Daily Archives: April 5, 2013

Russia boosts its submarine exports to Asia

Two Malaysian Air Force Lady officials take a look at the two submarines from France "La Praya" and Pakistan "Hurmat" at the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace (LIMA '97) Exhibition 03 December in Malaysia's resort island Langkawi.
Two Malaysian Air Force Lady officials take a look at the two submarines from France “La Praya” and Pakistan “Hurmat” at the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition in Malaysia’s resort island Langkawi.


During the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace exhibition taking place in Malaysia, Igor Vilnit, the CEO of the Russian developer of submarines Rubin, reported on the progress of a number of development projects aimed at exporting Russian submarines to Asian countries. Vasily Kashin, an expert at the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, analyzes the situation.

This year Vietnam will receive the first of six Project 636 submarines it has ordered. At present, the first Vietnamese submarine, which was named “Hanoi”, is already undergoing testing. At the beginning of this year the Vietnamese team of the future vessel started its training in Russia. Simultaneously, Russian specialists are building in Vietnam the entire necessary infrastructure for using the submarines and training the submarine personnel.

One cannot exclude the possibility that the transfer to Vietnam of the Project 636 submarines will go more quickly than what was stated by Rubin’s CEO, – suggests expert Vasily Kashin. It is known for a fact that the second submarine of the Vietnamese order has already been launched, while the third one is expected to be launched in August. It is quite possible that this year Vietnam will get two submarines and another one in 2014. All six submarines have to be transferred to Vietnam by the end of 2016.

Thus, 2013 will be used to develop the Vietnamese fleet’s submarine forces. Prior to this Vietnam tried to set up its submarine forces by purchasing two superlight submarines from North Korea, but it failed. North Korea’s light submarines turned out to be too weak in their combat capabilities.

According to Vasily Kashin, an expert at the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, the acquisition of the Project 636 submarines from Russia satisfies Vietnam’s need to defend its sovereignty at sea and in reality poses no threat to the interests of Russia’s strategic partner China. The limited submarine forces would not give Vietnam any chance of winning the battle against the Chinese fleet, which supersedes it by several times, but would allow it to preserve the status-quo with its own resources. The lack of its own effective naval forces could push Vietnam towards a closer partnership with powers from outside the region, like it happened in the Philippines’ case. Taking all this into account, the real conflict between Vietnam and China has a very low probability as China’s policy towards Vietnam is based on the maximum engagement of the Vietnamese in trade and economic cooperation.

Another promising direction for the export of Russian submarines to Asia is India. The India’s navy is getting ready to announce a tender for the purchasing of 6 non-nuclear submarines. According to Rubin’s CEO Igor Vilnit, Russia is planning to offer the Indians its submarines of the Amur-950 project. Amur-950 is a reduced version of the Amur-1650 submarines, the acquisition of which China is currently negotiating to purchase. Compared to Amur-1650 they have a lower displacement and a lower range, while their armament is just slightly inferior to that of the Amur-1650 submarines.

The specific qualities of the Amur-950 submarines include the vertical launch for 10 ballistic missiles, which if needed could be launched within 2 minutes.

The offer to the Indian Navy includes the vessels equipped with ultrasound ballistic missiles “Brahmos” jointly produced by Russia and India. Russia’s participation in the Brahmos project is considered to give a serious advantage to the Russian proposal for this tender, in which the French submarine producers are participating as well. Obviously, these submarines of a low displacement are meant to be used in the Indian Ocean only.

 At the same time, the negotiations with China are still underway to supply four larger Amur-1650 submarines, of which two are likely to be equipped with the new Russian engines which work without air supply. Due to the extended range of action, the Amur-1650 submarines can be used in the Pacific Ocean at far distances from the bases. Compared to the Project 636 submarines supplied to China earlier, Amur-1650 boats have lower level of perceptibility, which increases their chances of overcoming Japan’s system of submarine defense.

The modern diesel-electric submarines are an effective and relatively inexpensive weapon, which gives the naval forces of Asia’s developing countries a chance to stand up to the large fleets of the developed countries, believes Vasily Kashin, a Russian expert on defense issues. The experience of the Falklands war of 1982 and the subsequent naval military exercises of the NATO countries revealed that with proper management such boats can successfully overcome the anti-submarine defense of aircraft carrier combat groups.

