Wednesday, October 29, 2014

XLT: Status of Petersburg SS Construction

Petersburg SS "Sankt-Peterburg"
(Image courtesy of TASS)

                                                      [Translation of TASS news article]

October 28, 2014

The second Project 677 diesel-electric submarine for the Russian Navy, "Kronshtadt", will be launched in late 2015. Admiralty Shipyards general director Aleksandr Buzakov informed TASS about this at Euronaval-2014. Previously it was reported that work on the submarine "Kronshtadt" should be completed in 2017.

"There is still a year before the launch of 'Kronshtadt'," said Buzakov. "Everything will depend on equipment delivery timelines, and not timelines for conducting factory work. When the equipment shows up, we can talk about more precise timelines for a launch," he added.

The general director reported that one quarter of the hull work on "Kronshtadt" has been completed.

Construction of a third submarine

Admiralty Shipyards has begun construction of a third Project 677 diesel-electric submarine for the Russian Navy, although a contract has not yet been signed. The submarine has been named "Sevastopol", Buzakov explained. "A final contract has not been signed, but the cost and a number of other contract parameters have been agreed to. That is to say, at the present time, several formalities are proceeding to completion. Therefore, part of the work on the submarine is already underway," Buzakov explained, noting that a small percentage of hull work has already been completed as part of the submarine's construction.

The general director noted that the first three Project 677 diesel-electric submarines will not be equipped with air-independent propulsion (AIP). "This will be a series of three submarines that will not be equipped with AIP. The lead unit, "Sankt-Peterburg", is undergoing trial operations. On the other two submarines, everything will be verified in terms of quality and other parameters, which must be raised to the level of the design," Buzakov said.

AIP allows non-nuclear submarines to operate under the water for long periods without having to surface.

Project 677 (Lada) diesel-electric submarines were developed to combat surface ships and were designed for antisubmarine warfare, destruction of enemy naval bases, facilities and sea lines of communication, as well as for intelligence and patrol missions.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

“Yuriy Dolgorukiy” to Launch Bulava SLBM This Week

Area closures (red), flight bans (yellow), and flight restrictions (green) for missile activity - October 29-31, 2014
(Map courtesy of Google Earth)

Two area closures and several flight bans and flight restrictions have been announced for Barents Sea missile activity scheduled for October 29-31, 2014:
Area closure

DNC 22.
A. 70-22.0N 035-00.0E, 70-03.0N 036-25.5E, 69-27.0N 035-35.0E, 69-27.0N 034-10.0E,
69-47.0N 034-06.0E.
B. 77-03.0N 053-02.0E, 75-58.0N 056-33.0E, 75-05.0N 052-13.0E, 76-04.0N 048-53.0E.
2. CANCEL THIS MSG 312200Z OCT 14.

Flight bans
 1. 6938N 03410E-6947N 03410E-7022N 03500E-7004N 03626E-6927N 03535E-
6927N 03518E.
 2. 7703N 05302E-7558N 05633E-7505N 05213E-7604N 04853E-7703N 05302E.
SFC - UNL, DAILY 0600-2100, 29 OCT 06:00 2014 UNTIL 31 OCT 21:00 2014.

693800N 0341000E-692700N 0351800E-692700N 0341000E-693800N 0341000E.
SFC - 1500M AMSL, DAILY 0600-2100, 29 OCT 06:00 2014 UNTIL 31 OCT 21:00 2014.

Flight restrictions
B488 TUMOM-ANODI. SFC - UNL, DAILY 0600-2100, 29 OCT 06:00 2014 UNTIL 31 OCT 21:00 2014.

Additionally, a flight restriction over the Kamchatka Peninsula near the Kura Test Range also goes into effect on the same dates:
P7610/14 - ATS RTE B240 SEGMENT TILICHIKI NDB (TK)-OKLED CLSD. SFC - UNL, DAILY 0600-2100, 29 OCT 06:00 2014 UNTIL 31 OCT 21:00 2014.
Flight restriction (green) located just west of the Kura Test Range (red) - October 29-31, 2014
(May courtesy of Google Earth)
Russia's TASS news agency, citing an unnamed General Staff source, reported on October 20 that Russian Navy Northern Fleet Dolgorukiy-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine "Yuriy Dolgorukiy" would launch a single SS-N-32 Bulava SLBM on October 29-30. And on October 22, reported that "Yuriy Dolgorukiy" had arrived in Severodvinsk to onload one or more SLBMs. Why the submarine had to transit all the way from Gadzhiyevo to Severodvinsk to onload the missile(s) is a mystery.

