Russian Naval Destroyer Leaves English Channel, Enters North Sea

Vice-Admiral Kulakov, an Udaloy-class destroyer

The Russian Navy’s Vice-Admiral Kulakov, an Udaloy-class destroyer, entered the North Sea, according to Capt. 1st Rank Vadim Serga. Destroyer is carrying out its 260th day journey.

 

MOSCOW, December 30 (Sputnik) — The Russian Navy’s Vice-Admiral Kulakov, an Udaloy-class destroyer, has left the English Channel and entered the North Sea, a Northern Fleet spokesperson said Tuesday.“This is the 260th day of the naval destroyer Vice-Admiral Kulakov’s long journey. The vessel spent most of this time fulfilling tasks in the Mediterranean Sea, while deployed in the Russian Navy task force. The Northern Fleet’s naval destroyer has entered 11 ports in 5 Mediterranean countries,” Capt. 1st Rank Vadim Serga told journalists.

Prior to passing through the English Channel, the teams in charge of the vessel’s safety have conducted exercises on navigating in narrow areas in bad weather conditions and heavy shipping traffic.

 

According to Serga, the current voyage of the naval destroyer Vice-Admiral Kulakov has been the longest in the modern history of Russia’s Northern Fleet, as the vessel set sail from the Fleet’s main base in Severomorsk on April 15. “It has traveled a total of more than 32,000 nautical miles since then, including in storm conditions,” Serga said.Currently, according to Serga, the Vice-Admiral Kulakov crew is getting ready for New Year’s Eve celebrations and returning to their home base.

The Vice-Admiral Kulakov ship was commissioned in 1982 and was on combat duty with the Northern Fleet until March 1991, before being retired for repairs that lasted more than 18 years. The ship returned to the Northern Fleet’s main base in the city of Severomorsk in 2010.

Advertisements

Argentina and UK Falklands spat spiced up by Russian jets

December 29, 2014 14:49 

A Sukhoi jet fighter Su-24. (Reuters/China Daily)

A Sukhoi jet fighter Su-24. (Reuters/China Daily)

The Falkland Islands – a UK overseas territory Argentina lays claim to – have been allegedly reviewing their defenses after news Russia may offer Argentina fighter jets, UK’s Daily Express says in its report.

The deal reportedly involves a lease/lend of twelve Sukhoi Su-24 all-weather attack aircraft, which NATO calls “Fencer A”. The jets will be able to do air patrols over the Falklands’ capital, Port Stanley. According to the tabloid, Ministry of Defense officials fear Buenos Aires will take delivery of the planes well before the 2020 deployment of the Navy’s 65,000-tonne aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth and its F-35B fighters, leaving a “real window of vulnerability.”

Up to 1,500 troops, backed by a naval warship that visits throughout the year, are permanently based on the Falklands, along with four RAF Typhoon jets, plus anti-aircraft and artillery batteries.

View of the British military cemetery in San Carlos Village in the Falkland Islands. (AFP Photo/Martin Bernetti)

View of the British military cemetery in San Carlos Village in the Falkland Islands. (AFP Photo/Martin Bernetti)

The Falklands, called ‘Las Malvinas’ by the Argentinians, have belonged to Britain since the 1830s. Argentina insists the islands are theirs by virtue of their proximity to the South American mainland. In 1982 Buenos Aires lost a brief war with Britain over the islands. Under the Constitution, the UK is responsible for the islands’ foreign affairs, retaining the power “to protect UK interests and to ensure the overall good governance of the territory.” Nonetheless, the islands have their own internal government. Last March, Falkland islanders held a referendum, voting by 1,513 to three to remain a British overseas territory. Russia supports Argentina’s bid for direct bilateral talks with Britain on sovereignty of the islands.

READ MORE: Argentina slams ‘NATO’ Falklands as UK gears up for war games

Russia has been developing friendly ties with Argentina since 2010, when it signed a “historic” contract with Buenos Aires and delivered two Mi17 assault helicopters to serve in the country’s national Air Force. The sale was the first time the Argentinean military had bought Russian military hardware.

