Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Russia's Submarine Priorities

Compared to the Cold War Soviet fleet, Russia's submarines have been reduced substantially and what remains in service today are vessels of the third post-war generation.

Now, Vladimir Putin anounces Russia will build an elite submarine group. “The qualitative technologic modernisation of the submarine fleet is now regarded as a priority task of the state,” President Putin said, Wednesday. Noting that the Russian Navy would soon get a fourth-generation submarine armed with the new Bulava missile system, Putin added, “It will serve as the basis for creating a group of modern submarines. ...The state will go on doing everything necessary to reinforce the personnel of the submarine forces.” Putin wishes to strengthen Russia's nuclear missile force.

Reinforcement of the submarine fleet’s personnel rank among Russia’s priority objectives. What does it mean? Obviously, allocations of adequate maintenance and overhaul funding will be necessary, as well as proper stores provisioning and state -of-the-art training for submariners.

One more thing will be required, however: pay embellishments (higher and more regular). Jeff Edwards in Cold Warrior Confessions recently wrote:
The Russian military, under-funded at the best of times, is having trouble paying its own people. According to the U.S. National Intelligence Counsel, Russian Strategic Rocket Forces are suffering from wage arrears, food shortages, and housing shortages. Put simply, the Russian military is having difficulty paying, housing, and even feeding the very people entrusted with safeguarding their strategic nuclear weapons. ...even on full pay, many members of the Russian military cannot afford to feed their families. Russian officers rarely receive more than $70.00 a month, and their enlisted personnel are paid considerably less than that.

Read what else Edwards has to say. From where will adequate funding come all of a sudden?
I know what you are probably thinking, Tehran is flush with oil revenues and will pay Russia for nuclear technology help. Keep that thought, but stay tuned.


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