The Russian Navy has a peculiarly multi faced history and reputation. As a land power with huge boarders and vast empty sectors it would seem more than a little excess to needs. In imperial splendor it has burgeoned into one of the greatest navies in history, in troubled times it has rotted or rusted away. It has lost a whole fleet in battle at the far end of the world after a voyage that would have been hailed as incredible except for the ending. It has built ships, particularly submarines second to none in technological innovation, then had to let them rot. Always a technological arm the Navy has often attracted the best and the brightest and being world spanning it has attracted funding to grow hugely when the money was available….
So today Russia is as troubled as ever, but it does sit astride Eurasia and if you consider the polar region is near the Americas. It has intimate contact with the sea and it needs a Navy for reasons both local and global.
The cycles of growth and rot have shown that one should never count the Russian Navy out. While the end Soviet Era strategic Navy is rotting away the latest revival appears to be underway. The article above and others, point to the fact that after a period of grim news about over runs, decades long builds, etc the lates Corvette program and its predecessor appear successful even given quite sever supply chain issues of geopolitical nature.
While one can poo poo a Corvette as a ‘little ship’ the reality is that this firecracker could conceivably sink a fleet of ships boasting the best of 1980’s technology without a scratch. The US navy and others are rapidly rethinking the efficacy and rational for cruiser sized destroyers in this modern age of omnipresent satellite reconnaissance and hypersonic smart munitions.
But beyond this ship the Russians are once again showing their intellectual metal with A New “Universal Sea Complex” ‘Varan.’
“It is a new approach in domestic and global shipbuilding. The project will represent a new class of naval hardware — universal sea complexes (UMK),”Nevskoe Bureau (a major Russian designer of ships and the sole designer of aircraft carriers and simulators.). NavalNews.com
The approach appears well suited to modern ship building practices. At modestly sized commercial yards. It is very much in line with the skeptics view of aircraft carriers as a modestly sized vessels with a reasonable strike force. It is not at all a competitor to a US Nuclear Super Carrier in itself but is well suited for power projection and strike warfare in a fleet setting.
Noting the sea gate at the stern you could see this ship as having a significant landing force either standard or optionally providing a strong ‘swing’ capacity. This might be an ideal Marine Amphibious warfare ship.
Looking at it one can see that it is unlikely to be able to support even the noted 24 aircraft wing for long periods at sea. But is that really necessary if you have enough ships so that in peace time they only spend a couple of months at sea at a time?
You can also see that it is unlikely to be able to support a fleet commanders facilities and staff. Again that makes sense, with high bandwidth covert data links the fleet commander can and ought to be separated from the strike asset.
If there was a significant Marine contingent the air arm would have to shrink. But once more you need to think of distributed capability and building your fleet from blocks of assets rather than one Super Duper anything.
So once more the Russians have set the fox among the hens, at least in an intellectual sense. They are always listening and watching the rest of the world and trying to conceive of a ‘system’ that gives them an advantage versus the rest. It’s always a good idea to understand what they are thinking…as in chess and mathematics they are often leaders in the intellectual sphere.