– Reuters – Three Russian warships, including two anti-submarine vessels, docked in Manila on Friday to unload what navy officials said was weaponry and military vehicles donated to the Philippines as part of a new defense relationship.
– War Zone – The carrier’s long delayed deep refit and modernization program has had its budget slashed in half putting in question the carrier’s future relevance.
– US Naval Institute Proceedings – Like the Soviet Navy before it, the Russian Navy’s true power lies in its submarine force. Although recovering from a prolonged period of limited investment and confined activity, the various nuclear-powered fast attack submarines (SSNs), guided-missile submarines (SSGNs), and ballistic-missile submarines (SSBNs) Russia inherited from the Soviet Union make it a capable adversary in the undersea domain. If Russia is to remain a relevant player beneath the waves in the 2020s and 2030s, however, it will have to substantially recapitalize its aging submarine force in the coming decade. Fortunately for Russia’s submariners, reinvigorating submarine construction has been one of the visible accomplishments of the Russian Navy’s modernization program for 2011–2020.
– The Independent Barents Observer – With battle cruiser Pyotr Veliky in the lead, a big group of Northern Fleet ships unfold a grand exercise near the border to Norway.
– USNI Blog – A discussion of current Russian hypersonic anti-ship cruise missiles.
– New Scientist – Reports of satellite navigation problems in the Black Sea suggest that Russia may be testing a new system for spoofing GPS. This could be the first hint of a new form of electronic warfare available to everyone from rogue nation states to petty criminals.
– War is Boring – The Kremlin can’t replace its aging subs fast enough.
– RT – An amazing 90 minute review of the Russian Navy’s fleet, including its undersea and air arms.
– BBC – The ship spotters of Istanbul have become a key resource for diplomats and intelligence experts, alerting the world to the scale of Russia’s campaign in Syria.
– War Zone – Early last April, we were among the first to report that Russia intended to send the world’s largest submarine, the Typhoon class Dmitry Donskoy, and their largest surface combatant, the nuclear powered Kirov class battlecruiser Pyotr Velikiy, to the relatively tight and tense confines of the Baltic Sea. Now both ships have officially set sail from their home port of Severomorsk on their unprecedented voyage.
– CIMSEC – Read the latest episode of Sea Control for a conversation with Captain Klaus Mommsen (ret.) of the German Navy to talk about the Russian Navy and its latest developments.
– USNI News – China and Russia’s planned exercise in the Baltic Sea is raising eyebrows in northern Europe, NATO headquarters and Washington. Dubbed Joint Sea 2017, the China-Russia maritime exercise in late July will see the introduction of a People’s Liberation Army Navy destroyer, frigate, and a support ship into the Baltic Sea. The PLAN flotilla will join Russia’s Baltic Sea fleet off St. Petersburg for joint drills.
– USNI News – BALTOPS 2017, now in its 45th year as an annual naval exercise, took place during the first two weeks of June in a Baltic Sea region that continues to be tense with Russia’s continued assertiveness, which became apparent with the violent annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.
– War Zone – Though Russian officials have delayed plans to move forward with two of its major surface ship programs indefinitely, including a new aircraft carrier, the Kremlin insists it will move ahead with work on a modern amphibious assault ship. Despite assurances to the contrary, there is little evidence that the country’s shipbuilding infrastructure is anymore ready for this task, and the project could easily end up deferred in the face of other priorities.
– War Zone – Russia is reportedly moving ahead with aggressive plans to revitalize its military as the country adopts an increasingly revanchist foreign policy. However, some items are noticeably absent from the Kremlin’s latest rearmament program, specifically two all-new surface warships, suggesting earlier proposals may have been, not surprisingly, too ambitious for the Russian defense industry. In particular, the new plan put work on new classes of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and destroyers for the Russian Navy on hold indefinitely.
– The Drive – Russia may be planning a cruise missile barrage on Libyan targets.
– CIMSEC – The most recent Russian military activity to draw attention in the Baltic was the transit of three Russian warships through the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of Latvia, a NATO member state.
– Proceedings of the US Naval Institute – While we are not quite yet in a full blown “Cold War,” the outlines of one are emerging, and an important scenario will be at sea.
– The Drive – The highly modified Oscar II class nuclear guided missile sub will have a bunch of new tricks up her sleeve, and a very sensitive and challenging mission set to use them on.
– CIMSEC – The first a two-part series on the role cruisers played in the Soviet and Russian Navy. The first part examines historical inspiration for developing a cruiser-focused force, concepts of employment, and strategic rationale.
– USNI News – Russia has installed a modern mobile electronic warfare system in Crimea to eavesdrop on U.S. ships in the Black Sea and potentially jam their communications.
– USNI News – The sinking of the Russian signals intelligence ship Liman after a collision with a Togo-flagged freighter bound for Jordan puts the spotlight back on a Russian Navy that is increasingly active in the maritime domain in and around Europe and a Black Sea region that continues to be tense in the wake of the 2014 Ukraine crisis when Russia annexed Crimea.
– USNI News – A Russian Navy surface action group is headed to the Eastern Mediterranean departing shortly after a U.S. Tomahawk missile strike on a Syrian airfield.
– CIMSEC – For Russia to achieve its long-term strategic objectives, its supremacy in the Black Sea is a critically enabling factor. The unique geography of the region confers several geopolitical advantages to Russia in its confrontation with the West. As such, the Kremlin has sought measures to strengthen its hold over the region. Firstly, it has sought to weaken NATO’s ties to the regional states, working to drive wedges into these relationships, and using military force when necessary to stop the Alliance’s expansion. Secondly, it has been expanding its military capabilities in order to challenge NATO’s presence in the region and ultimately dominate the Black Sea.
– CIMSEC – Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia’s naval fleets have been severely neglected. Corruption, defense budget shortfalls, and higher military priorities are among the factors that have prevented the modernization and buildup of the Russian navy. Of the four separate naval fleets—the Baltic, Black Sea, Northern, and Pacific Fleets—Russia’s Black Sea Fleet remains one of the most neglected and obsolete. The 2008 Russo-Georgian war revealed to Russia the need to modernize and increase the size of its Black Sea Fleet, which was reinforced during the 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea when NATO naval presence increased in the region.