An announcement that Russia is building up its arsenal of military hardware with the development of a new class of nuclear submarines was more bluff than substance according to experts in the U.S.
The announcement came from Anatoly Shlemov the head of the state-owned United Shipbuilding Corporation’s state defense order department who said the new submarine class will be divided up into “underwater interceptor” and “aircraft carrier killer” vessels.
He said “The main purpose of the underwater interceptor is to protect groups of ballistic missile carrying submarines, and to battle with enemy submarines. The second ship will be a cruise missile carrier used for defeating coastal and surface targets.”
No other information was released about the supposed Russian fifth generation submarine.
American naval analyst Norman Friedman said he was is skeptical about the reality of the Russian announcement.
"I would be skeptical. There’s a history in that country of laying down things that don’t get finished for a long time. No question they’ll lay down the subs, but actually building them after that is a more interesting question --- I get the feeling for all the big talk from the Russians about building a new fleet, they’re probably having trouble getting stuff." he said.
Friedman said Russia has also lost a lot of expertise in its shipbuilding industry.
“A lot of people quit the yards --- If they lost a lot of their smarter people, there’s a difficulty in recreating what they had. Coming back 15 years later and trying to recreate it is kind of dubious.”
There have been other announcements of military hardware from Russia in the past that have as yet not seen the light of day.
Two years ago, the Malakhit Marine Engineering Design Bureau which is based in St. Petersburg reported it would be equipping new stealth features in Russia’s submarine fleet - new noise reduction technology, new reactor safety sand control systems, and new long-range weapons.
But in June, the Bureau’s CEO Vladimir Dorofeyev said that the new class of submarines will be based on a “network-centric system” and that everything will not be new revolutionary technology.
“The reactor will be certainly based on new principles, but there will be no revolution, and it is not needed after all.” said Dorofeyev.