Mark Collins – Putin’s Plans for the Bear in the Water

Excerpts from an analysis at IHS Jane’s 360, note the attention to the Arctic continental shelf–possibilities for contention if Russia does not play by the international legal rules for seabed claims. And it will be interesting to see if the Russians actually can fund the very extensive acquisitions planned:

Russia’s new maritime doctrine


Russian president Vladimir Putin announcing the country’s new maritime doctrine as he attended a navy parade in Baltiisk, western Russia, on 26 July during celebrations for Russia’s Navy Day. Source: PA Photos

Russian president Vladimir Putin used the occasion of the Navy Day festivities on 26 July to announce the approval of a new ‘Maritime Doctrine-2015’ for the Russian Federation. Nikolai Novichkov assesses the key changes.

The last time Russia issued a maritime doctrine – which codifies the country’s naval priorities, strategy, and procurement – was in 2001, so a new document was thus overdue. According to Russian deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin there were two main reasons behind changes the 2015 doctrine brings into play: the changed international situation and improvements to Russia’s navy since the last doctrine.

Regional focus

Maritime Doctrine-2015 divides Russian naval policy between six regions: Atlantic, Arctic, Antarctic, Caspian, Indian Ocean, and Pacific. Within each region the doctrine assesses four naval functions: operations, transport, marine science, and the development of natural resources. The focus of the doctrine is on two of these regions: the Arctic and the Atlantic [emphasis added].

The national maritime policy in the regions is to be enforced by the navy’s strategic and operational units of the Northern, Pacific, Baltic, and Black Sea fleets and the Caspian flotilla.

Rogozin notes the Atlantic has been emphasised because of NATO expansion, the need to integrate Crimea and the Sevastopol naval base into the Russian economy, and to re-establish a permanent Russian Navy presence in the Mediterranean.

Meanwhile, the Arctic focus is down to the growth of the Northern Sea Route, the need for free entry into the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and the wealth of the continental shelf [emphasis added, see “Russia Submits Revised Arctic Seabed Claim to UN Body“].

To implement the doctrine’s provisions related to the Atlantic and Arctic regions, the structure and performance of the Baltic, Black Sea and Northern fleets will be improved…

Shipbuilding strategy

…priority will be given to supporting Russia’s ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) and nuclear attack submarines (SSNs) within the Northern and Pacific fleets [see also, Atlantic included: “US Worrying Seriously About Russian Cruise Missiles“].

Additionally, the doctrine seeks to create a general-purpose marine force armed with long-range and high-precision strike systems capable of providing a non-nuclear deterrent.

…Work to design a new class of Russian aircraft carrier is to be completed before 2020, with construction and entry into service planned for the second phase of the doctrine (2021-2030).

Unlike the heavy aircraft cruisers of the previous generation of Russian aircraft carriers, the new carrier design will be multirole. It is envisaged to be equipped with manned and unmanned combat systems operating in the air, at sea, underwater and possibly in space. The carrier’s air groups will include radar surveillance and C2 aircraft, alongside reconnaissance and strike UAVs…

Coastal forces

The first phase of the doctrine concerning Russia’s coastal troops and marine force aims to achieve: the completion of development of advance coastal-defence missiles and the issuing of them; and the enhancement of the marine brigade’s ability to operate in different climates, including extreme Arctic conditions [emphasis added]…

Lots more detail in the article. At least it looks as if there are no serious plans for prowling in the South China Sea.

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds


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