This launch will be the first SS-N-32 launch outside of the White Sea and the first SS-N-32 launch by a commissioned Dolgorukiy SSBN. The last SS-N-32 was launched by "Vladimir Monomakh" in September as part of its pre-commissioning state acceptance testing.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

This Week in Contracts (October 20-26, 2014)

33rd Shipyard/33 Sudoremontnyy Zavod (Baltiysk)
  • Number: 31401632044
  • Contractor: not specified
  • Description: Delivery of MR-231/PAL-N navigation radar for Amur AR "PM-82"
  • Time frame: 4Q2014
  • Contract value: not specified

Admiralty Shipyards/Admiralteyskiye Verfi (St. Petersburg)
  • Number: 31401614745
  • Contractor: not specified
  • Description: Pipe installation work on Kilo SS "Krasnodar"
  • Time frame: 4Q2014 - 1Q2015
  • Contract value: RUB 2,044,315
      - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
  • Number: 31401614755
  • Contractor: not specified
  • Description: Assembly and welding work on Kilo SS Factory #01674
  • Time frame: 4Q2014
  • Contract value: RUB 1,266,474
      - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
  • Number: 31401615265
  • Contractor: Askold (Arsenyev)
  • Description: Delivery of valves for Belousov ASR "Igor Belousov"
  • Time frame: 4Q2014
  • Contract value: not specified

Almaz Central Naval Design Bureau (St. Petersburg)
  • Number: 31401634093
  • Contractor: Specialized Scientific Research Institute of Instrument-Building (Moscow)
  • Description: Correction of design documentation for Multipurpose Data Management System for Aleksandrov ARS "Akademik Aleksandrov"
  • Time frame: September 2014 - March 2015
  • Contract value: RUB 14,977,757
      - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
  • Number: 31401634515
  • Contractor: Gorizont (Rostov-na-Donu)
  • Description: Correction of design documentation for MR-231 navigation radar for Steregushchiy III FFG
  • Time frame: by March 2015
  • Contract value: RUB 700,000
      - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
  • Number: 31401634645
  • Contractor: Meridian Scientific Production Firm (St. Petersburg)
  • Description: Correction of design documentation for Blokirovka system for ensuring safe use of weaponry for Steregushchiy III FFG
  • Time frame: October 2014 - June 2015
  • Contract value: RUB 3,358,406

Amur Shipyard/Amurskiy Sudostroitelnyy Zavod (Komsomolsk-na-Amure)
  • Number: 31401631457
  • Contractor: Baltic Shipyard-Shipbuilding (St. Petersburg)
  • Description: Delivery of GSP-600-M-1-50Br foam generators for Steregushchiy I FF "Sovershennyy"
  • Time frame: October 2014 - November 2014
  • Contract value: RUB 628,530
      - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
  • Number: 31401631601
  • Contractor: V. I. Chapayev Cheboksary Production Association (Cheboksary)
  • Description: Delivery of MDSh smoke pots for Steregushchiy I FF "Gromkiy"
  • Time frame: October 2014
  • Contract value: RUB 145,946

Middle Neva Shipyard/Sredne-Nevskiy Sudostroitelnyy Zavod (St. Petersburg)
  • Number: 31401623797
  • Contractor: Orion Scientific Production Enterprise (St. Petersburg)
  • Description: Delivery of LGS4-1A special hydraulic winches for Obukhov MHS "Aleksandr Obukhov"
  • Time frame: by March 23, 2015
  • Contract value: RUB 82,598,805
      - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
  • Number: 31401623922
  • Contractor: Orion Scientific Production Enterprise (St. Petersburg)
  • Description: Delivery of LGS4-1A special hydraulic winches for Obukhov MHS Factory #522-524
  • Time frame: September 30, 2015 (#522); September 30, 2016 (#523); December 31, 2016 (#524)
  • Contract value: RUB 195,000,000

Northern Machine-Building Enterprise/Severnoye Mashinostroitelnoye Predpriyatiye (Severodvinsk)
  • Number: 31401626018
  • Contractor: OkeanPribor Concern (St. Petersburg)
  • Description: Assistance in operating LA-55S.1 sonar log during expanded sound trials
  • Time frame: August 1, 2014 - December 31, 2014
  • Contract value: RUB 1,645,355
      - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
  • Number: 31401635238
  • Contractor: not specified
  • Description: Assembly and welding work on Oscar II SSAN "Belgorod"
  • Time frame: November 15, 2014 - January 31, 2015
  • Contract value: RUB 18,414,401
      - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
  • Number: 31401572669
  • Contractor: Rubin Central Design Bureau of Naval Technology (St. Petersburg)
  • Description: Participation in expanded sound trials to gain information necessary to develop draft joint decision
  • Time frame: not specified
  • Contract value: RUB 27,382,592

