GEOINT | Latest Developments at Russian Pacific Fleet Submarine Base - Rybachiy
IndraStra Global

GEOINT | Latest Developments at Russian Pacific Fleet Submarine Base - Rybachiy

By IndraStra Global 

In coming few weeks, the first new Borei-class nuclear fueled ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) Aleksandr Nevsky is going to touch base at the Rybachiy Submarine facility at Petropavlovsk on the Kamchatka Peninsula. 

Borei SSBNs are the most awaited replacement for ageing Delta-III SSBNs which are mostly deployed at Pacific Ocean.The entry of the Borei SSBNs marks the first noteworthy overhaul of the Russian Pacific Fleet SSBN power in over three decades. In planning to accommodate these new submarines, satellite pictures show high speed overhauls in progress at various base piers, missile stacking docks and nuclear warhead storage areas.

The Borei-class SSBN is furnished with the same number of SLBMs (16) as the Delta III-class SSBN. In any case, the SS-N-32 (Bulava) SLBM on the Borei can carry twice the same number of warheads (6) as the SS-N-18 SLBM on the Delta III and with higher precision strike capability. After the docking of Alexander Nevsky in the not so distant future, a second submarine of same type is scheduled follow in 2016. An aggregate of eight Borei-class SSBNs are in the planning to be manufactured under the Russian 2015-2020 naval doctrine yet more could be added later to in the long run, subtly supplant all current Delta III and Delta IV SSBNs. 

With its SSBN modernization program, Russia is trying to match up with the United States and China, both of which have  a very modernized SSBN capabilities in the Pacific region acquired over the last decade. The Russians are in the middle of a transition from Soviet-era weapons to a smaller but more warhead-heavy fleet of new submarines, so technically it means the new generation SSBNs will carry a growing portion of Russia’s strategic missile warheads – up from about a third today to nearly half by the mid-2020s.

This is maybe the most prevailing pattern of Russia's naval doctrine today: less launchers yet every single missile carrying more warheads. Not that Russia will have more aggregated warheads than before (their arms stockpile is declining), but that military strategist in Moscow have fallen for the enticement to put more eggs in each basket.