Tag Archives: Sevmash

Short Stories

There aren’t enough hours in the day . . . quick takes on some stories of interest.

Rossiyskaya gazeta . . . Minregion again sternly warns of problems in heating military towns due to Defense Ministry debts . . . the Far East is the most serious case.

Nezavisimaya gazeta . . . Ukrainian Defense Ministry may not be able to cooperate on An-70 transport for financial reasons.

Argumenty nedeli . . . long expose on the death of Russian military medicine, and the consequences, as a result of Serdyukov’s cuts and reforms.

ITAR-TASS . . . the interdepartmental commission met at Sevmash today with Vladimir Popovkin leading a review of Yuriy Dolgorukiy’s readiness to test fire the Bulava.

ITAR-TASS . . . on Tuesday, Chelyabinsk’s governor called on Serdyukov to stop explosions at Chebarkul.  This mini-scandal’s been evolving since they started in early October.  Expired munitions are being destroyed, but locals are complaining of damage from tremors.  Serdyukov was supposed to go to Chelyabinsk, but sent logistics deputy Bulgakov in his place.  Bulgakov supervised an elaborate demonstration to show that the explosions aren’t powerful enough to shake Chelyabinsk.  Residents say they can feel them in the city’s high-rise buildings.  The military doesn’t get much credit for trying to get rid of old bombs like those that nearly leveled one of Ulyanovsk’s rayons last November.  See Novyy region or Moskovskiy komsomolets.

There is growing media attention to the military housing problem — will Medvedev, Putin, and the Defense Ministry keep their promise to solve the permanent housing problem by the end of 2010, or are they just changing the rules and extending their own deadline?  See IA Rosbalt, Svpressa.ru, or Nezavisimaya gazeta.

More Money Needed for Admiral Nakhimov

According to ITAR-TASS, Sevmash Director Nikolay Kalistratov says his plant will begin modernizing Kirov-class CGN Admiral Nakhimov (ex-Kalinin) next year.  Kalistratov also indicated the state is allocating money for Nakhimov’s large-scale repair:

“But the given volume is insufficient, an increase in the state defense order is required, and on this issue I’ve gotten the support of the board of directors.”

So Sevmash can’t or won’t do it for what the state is paying.  It’s something of an annual rite for Kalistratov.  He said the same thing last year, and even put the price tag at 20 billion rubles.  And it’s been proposed that Nakhimov could return to the Navy in 2012.  Not likely.

ITAR-TASS adds that Nakhimov’s been in this condition since 1999, waiting at the pier for repairs that haven’t been done for want of financing.  

Your present author’s no naval engineer, but common sense raises some serious issues. 

Not only would the ship’s two nuclear power plants need serious attention, but its once-impressive host of weapons systems would require extensive updating — new cruise missiles, ASW systems, SAMs, just for a start.  All the ship’s support systems would need renovation or replacement.  This would be great work not just for Sevmash, but for Russian system suppliers.  

But the Russian government, Defense Ministry, and Navy have to decide if the cost is worth taking money from other new naval construction, not to mention from higher priority military procurement efforts.  The answer to this question lies in how Nakhimov would be employed and, particularly, for how long.  The U.S. experience with modernizing and recommissioning the USS Iowa and USS New Jersey comes to mind.

There are lots of articles on what to do with Russian CGNs, but your author hasn’t waded through them.  Speak up if you’re interested in them.

Dolgorukiy Factory Testing Complete

Borey-class SSBN Yuriy Dolgorukiy

Not a huge news story, but worth keeping continuity on . . . and there are interesting questions — has the fourth Borey really been laid down, and how many launch tubes will be on unit 2, 3, etc.? 

Borey-class SSBN Yuriy Dolgorukiy completed its factory underway testing by 24 September, according to the official Russian news services.  A spokeswoman for Sevmash said the current testing plan was fulfilled, and all established tasks were completed.  Captain First Rank Vladimir Shirin called the last at-sea period ‘excellent.’  All systems reportedly worked well, and minor issues noted during previous cruises were resolved.  The Sevmash delivery team and Dolgorukiy crew are preparing to present the submarine to the state acceptance commission.  But according to Grani.ru, a United Shipbuilding Corporation (OSK) source told Interfaks the obvious – acceptance of Dolgorukiy into the Navy inventory is not being considered since its main weapon – the Bulava SLBM – is not ready.  The Defense Ministry is still hoping that the new SSBN will be the launch platform for one of the next three Bulava tests.

The news services noted there are two additional Boreys, not three, on Sevmash’s buildingways.  So one supposes number four, Saint Nikolay, hasn’t been laid down yet.