Northern Shipyard/Severnaya Verf (St. Petersburg)
  • Number: 31401619040
  • Contractor: ElektroPribor Central Scientific Resarch Institute Concern (St. Petersburg)
  • Description: Installation and Testing of P-409 integrated internal ship communications system on Ivanov AGI "Admiral Yuriy Ivanov"
  • Time frame: by December 2014
  • Contract value: RUB 3,037,622
      - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
  • Number: 31401629028
  • Contractor: Main Systems Design Bureau of the Almaz-Antey Air Defense Concern (Moscow)
  • Description: Installation and testing of Podzagolovok-23 electronics compatibility system on Ivanov AGI "Admiral Yuriy Ivanov"
  • Time frame: by December 2014
  • Contract value: RUB 2,860,942
      - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
  • Number: 31401629864
  • Contractor: not specified
  • Description: Outfitting work (20,000 man-hours) on Gorshkov FFG "Admiral Flota Kasatonov"/"Admiral Golovko", Ivanov AGI "Admiral Yuriy Ivanov"/"Ivan Khurs", Project 23120 ATA "Elbrus"/"MB-75", and Steregushchiy II FFG "Gremyashchiy"
  • Time frame: November 2014 - November 2015
  • Contract value: RUB 8,000,000
      - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
  • Number: 31401633442
  • Contractor: not specified
  • Description: Assembly-Welding Work (20,000 man-hours) on Gorshkov FFG "Admiral Flota Kasatonov"/"Admiral Golovko"/"Admiral Flota Sovetskogo Soyuza Isakov", Ivanov AGI "Ivan Khurs", Project 23120 ATA "Elbrus"/"MB-75"/"Kapitan Shevchenko", and Steregushchiy II FFG "Gremyashchiy"/"Provornyy"
  • Time frame: November 2014 - November 2015
  • Contract value: RUB 8,000,000

Zvezda Far East Shipyard/Dalnyevostochnyy Zavod Zvezda (Bolshoy Kamen)
  • Number: 31401614316
  • Contractor: Independent Contractor - Yu. R. Bilusyak
  • Description: Partial cleaning of the underwater section (4,376 sq. meters) of the floating dry dock "Pallada"
  • Time frame: September 22, 2014 - October 15, 2014
  • Contract value: RUB 2,188,000
      - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
  • Number: 31401622763
  • Contractor: DalZavod (Vladivostok)
  • Description: Repairs of floating dry dock "Pallada"
  • Time frame: September 22, 2014 - November 10, 2014
  • Contract value: RUB 24,475,872
      - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
  • Number: 31401631639
  • Contractor: RosKhimZashchita Corporation (Tambov)
  • Description: Delivery of chemical regeneration system with P-20/P-21 regeneration plate cabinet for Oscar II SSGN "Irkutsk"
  • Time frame: October 2014
  • Contract value: RUB 6,856,544
      - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
  • Number: 31401631722
  • Contractor: I. I. Afrikantov Experimental Design Bureau of Machine-Building (Nizhniy Novgorod)
  • Description: Search for and damping of loose piping frames of steam generator systems on Akula I SSN "Magadan"
  • Time frame: by December 30, 2014
  • Contract value: RUB 9,870,228
       - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
  • Number: 31401631798
  • Contractor: Novik (Moscow)
  • Description: Specific repairs of steam generator plant on Akula I SSN "Kuzbass"
  • Time frame: by December 31, 2014
  • Contract value: RUB 36,339,854
       - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
  • Number: 31401631927
  • Contractor: Pelorus (Nakhodka)
  • Description: Repairs of "Pallada" floating dry dock
  • Time frame: not specified
  • Contract value: RUB 10,516,807

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

"Orenburg" Stretches Its Legs Near North Pole

Delta Stretch "Orenburg" near the North Pole - October 16, 2014
(Image courtesy of Yngve Kristoffersen and Audun Tholfsen)

Two Norwegian scientists, Yngve Kristoffersen and Audun Tholfsen, who have been living and working on an ice drift station in the Arctic since August, had an unexpected visitor last week. The October 16 entry from their weekly blog update reads:

Position: 89 19′ N, 174 51′ W, temperature – 8 C, air pressure 1036 hPa, wind 5 knots from E. Ice drift 0.1 knots toward east. Started recovery of the thermistor string as it is only 5 meter away from a crack that has widened 3 meters. The thin ice on refrozen leads are likely sites of future pressure ridge formation. Having recovered half (150 m), we discovered that the hydrophone was about to be consumed by the pressure ridge south of the hovercraft. Started to melt out the hydrophone, but was not successful. The 12 kHz echo sounder is giving us problems with weak or no bottom returns – recovered the transducer. In the evening. we spotted lights at a distance. Turned out to be a submarine at the surface in position: 89 17.5′ N, 172 42.9′ W. We were not able to identify it.

Delta Stretch "Orenburg" near the North Pole - October 16, 2014
(Image courtesy of Yngve Kristoffersen and Audun Tholfsen)

The submarine surfaced about 3 nautical miles from the researchers' camp. The researchers decided to head toward the submarine. When they approached to within 100 meters, the submarine submerged.

Reviewing the photos, it appears the submarine in question was none other than Delta Stretch-class auxiliary nuclear-powered submarine "Orenburg".

