Tag Archives: Vladimir Vysotskiy

Navy CINC on Bulava Findings and Typhoon SSBNs

Speaking Friday in Novorossiysk while accompanying Prime Minister Putin, Navy CINC Admiral Vladimir Vysotskiy said the Bulava SLBM commission will report 20 May on its findings regarding the last unsuccessful test launch.  He also promised:

“We are working continuously and checking the entire process of the missile’s development.”

“Continuous work of voyenpredy [military factory representatives] is being implemented.  Right down to a screw, with the submission of corresponding certificates.”

“. . . all enterprises active in Bulava production are working under control of military acceptance.  We are checking the entire process from beginning to end.”

RIA Novosti reminded readers that, despite a string of unsuccessful tests (only 5 of 12 have been considered successful), the Defense Ministry still considers it ‘unrealistic’ to put another type of ballistic missile in new proyekt 955 SSBNs.

In February, Defense Minister Serdyukov expressed his certainty that Bulava problems would not affect the laydown of the next proyekt 955 submarine, the fourth in the series.  Officially, Moscow says Bulava will be carried through until the necessary result is obtained, and the missile will be the basis of sea-based strategic nuclear forces until 2040-2045.

One has to wonder, what happens if, after all the emphasis on eliminating production defects, Bulava still doesn’t fly?  Where does Moscow turn next for answers.

Vysotskiy also told journalists two proyekt 941 Akula (Typhoon-class SSBNs Arkhangelsk TK-17 and Severstal TK-20) will remain in the Russian Navy’s order-of-battle until 2019.  He said:

“They will be in a combat condition until 2019.  They have very great modernization possibilities.” 

This isn’t the first time he’s said this, but he hasn’t said how the 1980s-era SSBNs might be used or altered:

“There are several options, but the decision has yet to be made.” 

Of course, TK-208 Dmitriy Donskoy was modified to be the Bulava test platform.

More on Carriers from Gorshkov Conference

Navy CINC Vysotskiy (photo: RIA Novosti)

RIA Novosti has more coverage of Navy CINC Vysotskiy’s carrier comments from yesterday.  Vysotskiy said there’s a plan to build and launch an aircraft carrier by 2020, and the technical proposal for it has to be developed and ready by the end of 2010.

“According to the plan, by year’s end we’ll receive the technical proposal for a future aircraft carrier with the basic tactical-technical characteristics.  Then development of the working documentation will begin.” 

He said experimental-design work (OKR) was already under way.

Vysotskiy noted that a Federal Goal Program (FTsP) was needed to construct an aircraft carrier, because financing to do it in the State Defense Order (GOZ) would be very complex.

Former Navy CINC, now advisor to the Defense Minister, Vladimir Masorin, remarked that carriers make it possible to influence the situation in the world, and its different regions.  He added that, if Russia wants to become a great naval power, it has to have carriers and they will have to be nuclear-powered.  He believes the main thing is preserving Russia’s scientific potential and carrier pilot skills:

“Aircraft carriers can’t be built in a short period.  We have to preserve our scientists, designers, and pilots.”

Navy CINC Vysotskiy on Parity, Space, Carriers

Navy CINC Vysotskiy

ITAR-TASS reported Navy CINC Vladimir Vysotskiy’s remarks at a military-historical conference dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the birth of long-time Soviet Navy CINC Sergey Gorshkov.  Vysotskiy said: 

“For the first time in history Russia threw down the gauntlet to old naval powers.  Having achieved nuclear parity with the U.S. Navy, the [Soviet] Navy became a strategic service of the armed forces.  Thanks to this we are developing many of the most serious goals to ensure keeping this parity, and we are correcting all approaches which were laid down in the ‘unforgettable’ 1990s.  Russia is the inheritor of a great state that has to possess an oceanic fleet capable of defending national interests wherever they are.  And they are everywhere in the world’s oceans.” 

In Vysotskiy’s estimation, “putting the fleet into operationally important areas of the world’s oceans allows us to look with certainty into the future, with the support of the Supreme CINC.”

Vysotskiy pointed to Gorshkov’s emphasis on nuclear weapons, submarines, and naval aviation, and noted that, “The memory of Gorshkov allows us to stand not on a crude defense, but to move forward.” 

RIA Novosti’s account quoted Vysotskiy on space and aircraft carriers:

“Without air supremacy it’s impossible to conquer space.  The one who understands this is on the right path.” 

He observed that space and air forces are the main danger even for submarines.  And submarines have to rely on space-based comms.  Vysotskiy said it’s essential for Russia to build ‘aviation-carrying systems’ which are very similar to space systems in their own way. 

“Today it’s necessary to understand the significance of these systems, it’s necessary to do this today, this must be a collective work of the state.” 

In other words, he wants the state to see things the same way and pay for it. 

He said today 9 countries have ‘aviation-carrying fleets,’ and 14 will by 2014. 

