Ilyushin Unveils Il-38 ASW Upgrade for Russian Navy

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.

Russia, Syria Agree on Mediterranean Naval Base Expansion, Refit of Syrian Ships

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

The Ambitions and Challenges of Russia’s Naval Modernization 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.

The Mediterranean: Driving Russia’s Strategic Decisions Since 1676

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.

These maps show how Russia has Europe spooked

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.

Analyst shows why Russian ‘Death fleet’ is so smoky

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.

Russia sending three submarines to Syria in preparation for major Aleppo assault

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.

Bosphorus ship spotters set sights on Russian warships

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.

Russia to set up Pacific Heavy Bomber Division to patrol seas near Japan, Hawaii, and Guam

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.

Russia Building Nuclear-Armed Drone 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.

Russian Military Activities from South China Sea to Sevastopol

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.