Saturday, November 1, 2008

Burning the OPTAR, Pt 2

The Navy's presence in the world ocean will grow before the end of the year according to the Navy PAO, Igor' Dygalo.

According to Dygalo, the presence of the Navy will be in the interests of stability and security around the world.

In November, a Pacific Fleet task group will set off from Vladivostok for the Arabian Sea and make a series of port calls in the Indian Ocean as well as perform joint exercises with a detachment from the Northern Fleet.

The Baltic Fleet escort ship Neustrashimyy will continue to maintain the security of Russian flagged shipping around the Horn of Africa, Dygalo added.

Meanwhile, at the end of this Zvezda TV report on the upcoming deployment, the reporter announces that the Baltic Fleet tanker Yel'na has arrived in the Gulf of Aden. You may remember that she is carrying a detachment of marines with orders to not allow pirates to get within rifle shot.

Now we are up to four task forces at sea plus a forward deployed combatant on Horn of Africa station simultaneously.

- Peter the Great and Admiral Chabanenko
- Moskva plus accompanying ships (I'll guess the Ladnyy)
- Admiral Kuznetsov plus accompanying ships (I'll guess the BPK Severomorsk and maybe the EM Bespokoynyy from the Baltic Fleet or maybe the RKR Marshal Ustinov)
- I'll guess the Pacific Fleet flagship RKR Varyag and...who?

Any bets on if all active Russian Navy cruisers will be forward deployed at the same time?

Friday, October 31, 2008

New Frigate in the Water by 2011

Is this a model of the new Gorshkov frigate? Source: The Sea is Everything

The Fleet Admiral Sergey Gorshkov, the lead ship in a new class of frigates should be in the water in 2011 according to RIA Novosti. This was announced by Vice Premier Sergey Ivanov at the Severnaya Verf' shipyard during a military-industrial conference in St. Petersburg on 30 October, where the frigate is being constructed.

Construction began in 2006. The Gorshkov is the first large surgace combatant laid down in a Russian yard in 15 years, therefore she is tied to a revival of Russian naval ship construction. The initial construction of the frigate should be done in 2009, however the target for the completion of construction has been pushed back for an unknown reason.

The exact combat characteristics of the Gorshkov have not been revealed. For now it is known that the displacement in 4,500 tons. The frigate will carry armament consisting of eight anti-ship missiles, a 130mm gun, an ASW missile system and a medium range SAM. There will also be a helo.

The approximate cost will be around 400 million dollars. It is planned that 20 of these frigates will be built in the next 15-20 years.

It's ALIVE, Pt 2

The heavy nuclear missile cruiser Admiral Nakhimov, which is undergoing overhaul in Severodvinsk at Sevmash will return to sea and the Russian Navy order of battle in 2012. K1R Igor' Golovchenko, the commander of surface forces at the Belomorskiy Navy Base, said that the overhaul has dragged on for 10 years because of a lack of funding. "Just this year the financial issue has stabilized and we have been able to start on operation number one - the de-fueling of the nuclear reactors", Golovchenko added. He said that the spent nuclear fuel has already been unloaded from one of the two reactors.


The USSR built four Project 1144.2 ships - the Admiral Ushakov, the Admiral Lazarev, the Admiral Nakhimov and the Peter the Great. Only the last two remain. The Admiral Ushakov entered Severodvinsk in 1999 for modernization, which began in 2003. Meanwhile, in 2008 it was decided to scrap her. The Admiral Lazarev was put in conservation status in Strelok Bay in 2005. However, at the same time, the Peter the Great remains not only the most powerful cruiser in the Russian Navy, but in the whole world.

Comment: I guess they actually accomplished what they set out to do back in May. Good for them.


Or, more properly, back from the dead:

BPK Kerch

From the official

The large anti-submarine ship Kerch left port on the eve of Surface Sailor's Day for sea trials. The main task before the crew was testing the engines and maneuverability of the ship.

For now the ship has undergone a significant crew turnover: long-serving seamen have been transfered to the reserves and young sailors have replaced them. The conscripts from the spring 2008 intake have already been assigned and are standing duties and watches on board. Their first trial at sea will show how well prepared they are and how well they have mastered their specialties. Therefore the most important task will be adapting the young crew to life at sea which is the first time at sea for many of them.

Blogger U-96 wonders if the increased op-tempo has led to the "reanimation" of the Kerch, while some of his commenters wonder why the Kerch was restored while the Azov, with the better area defense system (SA-N-6), was cut into razor blades.

That's a good question.

Do the Russians Have OPTAR to Burn or What?

Northern and Black Sea Fleet ships will carry out joint exercises in the Med.

A Northern Fleet strike group led by the Admiral Kuznetsov will leave Severomorsk and head for the Mediterranean Sea for exercises with ships of the Black Sea fleet led by the missile cruiser Moskva.

The ships will conduct a month long exercise simulating battle between two strike groups.

"The main goal of the deployment - resolution of operational-strategic tasks and showing the St. Andrew's flag in foreign ports", RIA Novosti quoted sources in the Navy Headquarters.

