By Wendy Laursen 2015-07-26 19:39:27
Russia celebrated Navy Day on Sunday. Along with celebrations of its existing fleet, the nation unveiled a new naval strategy and a new spy ship.
The new ship was commissioned during a large naval parade attended by President Vladimir Putin in Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea. The new vessel is designed to monitor U.S. anti-missile defenses on the high seas, a navy spokesman said.
The ship, Yury Ivanov, is the first of a series of intelligence ships, and a second will be launched next year. The vessels have a displacement of around 4,000 tons and a crew of 120.
Each of Russia’s four major fleets already has spy ships, but these were built in the 1980s and are ill-equipped to counter the newer U.S. vessels, reports Russian local media. Each fleet is therefore expected to receive an Ivanov-class ship over the next several years.
Russia’s navy has been a key focus of Putin’s military modernization efforts after decades of neglect. The Russian Navy is expected to take delivery of 10 warships and over 40 support vessels by the end of 2015.
A New Naval Doctrine
Coinciding with Navy Day, Russia issued a new edition of its Naval Doctrine. The new Doctrine comes around six months after an earlier version that already reflected deteriorating relations with the West. It describes the “inadmissible character” of NATO’s plans to move military infrastructures towards its borders, and sets targets for developing infrastructure in the Crimea, the Ukrainian peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014.
It also calls for the “accelerated reconstitution and completion of strategic Russian positions” in the Black Sea.
In announcing the Doctrine, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin highlighted “the accent put on the Atlantic and the Arctic.”
“Our attention towards the Atlantic is justified by the expansion of NATO in the East,” he told Russian news agencies.
Rogozin also stated the intention for the development a Northern Fleet. This follows his April announcement that Russia was going to invest 222 billion rubles ($4.3 billion) on an Arctic development program between 2015 and 2020.
The Doctrine also calls for long-term technological independence in the fields of shipbuilding and naval equipment.
Ships, submarines, aircraft, troops and amphibious vehicles were deployed in port cities across Russia to mark Navy Day, a commemoration of the victories of Russian sailors. It is celebrated each year on the last Sunday of July, with parades of the Pacific, Northern, Baltic and Black Sea fleets and the Caspian Flotilla.