Thursday, September 25, 2008

Paper Calls B.S. On Bulava

The editors of the Independent Military Review better watch out or Putin thugs will make sure they will fall out an apartment window like Ivan Safronov:

Editorial: There Is Nothing To Celebrate.
The outbreak of celebrations in the Russian press after the Bulava launch on 18 September was based exclusively on cheap words from representatives of the MoD. Nobody even deigned to look into them more carefully. It is worthwhile. Especially instructive is this passage: “…at 1905 Moscow time the training section reached the target at the Kura test range”. That immediately raises a question: if the launch was a test launch, why was there a practice unit? What does that mean?

It means this: the Bulava didn’t carry anything, not even carrying a mock up of its regular warheads. And nothing fell in the 800,000 hectare Kura test range on Kamchatka. It missed and not a thing hit the “battlefield”.

In November 2007, almost a year ago, the previous Bulava test flight finished 23 seconds after failure of the first stage. Then it was announced that it needed 12-14 additional test launches to reach operational readiness and be accepted into service. While the next Bulava succeeded in not blowing up immediately upon launch, it is still far from being ready for acceptance.

In 1998, when the leadership at the Ministry of Defense and the government canceled the Miass Missile Center-made Bark SLBM in order to redirect money to the Institute of Thermal Technology (MITT), which is physically closer to Moscow, it was announced that the new Bulava missile would be accepted into service in 2005. The chief argument was the project cost savings. They said that they would adapt the land-based Topol’ (SS-25/27) for submarines. Experts warned that water and air were two different physical states and nothing good would come of it.

The Bulava project was valued at 227 million dollars and the cost of a missile around 10 million dollars. The real expenditure hasn’t been calculated, but MITT received 14 billion rubles for the project in 2004. It is obvious that Bulava has swallowed at least 300 million dollars over the last 10 years. […]

Its defenders assert that the country will get the 10 warhead super-weapon. But it must be said that the Bulava throw weight is 1.15 tons. It is the most important missile parameter which characterizes its combat effectiveness. That includes not only the warheads, but also the last stage consisting of the bus, guidance system and fuel. What room is left for warheads?

Take for example the Sineva with a throw weight of 2.15 tons with four medium or ten light warheads. There is a suspicion that miniaturized warheads for the Bulava still haven’t been developed. Most shamefully, the 12 Bulavas on the SSBN Yuri Dolgorukiy will have an aggregate throw weight 4.9 times less than an Ohio SSBN with the solid fuelled Trident II missile.

So for now the victorious fanfare is cancelled while the budgetary allocations flew down the tubes.

Interfax Reports Pirates Seize Ukrainian Tanks


Via, Interfax reports that

...pirates have seized a Ukrainian ship with military equipment on board.

The M/V Faina was bound for Kenya under the flag of Belize carrying around 30 T-72s and spares for armored vehicles. There are no details for now. The Ukrainian foreign ministry has neither confirmed nor denied the report.

Looks like the SKR Neustrashimyy will have a mission in the Horn of Africa...

Medvedev Visits Kamchatka During Far East Swing

The President of Russia visits the sub base at Vilyuchinsk and the Delta III SSBN Svyati Georgi Pobedanosets.

There is just no dignity on a vertical ladder, is there?


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

SKR Neustrashimyy Departs Baltic on Deployment

No rest for the weary. After large scale Baltic Fleet exercises, the Neustrashimyy goes on deployment.

From an official MoD statement via
The guard ship (SKR) Neustrashimyy departed the main naval base in the Baltic, Baltiysk on 24 September for a deployment.

The crew of the guard ship Neustrashimyy, under the command of K2R Aleksey Apanovich will carry out practice combat missions far from home waters.

K1R Oleg Gurinov was named deployment commander by the Squadron.

During the deployment the crew of the Neustrashimyy will train on a whole range of combat tasks, including: general quarters drills, search and destroy drills against a notional enemy, damage control training and anti-air training. There will be crew training on the reliability of the machinery and weapons and an accumulation of experience by commanders at all levels on decision making in complicated and unforseen circumstances.

The Zvezda TV clip notes that the Neustrashimyy just returned from large scale Baltic Fleet exercises in which 20 ships, 2 submarines, 15 planes and other shore based elements participated. The report further notes that the Neustrashimyy is capable of missions "in the littoral zone as well as in distant areas of the world ocean". The Neustrashimyy is armed with the latest missile and artillery weapons and has won fleet competitions and has participated in exercises with NATO vessels during Baltops. The captain of the Neustrashimyy was noted as belonging to a noted Naval family.

