Russian Nuclear Submarine Contracts ‘Underpriced’

Borey-class ballistic missile submarine Yury Dolgoruky

MOSCOW, June 7 (RIA Novosti) – Former Russian Defense Ministry officials forced shipbuilders to underprice nuclear submarine contracts, which nearly scuttled the 2011 State Defense Order, a senior Russian official said Friday.

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who oversees the defense industry, said the contracts were for Borey- and Yasen-class ballistic missile submarines, and the underpricing almost scuttled the order, which was eventually signed under former Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov.

Serdyukov, who had held the post of Defense Minister since 2007, was sacked in November and replaced by Sergei Shoigu amid a series of ongoing corruption scandals that have rocked Russia’s defense sector.

Defense Ministry officials had claimed that the shipbuilders’ contract prices were too high, which led to a protracted wrangling over prices. In 2011, the contracts were only signed in November, in the presence of then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

Whereas the original price of the Yury Dolgoruky submarine was more than 20 billion rubles (about $70 million), it subsequently increased to 50 billion.

Rogozin said the work on the new submarines was currently going according to schedule but the underpriced contracts were resulting in additional costs. “We are thinking of how to tackle that problem,” he said.

Rogozin said in late May that Defense Ministry contracts signed under Serdyukov were to be thoroughly examined and, if necessary, audited. Those contracts were “largely detrimental,” he said, adding that the Russian government was ready to step in to sort out the crisis in Russian naval shipbuilding that is threatening to derail the defense procurement program.

He made his comments on the same day it was revealed that the state-run United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC) was looking for money allocated to complete the Nerpa nuclear submarine for India’s navy. A total of 500 million rubles ($15.9 million) went unaccounted for, the Kommersant business daily reported.

USC’s previous board of directors “bears full responsibility for nodding their heads, signing unworkable documents and concluding contracts at prices that were obviously below market levels,” Rogozin said at the time.

President Putin has been briefed on the issue, and the implementation of the arms procurement program will be discussed in late July, Rogozin said. Putin ordered USC’s management to submit a report by October 15 on measures to improve the situation in the industry.

Doubts about the ability of the industry to deliver warships on time and within budget prompted Serdyukov to order Mistral-class amphibious assault ships from France in 2011. That deal has subsequently been criticized by Rogozin and other senior defense industry officials.

The Russian Navy is expected to receive 24 submarines and 54 surface warships of various classes by 2020, according to the Defense Ministry.

Putin said last year that the procurement of new warships and submarines for the Navy would be a priority over the next decade. The Russian government has allocated 5 trillion rubles ($166 billion), or a quarter of the entire armament procurement budget through 2020, for this purpose.

Advertisements

Exclusive: Pakistan expresses interest in non-nuclear EMP weapons technology

by Zaki Khalid
[Terminal X Report]

Well-informed sources say that Pakistani security officials have expressed interest in the research and development of non-nuclear EMP (electromagnetic pulse) weapons.

Sources privy to the development had earlier shared that a panel of Chinese and Russian experts had met in Moscow to discuss means of collaborating for a giant Asian EMP-shield (‘umbrella‘) that would protect regional airspace, particularly that of Russia and China, from intruding systems.

In this context, Pakistani officials expressed their interest. It is expected that as previously, Pakistan will approach its counterparts in China to map a possible joint R & D venture.

Source: http://www.terminalx.org/

Putin holds back on Syria missile delivery

missile

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that Moscow has held back on delivering sophisticated S-300 missiles to the Syrian regime, while UN investigators said they have “reasonable grounds” to believe both sides in the conflict have used chemical weapons.

Putin, a key backer of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, said Russia has so far refrained from supplying the powerful S-300 surface-to-air missile systems to Assad’s regime for fear of upsetting the delicate balance of power in the volatile region.

His remarks came as fighting raged on in Syria’s besieged city of Qusayr, with both sides battling for control of the strategic post, and as US, Russian and UN representatives prepared to meet in Geneva on Wednesday to hammer out details of proposed peace talks.

Putin — who has used Russia’s veto at the UN Security Council to shield Assad’s regime from repeated attempts to impose UN sanctions — said Moscow had already signed a contract to deliver S-300s.

But he appeared to back down from Moscow’s earlier insistence that the missiles would be a “stabilizing factor” that could deter foreign intervention in Syria.

“The contract was signed several years ago. It has not been realized yet,” Putin said at a joint press conference with European Union leaders in the Ural Mountains city of Yekaterinburg.

“We do not want to upset the balance in the region.”

