Well, it seems that even our old friends the Russians are having cash-flow problems. All that new technology comes with a price, and the Russians are in sticker shock over the costs of their latest purchase.
A fourth-generation Russian nuclear-powered multipurpose attack submarine that was floated out on Tuesday is too expensive for serial production, a business daily said on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev arrived in the northern port of Severodvinsk to attend the official float-out ceremony.
The construction of the Severodvinsk, the first Project 885 Yasen (Graney) class submarine, began in 1993 at the Sevmash shipyard in Severodvinsk, but has since been dogged by financial setbacks. Russia planned to float out the submarine on May 7 to mark the 65th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in May 1945.
Russia’s Vedomosti daily said the price of the strategic project was kept secret, but the estimated cost reached $1 billion.
Mikhail Barabanov, the editor-in-chief of Moscow Defense Brief magazine, said the submarine’s cost was too high to make it viable for serial production
This should come as no surprise to anyone who has watched defense procurement costs increase both in these United States and abroad. The US Navy’s ship procurement system is broken, and until the Navy takes a firm hand and reins in the civilian sector, things won’t change. Apparently, the Russians are still copying American products and procedures, but this time they went a bit too far and it will bite them financially.
Now, that’s not to say that Project 885 Yasen (Graney) class submarine isn’t a valuable addition to the Russian Navy. Far from it. It’s a capable platform, much quieter than previous boats, and armed with 24 cruise missiles and 10 torpedo tubes. He’s (all Russian ships are referred to in the masculine) following the same mission profile of stand-off attacks against US Carrier (and others) Battle Groups, but the increased range of the new cruise missiles makes it an attractive target for land-attack missions, while retaining the capabilities for mine-laying, and classic ASW and ASU warfare.
The first Graney class (Russian for “ash tree”) is named Severodvinsk and is a capable boat. He carries 10 torpedo tubes in both 533mm and 650mm diameter, which indicates both conventional and special-purpose torpedoes. His cruise missiles are from several classes, to include the 3M51 Alfa SLCM, the P-800 Oniks SLCM or the RK-55 Granat SLCM.
Severodvinsk has a single reactor driving a single shaft, with a projected speed of 20kts surfaced, and 35+kts submerged, and a test depth of 600 meters. Technical innovations and a reliance on computers has enabled the crew to be reduced to 50 men, of 26 enlisted and 24 officers.
If Russia can find the wherewithal to continue production, this can be a complimentary boat for the Borei class of SSBN’s, capable of providing protection of them at some distance, or alternately assuming an offensive capability in support of Russian land operations in the same manner we used our SSN’s to support the invasion of Iraq.