Home » Sea » Polmar's Perspective » Russian Fleet Sails Into Med

Russian Fleet Sails Into Med

by Ward Carroll on December 13, 2007

In his latest move to demonstrate that Russia is again a world power, President Vladimir Putin has sent an 11-ship carrier task force to the Mediterranean Sea. Speaking at a Kremlin conference also attended by Putin, Minister of Defense Anatoly Serdyukov said that the sole Russian aircraft carrier, two large anti-submarine ships, and a guided missile cruiser, along with replenishment ships from Russia’s Northern and Black Sea Fleets as well as 47 naval aircraft would be part of the task force that will operate in the “Med” beginning in mid-December. It is not clear if submarines are included in the force.
russian-fleet.jpg

Earlier this year, Admiral Vladimir Masorin, the Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy, called for restoring a permanent Russian presence in the Mediterranean. He declared that the Mediterranean was a strategically important zone for the Black Sea Fleet. The Soviet Navy had maintained an almost continuous naval presence in the Mediterranean from the mid-1960s until the demise of the Soviet Union in late 1991. Since then Russian naval operations there have been intermittent and brief.

The current deployment of the nation’s only aircraft carrier, the Admiral Flota Sovetskogo Soyuza Kuznetsov, has been delayed for two or three years because of the poor condition of the ship and the lack of qualified carrier pilots. Reportedly, there are only about a dozen Su-33 shipboard multi-role aircraft available for the Kuznetsov. The Su-33 — with the NATO code-name Flanker-D — is a carrier-based version of the highly capable, Mach 2-plus Su-27 land-based aircraft.

The remainder of the ship’s air group probably consists of a few Su-25 (NATO Frogfoot) attack-trainer aircraft and helicopters. The latter include Ka-27 Helix anti-submarine and rescue variants, and Ka-31 Helix helicopters configured for the Airborne Early Warning (AEW) role. The Ka-31 has large air-search radar suspended under its fuselage which folds upward for landing and takeoff. (This is a variation of the British Sea King AEW-configured helicopter concept.)

A Russian spokesman has said that the Kuznetsov task group would conduct three tactical exercises with real and simulated launches of sea– and air-launched missiles, and would make nearly a dozen port calls. The ports will include Syria’s Tartus, once a major port-of-call of the Soviet Mediterranean squadron. There is still a Russian technical facility there.

The Kuznetsov deployment, believed to be only the second such sortie into the Mediterranean since the end of the USSR, is important for Russia as President Putin attempts to demonstrate that the country is again a major military power. At this time his only other means of demonstrating the prowess of the Russian armed forces is by the long-range flights of bomber aircraft over international waters, which periodically approach Western countries.

Norman Polmar

Share |

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Judge Dredd December 13, 2007 at 9:12 am

2 fleet tugs are also part of this deployment.

Reply

eric December 13, 2007 at 2:58 pm

The Russian gnp is a lot less than countries like Spain, Italy and Canada. About one third of that of the UK and 6 % of that of the US.”Putin attempts to demonstrate that the country is again a major military power”. Thanks for the demo Putin, but you should be shot for waisting money that could have been used for the future of your people.

Reply

Andrew December 13, 2007 at 3:41 pm

Eric,
I don’t want to get into a GNP vs. GDP debate. Even considering the differences between GNP and GDP your figures seem a little off. The Russian GDP is approximately 90.5% British GDP and approximately 13% of the American GDP according to the the CIA World Factbook.
Russian GDP (purchasing power parity):
$1.746 trillion (2006 est.)
Spainish GDP (purchasing power parity):
$1.109 trillion (2006 est.)
Italian GDP (purchasing power parity):
$1.756 trillion (2006 est.)
Canadian GDP (purchasing power parity):
$1.181 trillion (2006 est.)
British GDP (purchasing power parity):
$1.928 trillion (2006 est.)
American GDP (purchasing power parity):
$13.06 trillion (2006 est.)
Source: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/index.html

Reply

Mackie December 13, 2007 at 4:20 pm

In the last years, Russia starts some Programms to modernize their military. But they only want flex their muscles.
We in Europe only laugh about the Russian Propaganda.
The US missle defense system in Poland makes Russia angry.^^
Greetings from Germany
or
Auf Wiedersehen^^

Reply

Wild Bill December 13, 2007 at 4:21 pm

Are the two tugs to help tow broken Russian ships back to port?