The Northern Fleet strike group will be on deployment for three months.

Comment: This is pretty big if it happens - when was the last time the Russians had THREE battle groups at sea at once? Plus they're establishing what looks like an East Africa station. Plus they are talking with the Libyans about building a base in Tripoli.

Have the Russians forgotten that oil is closer to $60/bbl and not $120/bbl?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Because if 10kt is good...

50+mt must be GREAT!

It is the 47th anniversary of Sergey Khrushchev announcing to the world that he has a really tiny penis. Happy Birthday, Tsar Bomba, the bomb that went to 11.

And in related news:

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Deep Thought

In the spirit of Reagan's assertion that there isn't a Russian word for "freedom", линия повествования and публичность aren't Russian words or concepts either.

Scuttlebutt: Mount Whitney to Make Sevastopol' Port Call

Who the hell makes these schedules? If they are trying to poke the Russkies in the eye, mission accomplished.


Expect a warm welcome on the anniversary of the October Revolution:

Иэх... Вот бы заиметь большое полотнище для таких встреч с двумя словами: "FUCK OFF".

No translation needed, I hope.

Sixth Fleet Flagship Will Make a Sevastopol' Port Call on the October Revolution Anniversary

Kiev, 29 Oct (Novyy Region, Victor Orlov) - The American command ship Mount Whitney will re-enter the Black Sea on the 30th of October. Her activity is aimed at executing the plan of the American leadership to restore the Georgian armed forces, showing that all the financial support and the inordinate amount of offensive and other weaponry provided to the Georgians that it just isn't enough.

So first the Mount Whitney will head to Georgian shores to unload so called "humanitarian" aid for the "needy" Georgians. Observers have already noted interesting details of similar visits. Immediately after American port visits there are incidents on the Abkhaz and South Ossetian borders. Similar information confirms that when Americans make their port call in Poti on the 4th, the Americans will carry out a series of events to train the Georgian power stucture to create a new incident after the failure of Saakashvili's Napoleaonic plans....

Meanwhile, this time the activity of the American command ship will not be limited to cooperation with the Georgian regime. The USA will also not leave Ukraine alone. Mount Whitney plans to visit Sevastopol' on the 6th and 7th. The Ukrainian authorities have approved NATO port visits to Sevastopol' despite the fact that the 7th of November continues to be a holiday for many.

Its expected that two dozen Ukrainian officers will accompany the Mount Whitney to sea to rub up with the notorious NATO ensigns.

Besides that, the command ship Mount Whitney hopes to accomplish a lot during the Black Sea voyage. The US plans on visiting Romania, supporting the NATO member in is battle with Ukraine over Zmeinyy Island, as well as Bulgaria, which has gone off the reservation and is trying to establish its own policy vis a vis Russia. Turkey is in the cards, putting pressure on her to change the Montreaux Convention and since she is sick of the existing documents, it's time to change it because of US "vital interests". Similarly, the United States wants to demonstrate to the world that they can't ever be chased out of the Black Sea.

Comment: Raving, paranoid, right-wing Russian language press? A translation challenge, but I love it.

Peter the Great Update: Smash Sandwiches and The Gut

Smash sandwiches are what my shipmates called paninis from the local street vendors and The Gut is the red light district in Toulon, France.

Gist: The task force led by the heavy nuclear guided missile cruiser Peter the Great is setting course for Toulon, France. The time spent on the way to Toulon is not idle. On the way the crew prepares the aviation assets for day and night flying. Our correspondent watched the training:

The Russian K-27 helicopter over the Med. It has two tasks - to patrol the waters around the task forces and to maintain the skills of the pilots and navigators. They have to fly dozens of hours.

The training proceeds from easy to hard, from flying in daylight conditions to flying in full darkness, landing at night on a moving ship, that is the best form of training.

The helos on the TRKR Peter the Great and the BPK Admiral Chabanenko are modernized with the newest Russian control systems and the newest Russian satellite navigation systems (GLONASS) on board.

Most of all its important to train with the instruments on board so as not to use outside sources, so mainly we fly around on instruments.

The flights are pre-planned and the routes are planned a day ahead of time. The pilots and navigators use the charts to find the nearest airports and the places they can land on dry land. The aviators admit that the conditions in the Med are great for flying and the the high temperatures in the Med do not bother the Severomorsk dwellers.

The temperature isn't a problem, there's air conditioning on the helo. If it's a little warm, you can add some cool air and if it's a little cool, you can add some warm air. In general it doesn't interfere.

The Black Sea Fleet tug Shakhter delivered spare parts, equipment and stores. This will allow the cruiser to spend an extra month at sea since the local stores aren't big enough to carry that much. While the Peter the Great just stands there because of her great size the Shakhter pitches up and down two or three meters. In these conditions the stores load it done with jeweller's precision.

These meetings are planned for the whole route the task force takes. One or two times a week they will meet a tanker or tug, which will deliver stores like fuel, drinking water and food. In the future is the transit through Gibraltar and then exercises in Venezuela. For now we are at anchor in the Med, preparing for the joint exercises between the two countries.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

"Analysis": Why Do I Sense a "Climax" Coming?

