Russia is aggressively modernizing its naval fleet amid rising tensions with NATO. Earlier this week, Moscow launched what it claims to be the “quietest submarine in the world.” Dubbed Krasnodar, it is the third Varshavyanka-class diesel-electric submarine built by Admiralty Shipyards under the Project-636.
Varshavyanka subs to join the Black Sea Fleet
Varshavyanka is an improved version of the Kilo-class submarines, equipped with extended combat range and highly advanced stealth technology. According to The National Interest, Krasnodar can strike land, sea and underwater targets. Russia plans to induct six Varshavyanka submarines to its Black Sea Fleet by the end of 2016. Notably, the Black Sea Fleet’s main base is in Sevastopol, Crimea, which Russia annexed last year.
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Krasnodar is third of the six Varshavyanka submarines. Novorossiysk and the Rostov-on-Don, the first two, are currently undergoing deep-water testing. Russian naval officials expect them to begin service by the end of 2015. However, it’s not clear when Krasnodar will join them. Krasnodar is designed for anti-submarine and anti-shipping operations in shallow waters. According to Naval Technology, it has a cruising range of about 400 miles and can patrol for 45 days.
Russia plans to induct another 14-18 subs
Though Varshavyanka submarines cannot stay underwater as long as nuclear submarines, they are almost impossible to detect acoustically. They are armed with eight surface-to-air Club missiles and 18 torpedoes. Varshavyanka submarines provide high reliability and an optimal level of process control automation. Besides Varshavyanka, Russia plans to add another 14-18 diesel-electric submarines over the next 15 years.
Moscow is also replacing the Delta III and Delta IV-class submarines with Borei II. Meanwhile, the whole new Yasen-class subs will replace the Oscar II-class submarines after 2020. Russia needs to replace its Soviet-era fleet to maintain an edge in Europe. Last month, a 949 Antei nuclear submarine caught fire during repairs in the Zvyozdochka shipyard.
Russia has launched a major military exercise in the Arctic region, involving 100 aircraft, 15 submarines, 40,000 soldiers and 41 warships.