Yesterday I speculated about the Peter the Great and the Admiral Chabanenko participating in anti-piracy ops in the Horn of Africa.

Today I will irresponsibly speculate that I think it is much more likely that it is the Neustrashimyy that will participate given that logically, it is akin to using a sledgehammer as a flyswatter for the Peter the Great to participate in anti-piracy ops, although that kind of suits the Russian's style, doesn't it?

The Neustrashimyy as an anti-piracy vessel makes much more sense to me.

As for K2R Apanovich and his distinguished naval family, I found this at

Deputy Commander --- APANOVICH, Vasiliy, Vice-Admiral, appointed [deputy commander, Baltic Fleet) (Agentstvo Voyennykh Novostey 17 May 01).

["Apanovich was born in the Grozno region in Belarus in 1951. He graduated from the Kaliningrad Higher Naval College in 1976, Navy's Higher Officer Classes in 1984 and Navy Academy in 1989. Ananovich occupied various posts in the Baltic Fleet, starting from air defence missile battery commander at the Obraztsovy large anti-submarine ship, chief officer at the Silny and Neukrotimy guard ships, Oktyabrskaya Revolyutsiya cruisers. Later he became commander of the Silny guard ship, then deputy commander of a landing ship brigade. Following that he was promoted to brigade commander and then chief-of-staff of a surface vessels division. Prior to his current appointment, Ananovich commanded the Baltiysk naval base" (Agentstvo Voyennykh Novostey 17 May 01).]

Su-25 Clip: Correction

Cyxymu writes:

Two days ago I posted a videoclip which the author of the clip advertised as airstrikes by Russian aviation on Georgia and in the end turned out to be a clip of Russian flights in Chechnya and Tadjikistan, which is confirmed by this clip. Sorry for the disinformation.

Guess I shouldn't believe everything I see on the internet.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Speaking of Despicable Pirates...

If we had just "invested" our Social Security trust fund in Wall Street five years ago, we'd be in much better shape. /sarcasm

Instead, we are in the midst of the greatest bank robbery in history, and its an inside job.

Jail is too good for these fucksticks.

Just in Time For Talk Like a Pirate Day!

The Russian Navy will be sinking Somali pirates.

Warships flying the Saint Andrew's Flag will soon appear in African waters. Not for exercises, but with a firm combat mission. The CinC of the Russian Navy Admiral Vladimir Vysotskiy announced on Tuesday that Russia will join with international forces in the fight against piracy around Somalia very soon. He stressed that Russia will make a decision about this independently, and not in the context of any sort of international operation (Comment: Probably refering to TF150, currently led by a Canadian officer IIRC). If there is a successful battle with Somali pirates that are regularly attacking shipping, one can say that our country will have finally returned to the ranks of great maritime powers. That status is not just determined by presence in the world oceans, but also by concrete action. By the way, the maritime situation around Somali is a very knotty problem.

A special agreement on the fight against piracy will be concluded with Somali authorities according to a decision made earlier by a judge on the United Nations International Tribunal on Maritime Law Anatoliy Kolodkin in order that our ships presence in Somali waters is fully legal. Officials in Mogadishu have similar arrangements with 11 other countries already including with the USA, UK and France. The agreements stipulate not only military operations against freebooters, but also cooperation with investigative organs of the signatory countries. But none of the eleven nations have had any success (Comment: Here is a perfect example of the Russian press stretching the truth for internal propaganda purposes and setting the Russian Navy up to look as good a possible since the French have recently had a spectacular success against piracy only last week).

It is worth remembering that this year pirates have more than once captured foreign ships and Russian citizens crewing those ships. There is the example of attacks on ships belonging to a Russian company, but flying the flags of other countries. Somalia has become a corsair stronghold of late. Official government power is unable to influence what is happening on the coast. "The government controls only 51 percent of the country," Vadim Zaytsev, a representitive of the general director of the think tank "Rosafroekspertiz", told RBK daily.

Accordingly, Russia simply cannot turn its head from the problem. Indeed among the five basic principles of Russian foreign policy recently articulated by President Dmitri Medvedev, one priority was the defense of life and safety of Russian citizens "no matter where they are". Now it is time to back up these loud words with action. The escort of Russian and in the event of a request, foreign vessels with armed defense against corsair attack - this is the bare minimum that the Navy must be prepared to do. Besides that, thanks to this mission Russian sailors will receive valuable experience in conditions approaching combat.

