New Russian submarine facilities currently under construction on the Kamchatka Peninsula could be completed by the end of October USNI News reports.
The Rybachiy Nuclear Submarine Base, located nine miles (15 kilometers) across Avacha Bay from the region’s capital Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, is home to most of Russia’s Pacific nuclear submarine fleet and will be the homeport of the Russian Navy’s new Borei-class (aka Dolgorukiy-class), Project 955, fourth generation SSBN (Ship, Submersible, Ballistic, Nuclear) submarines.
According to the Russian Navy’s Commander in Chief, Admiral Viktor Chirkov, the construction on the base, which includes recreation facilities, warehouses, and a new crane used to install missiles on the subs, is moving according to plan:
The system for basing the Borei-class strategic submarines in Kamchatka is moving along according to schedule and the work will be completed by October 1 of this year.
Originally, construction of docking and maintenance facilities for the new Borei-class SSBN’s was supposed to have been completed by the end of 2014. However, various delays have caused the date to be moved into the last quarter of 2015.
In the last two years, the Pacific Fleet has been receiving new ships for the first time since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Russia’s Far Eastern submarine force comprises five nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines, five nuclear-powered guided missile submarines, five nuclear-powered attack submarines, and eight conventional attack submarines (see: “What to Expect from Russia’s Pacific Fleet in 2015”).
As I reported before (see: “Putin’s ‘Red October’: Russia’s Deadliest New Submarine”), the Russian Navy is currently operating three Borei-class SSBNs. The first, K-535 Yuriy Dolgorukiy, was commissioned in January 2013 and currently serves in Russia’s Northern Fleet. Another Borei-class SSBN, the Vladimir Monomakh, commissioned in December 2014, is expected to enter the service of the Pacific Fleet this year. The Borei-class SSBN Alexander Nevsky, commissioned in December 2013, conducted a successful single test-launch of the Bulava inter-continental ballistic missile in the Kamchatka Peninsula in November 2014.
I further noted:
All in all, the Russian Navy plans to build eight SSBN’s of this class (with an option to construct two more) by 2020. The next vessel in the class, the Knyaz Vladimir, is designated as a Project 955A Borei II. It could field four more additional missile tubes (bringing the total number of missiles potentially up to 20) and is currently under construction. According to RT, it will boast smaller hulls and cons, improved acoustics and lower sound levels. A fifth Borei-class sub, the Knyaz Oleg, was laid down at the Sevmash shipyard in July 2014.
Strategic deterrence remains the chief task of the Russian Navy in the Far East. Consequently, Moscow’s major emphasis in the short term is the modernization of its aging submarine fleet in the Pacific, which also includes the expansion of existing docking and maintenance facilities.