The news services maintain the line that the Borey-class boats will have 12 launch tubes each, but Grani.ru, like other media outlets, claims Aleksandr Nevskiy and Vladimir Monomakh are proyekt 955A units and will have 16 tubes, while Saint Nikolay will be a proyekt 955U boat, possibly with 20 tubes.

Possible Bulava Test By Mid-September

Bulava (photo: Newsru.com)

An OPK source has told ITAR-TASS the next Bulava SLBM test is expected in the first half of September.  The source said the state commission investigating the last Bulava failure is scheduled to meet 6 September, and the launch window for the next test opens on 9 September.

A missile industry source told Interfaks the commission will meet in the 5-7 September timeframe, and it could fix a launch date sometime at the end of the first ten days of September.

Newsru.com recalled that three tests are planned for 2010:  two from Dmitriy Donskoy and one from Borey-class SSBN Yuriy Dolgorukiy.  The website’s Defense Ministry source unofficially repeated claims that, if all three firings are successful, the Bulava will be accepted into the armaments inventory next year.

ITAR-TASS also reported today that Dolgorukiy successfully completed its latest phase of factory underway trials, and is preparing to go sea again next month.  Sevmash reports the new SSBN completed its cruise program, showing “good performance characteristics and reliable working of all onboard systems.”

Buy Two, Build Two

RIA Novosti reported yesterday that the purchase format for Mistral helicopter carriers hasn’t been determined, but a Russian Navy source says a ‘2+2’ variant is possible.

A highly-placed Navy Main Staff representative told the news agency that Russia could buy two and build two of the ships, and such a ‘2+2’ scheme is being discussed in negotiations in Paris.  

Initially, Moscow wanted to buy one and build three under license in Russian shipyards.  But French President Sarkozy mentioned a ‘2+2’ format earlier this year.

RIA Novosti’s source said the two Russian-made ships might be built at Sevmash, Baltic, Yantar, or Northern Wharf.

Factory Testing Update for Yuriy Dolgorukiy

Translation, no commentary . . .

“MOSCOW, 21 July.  ITAR-TASS.  The crew’s readiness to fulfill combat missions is being checked onboard the new generation project 955 ‘Borey’ ballistic missile submarine ‘Yuriy Dolgorukiy.'”

“As the press-service director Yekaterina Pilikina of Severodvinsk enterprise ‘Sevmash’ announced today, ‘the missile-carrier has returned from the latest phase of factory underway testing.  This was the nuclear submarine’s first at-sea period this year,’  she reminded.”

“‘The nuclear submarine was in testing more than two weeks.  Navigation equipment, the submarine’s buoyancy control system were checked, essential yearly checks of several of the submarine’s parameters were done,’ Pilikina announced. ”

“In the estimation of the chief builder for military equipment production at ‘Sevmash’ Vladimir Prokofyev, ‘the outlined plan was completely fulfilled.  There are issues which have to be worked out to prepare the boat for the next at-sea period which will happen in the near future,’ he noted.”

“‘While at sea, the boat’s crew’s readiness to fulfill combat missions was checked,’ Pilikina announced.  ‘The crew commanded by Captain First Rank Vladimir Shirin successfully completed all training tasks.'”  

“Earlier it was announced that before the end of this year the Russian Navy plans to conduct not less than three test launches of the ‘Bulava’ submarine-launched intercontinental ballistic missile, and from the ballistic missile submarine ‘Dmitriy Donskoy’ and from the permanent platform for this missile system — nuclear submarine ‘Yuriy Dolgorukiy.’  It is the first ‘Borey’ type submarine.

“At present in ‘Sevmash’ there are three more submarines of this type in various stages of construction.”

“The ‘Borey’ type submarines were designed in St. Petersburg TsKB [Central Design Bureau] of Naval Equipment ‘Rubin.’  According to open source data, several achievements in the creation of shipboard radioelectronic means and noise reduction are employed in the construction of the ‘Boreys.’  They will be armed with the new ‘Bulava’ missile system.  The nuclear submarine can carry 12 solid-fueled intercontinental ballistic missiles with a MIRVed warhead.  The submarines are outfitted with a surfacing rescue chamber for the entire crew.  The hull of the ‘Borey’ type nuclear submarine is 170 m, the beam is 13.5 m, the submergence depth is 450 m, and the crew is 107 men.  According to the Defense Ministry’s plans, not less than eight nuclear submarines of this project  are to be built.  ‘Borey’ is supposed to be the main naval component of Russia’s strategic nuclear forces in the 21st century.”