Meanwhile there are a whole parcel of complications that come with anti-piracy operations around Somalia. "It isn't quite clear for now where our ships participating in raids against pirates will be based," Vadim Zaytsev noted. "Besides that, if Russia is to act effectively, then she risks at the very least a negative image among the local population." According to experts, the relative stability in the region is due in part to piracy. Many Somalis simply do not have any other sources of money and sustenance. And besides that, Somalia is an Islamic country. And if Russia raids this hive of pirates, like the USA did before, this can raise problems with the Islamic world. This could very well lead to Islamic terrorists targeting Russian embassies in African countries in retaliation.


Nikolay Ivashov


The following is total wild ass guessing on the part of the Russian Navy Blog:

1. This article appears asserting that "Admiral Vladimir Vysotskiy announced on Tuesday that Russia will join with international forces in the fight against piracy around Somalia very soon."

2. The Admiral Chabanenko and the Peter the Great just left Severomorsk on their excellent adventure Sunday.

3. The Task Force will be putting in an appearance in Tartus, Syria on their way to Venezuela.

That makes me wonder - are sailors on the Chabanenko and Peter the Great ordering their "Order of the Ditch" certificates right now? There is a lot of time to kill between now and the middle of November. Granted, it would probably be a pretty short excursion to the Horn of Africa given the timelines involved, but it does make you want to engage in irresponsible speculation.

In fact, it would be downright irresponsible NOT to speculate...

Su-25 Frogfoot in Combat Over Georgia

Fast forward to the end of the clip and see if you can count the number of bullet holes these guys come back to base with. And if you understand any more of the pilot banter than "srabotal" and "kak ponyali", please let me know.

Here is a pic from the video, via a Russian language blogger in Sukhumi, Abkhazia, cyxymu

Monday, September 22, 2008

Area Closure for a Missile Shot Announced in the Sea of Japan

Area Closure:

24 AND 25 SEP AND 0400Z TO 0700 DAILY 25 AND 26 SEP
41-55.0N 132-01.3E, 42-15.2N 131-41.9E,
42-38.5N 132-33.5E, 42-41.8N 133-01.1E,
42-40.6N 133-02.4E, 42-22.5N 132-49.6E.

Here is a close up of the Cape Povorotnyy area for the squints out there. Bring your own light table:

A closer look at the facilities:

I'm no imagery analyst, but these look like bermed firing positions for mobile coastal defense missiles. Or they could be reveted helo pads/parking positions, who knows.

The big open field in the north of the photo looks like antennas or lightning arresters to me. What all the vehicles are doing in the south of the photo is a mystery to me.

Wikimapia identifies this facility as the Cape Povorotnyy lighthouse.

The closure is a little less than 20NM long. That would be a good range for a coastal defense cruise missile shot or maybe even a SAM vs. Drone.

We'll see if anything pops up later in the week to confirm that this closure was actually used.

There Are Many Reasons to Hate World Net Daily

But providing easily disproved BOGINT to the world and charging suckers $99/year or $9.95/month for it takes the cake.

World Net Daily proves why its a shitty website:

Just as Russia has reasserted its power in the Black Sea, it now plans to make waves in the Mediterranean Sea by establishing a major base in Syria, according to a report from Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin.

This decision not only will allow a permanent presence of Russia's nuclear-armed Black Sea fleet in the Mediterranean, but it also offers the potential for future confrontations between Russia and Israel, as well as with the United States.

The Russian navy has begun to upgrade facilities in Tartus, Syria, and already has backed this up by moving to Syria a flotilla of its powerful warships led by the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov. The flotilla includes the Russian navy's biggest missile cruiser Moskva and some four nuclear missile submarines.

How much you want to bet that this is a "scoop" straight from the same people who are dedicated to making you dumber every day at Debkafile, who are right this minute asserting that ten Russian warships have docked at Tartus as we speak and are engaged in enlarging the port of Latakia right now.

Friends don't let friends get their naval analysis at Debkafile or take anything at World Net Daily seriously.

Pete and Chab's Excellent Adventure: Underway!