“If China intends to have one, this is understood, and if even Thailand intends to have one, then we also need to understand this in Russia today.” 

He also noted that costly investment in [naval] construction is justified even in a time of crisis since 90 percent of the world’s cargo is delivered by ships which need to be protected.  But one wonders how much of Russia’s is.  All in all, a weak justification.

Navy Main Staff Move to Piter Back On

Admiralty

Unnamed Navy sources told the media this week that the Navy Main Staff’s postponed transfer to Admiralty in St. Petersburg is back on, and will begin in July.  But the Navy has not commented officially.  

The Leningrad Naval Base left Admiralty for Kronshtadt, leaving space for the Navy Main Staff in the former.  The Naval Engineering Institute may or may not have left Admiralty for Pushkin. 

The first elements to move could be administrative elements not bearing on the fleet’s combat readiness, while the Navy’s ‘operational services’ remain on Bolshoy Kozlovskiy Lane providing uninterrupted command and control of the fleet, and naval strategic forces in particular.  Some press pieces have said the transfer process could stretch out into 2012. 

A radical ‘optimization’ [i.e. personnel cut] in the Navy’s command and control structures, beginning 1 March, will reportedly precede the move to Admiralty.  Some press sources say the cut will focus on the Navy’s Central Command Post (ЦКП).   

Cutting Navy headquarters personnel may not be all that hard.  Izvestiya notes that, according to some sources, 300 Navy staff officers came out against the transfer to Petersburg when the story first broke in 2007.  Nezavisimaya gazeta has repeated the rumor that  only 10-15 percent of current staff officers will move to Piter and Grani.ru claims most are already looking for other work in Moscow. 

Recall that Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov first ‘suggested’ the move to Defense Minister Serdyukov in fall 2007, saying that the Navy should return to Russia’s ‘naval capital’ already replete with naval educational institutions and shipbuilding enterprises, and lighten Moscow’s heavy load of governmental organs.  

The plan called forth the late 2007 protest letter signed by many retired admirals, asserting that moving the Navy Main Staff  would “not only lack common sense, but actually undermine the country’s defense capability.”  

Former General Staff Chief Yuriy Baluyevskiy was publicly ambivalent about the wisdom of the transfer.  In early 2009, Navy CINC Vysotskiy told the press he had no orders on the move.  However, new General Staff Chief Nikolay Makarov was quick to remind Vysotskiy: 

“Now command and control organs of the armed forces can be located anywhere.  The main thing is a reliable command and control system should be created which allows for carrying out missions in peace and wartime.” 

But can it really be located anywhere?  

Retired General-Major Vladimir Belous of IMEMO’s International Security Center has been quoted everywhere saying that, in St. Petersburg, the Navy headquarters could come under a devastating enemy air attack in as little as 15-20 minutes. 

Some have guessed the price tag for relocating to Piter at between 26 and 50 billion rubles, Grani.ru guesses 80 billion, and still others say completely rebuilding the Navy’s Moscow infrastructure in the country’s second capital would cost up to 1 trillion rubles.  In any event, a gigantic sum forcing the Defense Ministry to forego lots of other good uses for its money.   

Many experts believe the Navy’s command posts, comms, and underground bunkers will remain in Moscow and Moscow suburbs, since relocating them to Piter will be physically or financially impossible.  Former First Deputy Navy CINC Igor Kasatonov has been widely quoted saying that Piter will be no more than an alternate headquarters for the Navy CINC, from which it will be possible only to exert tactical control over the fleet. 

IA Regnum concludes that, although military experts unanimously believe a Moscow-to-Petersburg move will undermine the Navy’s combat readiness, it’s not clear it matters given the other things [i.e. political considerations, business interests] that are in play. 

Vladimir Temnyy writing for Grani.ru makes the point that old admirals’ alarmist rumblings about disrupting the Navy’s command and control are unimportant to those who want to build a business center and expensive apartments in place of the Navy Main Staff building near the Krasnyye Vorota metro station. 

In Stoletie.ru, Sergey Ptichkin calls the possible move ‘administrative caprice,’ adding that there’s profit motive in this caprice since the Navy headquarter’s building is valuable central Moscow property.  He says not a single expert or Navy leader can justify the move, and brands Gryzlov’s talk of returning the Navy to Russia’s ‘naval capital’ the height of naivete.  He makes the point that the Navy was only in Piter because Piter was the capital of the Russian Empire.  Otherwise, the Navy’s headquarters should be with the rest of the nation’s leadership.  Ptichkin concludes the modern Russian Navy can only be commanded from Moscow’s infrastructure and to replicate it in Piter is, if not impossible, then insanely expensive, especially at a time when there are questions about what kind of Navy will remains to be commanded.

An editorial in Friday’s Nezavisimoye voyennoye obozreniye concluded that the “ambitions of the powers-that-be trump common sense” and “the fact that arguments ‘against’ are clearly superior doesn’t bother them.”