Saturday, January 3, 2015

RF MOD: Semi-Trusting the Facts

Screen capture of RF MOD press release - January 3, 2015

In today's press release, the MOD reported that in 2014 "crews of Russian Navy nuclear-powered submarine missile cruisers conducted four successful launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles from the Barents and White Seas towards the Kura test range on the Kamchatka Peninsula." The press release claims the launch dates and launch platforms were:

Sep 10 -- Dolgorukiy "Vladimir Monomakh"
Oct 29 -- Dolgorukiy "Yuriy Dolgorukiy"
Nov 5 -- Delta IV "Tula"
Dec 1 -- Dolgorukiy "Aleksandr Nevskiy"

The dates, based on the MOD's earlier press releases and statements, were correct except:

Dec 1 Nov 28 -- Dolgorukiy "Aleksandr Nevskiy" [Source 1, 2, 3, 4]

Why did the press service not even mention the May 8 launches of an SS-N-18 by Delta III "Podolsk" (from the Sea of Okhotsk) and an SS-N-23 by Delta IV "Tula" (from the Barents Sea) [Source 5, 6, 7, 8]?

The absence of the May launches may have been due to a failure to include a specific time frame in the message, as in "during the last quarter of the training year." But the press office still provided the wrong launch date for the Bulava launch by "Aleksandr Nevskiy".

When you consider how deputy defense minister Yuriy Borisov and the MOD statisticians came up with different numbers of new-construction units delivered this year, you have to wonder who's really in charge of fact-checking the MOD's figures.