TechRussian Navy Faces Strategic Setbacks Amidst Ongoing Modernization Delays

Russian Navy Faces Strategic Setbacks Amidst Ongoing Modernization Delays

Ukrainian drone during attack on Russian landing ship "Oleniegorski Górnik" - illustrative photo
Ukrainian drone during attack on Russian landing ship "Oleniegorski Górnik" - illustrative photo
Images source: © X | Ukraine Weapons Tracker
5:45 PM EDT, March 20, 2024
Władysław Szurygin, A Russian military expert, has expressed his views on the current state of the Russian Navy, suggesting it lags behind other military branches. He attributes this to incessant modifications to ongoing projects, causing further delays, and a leadership that has struggled to accurately assess situations and take decisive action.

In a post on Telegram, Szurygin, known for his expertise in Russian military affairs, highlighted the naval force's precarious position. He pointed out that Russia had nearly ceased all its shipbuilding endeavors, ranging from aircraft carriers to frigates and corvettes. Szurygin also mentioned the prolonged modernization of Russia's sole aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, which has been underway since 2017 and is not expected to conclude until at least the latter half of 2024.

**Challenges Facing the Russian Navy**
"The main subjective issue," Szurygin explained, "is the ambitious desire among our admirals for newer and more advanced ships, leading to endless upgrades of current projects and, inevitably, to more delays." He further elaborated that the sanctions imposed in 2014, coupled with the severing of trade relations with Ukraine, dealt a severe blow to shipbuilding and repair efforts.
Ukraine was crucial, supplying turbines and other vital components for shipbuilding. The abrupt halt in economic engagement with Ukraine in 2014 effectively 'froze' many shipbuilding programs until efforts to replace lost technologies and capacities allowed for their resumption at the end of 2018. Szurygin likened the Russian fleet to "a gypsy camp," with only a few identical ships in service.
Szurygin also touched upon more recent issues, noting that Russian naval leaders seem out of touch with the evolving nature of warfare and the fleet's strategic role. He pointed out that by the summer of 2023, the Black Sea Fleet had been pushed back, adopting a defensive posture and only occasionally deploying ships for cruise missile launches.
He believes that the Black Sea Fleet's isolation exacerbated its problems, allowing the Ukrainian Navy to take the initiative with support from NATO allies' reconnaissance capabilities, deploying aerial and maritime drones against Russian ships.
This dire situation reportedly led to a visit by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to the Black Sea Fleet's command headquarters in Crimea on March 17, prompted by Ukraine's effective asymmetric maritime strikes against Russian vessels. Ukrainian forces are known to use kamikaze maritime drones in these attacks, including the sinking of the missile boat Ivanovets near Lake Donuzlav in occupied Crimea.
The specifics of the drones used in these operations remain partially unclear, though they likely include domestically produced unmanned vehicles like Magura V5, Sea Baby, or Mariczka. Notably, Magura V5 has been particularly effective, implicated in damaging the patrol ship Sergei Kotov, valued at about 65 million dollars—marking the 15th ship Russia has lost during the conflict with Ukraine.
Magura V5, an abbreviation for Maritime Autonomous Guard Unmanned Robotic Apparatus, represents a new generation of multi-purpose unmanned surface vessels developed in Ukraine. Designed for a variety of operations from surveillance and reconnaissance to combat missions, its hydrodynamic V5 hull enhances maneuverability and reduces detectability. Stretching 18 feet in length and 4.9 feet in width, it can reach speeds up to 42 knots, has a range of about 517 miles, and carries payloads up to 705 pounds. The device utilizes Wi-Fi Mesh network communications, bolstered by antenna amplifiers or satellite communication, ensuring it can be deployed remotely with minimal human oversight.
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