The Buzz

Russia's Next Super Submarine Is Almost Ready for War

The Russian Navy’s first Project-885 Yasen-class nuclear-powered guided-missile submarine, K-329 Severodvinsk, is set to deploy on its first combat training mission.

The new submarine recently completed operational testing after being accepted into service in June 2014. Prior to that, the boat had been undergoing pre-delivery sea trials since September 2011.

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What Withdrawal? Russia's Syrian Air War Continues.

Russian air operations over Syria are continuing at a somewhat reduced pace even as the Kremlin says it is withdrawing its main forces from the region.

The Russian air force conducted forty-one sorties in support of the Syrian army’s offensive to retake Palmyra between March 20 and March 23. According to Moscow-based TASS—which cites the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the Warring Sides in Syria—Russian aircraft struck 146 targets during the battle. Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s forces entered the city on Thursday to recapture it from the Islamic State terrorist group.

Not Ready: F-35 Needs Upgrades to Meet Full Warfighting Strength

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is voicing opposition to the Pentagon’s plan to manage the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter’s Block 4 upgrade as a continuation of the existing program. The planned upgrade—which is expected to cost more than $3 billion—is large enough to qualify a major defense acquisition program by itself.