>Russian Black Sea Fleet Saga Continues

>The Russian cannot give up their Black Sea Fleet that is getting obsolete by each passing day.

The Russians are very well aware that maintaining the Black Sea Fleet has its pros. It is a good stick to enforce politics as seen in the Russian Georgian War in 2008 or in the current contract extension of Sevastopol lease with Ukraine. On the other hand the Russians are very well aware that that maintaining the Black Sea Fleet is getting impossible with each passing day as it ships are getting old and rustier.

They want to give the fleet a face lift but the current state of Russian naval shipbuilding industry makes a juvenilization of Russian navy impractical. Yet despite this dilemma the top brass of Russian Navy still supply futuristic fleet compositions such as this:

15 new surface warships (frigates of 22350 Project) and diesel-powered submarines (Lada, 677 Project) are expected to be added to the Russian Black Sea Fleet (BSF) by 2020, RIA Novosti reports quoting Admiral Vladimir Vysotsky, the Commander of the Russian Navy.

“Overall, until 2020 we plan to build 15 frigates and submarines in the ratio of 60 to 30 for the Black Sea Fleet,” Vladimir Vysotsky said.
This year the keel-laying of a frigate and a non-nuclear-powered submarine is expected specifically for the Black Sea Fleet.

“The Black Sea Fleet will be reinforced by the new ships, rather than through the transfer of ships from other fleets,” the Russian Navy commander was quoted as saying.

Diesel-electric submarines of Project 677 Lada, draft 1,765 tons, LOA – 67 m, beam – 7,1 m. Maximum speed (underwater and surface) – 21 / 10 knots. Cruising range at economical speed – 650 miles. Endurance – 45 days. Maximum diving depth – 300 m.

The state sea trials of a lead warship of St. Petersburg Project have been carried out. Currently, the Admiralty Shipyards has been building Kronstadt and Sevastopol, the Project 677 vessels

The warships are designed to hunt and destroy hostile submarines, surface ships, for protection of naval bases, onshore and offshore communications, and reconnaissance.

The project 22350 frigate’s draft – 4.500 tons, LOA – 130 meters, maximum cruising range – over 4,000 miles. The frigate is armed with eight 3M55 Onyx anti-ship cruise missiles, a new A-192 130-millimeter artillery unit, Medvedka-2 anti-missile system, Hurricane, medium-range anti-aircraft missile system. The ship carries on board a Ka-32 helicopter.

The Admiral Gorshkov frigate is the lead ship of project 22350, a series of Russian multi-purpose warships, long-distance maritime zones, which are part of the program of rearmament of the Russian Navy.

The keel-laying ceremony of the warship was held at the St. Petersburg Severnaya Verf Shipyard on Feb. 1, 2006. The Admiral Gorshkov is scheduled to be delivered in 2011.

2020 is only ten years ahead. If we take last ten years Russian shipyards production rate as a measure it is fairly obvious that the plan is not realistic. This must be also known to the top brass. So I just ask my self: Why do they repeat these unrealistic goals constantly. Is it just a wishful thinking or is there something behind it?

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