April 26, 2018

Russian Submarine Projects - Seeing Yasen as Too Delayed Response to Seawolf

Above is Russia's state defense orders in 2014 and 2015. (Graphics from Russian Defense Ministry, then published by TASS.) While submarines are analysed below there is a wealth of data on non-submarine strategic systems.

GRAPHIC AND EXTRA DATA

Adding to the small amount of submarine data in the graphic. Note that orders for:

Improved Kilo Project "636" [likely 636.3 restricted to Russian Navy] SSKs occur at the rate of
    2 each year [see later build data 2016 & 2017 for 636.3s]

-  1 or 2 Borei/Borey Project 955 SSBNs occur each year [see later year data out to 2026 for Boreis
    955s, 955As and 955Bs (the As and Bs are due to be fitted with 20 SLBMs instead of the existing
    16 in the first 3 x 955s (right click mouse to translate this).

Yasen Project 885 SSGNs in contrast are ordered intermittently (in 2014 but not in 2015). See later
     year Yasen data out to 2023. Note, despite Russian denials, Russia is likely to need to keep on
    building Yasens past 2023 to replace retiring Oscar SSGNs and Akula SSNs until
    "cheaper, smaller" Huskies or "Khaskis" (in Russian) SSNs and SSGNs become commissioned
    (likely not in early 2020s) but in the 2030s .

COMMENT

Russia will have financial trouble sustaining continuous build of Boreis, Yasens and Kilos while meeting the high costs of developing Huskies.

With the one exception of Seawolf to Virginia rarely do replacement submarines become "cheaper and smaller" because of industrial revenue interests and naval profession/capability interests.

Maybe it is useful to see the expensive, high specs, Yasen/Severodvinsk Project as a delayed, Russian response to the first launched in 1995 expensive, high specs, Seawolf (?). Also Russia, with its defense financial downturn of the 1990s and early 2000s, was paradoxically unable to cancel the already begun expensive ("too big to fail") Yasen Project.

Some major defense Projects have their own momentum that cost more in money and careers to shelve and start again
easier to delay and pass off blame

Pete

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

On the other hand, oil prices now hover mid $70/barrel. Given Saudi will be tightening further production, that clearly will be a plus for Russia's budget going forward.

Still I do believe we will see Russia emphasizing upgrading existing platforms (like they are doing on tanks, TU-160, etc.) and introducing improved variants of existing systems, more so than investing into brand new weapon systems.

FYI, France's next SSBN
https://lefauteuildecolbert.blogspot.fr/2018/04/le-sn3g.html

KQN

Peter Coates said...

Hi KQN

Indeed Russia is likely to opt for improving existing submarines (Borei, Yasen and Kilo) instead of producing totally new Husky SSNs-SSGNs and single hull SSKs with AIP.

Regards

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Hi again KQN

On France's reactor delay.

Thanks for https://lefauteuildecolbert.blogspot.fr/2018/04/le-sn3g.html

I think the lack of a modern French submarine reactor (eg. more powerful, portable and needs less refueling) will delay:

- France's future SSBN

- as much as it has delayed launch of the Suffren class (Project Barracuda) SSN.

Regards

Pete

Anonymous said...

Pete

There has not been a new small French reactor for quite several years if not decades. There is a limit in using commercial technology.

Interesting news: it appears China is developing a new A2AD base on Hainan. It is speculated that DF-10, DF-21 and (new) DF-26 will be based there. The further south location allows coverage to Guam and nearly all of India, as well as the entire SCS, Straits of Malacca.
KQN

Peter Coates said...

Hi KQN [at 27/4/18 2:53 PM]

Does the bad (strategic) news from China ever end?

I assume you've seen this http://www.eastpendulum.com/une-nouvelle-base-de-missiles-anti-navires-a-hainan
All about the growing MRBM/IRBM base(s) near Danzhou on Hainan Island.

This missile range map (watchout Guam!) neatly sums up Hainan's disturbing missile potential http://www.eastpendulum.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/2018-04-26-Une-nouvelle-base-de-missiles-anti-navires-%C3%A0-Hainan-07.jpg

Shows that the US cannot hide from the US's need to be strategic leader (bringing India, Japan, South Korea, Australia, NZ, Singapore and Vietnam together) in the region.

Regards

Pete

Anonymous said...

China is executing on a long term strategy. The US does not execute on any strategy, it may not even have a strategy to execute upon.
Let's face it, FONOP is not going to ever change the big picture. since by definition FONOP merely means just passing by while the other party lives there.
KQN

Anonymous said...

FYI, I have not seen the aft section of a Virginia SSN with the rear sonar and towed sonar.
It does not look like a true pumpjet, more like a shrouded propeller, but I may be wrong.
https://www.reddit.com/r/submarines/comments/8fhn2r/after_engine_room_hull_section_of_colorado_ssn788/?st=JGJG8EGY&sh=40c937ac
KQN

Peter Coates said...

Hi KQN

Yes FONOPs may be run more to impress non-China audiences (mainly domestic US, Southeast Asian and Australian) than to worry China.

Very much FONOPs, by their nature, are a "passing by" gesture.

The US would be more revered if it permanently stationed ships and aircraft in Australia. Say at Darwin or at Fleet Base West (Rockingham near Perth, Western Australia).

Regards

Pete