Staunton, March 16 – At the end of February, Nezavisimaya gazeta carried a brief report on serious shortcomings in Russian naval construction and modernization (ng.ru/armies/2018-02-27/8_7180_fleet.html); but because it contained no specific numbers, most people were inclined to dismiss its findings, according to Aleksandr Vasin.
But the independent Moscow military analyst says in an article published today that “the reality is even worse than was described” in that article. Indeed, he says, the Russian navy will not get the full complement of any of the categories of ships the Kremlin has promised or the modernization of existing ships it needs (nvo.ng.ru/realty/2018-03-16/3_988_vmf.html).
The Russian military has never published precise figures on the number of ships by category it has or the number that it plans to have in the future. Such information, Vasin says, isn’t needed, “as people say.” But political figures, including the prime minister and the president have given figures; and if one assembles them, it is not a pretty picture.
Using these statements, Vasin has compiled a detailed chart which Novoye voyennoye obozreniye publishes with his article. It shows how many ships of various categories were planned, how many have been produced so far, and how many will be produced by the early 2020s.
The striking fact is that in no case is Russian naval shipbuilding meeting what Putin and Medvedev promised; and in many cases, it is not producing anything close to the number promised and that the navy needs. That is especially shocking, Vasin says, because of how it compares with Putin’s March 1 talk about a new generation of other kinds of super weapons.
The situation with regard to refitting and modernization is “just as bad,” he continues. Ships are in dry dock for far longer than they were scheduled to be, often because of a lack of money, or are not being released to the fleet because the equipment they were supposed to have installed wasn’t available – including defensive weaponry.
The question naturally arises, the defense analyst says. Who is responsible for these shortcomings? And who is reporting on them accurately to the Russian commander in chief, Vladimir Putin.