Following decades of neglect, Russian naval forces are being modernized with advanced submarines and increasingly lethal ballistic and cruise missiles, according to a report by the Office of Naval Intelligence.
The naval buildup includes three new classes of advanced submarines and several new types of warships that the report warns will “provide a flexible platform for Russia to demonstrate offensive capability, threaten neighbors, project power regionally, and advance President Putin’s stated goal of returning Russia to clear great power status.”
Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia’s navy was reduced in size, and many new weapons systems were canceled while weapons were mothballed.
Under Russian leader Vladimir Putin, the navy is getting substantial funding for new weapons systems, with the goal of restoring Soviet-level power by 2020, according to the 68-page December report, “The Russian Navy: A Historic Transition.”
The publication seems to be evidence of further U.S. government recognition that Russia, following its military annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea last year, is emerging as an elevated strategic threat.
Russia also is proliferating advanced weapons to other countries. “The quantity and quality of the ships, submarines, and armaments sold will transform the current capabilities of recipient states and, in some cases, potentially enable them to improve the quality of indigenous arms production,” the report says.