The weapon could theoretically shoot down Israeli jets and harm any Western military support missions.

But Putin warned the West and Arab states allied to the opposition that any attempt to resolve the crisis through outside force was “doomed to failure.”

Syria’s civil war, which has already cost more than 94,000 lives in 26 months of fighting, has threatened in recent weeks to turn even more dire with reports that chemical weapons — albeit in small amounts — had been used by both sides.

UN investigators in Geneva added to those suspicions Tuesday by reporting they had reason to believe chemical weapons had been used by both Assad’s troops and rebels fighting them.

“Allegations have been received concerning the use of chemical weapons by both parties,” said the Commission of Enquiry on Syria in a report to the UN Human Rights Council.

There are “reasonable grounds to believe that chemical agents have been used as weapons,” added the investigators.

It was the first time the commission — tasked with probing human rights violations in Syria since 2011 — added the suspected use of chemical weapons to its long list of war crimes committed in the country.

The commission also called for Damascus to grant full access to Syria for another group of experts tasked by UN chief Ban Ki-moon with investigating the possible use of chemical weapons, who have been barred by the regime.

Commission member Carla del Ponte, a high-profile former war crimes prosecutor, warned however that focusing too heavily on chemical weapons could overshadow the overall suffering in the country.

The report was released as diplomats from Washington and Moscow as well as the United Nations prepared to meet in Geneva on Wednesday to try to hammer out terms that could get Assad’s camp and the rebels to negotiate directly for the first time.

Putin himself said the chances of the proposed peace conference taking place were being harmed by reports of atrocities such as those captured on a video apparently showing a rebel eating the body parts of a slain Syrian soldier.

“I hope that such participants of the negotiations do not appear” at the proposed Geneva talks, Putin said.

“It would be hard to work with such people,” deadpanned the Russian leader, known for his black humor.

Uncertainty in recent days over whether Russia had in fact delivered S-300s to Syria had further strained Moscow’s already tense relations with regional governments and the West.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu paid a special visit to Russia last month to convince Moscow not to make the shipments.

US Secretary of State John Kerry also voiced concern.

– Warplanes pound Qusayr –

The latest fighting on the ground saw a missile strike near Syria’s biggest city Aleppo kill 26 people and government warplanes pound Qusayr.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said there were numerous dead on both sides but gave no other details.

The Observatory also said shellfire near the Russian embassy in Damascus had killed a civilian and wounded a member of the security forces.

A representative of the Russian embassy in Damascus told AFP two Syrian security guards had received injuries but that no embassy staff had been killed or hurt in the attack.

US-based group Human Rights Watch meanwhile said its mission to Aleppo had concluded that the bodies of 147 men pulled out of a local river between January and March were “probably” executed in government-controlled areas of the northern city.

Russian S-300 missiles haven’t made it to Syria, but MiG fighter jets might

Russian media reports suggested the S-300 missiles have not made it into Assad’s hands yet, but fighter jets might be.

mig29

Russia has not yet delivered the rumored S-300 air defense missile systems to Syria, Russian media reports said Friday.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who can count Moscow as his last remaining ally, seemed to imply on Thursday that part of the controversial shipment had arrived, without referring to the missiles by name.

The S-300 missiles would make a no-fly zone in Syrian air space particularly hard to establish, and would make it possible to shoot down aircrafts in the air above neighbors Turkey and Israel.

A source close to the Defense Ministry in Moscow reportedly said the “hardware itself” had not arrived yet, though the contract was still in place, Reuters reported.

Sources quoted by Russian outlets Kommersant and Vedomosti also said that no delivery of missiles had taken place. Vedomosti said the S-300 contract was worth $1 billion and was agreed upon in 2010.

More from GlobalPost: US woman among 3 Westerners killed fighting for Syrian rebels

Meanwhile, Russia aircraft maker MiG said Friday that it planned to sign an agreement that would send 10 fighter jets to Syria. Sergei Korotkov, MiG’s director general, said a delegation from Syria was discussing the contract for the MiG-29 M/M2 fighters, according to the Associated Press.

The AP noted that he could be referring to a previous deal that was put on hold during Syria’s civil war.

The war between Assad’s troops and Syrian rebels has claimed more than 80,000 people according to United Nations estimates, and the conflict is threatening to spill over the country’s borders.

The UN Security Council on Friday blacklisted Jabhat al-Nusra, one of the rebel factions fighting against Assad, as an alias of Al Qaeda in Iraq. The decision will place the extremist group under sanctions including an arms embargo, a freeze on assets and a travel ban.

