September 26, 2016

Russia's Recent SSBN Program 1

Diagram 1. Russian submarines (Artwork courtesy pinterest(dot)com) much larger here.

 Russian submarine Diagram 1. 
-  At top of is the retired Typhoon class (48,000 tons (submerged), 175m long, 20 RSM-52 Sturgeon
-  Second from bottom a Delta IV 667BDRM "Delfin" (18,200 tons (submerged), 167m, 
   16 R-29RMU Sineva SLBMs).
-  Bottom is a current/being introduced Borei/Borey class (24,000 tons (submerged), 170m,
   16-20 RSM-56 Bulava SLBMs).

Russia’s strategic nuclear missile forces, including SSBNs, have the highest priority. The SSBN program has moved from:

- disruption with the collapse of the Soviet Union from the early 1990s, with attendant plunge in
  funding, cessation of patrols, and related loss of design, managerial and construction experience

- to gradual rebuilding since 2010.

Since the 1970s Russia's SSBN program relied on the 43 Delta class (total Is, IIs, IIIs and IVs) built. About ten Delta IIIs/IVs are still in use.:

From the 1980s to 2000s Russia temporarily deployed six huge Typhoon class. Their profligate use of high cost Titanium and large size made them unsustainably expensive to build and operate within Russia's limited defence budget. The Typhoon class suffered short service (on average launched in mid 1980s but began to be withdrawn from service from the mid 1990s).

Diagram 2. The Borei/Borey SSBN

From the 2010s Russia's submarine budget and organisation have settled down sufficiently to introduce the Borei class submarines (Diagram 2. above) mounting 16 new Bulava SLBMs. The Boreis will steadily replace the Deltas.

First of class Borei K-535 Yuriy Dolgorukiy (Diagram 2.was launched in 2008 and commissioned 2013. Two more Boreis have been commissioned, which now serve in the Pacific Fleet (out of Vilyuchinsk SSBN Base). Ten in all are envisaged, possibly with the final seven (Borei "II" class) mounting an increased 20 Bulava SLBMs). 

Some Bulava SLBM features are similar to the Topol-M ICBM, but the Bulava been developed both lighter and more sophisticated with comparable range, similar CEP, high maneuverability and similar warhead configurations. Bulava has a declared START throw weight of 1150 kg to 9,500km. Bulavas can be launched from an inclined position, allowing the Boreis to fire them while moving. Bulavas  have a low, harder to shoot down, flight trajectory, and due to this could be classified as quasi-ballistic missiles. Bulavas possess advanced defense capabilities making them resistant to missile-defense systems. If 6 MIRVs are carried this is more than the 3 or 4 carried on the Delta's R-29 SLBMs (see RUSSIAN SSBN/SLBM TABLE below).

See the New START site for maximum numbers of missiles + bombers = warheads numbers.

RUSSIAN SSBN/SLBM TABLE (modified from Russian sources. As at April 2016.)
Strategic submarines
Number of subs
Number of SLBMs and their type
Total warheads
Project 667BDR (Delta III)
32 R-29R (SS-N-18)
Project 667BDRM (Delta IV)
80 R-29RM (SS-N-23)
Project 941 (Typhoon)
Project 955 (Borei/Borey)
48 R-30 Bulava

4 (average)
[1] One submarine is in overhaul. Its missiles are not accounted for in the total.
[2] One Typhoon (first of class Dmitri Donskoi) was refitted as a Bulava missile testbed. It is not counted in the total number of operational submarines.

September 23, 2016

B-21 Doolittle Raider Names Not Used - Chinese NSA Op

The real B-25 Doolittle Raiders takeoff in 1942. Operation was a propaganda masterstroke. But now, in 2016, the word "Doolittle" that goes with Raider will come to haunt the B-21 Program.

Now that the B-21 has been named the post-Doolittle "Raider" we workers and peasants at Chinese NSA have done revolutionary mostest to capture Pentagon list of B-21 names binned in great shredder of Cyberspace.

Some B-21 names are seriousBoomerang, Ghost, Horizon, LeMay (half serious), Liberator, Dauntless, Mitchell, Night Fury, Phoenix, Shadow, Fortress (boring), Stingray, Valkyrie, Victory, Wraith, Zeus, Phantom.

Vampire was a legitimate name for a jet and its "V"ness and mainly wing nature would have suited the B-21 better than Doolittle Raider.

All nice names but very boring. So our very best Agents of Influence and Moles in Congress, Pentagon etc bent on PR sabotage offered following names to bugger-up B-21 project.