Delta Stretch "Orenburg" in Olenya Guba - April 2010
(Image courtesy of

"Orenburg", which primarily performs highly sensitive missions for the Ministry of Defense's Main Directorate for Deep-Sea Research (GUGI), last visited the North Pole in late September 2012 while participating in the Arktika-2012 geological survey expedition along the Mendeleyev Ridge.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

XLT+: Project 20386 Corvette and UAVs

Gorizont Air S-100 unmanned aerial vehicle on display at Interpolitekh-2013 - October 2013
(Image courtesy of

                                                     [Translation of TASS news article]

Source: TASS
Date: October 15, 2014

The keel-laying of a Project 20386 new generation corvette, which will bring together a modular principle for weaponry and the capability of basing unmanned aerial vehicles, is planned for next year year. Igor Zakharov, deputy general designer of Almaz Central Naval Design Bureau, told our TASS reporter this during an interview.

A number of media outlets, citing the Almaz design bureau and United Shipbuilding Corporation, earlier reported about the impending construction of corvettes under the improved Project 20386, which has evolved from the Project 20380 and Project 20385.

"The technical design phase is currently underway; therefore, I cannot describe the new corvette's characteristics. It will be a multipurpose ship of a principally new project. The keel-laying is planned for 2015," Zakharov said.

According to him, most likely the ship will be laid down at Severnaya Verf in St. Petersburg, but the decision rests with the customer.

Zakharov noted that the future corvette will have permanent, basic weaponry and removable combat modules, which will expand the number of missions the ship can perform. Designers are also interested in the introduction of an unmanned aerial vehicle on the corvette, "but everything related to this issue is not moving forward as fast as we would like," the Almaz deputy general designer admitted. He explained that the problem is linked to operating unmanned aerial vehicles in the common airspace of Russia and relevant regulatory issues with air safety.

The Gorizont helicopter-type unmanned aerial vehicle is being looked at as a possible option for equipping the corvette. "This is the only Russian unmanned vehicle that we know of that can land on a ship," Zakharov explained.


Beyond the translation...

Indeed, Almaz Central Naval Design Bureau is still performing research and development into the Project 20386. On September 30 of this year, the design bureau announced that it had signed a contract with the Krylov State Scientific Center for "Component of Scientific Research Work: Determination of the Seagoing and Maneuvering Qualities of the Project 20386 Ship (Project 82)." The contract, which is based on Technical Specification 20386.360030.010TZ, is effective through November 2015. The work is broken down into two stages for which Almaz will pay RUB 6,097,000 (Stage 1) and RUB 3,450,000 (Stage 2).

If realized, Project 20386 would represent the third variant in the Steregushchiy line of frigates. Four units have been built, and two more are still being built (Amur Shipyard) as Project 20380 (Steregushchiy I). Two units of the Project 20385 (Steregushchiy II) have been laid down, with at least two more reported to have been contracted for construction at Amur Shipyard.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

"Novorossiysk" to Depart for Northern Fleet This Week?

Kilo SS "Novorossiysk" August 22, 2014
(Image courtesy of Admiralty Shipyards)
There have been several statements by design and shipbuilding industry officials over the past year discussing an interfleet transit of the first new domestic Project 636.3 Kilo-class diesel submarine, "Novorossiysk", to the Northern Fleet area for additional testing. After the submarine joined the Russian Navy on August 22 of this year, everyone has been wondering when it will depart.

"Novorossiysk" conducted a 30-hour check ride on October 11-12 before returning to Admiralty Shipyards - the submarine's only underway period since being commissioned. Two auxiliaries arrived at the shipyard yesterday, probably in support of the transfer: Goryn-class oceangoing tug MB-119 (which first towed Bereza-class degaussing vessel SR-926 to Kronshtadt) and Toplivo-class oiler VTN-34.

Also visiting Admiralty Shipyards yesterday was Sidehole-class harbor tug RB-250, which made a round trip from Angliyskaya Naberezhnaya, and passenger ferry PSK-1562, which made a round trip from  Kronshtadt.

Admiralty Shipyards doesn't normally see this much visitor traffic, so it's a good sign that something unusual is about to occur. And it's not related to factory sea trials for Belousov-class submarine rescue ship IGOR BELOUSOV, as that ship has not even completed initial deperming operations. And the next transfer of Vietnamese Kilo "Haiphong" won't happen until later this year - and that will involve a semi-submersible heavy-lift ship, not a smaller oceangoing tug.

Yantar Baltic Shipyard Orders Equipment for Second Gren Landing Ship

Gren LST "Ivan Gren" - May 23, 2012
(Image courtesy of TASS)

Yantar Baltic Shipyard in Kaliningrad has begun ordering parts for Project 11711 (Factory #01302) - the second Gren-class landing ship (as yet unnamed). According to an October 9 Request for Proposals, the shipyard is seeking to purchase the following:

DMU-20-10 metering device (x14)
1FShch 20/10-0.15 filter (x1)
1FShch 65/6-0.25 filter (x4)
2FMT 50/6-1-1 filter (x6)
FMT 80/6-1-1 filter (x1)
FMT 100/6-1-1 filter (x2)
PTsZ-3-0.63-KRD-2 (VNTA.061611.009-02) pressure tank (x1)
PTsZ-Pp-1,0-KRD-2 (VNTA.061611.005-01) pressure tank (x1)
SPRU-300-8 chemical mixer (x1)

The contract for this equipment is worth RUB 10,573,890 and must be fulfilled by the third quarter of 2015.

