Arctic, Barents submarine patrols up 50 percent over last year

Russian Northern fleet Delta-IV submarine in surface position in the Barents Sea. This photo was taken back in 2003. (Thomas Nilsen/Barents Observer)
Russian Northern fleet Delta-IV submarine in surface position in the Barents Sea. This photo was taken back in 2003. (Thomas Nilsen/Barents Observer)
Many more nuclear powered submarines sail the Barents Sea and Arctic Oceans today than only a year ago.

And more will come, as both new subs enter service and the Soviet built fleet will be modernized.

There are at any time at least one strategic missile submarine at sea from Russia’s Northern fleet and two more on alert.

“For the period from January 2014 to March 2015 the intensity of patrols by submarines has risen by almost 50 percent as compared to 2013,” says Navy Commander Admiral Viktor Chirkov.

Quoted by Voennoe Obozorenie (Military Review), the navy commander says “this is logical and necessary to ensure the security of the state.”

Elaborating on the statement, Chairman of the Submariners’ club, Igor Kurdin, says the Russian navy now has 15 ballistic missile submarines, of which 10 are currently ready to perform combat missions. Of them, two or three can be at sea from each of the navy’s two fleets, the Northern fleet and the Pacific fleet.

Kurdin says this is a big step forward, since the years after the collapse of the USSR when there were times when none missile submarines were at sea.

“Today, Russia can afford a permanent presence at sea for at least two strategic missile carriers, one form the Northern fleet and one from the Pacific.”

“In a period of threat, three (strategic missile) submarines from each fleet can be at sea for a long time.”

Crew on deck of a Russian Kilo-class submarine. (Thomas Nilsen/Barents Observer)
Crew on deck of a Russian Kilo-class submarine. (Thomas Nilsen/Barents Observer)

The Northern fleet has its strategic missile submarines based in Gadzhievo on the Kola Peninsula. Both the older Delta-IV class and the new Borei-class submarines are based here.

In addition to the strategic missile submarines, the Russian navy operates a fleet of nuclear powered multi-purpose submarines, consisting of the Akula, Oscar-II, Sierra and Yasen-class.

The Yasen-class is new, but now the navy announces its intention to modernize the fleet of older multi-purpose submarines, of most were built in Soviet times.

Ten submarines of the Oscar-II class and the Akula class will be modernized, according to navy commander Chirkov.

“This actually means recommissioning a grouping of multi-purpose nuclear submarines with upgraded characteristics, which will operate in the Northern and Pacific Fleets,” Viktor Chirkov said quoted by Tass.

The modernization includes all armament systems, new hydroacoustic, navigation-, control- and communication systems.

“The service life of Akula and Oscar-II class will be almost doubled while improved tactical and technical characteristics will help considerably increase the efficiency of the use of these submarines in the Russian navy’s submarine fleet, Chirkov says.

The upgrade will be completed by 2020.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada:  Canadian Rangers – The Watchers, Radio Canada International

Denmark:  Nordics to step up security cooperation on perceived Russian threat, Yle News

Finland:  Expert – Nordic ministers’ article unwisely provoked Russia, Yle News

Norway:  Peace and stability crucial for Arctic economy, Barents Observer

Russia: Fire-struck nuclear submarine to be repaired, Barents Observer

Sweden:  Sweden’s government scared of NATO facts: Moderates Party, Radio Sweden

United States: U.S. Arctic rep: Russia’s Arctic buildup not necessarily martial, Alaska Public Radio Network

 

Thomas Nilsen, The Independent Barents Observer

Thomas Nilsen, The Independent Barents Observer

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

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