Daily Archives: February 14, 2010

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.

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