Although the Russian Navy has not built a new surface warship from the keel up since the collapse of the Soviet Union, several new submarines have been developed. Yesterday the director of the Admiralty Shipyards in St. Petersburg, Vladimir Aleksandrov, announced that work would begin later this week on two new fourth-generation diesel-electric submarines. One — the St. Petersburg –will be built for the Russian Navy; the other — the Amur — will be for export.
Admiralty continues to build the very successful Kilo-class diesel-powered submarines, and Aleksandrov said his yard is working on two such boats, for export in 1998 and 1999. He said the yard planned to produce one or two Kilos each year thereafter.
Information on Russia’s new submarine has been available in the West for some time. The U.S. Navy has referred to it as the Lada-class. It is being offered in several models ranging in displacement from 550 metric tons to 1,850 metric tons. The two boats being laid down this week are of the latter size, and the one to be delivered to the Russian Navy in 2001 incorporates Air Independent Propulsion (AIP), which uses hydrogen-oxygen fuel cell technology to transform chemical energy directly into electrical energy. This means that the submarine will be able to remain submerged far longer than older diesel-electric boats. The new class is believed to incorporate and to have improved on many of the quieting features of the Kilos. (Russian media, December 23)
Diesel-electric submarines have been one of Russia’s more successful arms export items. Introduction of this new class indicates that the Russians are determined to hold on to, and expand, this niche market.
The Monitor continues its survey of Ukraine’s political parties and blocs in the runup to the parliamentary elections.
Ukraine’s Political Landscape: The People’s Democratic Party.