Russia: defense spending will grow despite economic problems

A multipurpose nuclear submarine at the Sevmash shipyard, in June 2010.  (Getty)
A multipurpose nuclear submarine at the Sevmash shipyard, in June 2010. (Getty)
Russia’s defense sector gets guarantees that expenses are confirmed despite economic meltdown. On Friday, yet another brand new strategic missile submarine joined the Northern fleet.

“The nuclear shield of our homeland is updated with this modern, worthy, beautiful, powerful vessel.”

With these words, Russia’s Deputy chief of the Navy, Vice-Admiral Aleksandr Vedotenkov honored the crew lined up on top of “Vladimir Monomakh” during the solemn ceremony in Severodvinsk on Friday, the portal of the Sevmash yard reports.

Vladimir Monomakh” has the naval number K-551 and is the third Borey-class submarine to join the navy since President Vladimir Putin announced a massive rearmament after entering office for his third term in 2012.

The submarine is of the 4th generation nuclear powered SSBN and carries 16 intercontinental Bulava-missiles tipped with nuclear warheads.

The hoisting of the St. Andrews flag on December 19th coincided with the 75thanniversary of the Sevmash yard, the shipyard that has built the “Vladimir Monomakh” and 131 of the other Soviet and Russian nuclear powered submarines.

Sharp increase in nuclear warheads in Barents Sea

The Borey-class submarines will be the mainstay of the naval component of Russia’s strategic nuclear deterrent, said to be replacing the Delta-IV class subs. So far, however, there are no signs of withdrawing the Delta-IV-class submarines from active service. A modernizing program is underway, with most of the six Delta-IVs already upgraded and patrolling in the Barents Sea for the Northern fleet.

As long as the Russian Northern fleet’s six Delta-IV class submarines still are in active service, the numbers of nuclear warheads in the Barents Sea increase by between 100 and 160 for each of the new Borey-class submarines that sets sail. By the end of 2014, the numbers of strategic nuclear warheads in the Barents Sea have not been so high since the peak of the Cold War in the late 1980s when both Delta-class submarines and the even larger Typhoon-class were sailing Arctic waters.

Read also: More nukes on Kola

In October, BarentsObserver reported that the latest data exchange on nuclear weapons held by Russia and the United States shows the first Post-Soviet increase in numbers of strategic warheads sailing the Barents- and White Sea. The numbers were likely somewhere between 100 and 200 new warheads. With “Vladimir Monomakh” in service, the figures will be even higher.

Construction of yet another missile sub starts next week

Like the two first Borey-class submarines “Yury Dolgoruky” and “Aleksandr Nevsky”, also the “Vladimir Monomakh” will be based at the naval base in Gadzievo northwest of Murmansk on the Kola Peninsula. Next year, the “Aleksandr Nevsky” is said to be transferred to the Pacific fleet.

The next two Borey-class subs, “Knyaz Vladimir” and “Knyaz Oleg” are currently under construction in Severodvinsk. Knyaz is Russian for Prince.

Construction of the sixth submarine in the class, to be named “Knyaz Suvorov” will start on December 26 the Sevmash yard annonced on Friday.

Defense spendings will grow 40 percent

Also on Friday, ending a week of extreme turbolense in domestic economy, Russia made it clear that military hardware funding will continue.

Deputy Head of the military industrial commission board Oleg Bochkarev told TASS that state expenditures for the defense sector will not change regardless of the economic conditions.

”The state defense order market bacomes more and more popular. It is guaranteed and confirmed with funds. Besides, the President has made it clear that defense expenditures would not change regardless of economic conditions,” he said.

Russia’s volume of defense orders for 2017 will grow more than 40 percent as compared to 2014, and in 2015 it will grow with more than 20 percent.

Thomas Nilsen, The Independent Barents Observer

For more news from the Barents region visit The Independent Barents Observer.

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