Source – The Voice of Russia

UK must defend against North Korea’s nuclear threat, says PM – video


The prime minister has stressed the need for the UK to retain its Trident nuclear deterrent, saying it would be “foolish to leave Britain defenceless” in the face of the growing threat posed by North Korea andIran.

David Cameron’s insistence on the need for an independent nuclear deterrent came as the US said it was moving a missile defence battery to the Pacific island of Guam as Pyongyang continued to ratchet up the rhetoric against South Korea and its American ally.

What did Cameron say?

Writing in Thursday’s Daily Telegraph, the prime minister said such “evolving threats” underlined the need for the UK to maintain the ultimate deterrent.

“We need our nuclear deterrent as much today as we did when a previous British government embarked on it over six decades ago,” he said. “Of course, the world has changed dramatically. The Soviet Union no longer exists. But the nuclear threat has not gone away. In terms of uncertainty and potential risk it has, if anything, increased.”

Cameron said Iran was continuing to defy the will of the international community over its nuclear programme while North Korea may already be building a nuclear arsenal.

“The highly unpredictable and aggressive regime in North Korea recently conducted its third nuclear test and could already have enough fissile material to produce more than a dozen nuclear weapons,” he said.

“Last year North Korea unveiled a long-range ballistic missile which it claims can reach the whole of the United States.”

Were such a weapon to exist, he said, the whole of Europe – including the UK – would be affected.

The prime minister added: “Does anyone seriously argue that it would be wise for Britain, faced with this evolving threat today, to surrender our deterrent?

“Only the retention of our independent deterrent makes clear to any adversary that the devastating cost of an attack on the UK or its allies will always be far greater than anything it might hope to gain.”

What do the PM’s comments mean for the future of Trident?

Cameron’s comments underline the Conservatives’ commitment to a like-for-like replacement for the ageing Trident submarine fleet, although their Liberal Democrat coalition partners are seeking a cheaper alternative.

The shadow defence minister, Kevan Jones, said that while it was “absolutely right and necessary” for the UK to retain an independent nuclear deterrent, the costs involved needed to be taken into account.

“World events demonstrate that in an unpredictable era our country needs the ultimate security guarantee,” he said. “The precise nature of the deterrent must be judged on meeting military capability requirements and cost.”

The prime minister attempted to head off such questions in his Telegraph article, arguing that national security was worth the price of the deterrent.

“Our current nuclear weapons capability costs on average around 5%-6% of the current defence budget,” he said. “That is less than 1.5% of our annual benefits bill. And the successor submarines are, on average, expected to cost the same once they have entered service. It is a price which I, and all my predecessors since Clement Attlee, have felt is worth paying to keep this country safe.”

How much would renewing Trident cost?

According to conservative estimates, renewing Trident would cost £100bn. The key choice on a Trident replacement will arise in 2016, when the government will need to decide whether to spend between £25bn and £30bn on replacing the four Vanguard-class submarines, which are due to be taken out of service in the mid-2020s, with a Successor class. If the government commits to replacing the Trident nuclear deterrent fleet, the cost could swallow 35% of the military equipment budget over the coming years at a time when the MoD is facing deep cuts.

Where do the political parties stand on Trident?

The Conservatives are committed to replacing Trident with a “continuous at-sea deterrent” in which, similar to current practice, nuclear warheads on intercontinental ballistic missiles are carried on four Vanguard-class submarines.

The Lib Dems have raised the possibility of a land or air-based system or carrying smaller nuclear warheads on cruise missiles on board Astute-class submarines.

Labour has a long standing commitment to a like-for-like replacement to Trident but is believed to be rethinking it and is yet to state a firm policy.

The future of Trident is also likely to feature in next year’s looming Scottish independence referendum campaign, with the SNP insisting that it would not allow nuclear missiles to be based in an independent Scotland.

The timing of the Trident decision means it could be a major issue in the 2015 general election.

David Cameron says North Korea’s nuclear possibilities are a ‘real concern’ for the UK, after visiting a British Naval nuclear submarine in Scotland on Thursday. The PM took a tour of the submarine following the printing of an article he wrote in the Daily Telegraph, stressing the need for strong nuclear defences. At a question and answer session after the tour, Cameron says of North Korea’s weapons: ‘They can reach Europe. They can reach us too’

Source – The Guardian