The ‘Kalibrisation of the Russian Navy: Progress and Prospects by Richard Connolly

The Russian navy (Voenno-Morskoi Flot, or VMF) is now nearly a decade into an ambitious rearmament programme. When this programme was drafted in 2010, it was envisaged that between 2011 and 2020 over 50 new surface vessels and 24 submarines would be built. These would be complemented by the delivery of a further 15 modernised late Soviet-era major surface combatants and around 20 modernised submarines. This would, it was hoped, bring the Russian navy into the 21st century. However, this ambitious programme for fleet modernisation has not gone smoothly. Whilst considerable financial resources were allocated to support naval construction, and a large number of hulls were laid down, deficiencies in Russia’s shipbuilding industry, as well as the impact of Western sanctions and the breakdown of defence-industrial relations with Ukraine, caused progress to be much slower than initially hoped. To date, only a small number of new surface vessels displacing over 2,500 tonnes have been delivered to the navy. And an even smaller number of genuinely modernised Soviet-era vessels are currently in service.