More Money Needed for Admiral Nakhimov

According to ITAR-TASS, Sevmash Director Nikolay Kalistratov says his plant will begin modernizing Kirov-class CGN Admiral Nakhimov (ex-Kalinin) next year.  Kalistratov also indicated the state is allocating money for Nakhimov’s large-scale repair:

“But the given volume is insufficient, an increase in the state defense order is required, and on this issue I’ve gotten the support of the board of directors.”

So Sevmash can’t or won’t do it for what the state is paying.  It’s something of an annual rite for Kalistratov.  He said the same thing last year, and even put the price tag at 20 billion rubles.  And it’s been proposed that Nakhimov could return to the Navy in 2012.  Not likely.

ITAR-TASS adds that Nakhimov’s been in this condition since 1999, waiting at the pier for repairs that haven’t been done for want of financing.  

Your present author’s no naval engineer, but common sense raises some serious issues. 

Not only would the ship’s two nuclear power plants need serious attention, but its once-impressive host of weapons systems would require extensive updating — new cruise missiles, ASW systems, SAMs, just for a start.  All the ship’s support systems would need renovation or replacement.  This would be great work not just for Sevmash, but for Russian system suppliers.  

But the Russian government, Defense Ministry, and Navy have to decide if the cost is worth taking money from other new naval construction, not to mention from higher priority military procurement efforts.  The answer to this question lies in how Nakhimov would be employed and, particularly, for how long.  The U.S. experience with modernizing and recommissioning the USS Iowa and USS New Jersey comes to mind.

There are lots of articles on what to do with Russian CGNs, but your author hasn’t waded through them.  Speak up if you’re interested in them.

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