Today, the general director of Neva Draft Design Bureau, Sergey Vlasov, confirmed that a decision has been made to complete construction of a second Gren-class landing ship, which was laid down in 2004. The ship will be built using the design for the first unit, "Ivan Gren", but with a few modifications based on lessons learned during construction of the lead ship. Vlasov stated that "a number of imported equipment will be replaced with domestic versions."

The design bureau is also working on a new landing ship design. "On our own initiative we are now preparing materials to brief the Navy Commander-in-Chief," Vlasov said. "After that, everything will depend on the Navy's decision."

Monday, October 13, 2014

Court is Now in Session: "Pseudo-Space Vehicle" for Russian Navy

Image courtesy of Getty Images

One December 13, 2012, the Russian Federation Ministry of Defense filed a petition with the Moscow Arbitration Court seeking RUB 1,921,920 in penalties against the Russian Federal Space Agency's Central Scientific Research Institute of Machine-Building (CSRIM) for non-fulfillment of obligations under State Contract N/2/2/08-11-DOGOZ (dated November 9, 2011). Specifically, the MOD accused CSRIM of not completing Stage 1 of scientific research work (NIR) "Kosmos-Krylo" by the agreed-to deadline. The NIR covered the creation of a "pseudo-space vehicle" that would be used for targeting and electronic warfare related to an improved system for exchanging Navy data with submarines and surface ships. According to the contract, Stage 1 of the NIR (worth RUB 40,000,000) was to be completed between the date the contract was signed and by November 25, 2011. The entire NIR was to be conducted between November 1, 2011, and November 25, 2013, for which the MOD would pay CSRIM RUB 166,400,000 incrementally.

In court, CSRIM argued that it did not receive official notification that it had won the contract until November 24, 2011 - one day before Stage 1 of the NIR was to have been completed. On January 26, 2012, CSRIM sent a letter to the MOD requesting the Stage 1 deadline be extended to March 2012 due to late arrival of the official contract notification. On February 6, CSRIM sent a letter to the MOD requesting that co-contractors and Military Representation Offices (MRO) be brought into to assist with the work. On February 10, the MOD concurred with the request, and the two sides signed Decision 2/5/12-DOGOZ, under which co-contractors would be brought in for Stage 1 of the NIR. On March 7, the MOD sent letters to the respective MROs.

On March 19, 2012, both sides signed Supplementary Agreement N/2/2/08-11-DOGOZ-2 by which the deadline for completion of Stage 1 of the NIR was set as March 31, 2012. On May 12, 2012, the MOD accepted CSRIM's research work with no complaints.

However, on July 31, 2012, the MOD sent a letter to CSRIM claiming the latter owed RUB 1,863,680 for being 42 days late in completing Stage 1. On August 27, 2012, CSRIM responded that the MOD had violated the Stage 1 deadline as MROs 153, 1382, 4116, and 5262 were brought in to the contract very late (March 7, 2012). As the MROs didn't actually start work until the second half of March, CSRIM could not complete Stage 1 by the agreed-to deadline. CSRIM also argued that the technical requirements for the interdependent contract should have been established by the MROs before the contract was signed with the co-contractors.

On May 8, 2013, the Moscow Arbitration Court ruled (Case A40-163464/12) that there was no basis for the MOD's petition for the penalty payment, as CSRIM had done everything it could to satisfy its contractual obligations despite the MOD's failure, in a timely manner, to inform CSRIM that it had won the contract and to coordinate the inclusion of MROs and co-contractors.

On June 19, the MOD filed an appeal with the 9th Arbitration Appellate Court. The two main elements of the MOD's appeal were (a) the date when the MROs and co-contractors were brought into the contract should have no effect in CSRIM's execution of Stage 1 of the NIR, and (b) the MOD, and not the MROs, establishes the technical requirements of the NIR. On 30 July, the Court also ruled (Decision 09AP-22734/2013-GK) in favor of CSRIM.

On October 3, the MOD filed an appeal with the Moscow Dictrict Federal Arbitration Court, and on November 13, the Court ruled (Decision A40-163464/12-85-986) in favor of the MOD. In its ruling, the Court explained that both of the lower Courts placed the burden of proving CSRIM did not do everything it could to fulfill its contractual obligations on the MOD instead of forcing CSRIM to prove it did. As such, the Court ordered the case be sent back to the Moscow Arbitration Court. The Court also pointed out that the March 2012 Supplementary Agreement did not change the conditions of the original contract; i.e., inclusion of MROs and co-contractors did not change the agreed-to contract deadline.

