A couple of months back the head of the Russian Pacific Fleet bragged that his unit would receive 30 plus new vessels of all types this year. I was pretty skeptical, given all the negative stories about the Russian shipbuilding industry.
I’m not the only one who’s skeptical. Putin, in fact, is PO’d at the situation, and took out his ire on Rogozin, demanding an end to warship delays:
Delivery of some new ships to the Russian Navy due after 2015 under the current procurement program, could be delayed until 2025, President Vladimir Putin said Monday.
“I know you have voiced the idea of introducing amendments into the existing state armaments program for financing ships which are due to be handed over by 2015,” he told a conference on the Navy’s development. “And for ships due after 2015 – ascertain the amount of money already in the new state program for the period to 2025. This is all possible, let’s see, but only so there are not setbacks,” in order to “synchronize manufacturing capabilities with the volume of funding provided,” he added.
. . .
He attributed the delays in the delivery of new warships and weapon systems for the Navy to irregular supplies of components to subcontractors, a lack of effective collaboration between design organizations and manufacturing enterprises, and the low quality of equipment.
No less than 132 equipment failures were found during construction of one warship, he said, urging industry and defense related agencies to submit proposals on ways of improving the situation.
Putin gave them six months to resolve these issues, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said after the meeting.
It’s not just warships. It’s also ships to support gas projects in the Far East:
Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said that construction at the Zvezda shipbuilding complex in the Far East is running 14 months behind schedule and will require a consortium of investors to bring it up to speed.
Rosneft head Igor Sechin proposed the plan at a meeting between government officials and representatives from the state-owned oil and gas giants Gazprom and Rosneft.
“The speed of vessel construction does not correspond to the aims dictated by the development of offshore fields,” Sechin told RIA-Novosti, adding that Rosneft and Gazprombank would both participate in the consortium.
There was also a proposal to transfer control of civil shipbuilding to Rosneft, Rogozin said, confirming reports from Kommersant last week.
The common denominator here? United Shipbuilding. One of the national champeens Putin created to supposedly rationalize Russian industry, exploit economies of scale, yadda yadda. But, in what should have been a predictable result, a state created monopoly negotiating with other state entities (defense, energy companies) tries to extract high prices and delivers poor performance, because there’s no competition. (NB: shipbuilding for the military in the US is a mess these days too. )
A great illustration of the fundamental flaws in Putin’s state directed capitalism, and an indication of why Russia’s economy is stagnating.
It’s not only shipbuilding. The space program is facing serious delays in building a new cosmodrome to replace facilities in Kazakhstan. And Rogozin is losing it, blaming the delays on sabotage:
Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin slammed the slow progress of construction at Russia’s Vostochny cosmodrome during a visit to the facility Wednesday, saying the delays amounted to “sabotage.”
Rogozin, who oversees the defense and aerospace sectors, said two key instructions regarding construction of the cosmodrome had been issued, but even though one had a July 30 deadline, neither have so far been fulfilled.
Both instructions he mentioned related to setting project construction costs and performance indicators for the site, which covers over 1,000 square kilometers (386 square miles).
“I will view any deviation from the plan as sabotage,” Rogozin said at a meeting with representatives of agencies involved in building the cosmodrome. “I have no intention of being one of those public servants who accept failure to deliver on instructions.”
“I will view any deviation from the plan as sabotage.” I would have written: “I will view any deviation from The Plan as sabotage.”
Create a simulacrum of the Soviet economy, get Soviet results. It’s that simple.\One potentially related tragic story. A Russian-built Kilo class sub, recently refitted in a Russian yard, caught fire and sank last week, killing its entire crew. The cause of the incident is not known, but the Russians denied any responsibility with unseemly haste.
And weirdly, the same guy who is blasting Russian firms (including United Shipbuilding) for their incompetence, delays, and quality problems-yes, Rogozin the Ridiculous-immediately absolved United Shipbuilding from any responsibility, all while the sub and its doomed crew are resting on the bottom of the bay where the incident occurred:
The Russian specialists do not see technical failure as the likely cause of the incident, Rogozin said.
“The initial information … is that the explosion occurred in the compartment where the batteries were charging,’” he said. “This is the most dangerous work, which is not so much to do with the makers of these batteries, but with technical safety measures, which must be at the highest level. So the first suspicions of our experts are about questions of technical safety standards. We aren’t blaming the equipment yet,” he added.
Russian experts have not yet been to the scene of the accident, where Indian Navy divers are still working to try to recover the bodies of those who died. The divers recovered three bodies Friday from among the 18 crew believed to have been on board, The Times of India reported.
So they haven’t been to the scene, but they know what isn’t the cause. Got it.
Given the huge problems the Indians have had with Russian hardware-and with United Shipbuilding in particular-I doubt they’re taking Rogozin’s word on this.
Putin has grand plans to rejuvenate the Russian military. The Navy is centerpiece of these plans. It is evident that Putin’s own creation will scupper these plans. Which will lead to anger and a search for scapegoats.
Can the wrecking trials be long in coming?