7 June 2017
The cash-strapped Russian Navy recently received the last new warships for the Northern Fleet it's likely to get over the next decade following deep cuts in warship building announced by president Vladimir Putin last month.
Russian state-controlled media said the Northern Fleet, which operates the most number of submarines in the Russian Navy, "has received two nuclear-powered submarines -- the Yuri Dolgoruky and the Severodvinsk), a diesel-electric one (the Saint Petersburg) and the Yuri Ivanov medium reconnaissance ship."
It also said the fleet's largest warship, the aircraft carrier RFS Admiral Kuznetsov (63), will be upgraded with advanced electronics, radars and onboard navigation gear. The fleet's flagship, the nuclear-powered, 20 year-old Kirov-class battlecruiser RFS Pyotr Veliky (099), or Peter the Great, will also be overhauled.
Both the Kuznetsov and Pyotr Veliky were part of the battle group sent by Russia to the Mediterranean Sea in October 2016 to provide combat support for Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.
The Pyotr Veliky like the RFS Admiral Nakhimov (080), another Kirov-class battlecruiser, will receive multipurpose launchers capable of firing cruise missiles and anti-ship missiles. The Nakhimov is scheduled to return to service before 2020.
Russia said the strengthening of the Northern Fleet is intended to phase "NATO out of (the) Arctic."
The Northern Fleet is believed to have an inventory of 38 surface combatants and 42 submarines (diesel-electric and nuclear-powered)
The fleet won't be receiving any more new warships. Putin last in May admitted the economic sanctions imposed by the European Union and the United States have forced Russia to officially postpone the development of a new aircraft carrier and a new class of nuclear-powered destroyers for the Russian Navy.
Putin announced the postponement of both flagship projects, making the navy the service hardest hit by the new and huge budget cuts.
Russian media describes the Northern Fleet as more than just a fleet since it comprises missile and artillery divisions; a motorized infantry brigade; an air-defense division and a number of other land-based units. It said the fleet controls the entire Arctic region, with the exception of its eastern part, which is dominated by U.S. forces based in Alaska.