On June 26, 2014, following a second review of the case, the Moscow Arbitration Court passed a partial ruling in favor of the MOD by ordering CSRIM to pay a penalty of RUB 1,601,600 (reduced from the original RUB 1,921,920) for late completion of Stage 1 of the NIR.

Both CSRIM and the MOD filed appeals with the 9th Arbitration Appellate Court on August 7 and August 25, respectively. On September 30, the 9th Arbitration Appellate Court denied both appeals (Decisions 09AP-36963/2014-GK and 09AP-38958/2014-GK), letting the lower court's decision stand. Both sides have until October 30 to file appeals, but given its earlier decision, the Moscow District Federal Arbitration Court is likely to uphold the lower Courts' decisions.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Court is Now in Session: Severodvinsk SSGN

Severodvinsk SSGN "Severodvinsk"
(image courtesy of SevMash)
On August 3, 2012, the Russian Federation Ministry of Defense filed a petition with the Moscow Arbitration Court seeking RUB 68,736,790 from Malakhit St. Petersburg Naval Bureau of Machine-Building as a penalty for exceeding the deadline of a 1986 design contract related to Severodvinsk-class nuclear-powered submarine (SSGN) "Severodvinsk".

The following timeline provides some background and context to the case:
  • On October 31, 1986, the MOD and Malakhit signed State Contract Number 102/86-Ye/554-86 for experimental design work (OKR) "Project 885" [Project 885 = Severodvinsk SSGN]. Under the contract, Malakhit was to produce design documentation for the Severodvinsk SSGN.

  • On December 21, 1993, "Severodvinsk" was laid down at SevMash.

  • Between 1996 and 2000, no major work was performed due to a lack of financing. Following some redesign work and with a new flow of money, construction recommenced in 2001.

  • In February 2002, SevMash officials stated that deliveries of equipment from sub-contractors were delaying the submarine's construction.

  • By July 2007, the submarine's reactor has been installed, and the steam turbine plant was to be delivered "soon."

  • On April 8, 2009, the MOD issued a decision to test 22 prototype pieces of equipment on the submarine as a whole during factory sea trials. The prototypes listed in the MOD's decision included items designed by Malakhit under OKR "Project 885". Malakhit explained to the MOD that it could not finalize the working design documentation until all testing was completed.

  • On June 15, 2010, "Severodvinsk" was finally launched.

  • On March 31, 2011, the two sides signed Supplementary Agreement Number
    N/1/2/0217/D54-11-D203, under which Malakhit was to complete OKR Stages XXVII (Rakonda automatic control system), (Bulat-Ya integrated technical equipment control system), (Mineral-Ya electro-hydraulic equipment package), (SM-346 launcher and SM-353 universal loading device), and 3.3 by November 25, 2011.

  • On September 12, 2011, "Severodvinsk" got underway for its first day of factory sea trials.

  • On May 29, 2012, the MOD formally complained to Malakhit about non-fulfillment of its contractual obligations. When the two sides could not resolve this issue, the MOD filed its suit in August.
In court, Malakhit argued that it had fulfilled all contractual obligations that did not depend on SevMash, which built "Severodvinsk". All other obligations were hampered by SevMash's continued testing of the submarine. And the judge agreed, ruling in favor of Malakhit on February 8, 2013.

On May 8, 2013, the MOD filed an appeal with the 9th Arbitration Appellate Court, which also ruled in favor of Malakhit on June 19. On August 30, 2013, the MOD filed its final appeal with the Moscow District Federal Arbitration Court; it, too, ruled in favor of Malakhit on October 14.

Two months later, on December 30, the MOD took possession of "Severodvinsk". It joined the RF Navy on June 17, 2014, although the submarine still remains in a "trial operation" status.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Times are Changing in Russia

New time zone conversions that go into effect on October 26, 2014
On July 21, 2014, President Putin signed Federal Law 284-FZ "Introduction of Amendments to the Federal Law 'Computation of Time'", which earlier had been passed by the State Duma (July 1) and Federation Council (July 9). Under 284-FZ, most Russians will turn the clocks back one hour at 2am on October 26. After the change, Russia will not revert back to daylight saving time ("spring time") in 2015. The law also expands the number of time zones in Russia from 9 to 11.