Operation Name yielded B-21:








Peking Ducked



Collateral Damage

Lost Investment

Peacemaker (Funny :)

Dresden Harris






Putina Ballerina





Whiteman Surprise

Bomber McBombface


Smiley Face


Death Star

Darth Vader




Triangle Thingy

Budget Busta

Some longer names:

We Really Got Funding For This?

Tehran Bunker Buster

Nukes for Peace

Sodomy with a Bang

Distributed Radar Bait

Lookdown Drone Bait

Napalm? White Phos? Whatever!

Damn the Budgets, full speed ahead!


Pricey Way to Go



Hole In The Sky To Throw Money Into



Operation Funny Names was successful after all. The Doolittle Raider will do nicely.

Thankyou War is Boring for many of the names.

Thankyou USAF for artwork above.

Can anyone suggest better names?

September 22, 2016

Russia's and Japan's Closer Relations - Vilyuchinsk SSBN Base 1

The 4 Japanese "Northern Territory"/Russian "southern Kuril" islands in dispute are Kunashir, Iturup, Shikotan and Habomai. These islands sit between the 1885 "border" line and the 1945 "border" line. (The map, courtesy flickr, can be hugely enlarged here

Prime Minister of Japan Abe and Russia’s President Putin have begun a range of discussions signalling increasing closeness. Japan’s Foreign Minister may visit Russia in October 2016. According to the Japanese Foreign Ministry it is anticipated Putin will visit Japan in December 2016.

Post Fukushima Japan would prefer a wider variety of non-nuclear energy sources. Russia’s oil and gas can probably be undersea piped (maybe with Japan’s help) from Russia’s northeast Siberian island of Sakhalin to Japan (see map above). 

The pipeline would be from Sakhalin under the narrow (42km) La Perouse Strait to Japan's northern "home" island of Hokkaido. Such a pipeline would be less vulnerable to Chinese military interception unlike Japan's oil/gas supplies that are shipped through the Malacca Straits north via the South China Sea and East China Sea. The Chinese would be disinclined to cut such a pipeline (using ships or submarines) due to Russia’s military forces - forces that in total (conventional backed by nuclear) are superior to China’s.

So in this pipeline respect closer Russia-Japan relations would be a balance against rising Chinese military power.

Japan, which never signed a post-WWII peace treaty with Russia, has wanted Russia to return 4 small islands of Japan’s Northern Territory that Russia invaded in the last days of WWII. Russia for nationalist and strategic reasons considers these 4 islands (what Russia calls the “southern Kurils”) see map above, as its own territory

The current economic value of the islands are mainly fishing. It is likely the islands were informally  shared by Japanese, ethnic Russian and indigenous Ainu fishermen for centuries.

Of greater economic value are possible oil and gas reserves under the Kurils.

It is significant that the beginnings of increasing Japan-Russia closeness are happening when the US’s usual anti-Russian pressure is more difficult to be applied to Japan. This has 2 main reasons:

-  it is possible that Trump (who has an affinity for Putin) may win the November 8, 2016, Election,

-  the US is currently in the pre/post Presidential election “Lameduck” Season where, by convention,
   no major US diplomatic initiatives can be launched. Lameduck Ignoring Season ends on US
   Presidential Inauguration Day, January 20, 2017.

So the US Government is not automatically pressuring Japan not to be so friendly with Russia.


The Kurils have much greater nationalistic and strategic value for Russia. Russia is concerned that if all 4 Kurils islands were returned to Japan this may be beginning of Russia's loss of more far east  Siberian possessions. The southern Kurils (in dispute) and northern Kurils form a buffer zone protecting Russia's SSBN Base at the port of Vilyuchinsk. This buffer prevents any closer proximity of Japanese or US missile, air or naval forces that might quicly strike surfaced submarines in Vilyuchinsk

Vilyuchinsk's isolation is also security strength aginst "binocular" spying and sabotage. It is almost as far into Siberia as one can go. Vilyuchinsk is a "closed town" meaning only those Russians who are authorised can visit - no foreigners (who can be shot!). Vilyuchinsk is 20kms from the also extremely isolated city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky (see map below).

Russia may also be contemplating stationing naval forces further south on the Kuril Islands themselves.

On 26 September I'll do "Russia's Broader Nuclear Submarine Basing Strategy".

While Vilyuchinsk SSBN Base is closed to tourists the city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 20km away, hosts a small international airport. Some tourists are interested in Ainu culture. (Map courtesy Yakutia Airlines).


September 21, 2016

Taiwan's Teardrop Style Future Submarine - Japanese Assistance?

Taiwan's CSBC model of a teardrop hull style future submarine possibility (above) displayed at the 2016 arms exhibition in Taiwan. (Photo courtesy Jane’s

Notice this model's striking similarity with Taiwan's current teardrop hull style Hai Lung/Chien Lung class, submarines (below). This does suggest some reverse engineering is anticipated.