Jabhat al-Nusra was designated a terrorist organization by the United States in December 2012.

Russian nuclear subs to patrol south seas

For the first time in more than 20 years, Moscow intends to send nuclear submarines to patrol the southern hemisphere, Russia’s state-run Itar-Tass news agency reported.

juliett

Moscow will resume nuclear submarine patrols in the southern hemisphere, Russia’s Itar-Tass news agency reported, following President Vladimir Putin’s recent decision to send a naval unit to the Mediterranean Sea.

The move, yet another example of the Kremlin’s intent to build its naval military, is the first time in more than 20 years that Russia will have a nuclear submarine in the southern hemisphere with Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) capability.

“The revival of nuclear submarine patrols will allow us to fulfill the tasks of strategic deterrence not only across the North Pole but also the South Pole,” state-run Itar-Tass cited an unnamed official in the military General Staff as saying.

Though the New START treaty Russia agreed to limits the number of nuclear weapons and launchers it can deploy, the Borie-class subs still carry up to 16 long-range nuclear missiles.

“As the Russian Navy receive the Borie-class missile submarines, they will not only continue to patrol the Arctic, Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, but will resume execution of combat missions in those regions of the world’s ocean, where in the late 90s of the last century used to be the Soviet Navy, and where they have ceased to appear following the collapse of the Soviet Union,” Itar-Tass’ source said.

It’s thought the new patrols will be added over a few years, with more new submarines, such as the Yuri Dolgoruky, to be built over the next seven years. To date, Russia has nine nuclear submarines in its Nothern and Pacific Fleets.

Russia to Get New ICBM Later this Year

RS-24 Yars ballistic missiles

MOSCOW, April 18 (RIA Novosti) – The first modernized intercontinental ballistic missile, Yars-M, will enter service with Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces (RVSN) later this year, RVSN Commander Col. Gen. Sergei Karavayev said on Thursday.

A defense industry source previously told RIA Novosti the Armed Forces will take delivery of a fifth-generation Yars-M missile before the end of the current year.

Karavayev declined to provide any details, including the missile’s specifications.

The existing RS-24 Yars (NATO reporting name, SS-29) is a MIRV’ed ICBM that is heavier than the Topol-M (SS-27 Stalin) and can carry up to 10 independently targetable warheads.

The RVSN previously said that the Topol-M and RS-24 ballistic missiles will be the mainstay of the ground-based component of Russia’s nuclear triad and would account for no less than 80 percent of the RVSN’s arsenal by 2016.

Karavayev also said the Tatishchevo RVSN Division, near the city of Saratov in southwestern Russia, at present has 60 Topol-M missile systems.

The Topol-M missile, with a range of about 7,000 miles (11,000 km), is said to be immune to any current and planned US antiballistic missile defense. It is capable of making evasive maneuvers, and carries targeting countermeasures and decoys.

By 2020, the RVSN are expected to be equipped with over 170 Topol-Ms (mobile and silo-based), as well as 30 SS-19 and 108 RS-24 missile defense systems in nine divisions.

Russia to Base French-Made Assault Ships in Far East Ports

mistral-class

MOSCOW, April 16 (RIA Novosti) – Russia will base its French-made Mistral-class amphibious assault ships in the Far East ports of Vladivostok and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky when they enter service, a senior Defense Ministry official said in an interview.

Russia signed a 1.2-billion euro deal with a French shipyard in 2011 for two Mistral-class ships, the first of which is due for delivery in 2014 and the second in 2015.

“There are several options [for their location], but the choice fell on Vladivostok due to its existing transport infrastructure,” Roman Filimonov, head of the Defense Ministry’s construction department, told RIA Novosti.

“In future, we should create conditions for a short-term base equipped for storage replenishing, loading and unloading troops and crew rest in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky,” Filimonov said. Other possible bases for the ships are still being considered, he added. A navy spokesman told RIA Novosti in 2011 one of the ships could be based with Russia’s Northern Fleet.

Filimonov said the necessary infrastructure for the two ships is due to be built in the Primorsky Krai by 2015.

He also noted it is more convenient to dock the ships near major cities to provide housing for the crew and their families. The Mistral-class is capable of carrying 16 helicopters, four landing vessels, 70 armored vehicles, and 450 personnel.

Procurement of the Mistral-class ships has been the subject of considerable controversy within the defense community in Russia. In January this year, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin criticized the decision to buy the ships after it was revealed they needed high-grade fuels and lubricants which were not produced in Russia in order to operate in cold temperatures.