For those watching Russian Navy events, the new time zone conversions from GMT will look like this:

RF Navy HQ
  • Moscow: GMT + 3
Baltic Fleet
  • Kaliningrad: GMT + 2
  • St. Petersburg: GMT + 3
Black Sea Fleet
  • Sevastopol: GMT + 3
  • Novorossiysk: GMT + 3
Caspian Flotilla
  • Astrakhan: GMT + 3
  • Makhachkala: GMT + 3
Northern Fleet
  • Severodvinsk: GMT + 3
  • Severomorsk: GMT + 3
Pacific Fleet
  • Sakhalin Island: GMT + 10
  • Southern Kurils: GMT + 10
  • Vladivostok: GMT + 10
  • Northern Kurils: GMT + 11
  • Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy: GMT + 12
  • Rybachiy: GMT + 12

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

XLT: Admiral Viktor Chirkov Discusses Black Sea Fleet Issues

Admiral Viktor Viktorovich Chirkov - RF Navy Commander-in-Chief
(image courtesy if RIA Novosti)
(Translation of RIA Novosti interview with Admiral Chikrov)

RIA Novosti

Following the reunification of Crimea and Russia, only Russian ships and submarines will moor in the Black Sea Fleet's main base in Sevastopol. Russia will no longer make lease payments to Ukraine to base the Russian fleet in the City of Russian Glory. And now there is the question of expanding the presence of Black Sea Fleet ships in the Crimea by using facilities and bases once used by the Ukrainian Navy.

As part of the "Crimea Today" project, Sergey Safronov, head of RIA Novosti's defense editorial section, talked with RF Navy Commander-in-Chief Admiral Viktor Chirkov about the Russian Navy's plans for development of the Black Sea Fleet.

Comrade Commander-in-Chief, what missions does the Black Sea Fleet have under the new geopolitical conditions that have emerged?

— The missions remain unchanged. The primary ones — together with the navies of Black Sea states, to promote stability in the Black Sea and to ensure security for peaceful economic activities and shipping. But along with this, I would like to mention that we have the capability of executing these missions more effectively. Above all, we are now confident that developing the Black Sea Fleet and maintaining its fighting capabilities will occur in a programmatic manner, without any artificial impediments. We have always striven and will continue to strive to have a balanced Black Sea Fleet in terms of composition and combat capabilities so that it will be capable of executing missions to ensure the security of our southern maritime axes in its operational area of responsibility, as well as to effectively work together with the forces of other branches and services of the Russian Federation Armed Forces. These missions are not changing.

We are following this course while implementing the directives of the RF Minister of Defense and in an effort to execute a shipbuilding program in the interests of the Black Sea Fleet on a priority basis. For well-known reasons, the fleet was aging uncontrollably. Now we are putting an end to this destructive aging process, we are revitalizing our subsurface and surface forces, we are organizing the basing infrastructure for Black Sea Fleet forces in the Crimea, and we are reviving the ship repair system. And this will allow Black Sea Fleet sailors to effectively and fully carry out their missions in the Black and Mediterranean Seas, to include as part of the Mediterranean Sea standing operational group.

How will the Black Sea Fleet basing system be developed, and, specifically, will the purpose of the Novorossiysk basing point change?

— The "Creation of a Black Sea Fleet Basing System on RF Territory in 2005-2020" federal targeted program, which addresses the construction of a basing point for Black Sea Fleet ships and vessels in Novorossiysk, will be completed in full. Geoport, with its unique protective seawall, will become another basing point for Black Sea Fleet forces together with the basing of forces in the main base - in the city of Sevastopol. The Black Sea Fleet will have a truly integrated basing system on the Crimean Peninsula, which includes the Black Sea Fleet's main base - Sevastopol - and other basing points. This basing system and infrastructure will be self-sufficient; that is, able to provide for a full cycle that allows for the comfortable basing of surface ships, submarines, and coastal troops with corresponding social infrastructure facilities.

How will the Black Sea Fleet be augmented and revitalized over the coming years?

— In accordance with the military shipbuilding program, over the next six years about 30 combatant ships of various classes will join the Black Sea Fleet. I am talking about first-, second-, third- and fourth-rank ships and auxiliary vessels. And I am not talking about an unjustified build-up of forces. These are long overdue needs of the Black Sea Fleet, which has not been revitalized for many years.

By the end of the year, the Black Sea Fleet will receive two of six Project 636 submarines. These are the "Novorossiysk" and "Rostov-na-Donu" submarines. Also by the end of the year, we plan to raise the flag on the first of six Project 1135.6 escort ships, which are being built for the Black Sea Fleet. These ships can operate both independently and as part of a grouping of fleet forces. Ships of this class are ideally suited for Black Sea waters and for operations beyond its borders. For example, as part of the Navy's Mediterranean Sea standing operational group. Escort ships of this type are capable of effectively conducting counter-piracy missions in the Gulf of Aden. Also joining the Black Sea Fleet will be six Project 22160 open-sea patrol ships, which are designed to carry out patrols to protect territorial waters, to patrol the 200-mile exclusive economic zone in open and closed seas, to protect ships and vessels during sea voyages, as well as to protect naval bases and water areas in order to warn of an attack by various enemy forces and means, to interdict illegal and pirate activities, to search for and render assistance to victims of maritime accidents, and to monitor the environment.

The Black Sea Fleet search and emergency rescue service has longed need to be revitalized and modernized. What is the Navy HQ planning to do in this area?

