9 November 2011, 20:57

Russian Navy in modernization drive

Russian Navy in modernization drive

Prime Minister Putin has unveiled a $150-billion crash programme to modernize the Russian Navy. Under contracts signed in his presence in Severomorsk on the White Sea on Wednesday, $10 billion of this sum are going to the local Sevmash naval shipbuilders on orders for new frigates and nuclear-powered submarines. The appropriations this year alone should amount to $280 million.

Prime Minister Putin has unveiled a $150-billion crash programme to modernize the Russian Navy. Under contracts signed in his presence in Severomorsk on the White Sea on Wednesday, $10 billion of this sum are going to the local Sevmash naval shipbuilders on orders for new frigates and nuclear-powered submarines. The appropriations this year alone should amount to $280 million.

Vladimir Putin spoke about ambitious rearmament plans:

"The naval chapter of this programme includes projects to upgrade the existing hardware and also develop and build new one. The Navy is to get cutting-edge surface ships and fourth-generation nuclear-powered submarines. This means the naval shipbuilders must brace themselves for mass production of new ships and naval weapons systems."

The track record of Sevmash already includes 128 nuclear-powered submarines. The two latest ones open a completely new family of missile carriers, which will soon form the backbone of Russia’s strategic deterrent force. They are The Yuri Dolgoruky, launched in 2008, and The Alexander Nevsky, launched in 2010. The latter is just back from its maiden voyage in the White Sea. Accordingly, Vladimir Putin extended congratulations to its crew when he stepped on board Wednesday.

The sub measures 170 metres in length and 13.5 metres in width, displaces 14 thousand tons and can travel at up to 29 knots. It carries several Bulava intercontinental missiles and six torpedo tubes.

Under parallel contracts signed in Severodvinsk on Wednesday, Russia’s LUKOIL oil giant will spend more than $15 billion to procure new ice-resistant oil rigs, pipes and oil terminal equipment from Russian shipbuilders and industrial hardware makers. The purchases will be used to develop oil and gas in the Russian sector of the Caspian Sea.

Vladimir Putin again:

"As a result, Russia will further build up its energy muscle, create thousands of well-paid modern jobs across the economy, diversify its industrial base and ensure long-term contracts for a number of industries. Importantly, recent government measures commit state-operated companies to procuring Russian and stimulate private businesses to turn out competitive produce for them. There is much to be done in the field of R&D, as well as business."

Putin said he hoped his programme would help the country, among other things, develop modern shipbuilding in the Russian Far East. Two new Far Eastern shipbuilding plants are already in place. They are joint ventures with a company in Singapore and a company in South Korea. Together with other similar plants, they should equip Russia with a variety of river- and sea-going ships, including nuclear-powered icebreakers, supertankers, giant container carriers and floating construction platforms.

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