Tag Archives: Ryazan

Pacific Fleet Patrols

Pobedonosets Concludes Patrol (photo: Mil.ru)

Pobedonosets Concludes Patrol (photo: Mil.ru)

On 29 December 2014, Pacific Fleet Delta III-class SSBN Svyatoy Georgiy Pobedonosets returned home from a combat patrol, according to Mil.ru.  

The MOD site reported that the submarine arrived in Vilyuchinsk after completing missions at sea.  The chief of staff of Pacific Fleet submarine forces greeted its commander and crew with a traditional roast pig.  Mil.ru said Pobedonosets will be ready to fulfill new tasks after replenishing its stores.

34-year-old Pobedonosets is one of only three (two operational) SSBNs in the Pacific Fleet order-of-battle.

It conducted an inter-fleet from the Northern to the Pacific Fleet in late 1983. From 1993 to 2003, it was laid up at Zvezda shipyard for extended “medium repair” due no doubt to a lack of funding at the time.

Then-president Dmitriy Medvedev visited Pobedonosets in 2008.

The submarine fired SS-N-18 SLBMs during strategic forces exercises in 2013, 2012, 2010, and 2009.  The 2013 shot occurred while the SSBN was on patrol and came from the Sea of Okhotsk, according to the VladNews agency.

The Russian Navy conducted only five SSBN patrols in 2012, according to a FOIA response obtained from U.S. Naval Intelligence by Federation of American Scientists scholar Hans Kristensen.  He concludes five were not enough for Moscow to resume continuous SSBN patrols as its Navy CINC promised  in mid-2012.  They would be 73-day patrols end-to-end.

It seems likely Pobedonosets spent 40-50 days in the Sea of Okhotsk or not far off Kamchatka in the extreme northeastern Pacific.

Podolsk Returning to Port in 2014 (photo: Eastern MD Press-Service)

Podolsk Returning to Port in 2014 (photo: Eastern MD Press-Service)

35-year-old Delta III-class SSBN Podolsk patrolled in 2011, VladNews reported. PrimaMedia indicates that Podolsk fired an SLBM, conducted other training, and possibly even an abbreviated combat patrol in mid-2014.

Russianforces.org noted it was the first launch from Podolsk in more than a decade; all other recent Pacific Fleet firings came from Pobedonosets.

32-year-old Delta III-class SSBN Ryazan inter-fleeted in 2008, launched an SLBM in 2009, but has been inactive undergoing repair since 2011.

So the fleet’s old two-submarine SSBN force performs the arduous job of maintaining some kind of Russian strategic patrol presence in the Pacific. There’s some evidence for maybe four Pacific Fleet SSBN patrols in the last four years.

Meanwhile, the Pacific Fleet awaits the inter-fleet of Borey-class SSBN hulls two and three, Aleksandr Nevskiy and Vladimir Monomakh, in the fall when, the Navy hopes, their new base facilities will be complete.  They are already officially Pacific Fleet assets but based temporarily  in Gadzhiyevo.

Two additional Boreys (for a total of four) are intended for the Pacific at some point.  But, in the meantime, the aged Pobedonosets and Podolsk will apparently conduct occasional patrols.

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Defense News

Some Russian defense news from August 6, 2012 (and a bit earlier too) . . .

Militaryparitet.com picked up the VVS CINC in Interfax.ru talking about the   Su-35 flight test program, and serial production beginning in 2014, or even next year.  PAK FA, he said, will be produced from, or after the start of, 2015.

Preliminaries for Rubezh-2012 (photo: Mil.ru)

Mil.ru and KZ published on the beginning of Rubezh-2012 — the ODKB’s Collective Rapid Deployment Force exercise at Chebarkul.  Vladimir Mukhin, however, writes in today’s NG about “fault lines” in collective defense.  He contrasts the alliance’s exercise activity with its inaction against real Central Asian instability.

Coastal rocket and artillery units have been busy.  Mil.ru showed the DP-62 Damba MLRS firing from the beach on Kamchatka, and TsAMTO covered a Western MD press-release about Northern Fleet launches of  Rubezh and Redut coastal antiship missiles.

KZ today issued its take on the Navy CINC’s comments during Ekho Moskvy’s Voyennyy sovet program last week.  It’s always interesting to compare the KZ summary with Ekho’s transcript.

Mil.ru reports the well-nigh forgotten future professional sergeants in training at Ryazan will graduate in November.  It says 130 will head off for new assignments.