Cut away of  Taiwan's latest 2 submarines of the Hai Lung/Chien Lung class, commissioned in 1987-88 (Diagram courtesy Dutch Submarines . com)

From 15 to 18 September 2016, at Taiwan’s Kaohsiung International Maritime and Defence Exhibition, Taiwan was indicating it is getting more realistic about building 4 to 8 tear drop style submarines. Taiwan's  Indigenous Defence Submarine Project is known as the "Qianlong Project".

Taiwan’s China Shipbuilding Corporation (CSBC) created a new submarine design division (known as the Submarine Development Center of CSBC (SDCC)) in August 2016. CSBC aims to put itself in a good position to design and build the subs. Although Taiwanese officials stressed the model (above) is not representative of the final design the model looks surprisingly like an evolution of the class of Taiwan’s 2 operational Hai Lung/Chien Lung class submarines.

The design contract, which is understood to be worth around US$95 million, is expected to be issued by the Taiwanese government before the end of 2016 and may run until 2019.  [see Jane’s]

Taiwan’s Ming Rong Yuan Business Co., LTD. ("one of the world's largest manufacturers of pressure vessels") has joined forces with various domestic research institutes to develop underwater vehicle and hull components, an important early step in submarine development. 

Ming Rong Yuan Business Co., LTD, at this Kaohsiung arms exhibition, exhibited a miniature model made of high strength low alloy (HSLA) pressure hull steel. HSLA-80 alloy steel has properties making it "easy to handle" [HSLA-80 steel may be same/similar to]. The HSLA-80 alloy steel is actually produced by Taiwan's China Steel Corporation. [Based on the Exhibition Media Release via MarketWired].


A December 5, 2015 a DefenseNews article indicated: Taiwanese Admiral Yang (de facto Military Attache, Washington) “admitted that Taiwan was “in communication” with Japan for a possible deal for Soryu-class submarines.

Taiwan and Japan both have geo-strategic concerns over the same "enemy" China. So Japan may be less susceptible to the Chinese pressure that has been stopping other countries from assisting Taiwan to build new submarines.

If Taiwan were to utilise a less sensitive, less expensive, established, teardrop design and Taiwan supplied the steel might Japan want to assist? In assisting with an older design (perhaps as an export model) Japan wouldn't be putting its more advanced Soryu submarine secrets at risk. 

This is noting Japan (inspired by the US Barbel class) developed and used the Uzushio class teardrop style submarine between late 1960s to 1996.

It is advantageous, in terms of reducing US technology transfer concerns, that the US Barbel class was the parent design for the Uzushio class and the Dutch Zwaardvis class (which in turn led to Taiwan's Hai Lung/Chien Lung class).

Japan's no longer used Uzushio class (teardrop style) submarines. (Photo courtesy seaforces(dot)org).


September 19, 2016

Russia supplies Tugboat Only for "Joint Russian" - Chinese Naval Drill

Chinese Marines wave Russian flag at "Joint Russian"- Chinese naval drill. No Russians in sight!
Funny that.

In September 2016 Chinese and Russian naval units carried out an alleged "joint" drill on air defense and anti-submarine in waters off southern China's Guangdong Province.

Details of Russian ships and aircraft actually involved are scanty. Imagery of Russian vessels and marines may be old and unconnected with any "joint drill".

Russia's Sputnik News 18 September 2016, dutifully reports: "...On [17 September 2016] Chinese and Russian naval forces carried out joint air defense and anti-submarine drills in the South China Sea near Guangdong Province as part of an eight-day naval war game, Joint Sea-2016, the largest naval military exercise ever between the two countries...."

For those with eagle eyes, for coffin launchers and ship-numbers, you might notice one Russian destroyer, Admiral Tributs (No. 564) which may or may not have been present at the "joint" drill.


Due to the elderly nature of most Russian vessels Russian flotillas and fleets on exercise or operations are routinely escorted by tugboats in case of breakdown(s). See this tugboat saved  breakdown of Russia's Kuznetsov aircraft carrier.

Most likely there was a Russian tugboat deployed for this latest 2016 naval drill... If so it would have a befitting name. Russian ships and submarines are frequently named after famous dead Russians. In the case of the tugboat it may well be named Yakov Yurovsky (who was the head executioner of the Romanovs (the Russian Royal Family)). Yakov Yurovsky (with young Stalin like looks) was a secret policemen (in 1918 a "Chekist") later called KGB, now called FSB. This makes the name Yakov Yurovsky dear to Putin's heart because Putin had a career in the KGB and later he was Head of the FSB (1998 - 1999on Putin's way to becoming President for Life.