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Six new Russian submarines and a new aircraft carrier – every year

Russian Aircraft Carrier Admiral Kuznetsov
Russian Deputy PM Dmitry Rogozin announced yesterday a massively ambitious programme to build submarines and aircraft carriers.

At a press conference Rogozin – Russia’s straight-talking former ambassador to NATO – told reporters that by next year “production capacity will allow us to build six submarines and an aircraft carrier every year”.

He went on to say that this would increase Russian naval production levels beyond those of the Soviet Union.

A Realistic proposal

The announcement follows a similar one, four years ago, that Russia would build six new aircraft carriers and it’s worth noting that no actual construction has begun since that announcement.

So, it’s not surprising that today’s news has been greeted with skepticism from analysts, who argue that this level of production is way beyond Russia’s capacity – or, for that matter, the capacity of any country in the world. Streetwise Professor points to the US aircraft carrier programme, and notes that construction of the USS Gerald Ford is expected to take 10 years. If Russia took roughly the same amount of time to build a carrier, then it would have to have at least ten of them in construction at any one time.

The Streetwise Professor points to news about delays in the construction of the new Russian Graney submarines as further evidence that Russia simply isn’t ready to ramp up its production of submarines. Indeed, post-Soviet Russian submarine construction has a very checkered history, and the last major submarine project – the construction of the Russian Nerpa submarine, which was recently leased to India, was beset by problems which ultimately led to the deaths of 20 Russian sailors.

Financial incentive

A Russian Akula II Submarine
That Russia plans to build so many new submarines will, no doubt, also be greeted with alarm in some quarters as it plays into the myth of a resurgent, re-arming Russia. A navy that could pump out a new aircraft carrier and six new subs every year would be a force for any major power, including the United States, to reckon with.

But I’m increasingly wondering whether – assuming that production targets can actually be met – the Russian Navy will be the recipient of all of these new submarines. Or whether Russia actually has an eye to meeting the demands of the international market, and plans to set up a cottage industry supplying the world’s navies with state of the art submarines.

Last week I noted that many Asia-Pacific countries were investing heavily in their navies, particularly their submarines, and linked to this interesting article at the Boston Globe.

As well as strong links with India and China, Russia already has deals to supply submarines to Vietnam and to support the development of Taiwan’s navy. Moving further afield, it’s also done a deal with Venezuela to supply submarines.

There’s definitely a market out there for Russian naval technology, and if Russia can ally it to its proven experience elsewhere in the arms trade, this could prove to be a very lucrative market for it indeed.


  • Why does your government support murderous Syrian regime?
    Can you people challenge your Russian leaders why they are complicit in the genocide in Syria. It’s diabolical.

    PS. I am Irish. I just want this to stop & for your politicians especially Putin to have more interest in human life rather than their sordid deals for profit with Syria. Lives are more important than any amount of ill gotten blood money. They (your government) could stop it if they were any way human…they seem to disregard human life like Al-Assad & his cronies.

    200 more killed in Homs 3/2/2012

  • IMO such production capacities are a waste of resources and money.
    There is no real need for them.

  • Hi im an Indian.. this is just a preclause avow to express an unbiased view from a neutral standpoint.

    Yes its true at times its inevitable that some countries sponsor others for the sake of all those blood money as you prefer to describe. However itsn’t it so the case for USA or any other so-called western countries for that matter. Its kind of inevitable as the international relations run far more deeper than the lucrative defence contracts or joint military co-operations.

    Countries now run against each other in several different domains from internet to sponsoring and fuelling internal conflicts. Take the Koodangulam Nuclear Power project in our country for instance. Though is developed by a joint team of Indo-Russians, the project has come under hammer by the locals going up against the govt. when the time is perfectly ripe which raises all the more frowns for this has been under progress for so many years and suddenly the uprising is running like mad cows unreasonable to any of the explanations from absurd reasons to claiming their views so pathetically flawed as by experts from every corner. And finally some links have been drawn towards the foreign funding by rather dormant govt. bodies so late.

    So stop playing pope and mind your own hands than crying foul for blood money. HOPE it helps. 🙂

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