View of Stanley from Mount Longdon, Falklands. (AFP Photo/Daniel Garcia)

View of Stanley from Mount Longdon, Falklands. (AFP Photo/Daniel Garcia)

President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Argentina in July also helped boost relations between the countries, possibly paving the way for exchanging Russian military hardware for food and goods. Russia banned food imports from the US, along with goods from the EU, Norway, Australia and Canada, after Putin ordered retaliation for sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine crisis.

Buenos Aires needs to replace its depleted fighter fleet. In October, Defense Minister Agustin Rossi announced the purchase of 24 Saab Gripen fighters, which were to have been provided by Brazil. It would have been the first major purchase of new military aircraft by Buenos Aires since the Falklands War three decades ago. However, the deal was called off because some of the jet’s parts were made in the UK.

The Ocean Guardian semi-submersible drilling rig floats tethered to the sea floor just three days after beginning its contracted well for Rockhopper Exploration a little more than 100 km (62 miles) offshore from the Falkland Islands. (Reuters/Gary Clement)

The Ocean Guardian semi-submersible drilling rig floats tethered to the sea floor just three days after beginning its contracted well for Rockhopper Exploration a little more than 100 km (62 miles) offshore from the Falkland Islands. (Reuters/Gary Clement)

The seabed around Falklands is believed to contain copious oil reserves. While oil companies have conducted large-scale exploration, exploitation of the reserves hasn’t yet been launched. Tensions between the UK and Argentina escalated in 2010 when a British company began exploring for oil near the Falklands’ waters. Argentina introduced new rules in response, requiring all ships travelling to the Falklands through its waters to have a permit.

Why Russian arms sales are on high octane

December 27, 2014 Rakesh Krishnan Simha
Seeking out new markets in emerging countries and staying resilient in traditional ones, Russian arms companies are on the rebound.
Why Russian arms sales are on high octane Mi-28 attack helicopter. Source: RIA Novosti / Mikhail Mokrushin

Russian weapons manufacturers are wearing big smiles these days. And why not! Spurred by big-ticket sales to China, while also opening up new markets in Iraq, South Africa, Afghanistan and Egypt, Russian arms sales have shot up by 20 per cent, even as global arms sales by the world’s top 100 armaments companies fell for the third year in a row.

New data compiled by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) shows significant increases in arms sales by Russian companies and other emerging suppliers. The Russian company with the largest increase in sales in 2013 was Tactical Missiles Corporation, with a growth of 118 per cent, followed by Almaz-Antey (34 per cent) and United Aircraft Corporation (UAC, 20 per cent).

Although UAC – the Russian holding company which includes Irkut, Mikoyan, Sukhoi, Ilyushin, Tupolev, Beriev and Yakovlev – has not officially released any figures, media outlets report that Russia has surpassed the US in the number of combat aircraft produced.

Almaz-Antey’s arms sales in 2013 make it the 12th largest arms producer (excluding China) and bring it closer to the top 10, which has been the exclusive club of arms producers from the US or western Europe since the end of the Cold War. Currently, 10 Russian arms producing and military services companies are ranked in the SIPRI Top 100, compared with nine companies in 2012.

“The remarkable increases in Russian companies’ arms sales in both 2012 and 2013 are in large part due to uninterrupted investments in military procurement by the Russian Government during the 2000s,” says Siemon Wezeman, Senior Researcher with the SIPRI Arms and Military Expenditure Programme.

“These investments,” Wezeman added, “are explicitly intended to modernise national production capabilities and weapons in order to bring them on par with major US and western European arms producers’ capabilities and technologies.”

Plus, being ready to export sophisticated weapons on soft loan terms and other flexible financial deals give Moscow an edge over other defence exporters. There’s a reason for that in the arms industry. “There is never a vacuum on the international arms market,” says Rosoboronexport’s Mikhail Zavaliy. “If one supplier goes away, then another one appears.”

It’s a bigger market

However, one area SIPRI hasn’t covered is weapons deals under the radar. Military sources in Russia suggest the real volume of arms sales is even bigger than SIPRI suggests, as the institution only uses information provided by open sources, Kommersant says. Other agree. “The workings of Russian defence trade remain largely a mystery, except to a handful of specialists,” says UPI.

