Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Status of Kilo Transfers to Black Sea Fleet

Despite official claims that new Kilo-class (Project 636.3) submarines would begin arriving in the Black Sea Fleet in May-June 2015, the readiness of the first hull, named "Novorossiysk", is in question. According to one source, there may be problems with the submarine as evidenced by the lack of reporting of any activity by the submarine since it transferred to Polyarnyy in November 2014. The source indicated "something serious" occurred on the submarine before the New Year that will require its return to Admiralty Shipyards in the Baltic Sea this spring before it heads for the Black Sea.

The second unit of the new class, "Rostov-na-Donu", was commissioned into the Russian Navy on December 30. On January 8, a navy spokesman told reporters that the submarine crew was preparing to transfer to the Northern Fleet for deep-water testing of equipment and weapons. The submarine remains at Admiralty Shipyards as of today.

When President Putin visited Novorossiysk Naval Base in September 2014, he was informed by Black Sea Fleet commander Admiral Vitko that construction projects at the base to support new ships [and submarines] would not be completed until late 2016. And that date has been pushed back to sometime in 2017, according to a Southern Military District press release this month. A review of contracts announced in 2014 indicates a lot of work has yet to be completed. Seven contracts specifically linked to submarine basing in Novorossiysk have reported completion deadlines of between May 2015 and February 2016, with the majority of them being completed in August or later.

Description Cost Deadline
high-pressure air stations RUB 265,636,262 May 20, 2015
high-pressure air station RUB 275,241,985 August 15, 2015
transformer substations RUB 36,241,590 August 15, 2015
battery recharging station RUB 251,979,920 October 15, 2015
battery storage facility RUB 41,477,946 October 30, 2015
barracks for submarine crews RUB 190,983,303 December 1, 2015
battery workshop RUB 375,464,251 February 28, 2016

TOTAL RUB 1,437,025,257

Despite this construction timeline, the first two new submarines can be temporarily based in Sevastopol, if needed. With regards to submarine battery recharging requirements, the converted Romeo-class submarine "PZS-50" (PZS = floating charging station) could be transferred to Novorossiysk on a temporary basis. "PZS-50" normally supports the fleet's sole Kilo submarine, "Alrosa"; however, that submarine's ongoing repairs will last through October 2015. This means "PZS-50" is free to support submarine basing requirements in Novorossiysk until that base's recharging station is completed in October, after which "PZS-50" would return to Sevastopol.