— The Black Sea Fleet rescue forces received a new rescue craft, which was built using a modular approach. It is attached to the Black Sea Fleet diver school (Sevastopol), which is part of the Navy Combined Training Center. On a side note, the Project 23370 modular craft is the Navy's first vessel to be built using a modular approach, and it provides new capabilities for search and rescue forces of the Navy as a whole and of the Black Sea Fleet in particular.

By the end of 2014, the Russian Navy's search and emergency rescue service is scheduled to have seven Project 23370 modular search and rescue craft in its inventory. In the near future, Navy rescuers will be equipped with a total of 12 such craft. By the end of this year, there will be six new auxiliary vessels to provide integrated support for operations by Black Sea Fleet surface and subsurface forces.

A topic of special concern for the Black Sea Fleet has always been hydrographic support for shipping safety. What is the situation like in this area now?

— The task of reestablishing regular hydrographic surveys in the Black Sea Fleet's operational zone in the interests of shipping safety has been long overdue. For these goals, the 10th Oceanographic Expedition of the Black Sea Fleet Hydrographic Service was established; three hydrographic vessels have already been assigned. By 2016 we plan to exclusively revitalize the inventory of hydrographic vessels in the Black Sea Fleet. I am talking about the introduction of new hydrographic vessels, and particularly of modern large hydrographic vessels, into the fleet.

What can Black Sea Fleet naval aviation expect?

— Black Sea Fleet naval aviation has received an opportunity to expand and restore its capabilities. We have begun to rearm the pool of aircraft. Replacing the SU-24 aircraft are the new SU-30MS. Robust repairs of existing Black Sea Fleet airborne vehicles (helicopters and aircraft) will allow us to achieve a level of 80% this year. That's not bad at all.

—  How will the NITKA facility be used?

— We have a clear understanding of the function and use of the training facilities (NITKA) at Saki and Yeysk. In Saki, we will train pilots of existing shipborne aircraft, while the new NITKA in Yeysk will be used for scientific research purposes and for studying new, advanced airborne vehicles. And there is logic to this. We have the opportunity to provide continuous pilot training and to use what currently exists for the future.

What is the situation with ship repairs for the Black Sea Fleet in Crimea?

— That is a standing topic — ship repairs in the Black Sea Fleet. The military ship repair system in Crimea is coming to life. Contracts are being signed.

We have an opportunity to fully exploit the capabilities of the "Black Sea Fleet 13th Shipyard (13 SRZ)" Federal State Unitary Enterprise (FSUE). After the well-known events of 1991, there were serious obstacles to repairing Black Sea Fleet ships. This significantly complicated how issues related to maintaining and restoring combat ships' technical readiness were solved.

For the 13 SRZ, in the near future we plan to have production areas, which meet modern requirements and technologies, to purchase new equipment, and to begin a phased replacement of machining workstations with the goal of servicing newer ships that will begin to join the Black Sea Fleet starting in 2014. These efforts are already underway. The shipyard has come back to life. As an example, the 13 SRZ in Sevastopol has already repaired a second Northern Fleet large antisubmarine warfare ship that was part of the Mediterranean Sea standing operational group. And the Black Sea Fleet submarine "Alrosa" is undergoing repairs at this same shipyard. Employee salaries have been brought up to a Russia-wide level. Any social strain has been lifted.

Based on its composition, the Black Sea Fleet should execute its missions, as intended, in full. And for this, it is necessary to boost the ship inventory to a commensurate level.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Russian Crews Train on Mistral "Vladivostok"

Political cartoon showing the U.S. attempting to sink the Mistral deal between France and Russia
(Image courtesy of RIA Novosti/Vitaliy Podvitskiy)

"Vladivostok", Russia's first Mistral-class amphibious landing ship built by France, has conducted two rounds of underway training periods for Russian Navy crews over the past three weeks. The first nine-day period took place on September 13-21, while the second nine-day period took place on September 24-October 2. The landing ship twice reached a top speed of 18.3 knots -- on Day 6 (September 19) and Day 7 (September 29) of the respective underway periods. You can watch a replay of both underway training periods here and here.

The 2011 Mistral contract called for delivery of the first ship to Russia in October 2014. Following Russia's annexation of the Crimea and further military actions in eastern Ukraine, French president Francois Hollande stated in July that while the delivery of the first ship would probably occur, a decision to deliver the second Mistral unit - "Sevastopol" - would be reviewed. In an interview with Le Monde in August, the French president said that European sanctions enacted at that point did not prevent France from delivering the ship to Russia. In early September, however, Hollande backtracked slightly when he said that he would decide in late October whether proper conditions exist to authorize delivery of "Vladivostok" to Russia -- an effective cease-fire and a clear path to a political settlement of the crisis in eastern Ukraine.

This week, RosOboroneksport deputy general director Igor Sevastyanov told reporters that Russia plans to sign documents for delivery of "Vladivostok" in late October-early November. Also this week, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Aleksey Meshkov and Speaker of the State Duma Sergey Naryshkin both stated that France, so far, was fulfilling its contract obligations on schedule.