Russia’s surge back into the Iraqi arms market, where once it was the undisputed leader. After the US invasion, weapons contracts were liberally – and illegally – doled out to mostly American arms makers. In a naked display of neo-colonialism, the occupying American administration forced the Iraqis to buy billions of dollars worth of weapons they didn’t want. The Russians were completely shut out of Iraq.

However, after nearly a decade of being jerked around, Iraq had had enough. In October 2012 Baghdad signed a $4.2-$5 billion deal with Russia’s Rosoboronexport. The deal was reported to include a wishlist that included 30 Mi-28 attack helicopters and up to 50 mobile SA-22 Pantsir air defence systems.

Traditionally, Middle Eastern countries have split their weapon buys between different suppliers in order to reduce dependence on one country. Iraq and Egypt are now following this trend.

There are other compensations as well. “One is political,” says Defense Industry Daily (DID). “Unlike the US, Russia isn’t going to play politics with spares and support. If Iraq’s central government finds itself using these gunships in armed clashes with the Kurds, or other neighbours, (Iraq) knows Russia won’t cut off Iraq’s access to parts, maintenance, or associated weapons.”

“Our assistance comes with lectures on human rights and civil-military relations,” Jeffrey White, an analyst at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told USA Today. “With Russian assistance, you don’t get those lectures.”

The only problem is Iraq may have to ensure a separate supply chain for spare parts because Russia hasn’t quite sorted out its supply bottlenecks. But that’s not really a deal breaker. “Iraq may have fewer attack helicopters in the air at any one time, but at least it won’t become zero,” says DID.

Like Iraq, Egpyt is another major Russian client that’s returning with a high-octane shopping list that included the latest MiG-35 fighter bombers. Earlier this year, the country’s army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was in Moscow to negotiate a $2 billion arms deal.

China seems to have an insatiable appetite for Russian weapons. Moscow has cranked up production of the S-400 wonder weapon, the Su-35 Super Flanker, and jet fighter engines that Beijing wants. Russia may sell even strategic weapons to China in response to further economic sanctions.

Plus, India continues to be among Russia’s leading buyers. New Delhi plans to splurge over $100 billion on high-end weapons and Russian manufacturers are hopeful of bagging some of the deals. At the same time, a lot of Russia-India deals are secretive – such as the lease of a second nuclear powered submarine from Russia and the consultancy services being provided to India’s Arihant ballistic missile nuclear submarine.

Being a major supplier to two of the largest emerging markets in the world is hugely advantageous to Russia. For, the chances of a slowdown in arms purchases by China and India are unlikely as both countries are flush with cash and on a military modernisation drive.

Emerging producers:

In view of the surge in defence production in developing countries worldwide, SIPRI has a new category of Emerging Producers. This is aimed at addressing the “growing importance and ambition of arms-producing companies that are based in countries in the Global South”.

Collectively, Brazil, India, South Korea, Singapore and Turkey represent a small part of total Top 100 arms sales, but increases in arms sales—as well as the significant goals set by these countries’ governments both in terms of indigenous production of armaments and export strategies—call for better tracking of their trajectory in the ranks of top arms producers.

India rising– slowly

The report shows that of emerging producers ranked in the 2013 Top 100, India has the second highest number of companies (three), showing equivalent sales to those of the five ranking South Korean companies.

“Even though successive Indian governments have stated their intention to develop a comprehensive, technologically advanced indigenous arms industry, India’s capacity to reach that goal remains questionable,” says SIPRI.

“Sales are mainly based on bulk licence production of foreign-designed weapons, while the development of indigenous systems has been plagued with problems for decades. The Indian industry’s role in the arms export market is also negligible. Nevertheless, success in the export market remains a central goal of the current government, and significant national resources are dedicated to attaining it.”

“Resurs-P” No. 2 and Astra 2G Launched into Orbit

resurs_p-2

Last weekend the aerospace industry of Russia pleased with two successful launches.