Recall this grew out of the failed 2003-2007 contract service program, and utilized space available due to the drastic reduction in officer training.  Izvestiya provided a late 2010 look into how few men showed up and lasted at Ryazan.  In early 2011, the Defense Ministry slashed the funding and largely euthanized the stillborn effort.  One waits to see how it’ll find 425,000 contractees in the future.

Shamanov Doing Well, His Staff Not So Well

Interfaks reports the VDV’s spokesman says Airborne Commander, General-Lieutenant Vladimir Shamanov is doing well enough to receive visitors and work from his hospital bed, though doctors won’t say at this point when he might be discharged.

Tuesday’s Argumenty.ru reported bad news for Shamanov’s staff.  A Defense Ministry commission working in the VDV will soon issue its decision on cutting the airborne staff.  A military source says it’s only a formality since a decision, not favorable to the VDV, has already been made.

The officer said the commission arrived immediately after Defense Minister Serdyukov’s 30 September dust-up with VDV Colonel Krasov at the Seltsy training center near Ryazan.  It had mainly finance and personnel people.  Scheduled to work for two weeks, the commission needed more than a month, and didn’t finish until after Shamanov’s car accident on 30 October.

According to Argumenty.ru’s source, the report will consider it expedient to cut the VDV’s Main Staff by two times, transfer its headquarters from Moscow to Ryazan or Tula, and sell its current premises in Sokolniki.

Serdyukov Reportedly Offends VDV

It took a couple of weeks for the story to leak out, but it did, largely thanks to Russian bloggers. 

Defense Minister Anatoliy Serdyukov reportedly insulted Colonel Andrey Krasov, chief of the VDV’s Ryazan Higher Command School (now officially a filial of the Combined Arms Academy).  Monday’s Kommersant summed it up well.  Serdyukov flew to Ryazan on 30 September and visited the school’s Seltsy training center.  Getting off his helicopter, he reportedly launched into an obscene and humiliating public tirade against Krasov (who also happens to be a Hero of the Russian Federation) over the small wooden Church of the Prophet Elijah located on the grounds.

Serdyukov ordered the church dismantled, and Colonel Krasov dismissed.  The latter tried to explain that the church was built with money from sponsors, and that it will be used for training chaplains starting next year.  But, according to a retired VDV general’s account, Serdyukov wouldn’t have any of it, saying or telling his minions:

“Don’t give money to this VDV center.  We generally need to cut this school back.  Remove this impudent colonel.”

So Serdyukov comes off badly, and Colonel Krasov sounds as mild as a choir boy.  Who knows if we’ll ever know exactly how it happened.

In any case, the VDV was apparently already seething about the bureaucratic downgrading of its alma mater, and the Union of Russian Airborne Troops has asked President Medvedev and Patriarch Kirill to intercede on behalf of Colonel Krasov.  The Union’s chairman, former VDV Commander and failed putschist, Vladimir Achalov wrote the appeal:

“Anatoliy Serdyukov insulted Colonel Andrey Krasov with unprintable language, degrading his professional and personal worth in front of his subordinates.  The religious senses of the airborne were also insulted for building the church with their own resources.  And this is the fourth military church Anatoliy Serdyukov has ordered dismantled.”

“The insult to Hero of Russia Andrey Krasov is an insult to all defenders of our Motherland.  We reserve the right to act in defense of the honor and dignity of servicemen.”

There’s been no official reaction to all this from the Defense Ministry, but it’s become quite a storm.  Most major print and Internet media have covered it.

Deputy Defense Minister Nikolay Pankov met with Airborne Union representatives on Monday to smooth the whole thing over, according to Kommersant.

A Ryazan church official gave the paper the church’s view that the military has no relationship to the Church of the Prophet Elijah, and said Patriarch Kirill has already met with Medvedev on this, and decided the church won’t come down.

This situation is reminiscent of Serdyukov’s first foray as Defense Minister inspecting the St. Petersburg Nakhimov School in March 2007.  Appalled by its condition, he sacked its chief —  respected former submariner Aleksandr Bukin — on the spot, and was criticized later for mistreating a decorated admiral whose duty post  suffered from a chronic lack of resources.  But Serdyukov seemed to learn from the PR, both good and bad, and we haven’t seen anything similar in public since.

At Seltsy, maybe Serdyukov just lost his self-control.  Maybe there’s sub-text or details here we don’t know.  The whole thing could be overblown to make Serdyukov look bad.  But who’d benefit from that?  The VDV?  The Defense Minister’s really handled that branch of service with kid gloves in the process of his reforms.  Maybe, at its root, it’s a traditional civil-military dust-up — maybe this civilian Defense Minister and uniformed military men don’t understand or respect each other very much.