The force that the reporter describes as "a concrete deterrent force that any power that tries to interfere in the internal or external affairs of Russia must deal with" gets underway:

Navy Spokesman Captain 1st Rank Igor' Dygalo describes the deployment as a fulfillment of the vision as conceived by Navy CinC Admiral Vladimir Vysotskiy of the Navy returning to forward deployments and as having nothing to do with events in Georgia since both the deployment and the exercises with Venezuela had been planned months in advance.

Besides Venezuela, the task force will visit Tartus, Syria, which makes sense given this a few weeks ago. I assume that one of the other countries with whom the Russians will hold joint exercises will be Syria.

The reporter also noted that immediately upon getting underway in the Barents, NATO in the form of a P-3 Orion took notice, snapping pictures, making video and carrying out electronic reconnaissance. The reporter expects NATO to surveil the battle group every step of the way during the deployment.

Georgia More Important Than Arms Control or Keeping Nukes From Terrorists

Some frickin' brain surgeons in the US foreign policy establishment have decided that keeping Tskhinvali Georgian is more important than things like ensuring that there is a functioning arms control treaty with the Russians or keeping Russian chemical and nuclear weapons off the terrorist black market:

Some senior administration officials, including Vice President Dick Cheney and some hard-liners in the Pentagon, are advocating the continuation of what they confirm has been a White House-imposed communications blackout on most dealings with Russia and a halt to nearly all bilateral initiatives on security matters.


Many U.S. officials said the freeze couldn't come at a worse time. They cite intelligence showing that the Caucasus region increasingly is becoming a crossroads for Islamic extremists, criminal mafias, black market traffickers and corrupt government officials.


Some high-level meetings have been postponed indefinitely, including a trip to Russia by John Rood, the acting undersecretary of State for arms control and international security, to discuss various security issues and to negotiate a new pact to replace the existing Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or START.


Russia's cooperation is needed to secure its own nuclear and chemical weapons stockpiles and those of about 20 other countries, and to prevent WMD material, technology and know-how from getting into the hands of terrorists, Mahley and other officials said.


For more better analysis, what Dr. Jeffrey said.

To steal a catch phrase from Professor Brad DeLong, why oh why can't we have a better foreign policy apparatus in the United States?

BPK Ochakov Goes to the Breakers

The large anti-submarine ship (BPK) Ochakov in floating drydock PD-30 in Severny Bay, Sevastopol', 21 Sep 2008. Source:

Russian blogger Lenivship:

Fair well, Ochakov.

Thus, on the 21st of September, the hull of the BPK Ochakov was towed to the dock for preparations for towing to the breakers. And so ends the epoch of a great raid on the treasury for the Black Sea Fleet, started by Admiral Kasatonov. Using his position, this bad man (and on this I insist that Kasatonov is a bad man) sent the BPK Azov to the breakers in the 90s, which was in much better condition and, most importantly, functioned!!, which was very uncharacteristic for the 90s. The decommissioning of the Azov allowed Kasatonov to allocate money for the repair of the Ochakov which should have become a "miracle-ship" with all new armament. She didn't and all the money was looted. And the Azov, the only BPK with a modern long range naval SAM, was cut into razor blades...And now Ochakov has been launched down the same path...wicked isn't too strong a term...

Latest Bulava Test "Partially Successful"

Via the not official Navy site, Kommersant reports that the latest Bulava test conducted a few days ago was "partially successful".

"The active part of the trajectory went without a hitch and ended up in the correct area, the front section separated fine but the warhead bus wasn't able to effect warhead separation", a source told the paper.

He explained that the warheads of the missile wouldn't have worked in combat conditions because of the peculiarities of the device in the Bulava. The paper was not able to obtain comment about this from the Navy spokesman Igor' Dygalo.

Recall that the latest Bulava test took place 18 September, launched from the Dmitriy Donskoy while submerged. Immidiately after the test a representitive of the Ministry of Defence announced that the launch was successful. In his words, the missile successfully destroyed the target at the Kura test range on Kamchatka.


I was curious about the radio silence concerning the Bulava launch from TV Zvezda. Usually after a successful launch, they'll at least have a 30 second snippet.

When talking about the Bulava, its always a good idea to put an "alleged" before any claim of success.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Petr Veliki and Chabanenko Get Underway

On the heels of the Blackjack deployment to Venezuela, a Zvezda TV film crew will be embarked aboard Petr Veliki as her and the Admiral Chabanenko get underway for a three month deployment, in which they will stop in five countries. They will conduct exercises with some of those countries.

Russian naval blogger MuRena sees his friends off with a request for an autograph from Hugo.