On December 26, the carrier rocket “Soyuz-2.1b” successfully launched promising Russian spacecraft of remote sensing of the Earth “Resurs-P” No.2. And on December 28, 2014 from the launch pad 200 of Baikonur Cosmodrome it was started the launch vehicle (LV) “Proton-M” with the upper stage (RB) “Briz-M” and telecommunications spacecraft (SC ) Astra 2G.

Both the launches took place in the normal mode. The spacecrafts were successfully placed on the target orbit.

The carrier rocket “Soyuz-2.1b” was created in FSUE “TsSKB-Progress” (Samara) and is a modification of “Soyuz-2″. In comparison with the option “1a” it has an engine with increased power characteristics at 3th stage. “Soyuz-2.1b” in relation to the previous version has more accurate removal, stability and control, increased payload mass.

Russian Defense Ministry says no Russian warplane violated Estonia’s airspace

 

December 29, 21:49 UTC+3
A Russian An-72 transport plane was conducting a preplanned mission in the area but didn’t violate other countries’ airspace

An-72 (archive)

An-72 (archive)

MOSCOW, December 29. /TASS/. Russia’s Defense Ministry has refuted allegations of a Russian Air Force plane violating Estonia’s airspce, the press service of the ministry said Monday.

The press service said a Russian An-72 transport plane was conducting a preplanned mission from Saint Petersburg to Russi’a westermost Kaliningrad Region. The plane flew over neutral waters of the Baltic sea in strict compliance with the international rules and with no violation of air space of Estonia or any other state, the press service said.

NATO raises number of warplanes in Eastern Europe

Chief Commander of Russia’s Air Force Colonel General Viktor Bondarev earlier said that NATO has raised the number of its aircraft at airfields in NATO states in Eastern Europe using the current crisis in Ukraine as a pretext. The number of tactical fighter jets patrolling the air space in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia with deployment at airbases Zokniai in Lithuania and Amari in Estonia has been increased 3.5 times, he said. Meanwhile, US and NATO air squadrons of up to 12 tactical fighter jets have been deployed additionally at Polish airbases in Malbork and Minsk Mazowiecki and Campia Turzii in Romania on a rotation basis since the start of this year.

Russia’s Armata Battle Tank to Go Through State Trials in 2016

Russia's next-generation Armata main battle tank, which due to be shown to the public at the 2015 Victory Day parade in Moscow, will undergo state testing in 2016

Deputy Chairman of the Russian Military-Industrial Commission said that Russia’s next-generation Armata main battle tank, which due to be shown to the public at the 2015 Victory Day parade in Moscow, will undergo state testing in 2016.

MOSCOW, December 30 (Sputnik) — Russia’s next-generation Armata main battle tank, which due to be shown to the public at the 2015 Victory Day parade in Moscow, will undergo state testing in 2016, the Deputy Chairman of the Russian Military-Industrial Commission said.

“There has been no state testing yet, it is scheduled to begin in 2016,” Oleg Bochkaryov told Russia’s Ekho Moskvy (Echo of Moscow) radio on Monday.

Bochkaryov specified that after taking part in the May 9, 2015 Victory Day military parade, commemorating 70 years since the defeat of the Nazi Germany, several dozens of Armata machines will be tested in the army.

“Receiving information [from the army tests], we will be preparing for state tests, which will last until the end of 2016,” the defense official said.

The Armata is designed as a modular universal combat platform that could be used as a basis for a variety of combat vehicles, including main battle tanks, fire support, mine clearing, heavy flame throwing and bridge laying vehicles, according to Russian state-run arms exporter Rosoboronexport.

The Armata tank will reportedly feature a remotely controlled gun and fully automated loading, as well as a separate crew compartment made from composite materials and protected by multilayered armor.

Russian Ground Forces are planning to renew some 70 percent of their hardware by 2020.

