Jeremy Bender, Business Insider
14 July 2015
Russia is making moves to revive and increase the size and scope of its Black Sea submarine fleet, the Russian Ministry of Defense stated.
Russian Navy Admiral Viktor Chirkov stated during a meeting with the Main Naval Command in Saint Petersburg on Monday that he believes that the submarine fleet will be "revived" and ready for action by 2016.
The submarines will be based at the Novorossiysk port on the Russian mainland across from the Crimean peninsula.
The submarine fleet will be augmented by the inclusion of six new diesel-electric submarines that Russia has been phasing into service since 2014.
“The construction of 6 diesel-electrical submarines (project 636) for the Black Sea Fleet is under the control of the Main Navy Command. 'Novorossiysk' and 'Rostov-on-Don' submarines were put into service in 2014," Chirkov said. "'Krasnodar' submarine will join the Navy by the end of 2015.”
Three other submarines will additionally be added to the fleet by the end of 2016. The submarines of project 636 have been designed to excel at warfare in shallower water while being arguably the quietest submarines in the world.
“The formation will consist of a group of 636 submarines, which have a large sea endurance, modern weapon systems, effective radio and navigational systems,” Chirkov said.
The project 636 submarines are Varshavyanka-class vessels, which are upgraded versions of Russia's previous Kilo-class submarines. Although Varshavyanka-class submarines can not dive as deep or stay submerged underwater as long as nuclear submarines, they are nearly impossible to detect acoustically.
Primarily, the Varshavyanka-class submarines will be used for anti-shipping and anti-submarine warfare in shallower water. According to Naval Technology, the submarines can cruise for a range of 400 miles, can patrol for 45 days, and carry surface-to-air missiles and torpedoes.
The mixture of weaponry onboard the submarines allow the vessels to hypothetically strike both a mixture of land, sea, and underwater targets.
The revival of the Black Sea fleet coincides with Russia's general drive to modernize its submarine assets as a whole. In addition to the Black Sea, Moscow plans on adding an additional 14 to 18 diesel-electric submarines similar to Lada-class subs over the next 15 years throughout the Russian fleets.
The Kremlin also plans to replace its Delta III and Delta IV-class subs with Borei II submarines in the coming years. The Oscar II-class sub will be replaced with the entirely new Yasen submarine class after 2020.