Streetwise Professor

December 23, 2009

The Amazing Destructive Power of the Bulava Missile

Filed under: Military,Politics,Russia — The Professor @ 6:16 pm

The problem is, it has destroyed the Russian navy.   Dr. Dmitry Gorenburg’s Russian Military Reform blog quotes this from a Russian source, Alexander Khramchikhin:

[The Bulava’s] effectiveness has turned out to be simply amazing. The missile has not entered serial production, and never will, but it has already destroyed the Russian Navy. Almost all the money allocated to the Navy’s development have been spent on this mindless dead-end program.

Any person who can see the real situation well understands that in a few years the Russian Navy as a whole, as well as all four of its component fleets, will cease to exist. This is already absolutely inevitable — the situation will not be changed even by mass purchases of ships from abroad.

In light of this, it is especially amusing to observe the fierce “battle for Sevastopol.” Why do we need it after 2017? To pay Kiev enormous sums to rent empty piers? By that time, at best the Novorossiisk naval brigade will be all that’s left of the Black Sea Fleet. And the discussion of whether we need a blue-water navy or a coastal one is a complete farce. We won’t even have a coastal force — the maximum that our “navy” will be able to accomplish in ten years is the immediate defense of a few main naval bases. Because we built the Bulava.

Gorenburg argues that this places too much blame on Bulava, and that there are other serious problems with the Russian navy:

Despite relatively generous financing over the last few years, its shipbuilders have shown time and again that they are incapable of producing ships in a timely manner. All of the navy’s shipbuilding projects have been repeatedly delayed. As the existing ships approach (and in many cases pass) the end of their expected lifespan, there are few replacements in the works.

In any case, there is little if any cause to fear that the Russian Navy is making progress in its oceanic ambitions, whether or not it still has any. Instead, we should be thinking of it as living out the last years of the leftover glory of its Soviet years. In another 10 years, its major ocean-going ships will be gone, with nothing but a few corvettes and a couple of French LSTs to replace them.

Remember not too long ago when the navy announced its delusional plans to build 6 aircraft carriers.   Do these people believe this stuff?   Who are they trying to fool?   Is it just a big scam?   The yawning gap between pretension and reality is so vast it’s very difficult to come up with a rational explanation.

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  1. They even want to build a 5-th generation multirole. The country, which cannot make mobiles? 🙂

    Comment by DJ Drive — December 23, 2009 @ 6:59 pm

  2. Though not quite as drastic a harm, I suggest one substitutes “Bulava” with “JSF” and “Navy” with “Air Force” to create similar picture of a Western procurement project massively over budget and under performing, but which under no imaginable failure, fraud, delay, or final price tag would ever be stopped.

    Comment by ThomasL — December 23, 2009 @ 7:14 pm

  3. “The yawning gap between pretension and reality is so vast it’s very difficult to come up with a rational explanation.”

    Frog the Traveler comes to mind again 😉

    Comment by MJ — December 23, 2009 @ 7:34 pm

  4. Another venue dealing with the subject matter of this post:

    In the coming years, it might be interesting to look back at some of the predictions made about the Russian navy.

    Comment by jojo — December 24, 2009 @ 8:43 am

  5. JOJO:

    Your ignorance is truly wide and deep. Even if the Bulava worked perfectly, Russia still wouldn’t have a navy worth sneezing at, and even if it did, it could not afford to maintain such a navy with a population that is starving and not ranked in the top 130 nations of the world for lifespan. That Russia can even imagine it could afford such a monstrosity ony goes to show how much contempt the government has for its own people.

    Comment by La Russophobe — December 24, 2009 @ 12:18 pm

  6. “Your ignorance is truly deep and amazing.”

    At no point do I specifically emphasize any particular view on this issue.

    In comparison to the USSR, post-Soviet Russia isn’t taking more of a guns over butter approach.

    Comment by jojo — December 24, 2009 @ 12:36 pm

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