Staunton, May 7 – Western sanctions are hitting one segment of the Russian military-industrial complex particularly hard – the refitting of old and the construction of new naval vessels – something that meant the Russian fleet was dangerously overextended during its Syrian operation, according to Sergey Ishchenko.
The Russian military commentator says that Russian yards have not been able to find substitutes for German-produced diesel engines – the Chinese ones are not easily adapted to Russian needs – and thus there have been significant delays in the refitting and construction of naval vessels (svpressa.ru/war21/article/199557/).
This sanctions-created bottleneck is being exacerbated by longstanding problems in the Russian yards, he and other experts say, and by Moscow’s current commitment to developing small rather than large firms. Only the latter, these experts say, are capable of producing what is needed for major projects.
Ishchenko points out that these conclusions are on the basis of indirect evidence given that most of these ship-building and naval issues are classified, but he points out that commanders have complained about many of these problems and in this article documents delays in many of the most important refitting and construction programs.
“Do our admirals understand the existing situation?” the analyst asks rhetorically. “Naturally, they do and much better than you or I. But the existing situation with the fleet doesn’t leave them with a choice” but to obey orders even if that requires that they push ships beyond their capacity and have to do with fewer ships than they need.
This is not the only indication of bottlenecks in the Russian military. Minister Sergey Shoygu issued an order that the only city were the Russian air force would overfly May 9th parades is Moscow. All others will have to do without. Analysts say that this reflects both a shortage of planes and a shortage of pilots (vn.ru/news-vozdushnogo-parada-ne-budet-9-maya-2018-v-novosibirske-/ and el-murid.livejournal.com/3794727.html).