Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Follow-Up: Drafting Commercial Ships into the Russian Navy

"Kazan-60" in Sevastopol --- January 12, 2016
(credit: Andrey Brichevskiy)

Four commercial ships that were commissioned into the Russian Navy three months ago have made several trips between Russia and Syria. But a few of them have already required repairs since joining the fleet. Here is a brief update on their condition:

  • "Dvinitsa-50" has completed at least two missions to Syria and appears to be operational. It was noted loading cargo earlier this month probably in preparation for another trip to Tartus, Syria.

  • "Kazan-60", has never been noted by Turkish shipspotters transiting the Turkish Straits since joining the Russian Navy. On January 12, this vessel was photographed at the 13th Shipyard.

  • On December 24, "Kyzyl-60", which was returning from its first mission to Syria, was photographed being towed by Black Sea Fleet tug "MB-31" northbound through the Turkish Straits. The vessel was towed to the 13th Shipyard in Sevastopol, where it remains today, to undergo unspecified repairs.

  • "Vologda-50" has completed at least three missions and also appears to be operational.

"Aleksandr Tkachenko" undergoing dock repairs in Sevastopol
(credit: United Shipbuilding Corporation)

While not part of the Russian Navy, the cargo vessel "Aleksandr Tkachenko", which also has ferried cargo between Russia and Syria, recently completed dock repairs at Sevastopol Shipyard. Following post-repair sea trials on January 16-17, the ship began an easterly transit towards Novorossiysk.

"Aleksandr Tkachev" at-sea activities --- January 16-18, 2016

While a recent decrease in known ferrying activities may have been associated with the winter holiday season, it also may have been linked to the condition of some of the vessels tasked to perform such missions.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

RF Navy Will Soon Receive Sixth-Gen Communications Systems

Aleksandr Sergeyevich Yakunin - General Director, United Instrument-Building Corporation

[translation of select portions of RIA Novosti article: Aleksandr Yakunin: Within a Year and a Half, We Will Be Ready to Fully Transition to Sixth Generation Technologies]


Many of our developments are on the cusp of the fifth and sixth generations. Within a year to year and a half, we will be ready to fully transition to sixth generation technologies. First and foremost, these will be software-defined radio (SDR) technologies, where communications quality will be achieved through software, and not by a device's internals. Software will allow communications characteristics, such as multi-mode, multi-spectrum, and security against intercept by an adversary, to be implemented at a new level.

The first prototypes of such radio stations have already been produced for the Ground Troops. If we're talking about concrete deliveries, then in 2016 the Russian Navy will receive the first advanced communications systems for upgrading existing ships. In 2018, deliveries will begin of sixth generation communications systems for advanced Navy submarines and ships currently under development. At about this time, a new sixth generation system will be ready for the Aerospace Defense Forces, specifically for the Advanced Long-Range Aviation Aircraft Complex (PAK DA). Because of the new device, an aircraft will be able to operate in concealed modes and remain undetected by enemy radars.

Due to a high level of automation and "smart" software, such technology makes operator errors unlikely. It is more powerful, works farther, and provides faster, protected communications. It has unlimited options for upgrading without altering the design - through software improvements alone.


The United Instrument-Building Corporation has developed a concept for configuration of a Common Information Space in the Arctic. This is a set of measures for developing a communications infrastructure and various types of monitoring. Using them, Russia will be able to monitor the movements of seaborne, airborne, and space targets in real time, and to track foreign nation activities in the air, on the sea and under the sea, from a near-earth orbit. It is an intelligent system, which will be able to provide necessary recommendations and automatically control various monitoring resources. If needed, it will be capable of targeting and passing guidance data to various weapons systems.

[Are these just plans, or are there already real projects?]

Concrete steps are already being made. Specifically, we have already produced the necessary framework for a radio-electronic surveillance and signals intelligence system in the Arctic. Monitoring resources on various platforms can be used for these purposes - ships, submarines, UAVs, aerostats, aircraft, and satellites. We will be able to reliably determine the types of transiting ships (military or commercial), the weapons on board these ships, radio-electronic tracking devices, etc.

Additionally, a large project is being implemented for the Northern Fleet Joint Strategic Command. Under this project, in 2016 the Rodnik satellite communications system will begin to be combined with shore-based communications resources to control aircraft, ships and submarines in the Arctic zone. We also are preparing a design for a Northern Fleet Joint Strategic Command automated communications control system for Russia's Arctic grouping of troops. Under this design, all governmental and corporate communications and control systems in the Arctic region will be combined into a Common Information Space.


In 2016, we will be begin creating a cluster in St. Petersburg, which will comprise eight companies. It will primarily specialize in manufacturing devices for the Navy, shore-based communications stations (including communications with deep-water equipment), radio-electronic intelligence and monitoring systems, automated communications control systems, and telecommunications technologies. More than RUB 3.5 billion has been invested in its development. As a result, the range of products being manufactured will increase 150%, and the quantity of items being produced will increase 200%.