– AIN – The Ilyushin design bureau and the Russian navy have revealed details of a mission systems upgrade and airframe refurbishment of the Il-38 antisubmarine warfare (ASW) aircraft. At a ceremony on January 31 at Ramenskoye airbase south of Moscow, Russian naval aviation commander Gen. Igor Kozhin said that “about 30” of the 54 Il-38s in the inventory will be modernized, in a program that will continue until 2025.
– CIMSEC – Insightful interview on the current state of the Russian Navy.
– The Economist – The principle of supercavitation continues to intrigue torpedo designers.
– USNI News – Russia and Syria have signed an agreement this week to expand Russia’s sole foreign base – a naval repair facility in Syria – into a larger naval base capable of permanently hosting 11 ships. The agreement would allow the Tartus installation to expand to berth larger surface combatants and submarines
– USNI News – Russia is recalling the Russian carrier Admiral Kuznetsov from the Eastern Mediterranean and sending the ship back to its homeport in northern Russia.
– USNI News – As the U.S. relationship with the Philippines has come under rhetorical assault from President Rodrigo Duterte, Moscow has moved closer to Manila offering to sell arms and to start a bilateral military exercise program.
– CIMSEC – A lot has been said about Chinese naval modernization in recent years. However, China is not the only country that is currently investing in a modern naval force. Since 2011 Russia has been implementing its own naval modernization program. This comes after a period of neglect the as Russia Federal Navy (Russian Navy) is looking to build as many as a 100 new warships by 2020.
– CIMSEC – Russian involvement in Ukraine and Syria share one common thread which Russia has been fighting for since the first Russo-Turkish war in 1676. Tartus in Syria and Sevastopol in Crimea are warm water ports which provide direct Russian access to the Mediterranean or access via the Black Sea and the Dardanelles.
– Harpers – Andrew Cockburn, the author of the Cold War classic “The Threat” on the Soviet Union’s hollow military, now writes on the reviving of the art of threat inflation today.
– Aviationist – Less than three weeks after losing a MiG-29, it looks like the Russian Navy has lost another aircraft during Admiral Kuznetsov operations: a Su-33 Flanker.
– Washington Post – The Kremlin has brushed off Western concerns about its deployment of cutting-edge missile systems in its Kaliningrad enclave, saying that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was the one disrupting the strategic balance with its plans to put antimissile defenses on Russia’s borders. But the Russian arsenal on the Baltic, some of which has been tested in Syria, is potentially a game-changer.
– Ukraine TV – Russian aircraft carrier ‘Admiral Kuznetsov’ battle group is easily identified from space due to its smoke trace. ‘Landsat 8′ satellite captured the Russian Navy carrier battle group in the Mediterranean on photo, Military Aviation News website ‘Alert 5’ informs. On the picture taken on November 8 the carrier’s smoke plume was visible from space. Ukrainian military analyst and blogger Olexandr Kovalenko explained the reason of this effect.
– BBC – A Russian MiG-29 fighter jet has crashed into the Mediterranean Sea as it tried to land on the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier.
– Proceedings of the US Naval Institute – The aspiration to be a first-rate maritime power is beyond Russia’s maritime potential and industrial capacity, and Russia’s ambitions in the world’s oceans are out of reach.
– Independent – Three Russian submarines armed with cruise missiles have reportedly joined a naval battleforce heading towards Syria. The Royal Navy and Nato have been tracking the two Akula-class submarines and a diesel-powered Kilo-class sub as they travelled to join the fleet of Russian ships headed by the Soviet-era aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov.
– USNI News – If there isn’t military purpose of the Russian fleet to be off Syria why are they going there?
– AFP – Several Russian warships pass in both directions through the Bosphorus every week, transporting cargo for Moscow’s military campaign in Syria, in a massive logistical effort known as the “Syrian Express”. Their passage through the densely-populated Turkish metropolis represents a unique chance to see close up a deployed Russian warship that would usually be kept well away from prying eyes. And each time they come, a group of amateur but well-informed and hugely dedicated Turkish ship spotters are there to photograph them and share their work on social media where their following has shot up.
– BBC – Russia has withdrawn a request for three warships to dock at the Spanish port of Ceuta for refuelling, following concern among Nato allies.
– BBC – Spain is coming under pressure from Nato allies not to allow the refuelling of Russian warships in the Kuznetsov carrier group bound for Syria.
– National Interest – With NATO’s eyes on the defense of its Baltic members and a growing view that Poland is NATO’s new center of gravity in the East, a Kaliningrad A2/AD zone projects advanced ground, naval, and air threats, creating significant security challenges.
– Janes – Russia’s Ministry of Defence announced on 6 October the formation of a new long-range Heavy Bomber Division (Tyazheloy Bombardirovochnoy Aviatsionnoy Divizii, or HBD/TBAD). Stationed in the Far East, the unit’s role is to patrol the Pacific Ocean and, in particular, sea areas near to Japan, Hawaii, and Guam.
– The Diplomat – Russia has begun construction of three new subs including its latest ballistic missile nuclear submarine.
– Washington Free Beacon – Russia is building a drone submarine to deliver large-scale nuclear weapons against U.S. harbors and coastal cities, according to Pentagon officials. The developmental unmanned underwater vehicle, or UUV, when deployed, will be equipped with megaton-class warheads capable of blowing up key ports used by U.S. nuclear missile submarines, such as Kings Bay, Ga., and Puget Sound in Washington state.
– USNI News – It may not be 1984 again, but it certainly is not 1994 or 2004 either. Incorporated into what appears to be an overarching strategy to assert Russian primacy in their self-identified “near abroad” the Russians are doing several things simultaneously, the most important of which may well be the large-scale exercises in Crimea as part of an apparent larger strategic war game. While many may argue the relative merits of various aspects of Russian power, sanctions, diplomatic isolation and other lines of effort, there is no denying that Russia is synchronizing a strategy to keep Europe off-balance, potential allies encouraged and possible enemies deterred from the Baltic to the Black Sea and further afield.
– USNI Proceedings – With ‘more activity from Russian submarines than we’ve seen since the days of the Cold War,’ an improved European force posture becomes vital for the U.S. Navy and NATO.