Russia's Expanding Navy to Receive 50 More Vessels This Year
The Russian navy will receive 50 vessels of various sizes and classes this year, navy Chief Admiral Viktor Chirkov was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency on Monday.
The new boats are part of a rearmament program begun under President Vladimir Putin that aims to provide Russia with a navy capable of operating far away from home — a capability lost after the collapse of the Soviet Union — by 2050. Russia's navy today is largely relegated to a coastal defense role.
"The period of stagnation in the development of our potential has long since passed," Chirkov said.
The expansion of naval power comes as Russia confronts the West over Ukraine, where Moscow has backed separatist militias. Last year Russian soldiers seized the Ukrainian region of Crimea, which hosts a major naval base in Sevastopol.
According to Russian news website Lenta.ru, not all of the 50 vessels are brand new. Some of them are renovated and modernized from various classes of ships, submarines and smaller combat boats.
Among the brand new vessels slated to be delivered to the fleet are surface ships and nuclear submarines of the Borei- and Yasen-classes — modern vessels that are already replacing Russia's aging Soviet-era underwater nuclear forces.
The navy is also anticipating new vessels include new frigates and patrol boats to join its ranks this year.
Chirkov also said the shipbuilding program would develop port infrastructure and overhaul the training process for Russian sailors, Interfax reported.