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Trouble Building Submarines at Sevmash

Northern Machinebuilding Enterprise (Sevmash)

Here is 9 February RIA Novosti verbatim:

“Sevmash” Will Not Meet Schedules for Nuclear Submarine Construction Due to Insufficient Personnel

SEVERODVINSK, 9 Feb – RIA Novosti.  The “Sevmash” enterprise in Severodvinsk, Arkhangelsk Oblast will fall behind schedule in constructing nuclear submarines, it was announced to RIA Novosti on Tuesday in the enterprise’s press service.

Information about the lag in the schedule was heard in the session of the interdepartmental coordinating council which took place under the leadership of RF Government Military-Industrial Commission member Vladimir Pospelov and Deputy Navy Commander-in-Chief for Armaments Nikolay Borisov.

Members of the coordinating council discussed the state of affairs in producing nuclear submarines at “Sevmash” – “Yuriy Dolgorukiy,” “Aleksandr Nevskiy,” “Vladimir Monomakh” (project 955 “Borey”), and also “Severodvinsk” and “Kazan.”

“Today, as noted in the session, there is some lag from the construction schedule acknowledged by Sevmash and its partner-enterprises,” stated the press service’s announcement.

Factory General Director Nikolay Kalistratov explained the delay was caused by a lack of qualified personnel.

“It’s essential to apply maximum effort to realize the outlined plans and complete orders on time.  In the near future, we have to attract an additional 500 qualified production workers in the specialties pipefitter, machinist-fitter, ship finisher.  It should also be noted that over two years we’ve increased the number of basic production workers by 2,000 people, but this force is still insufficient,” said the director of the enterprise’s press service.

The directors of TsKB MT [Central Design Bureau of Naval Technology] “Rubin,” SPMBM [St. Petersburg Naval Machinebuilding Bureau] “Malakhit,” “Rosatom” state corporation, RF Ministry of Industry and Trade and other departments also attended the session.

Now at the “Sevmash” factory in various degrees of completion are three strategic nuclear submarines of project 955 “Borey” – “Yuriy Dolgorukiy,” “Aleksandr Nevskiy” and “Vladimir Monomakh.”  Work on construction of the fourth strategic nuclear submarine of this project, with the provisional name “Saint Nikolay” began in December 2009.  In all by 2015 it is planned to build eight nuclear submarines of this class.

This statement seems to imply there’s no problem with money, but, at a certain point, more workers equal money because higher wages should attract them, the northern climate notwithstanding.  So to some degree, this is a Sevmash call for more resources to do the work already on its order books.  Although these Sevmash officials said work’s begun on the fourth 955, RIA Novosti from 8 February made it clear there’s no firm idea of when its keel-laying ceremony would occur.  And Navy CINC Vysotskiy said the problem was “technological,” not related to the fate of the Bulava SLBM or to funding.  So maybe he meant a labor shortage, but, as noted, a lack of labor  is an inability or unwillingness to pay what it costs to do the work.

Yuriy Dolgorukiy SSBN has more sea trials before handover to the Navy. Sevmash says Aleksandr Nevskiy will be launched in 2010 (it was laid down in early 2004).  Vladimir Monomakh is about two years behind it.  The big question for these boats is when and if they’ll have a missile.  Late last year, a number of Russian media outlets claimed SSBN production was frozen due to Bulava’s problems.  But Sevmash’s call for more workers doesn’t track with that.  In October, the Russian government also announced Sevmash would receive 4 billion rubles to add to its working capital for modernization, along with a 6 billion ruble credit from VEB.

What Others Say About Bulava and Borey

New Borey-class SSBN Yuriy Dolgorukiy on Sea Trials

According to Navy Commander-in-Chief Vladimir Vysotskiy, the slight delay in the laydown of the 4th Borey SSBN unit came from “technological causes” unconnected with the problems of the developmental Bulava SLBM.  Vysotskiy also denied that there were any financing problems behind the postponement.  He said, “All preparatory work for the laydown was complete.”  The laydown was moved from 22 December to sometime in the first quarter of 2010.  Sevmash shipyard officials in Severodvinsk report that they weren’t told any more than that.  However, Vladimir Yevseyev of IMEMO told Gazeta.ru the delay in the next Borey is connected with the unsuccessful test launches of Bulava.  Yevseyev said, “There really is a connection with the postponement of the laydown.  The perspectives are unclear, two boats out, one building, but no missiles.  It’s only possible to put Bulava on boats of this class, therefore after the last unsuccessful launch they decided to wait it out, it’d be strange to spend so much money and lay down a boat without missiles.”