New Borei class submarine arrives at Russian Northern Fleet base

December 29,   Russian Military Technologies

 

New Borei class submarine arrives at Russian Northern Fleet base December 29 - Russia’s new Borei class strategic nuclear-powered submarine Vladimir Monomakh (of Project 955) completed the first voyage on Monday from Severodvinsk to the main base of the Northern Fleet’s submarine forces at Gadzhiyevo in Northwest Russia in the Murmansk region. Spokesman for the Northern Fleet Vadim Serga told that the voyage passed normally. “At Gadzhiyevo the vessel was berthed at a newly built quay for the Borei class nuclear-powered submarines,” Serga said. The Vladimir Monomakh strategic ballistic missile submarine left the Sevmash shipyard in Severodvinsk on December 26. It is the third Project 955 submarine commissioned with Russia’s Northern Fleet and second series sub of the project. During the sea trials in the White Sea the Vladimir Monomakh submarine confirmed the designed performance and modern stealth vibroacoustic characteristics. Within the framework of contractors’ trials the submarine crew successfully test-fired on September 10, 2014 the Bulava intercontinental ballistic missile. The Vladimir Monomakh fourth generation ballistic missile submarine is named after Vladimir Monomakh (1053-1125), the Grand Duke of Kievan Rus'. The project was developed by the Rubin Design Bureau, and the chief designer was Sergei Kovalev. The keel was laid down on 19 March 2006 at the Sevmash shipyard in Severodvinsk. The hull of the Akula-class submarine K-480 Ak Bars was used in the construction of Monomakh. The submarine is armed with 16 of the newest submarine-launched ballistic missile Bulava (NATO designation SS-N-32). Vladimir Monomakh and its sister ships will replace the Delta III and IV classes in the Russian Navy. The submarine was launched on 30 December 2012 and had begun moored tests in January 2013. The submarine finished its first sea trials on 8 October 2013 when returning from a 25-day trial at sea. The Project 955 head submarine - Yuri Dolgoruky and the first series strategic nuclear ballistic missile submarine of the fourth generation Aleksandr Nevsky have earlier been delivered to the Northern Fleet. They successfully passed all the sea trials under the combat training program and test-fired the Bulava sub-launched intercontinental ballistic missiles that with high precision hit targets at the Kura range on the Kamchatka Peninsula in the Russian Far East.

Russia’s new Borei class strategic nuclear-powered submarine Vladimir Monomakh (of Project 955) completed the first voyage on Monday from Severodvinsk to the main base of the Northern Fleet’s submarine forces at Gadzhiyevo in Northwest Russia in the Murmansk region. Spokesman for the Northern Fleet Vadim Serga told that the voyage passed normally.
“At Gadzhiyevo the vessel was berthed at a newly built quay for the Borei class nuclear-powered submarines,” Serga said.
The Vladimir Monomakh strategic ballistic missile submarine left the Sevmash shipyard in Severodvinsk on December 26. It is the third Project 955 submarine commissioned with Russia’s Northern Fleet and second series sub of the project. During the sea trials in the White Sea the Vladimir Monomakh submarine confirmed the designed performance and modern stealth vibroacoustic characteristics. Within the framework of contractors’ trials the submarine crew successfully test-fired on September 10, 2014 the Bulava intercontinental ballistic missile.
The Vladimir Monomakh fourth generation ballistic missile submarine is named after Vladimir Monomakh (1053-1125), the Grand Duke of Kievan Rus’. The project was developed by the Rubin Design Bureau, and the chief designer was Sergei Kovalev. The keel was laid down on 19 March 2006 at the Sevmash shipyard in Severodvinsk. The hull of the Akula-class submarine K-480 Ak Bars was used in the construction of Monomakh. The submarine is armed with 16 of the newest submarine-launched ballistic missile Bulava (NATO designation SS-N-32). Vladimir Monomakh and its sister ships will replace the Delta III and IV classes in the Russian Navy. The submarine was launched on 30 December 2012 and had begun moored tests in January 2013. The submarine finished its first sea trials on 8 October 2013 when returning from a 25-day trial at sea.
The Project 955 head submarine – Yuri Dolgoruky and the first series strategic nuclear ballistic missile submarine of the fourth generation Aleksandr Nevsky have earlier been delivered to the Northern Fleet. They successfully passed all the sea trials under the combat training program and test-fired the Bulava sub-launched intercontinental ballistic missiles that with high precision hit targets at the Kura range on the Kamchatka Peninsula in the Russian Far East.