More Submarines, Frigates and Cruise Missiles

Dave Majumdar


and hypersonic missiles, too. 

Russia’s New Navy Plan: More Submarines, Frigates and Cruise Missiles

The Kremlin’s new state armament plan, which will run from 2018-2027, is shifting its focus away from the Russian Navy.

Compared to other branches of the Russian military, the navy will sink to last place in securing a piece of the defense budget. Instead of dreams of building massive 14,000-ton Leader-class nuclear-powered destroyers or 100,000-ton aircraft carriers, the Russian Navy will continue to focus on its potent submarine fleet and smaller surface combatants—and equipping those vessels with Kalibr long-range cruise missiles.

“SAP-2027 will undoubtedly include financing for the completion of six Yasen-M nuclear attack submarines and possibly for a seventh, as well as for the modernization of four to six each of the Soviet-era Oscar- and Akula-class nuclear attack submarines,” Center for Naval Analyses senior research scientist Dmitry Gorenburg wrote in a new PONARS Policy Memo.  

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“Construction of fifth-generation nuclear attack submarines (tentatively named the Husky-class) will begin in the mid-2020s. In diesel submarines, the focus will be on developing air independent propulsion systems for the forthcoming Kalina-class, while Lada- and improved Kilo-class boats are built in the meantime.”

Meanwhile, the Russians have discarded outlandish and impractical concepts such as the massive Leader-class nuclear-powered destroyer. Instead, Russia will focus on smaller but still formidable ships such as the Admiral Gorshkov-class frigate. Indeed, for the immediate future, it will continue building the less capable Admiral Grigorovich-class frigates until technical problems with the Gorshkov-class are resolved.

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As Michael Kofman—another research scientist at the Center for Naval Analyses— predicted, the Russians are likely to build an enlarged derivative of the Gorshkov as an alternative to the expensive and impractical Leader-class.

“The only new class of surface ships expected to be built in the next eight years are the so-called Super Gorshkov-class, an 8,000-ton frigate that is increasingly seen as a cheaper and more practical alternative to the 14,000-ton Lider-class destroyers,” Gorenburg wrote. “The key takeaway is that the Russian…

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