Like I said, its just "a sense". There is the kind of breathless quality to the introduction in the video clip, "Alarming news from Somalia...", the repetition in the press about how the Russians have gotten permission from the Somali authorities (for what that's worth) for entering Somali waters, how whatever actions the Russians will take are in accordance with UN resolutions (whatever they are), the repeated assertions in the Russian press dating back to earlier this spring about how the Russians are going to do "something" about piracy and finally the arrival of the Neustrashimyy with the orders to use deadly force if necessary. To me, it seems like they have blustered so much that to arrive off the Horn of Africa and do nothing would be very anti-climactic.

This is a critical period for the Russian Navy - their surface fleet is aging with no replacements in sight. The Commander of the Pacific Fleet promised that the next carrier will go to the Pacific, yet there is no keel laid, the only shipyard in the former Soviet Union with experience building a large deck carrier is in Ukraine and Sevmash seems to be making a botch of the Gorshkov refurbishment (or, depending on your point of view, milking it for all its worth). The newest SSN looks like its going to India and the new Boreys are coming out without a proper weapon, properly tested (the Bulava). It seems to me that the Navy needs a "win" to compete for rubles right about now so that they can build the carriers, the surface fleet and submarines they want.

Like I said - its a good narrative and good publicity for the Navy to take care of business.

Doesn't mean I'm right about it. We'll find out before it snows here in Northern Virginia.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Somali Folly: I Feel a Climax Building

Alarming news from Somalia. The pirates that have captured the Faina have delivered an ultimatum to the ship owners. According to local radio, the pirates have promised to kill the crew within 24 hours if they don't receive a ransom. The sum mentioned is $1,700,000. The captain of the Faina described the conditions aboard the ship that the crew had to endure in the latest telephone call: "The crew has had to crowd into one small room because the pirates can't organize a watch over several rooms at once."


The Indians Should Have Checked Carrierfax Before Buying

The Sevmash Public Affairs Officer Mikhail Starozhilov announced that the Indian Navy aircraft carrier, which is being overhauled in the Severodvinsk shipyard, will be launched in December.
The former Russian heavy aircraft carrying cruiser Admiral Gorshkov has been in the floodable basin used as a dry dock since the end of 2005. The 45,000 ton, 283m long, 51m wide hull was repaired in that dock. "The launch of a ship of that displacement is the first in the history of the new Russia", Starozhilov said. The process of filling the basin and the removal of the cruiser will take around 10 days. After that the ship will be moved to the Sevmash construction wharf.

According to the intergovernmental memorandum of understanding signed in New Dehli in 2004, the hull of the Admiral Gorshkov was transfered to India for free with the condition that it would be modernized at Sevmash and equipped with a Russian air group. Russia would also train the Indian crew of around 1,500 sailors and would create the infrastructure for basing the ship and the airgroup in the Indian Ocean. The original contract was valued at about 1.5 billion dollars. About half of that was intended to convert the ship into a full aircraft carrier and that work was planned to be completed in 2008. However the contract was extended and the Russian side insisted on increasing the cost of the work on modernizing the ship significantly. According to experts, an additional billion dollars is needed. The Indian and Russian governments are holding negotiations on this issue.

Hey Admiral Sidenko! Puff Puff Pass, Dude!

There Will Be a New Aircraft Carrier in the Pacific Fleet in the Next Ten Years

The Commander of the Pacific Fleet Vice Admiral Konstantin Sidenko made this announcement during the traditional yearly meeting with young officers. "The Russian Government and the President have approved a conceptual program for a new class of aircraft carrier for the Pacific Fleet. In the next ten years it is possible that we will receive (an aircraft carrier)", Sidenko announced. According to Sidenko, the Pacific Fleet will also receive two Type 955 Borey SSBNs armed with the new Bulava missile. Besides that, the new Sovershennyy class corvette was laid down in the Komsomol'sk na Amur shipyard for the Pacific Fleet in July 2006.

Meanwhile, Sidenko noted, the fleet has shrunk considerably during reforms carried out in the Russian Armed Forces. "The Russian Fleet has shrunk by 50 percent since 1995. For the most part this reduction has happened as ships have ended their service lives." As of today, there are five SSBNs, 18 multirole submarines (10 nuclear), 13 ocean-going surface combatants and 43 littoral combatants in the Pacific Fleet order of battle.

I'll believe it when I see it.

Pic of the Day

Klakring arrives in Tallin

KVDM: "No word yet if she's bringing Pampers."

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Somali Folly: Condition Red, Weapons Tight

The Baltic Fleet guard ship Neustrashimyy is ready to battle pirates. She has arrived in the perilous Gulf of Aden and now stands watch. The Navy ship will guard the civilian vessels in the Somali littoral. The Russian Navy Headquarters has already announced that the Neustashimyy is "weapons tight". The pirates have seized dozens of ships for ransom in the last few months, holding more than 180 people.