Reply

James December 13, 2007 at 10:51 pm

lol hate to say it but from what ive heard about the condition of the Admiral Flota Sovetskogo Soyuza Kuznetsov(omfg i hope thats shorter in russian)they may need a few more tugs
anyone know if russian warships have as little armor as our ships do now
lol wish we had the iowas to send to the med should bring back the battleships and not the retardedly expensive ddx how many carriers could have been built for the money weve spent on that god awful project

Reply

Rix December 13, 2007 at 11:27 pm

I fear the Russian bear’s nukes. That is, I fear the nuke reactors in their carriers and cruisers due to the pathetic maintenence record of the Russian navy.

Reply

George Skinner December 14, 2007 at 1:46 am

I think it’s nice that the US Navy finally has somebody to play with again. Supporting ground operations is important work and all, but nothing warms a naval officer’s heart like sinking somebody else’s ships.

Reply

eric December 14, 2007 at 3:47 am

Hi Andrew,
True I’ve seen a lot very different figures, but this one (IMF 2005) was shared by (with?) more sources. If your figures are more accurate, does it mean Italy could be the next Big thing? Flexing their Italian muscles? Russia is no longer a superpower Putin, get over it!

Reply

Crass December 14, 2007 at 4:59 am

Good for the Russians. They really do need to bring up their morale.

Reply

Frank Williams December 15, 2007 at 1:15 pm

This deployment is basically a win-win for the Russian Navy. If it goes off well, there’s a boost in National pride and a corresponding willingness to spend some rubles on Fleet requirements. Perhaps some degree of reconstitution of the 5thESK. If the delployment turns into a fiasco, then the Navy can, rightly so, point to paltry funding as the primary cause of National embarassment, and Putin will be responsive. LRA will point to their recent successful flights as evidence of what a little funding can do for a mission.
Either way, the West has all but lost continuity on Russian maritime interests. Somone better dust of the rolodex and see if there are any reservists out there willing to share sea stories from back in the day when going toe to toe with the Bear was a norm. Good fodder for an new Clancy novel, huh?

Reply

sinan December 16, 2007 at 9:33 am

I am happy that Russia, after nearly two decades of stagnation, is starting to move up again. Not with the idealistic motives of the USSR but at least as a force to potentially balance the Americans. The world needs this. We all know that we non-americans, are capable of doing better than the americans in science, engineering, sports, arts and literature, we are not meant to be dominated by the tasteless and 100% commercially based American culture.

Reply

Wild Bill December 16, 2007 at 6:28 pm

Sinan,
Let us see if the Russians can “balance” us at the next great natural disaster. It was the American peolple and their great US Navy that came to the aid those were hit the hardest by the tusnami. Then the US Army, Air Force and Marines came to the aid of Pakistan recently when they experinced a huge earthquake. Yeah I am waitng for that “balance”.
All that help and aid ws made possible by tasteless 100% commercially based Americans. And don’t you forget it.

Reply

wpnexp December 21, 2007 at 4:17 pm

Well said Wild Bill.
Sinan, the world does product good scientists and people of all sorts, then they come to America, where there talents can be used. Don’t hold your breath waiting for Russia to balance our Navy. They have a long way to go, and we are hardly trying. Of course, the last time the Russian fleet ventured into Med, they needed US warships to supply them with water. I remember something about a big submarine exploding under water recently also.
What country are you from? Does your tasteful country have a Navy? When was the last time they built a 100,000 ton aircraft carrier. I doubt you would even mention your country from embarrassment.
You can even ask the North Koreans if they appreciate our Navy. Seems some pirates took over one of there ships. Our Navy had to rescue them. Since the N. Korean navy is unable to travel more than a few miles from port, there ship was helpless without us. Sounds a lot like jealousy to me.

Reply

http://www.linksoflondons.co.uk May 21, 2009 at 9:45 am

Links of London
Links of London Jewelry
Links of London Charm
Links of London Necklace
Links of London Bracelets
Links of London Earrings
Links of London Rings
Designer from UK
Diamond
Gold&Silver
Links Jewelry
Links Necklace
Links Charm
Links Earrings
Links Rings

Reply

http://www.linksoflondons.co.uk May 21, 2009 at 9:52 am

Links of London
Links of London Jewelry
Links of London Charm
Links of London Necklace
Links of London Bracelets
Links of London Earrings
Links of London Rings
Designer from UK
Diamond
Gold&Silver
Links Jewelry
Links Necklace
Links Charm
Links Earrings
Links Rings

Reply

ed hardy September 14, 2009 at 3:14 am

It was a very nice idea! Just wanna say thank you for the information you have shared. Just continue writing this kind of post. I will be your loyal reader. Thanks again.

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: