleyev" will take part in the annual quadrilateral international exercise "FRUKUS-2008 " in August, which will become one of the main international maritime cooperative events.
According to "Red Star", the exercises will take place in the Sea of Japan littoral. American, British and French ships will participate. The goal of the exercises will be to prepare for international maritime peacekeeping operations.
Photo: Author's photo, FRUKUS-2007

Indian Navy will recieve first MIG-29K/KUB this year

The official Russian Navy website is reporting that the Indian Navy will receive its first four MIG-29K/KUB for the TAKR "Admiral Gorshkov" this year. A delegation from India will arrive in Moscow on the 26th of May to discuss finalizing the financing for the Gorshkov conversion project, completion of which is expected to be in 2011 or 2012 after the completion of an 18 month sea trial. The aircraft will be used for training at an airbase in Goa, India. The aircraft are completely new construction by MIG, complete with anti-corrosion materials. The Indians are expected to modify the MIGs with 13 indigenously produced electronic systems.

Cool Pic of the Day

SA-N-6 launch from the TAKR "Kirov"

Kirov TAKR "Admiral Nakhimov" repair schedule revised

According to the FGUP "Sevmash" press service on 12 May, work on the Admiral Nakhimov, which has been pierside at "Sevmash" since 1999, will continue on a corrected schedule. According to the unofficial Northern Fleet website, this modification of the schedule is due to a lack of funding. The project manager, Boris Gulin, stated that they plan on "unloading the active zone of the reactor" in 2008.

Photo: FGUP Sevmash