Russia held its annual Navy Day parade in St. Petersburg, showcasing a slew of modernized military ships.
The parade opened, as it traditionally does, with Russian president Vladimir Putin inspecting a select group of stationary vessels from aboard his presidential yacht. This year’s lineup opened with the Grad Sviyazhsk Buyan-M corvette, belonging to the Caspian Fleet. Next came the Northern Fleet’s Ropucha-class landing ship Olengorskiy Gornyak, one of three active service ships from the class’ original Project 775 revision that were laid down in Soviet-aligned Poland during the late 1970s. Ropucha-class ships saw widespread use during Russia’s intervention into the Syrian Civil War, ferrying military equipment and supplies from the Black Sea port of Novorossiysk to Russian forces in Tartus. The Baltic fleet’s Stoikiy, the fifth ship in Russia’s Steregushchiy class of stealthy modern corvettes, also made an appearance. Moscow didn’t miss the chance to flaunt the Northern Fleet’s Admiral Kasotonov, the latest frigate of Russia’s newest Admiral Gorshkov class. Boasting some of Russia’s most advanced surface vessel technology, Kasotonov and others in its class will reportedly carry the upcoming 3M22 Tsirkon winged, hypersonic anti-ship cruise missile. The Lada-class Kronstadt submarine made its return from the parade’s prior editions. Though this class was initially slated to showcase Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) technology, it was later reported that the first three Lada models—Sankt Peterburg, Kronstadt, and Velikiye Luki—will have standard diesel-electric engines. Kronstadt is slated to be commissioned by either the Northern or Pacific Fleet in 2022.
The latest Borei-A ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) to be commissioned, the Northern Fleet’s Knyaz Vladimir marked its first Navy Day parade appearance on Sunday. The Borei class is slated to replace the aging Delta and Typhoon strategic submarines as Russia’s primary SSBN. Finally, Putin’s yacht made its way up to the Northern Fleet’s Orel Oscar II modernized nuclear-powered cruise missile submarine.
Putin’s prepared remarks noted that the Russian Navy will turn 325 years old this coming October, adding that “in the shortest possible time Russia has taken its rightful place among the leading global marine powers and traveled a great road from Peter the Great’s small boat to the powerful ocean-faring ships and nuclear-powered missile submarines of today.” Putin touted Russia’s naval aviation, coastal defense systems, and new hypersonic weapons as among the best in the world. “Today, the Russian Navy has everything it needs to secure the defense of our native country and our national interests,” he averred. “We are capable of detecting any submarine, surface or airborne adversary and dealing them an unpreventable strike if necessary.”
Putin’s remarks were followed by the main part of the parade, featuring dozens more vessels. The procession notably included the Slava-class guided-missile cruiser Marshal Ustinov, Udaloy-class destroyer Vice-Admiral Kulakov, and the new Gremyashchiy-class flagship corvette Gremyashchiy. The maritime portion of the parade was closed by a sizeable foreign contingent from India, Pakistan, and Iran. Pakistan sent the Zulfiquar flagship frigate, while India dispatched the INS Tabar Talwar-class stealth frigate. Iran, meanwhile, sent two ships: the Sahand Moudge-class frigate and Makran ex-oil tanker.
In addition to the main naval event in St. Petersburg, parallel parades were held in Caspiisk, Baltiisk, Severomorsk, Sevastopol, and Vladivostok, as well as the Russian naval base in Tartus, Syria.
According to the Kremlin, around four thousand sailors, over fifty vessels, and forty-eight naval aviation aircraft took part in the main parade.
Mark Episkopos is a national security reporter for The National Interest.