Russia’s Powerful New Submarines Lead Russian Navy’s ‘Pivot to Asia’
Despite a gradually weakening economic foundation, Russia has embarked on its own "Pivot to Asia" gamble that will ultimately see the Russian Navy's Pacific Fleet become its strongest with the deployment of most of its newest nuclear attack and ballistic missile submarines to Asia.
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Leading the pivot will be Russia's newest nuclear ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) -- the Borei-class -- 12 of which are planned with three delivered so far. The Boreis will be based at the upgraded Kamchatka Rybachiy Nuclear Submarine Base at the Kamchatka Peninsula in the Russian Far East along the Pacific Ocean. During the Cold War, over a dozen Soviet SSBNs were based here.
Russia has ordered eight Boreis while the remaining four expected will be ordered in the next decade. The new subs with feature improved electronics and other updated components. The Russian Navy plans to locate six Boreis in the Northern Fleet and six in the Pacific Fleet.
Each submarine can carry up to 20 nuclear missiles with each missile containing up to 10 multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles.
The extremely quiet Boreis will be joined by another new Russian submarine, the Yasen-class, a nuclear-powered multipurpose attack submarine that has gained the respect of the U.S. Navy. The first submarine of this class, the K-329 Severodvinsk, entered service with the Russian Navy in 2014.
Russia plans to build 12 of these subs. The class has the NATO reporting name, Severodvinsk. The seventh Yasen-class sub will be laid down in July 2017.
The Asian Pivot will transform the Pacific Fleet is into Russia's largest fleet over the next decade in recognition of Asia's rising geopolitical importance and the concentration of naval powers in the region.
A report by the Lowy Institute for International Policy, an independent think tank based in Sydney, Australia, said Russia's pivot to Asia is causing a large-scale revamp of its Pacific Fleet.