Russia’s Navy recently received three new submarines, according to a top Kremlin defense official.
"Two new nuclear-powered submarines and a large diesel-electric sub were delivered to the Navy," Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexey Krivoruchko said in a report to Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on Thursday.
Krivoruchko is referring to to the Borei-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) Knyaz Oleg, Yasen-class nuclear-powered cruise missile submarine Novosibirsk, and the Improved Kilo-class (Project 636.3) diesel-electric attack submarine Magadan. Novosibirsk and Knyaz Oleg were delivered to the Russian Navy’s Pacific Fleet in late December 2021; Magadan was commissioned in October 2021 and is reportedly deployed in the Baltic region.
"The fourth-generation nuclear-powered strategic underwater cruiser Knyaz Oleg that has joined the seaborne nuclear deterrence forces is outfitted with advanced missile armaments that are capable of delivering missile strikes against enemy strategically vital military and industrial facilities," Krivoruchko said, according to state-backed news outlet TASS.
The Borei submarines carry Russia’s latest RSM-56 Bulava submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM).
“As its main advantages, the Bulava is easy in its maintenance and can maneuver at its boost stage, which makes the missile invulnerable to any ABM (Anti-Ballistic Missile) system,” Chief of Staff of the Pacific Fleet’s Submarine Force Command Rear Admiral Arkady Navarsky told reporters in October.
Krivoruchko added that the Russian Navy received several new combat boats, four repaired naval aviation aircraft, and a Monolit-B coastal defense system. Krivoruchko also said that Russia’s military will reach a hardware modernization rate of just over 72% by the end of 2022.
"Defense enterprises are required to reliably fulfill their commitments and ensure the smooth delivery of military hardware and armaments throughout the year to reach the level of modern weapons of no less than 72.7%," he said.
Krivoruchko’s statement follows earlier optimistic forecasts by Shoigu that Russia’s level of nuclear modernization has reached an all-time high of 89.1%. The Defense Ministry has not publicly shared its standards for what qualifies as “modern” military hardware, a category that may imply a specific procurement cut-off date or certain performance requirements. A significant portion of Russian defense equipment-- including some of the country’s most prolific main battle tanks (MBTs) and aircraft-- is still based on upgraded variants of Soviet-era designs.
Krivoruchko stated during the same event that the Russian Aerospace Forces took possession of two regiment sets of S-400 and S-350 surface-to-air missile systems in late 2021, as well as “three battalion sets” of Pantsir-S air defense systems. The Russian military also received two Su-57 fifth-generation fighters and ninety-three unspecified new drones, the defense official added.
Mark Episkopos is a national security reporter for the National Interest.