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Russia navy overhaul: New warships, nuclear subs under construction

Russia is pushing forward with plans to modernize its navy using cutting-edge technology, with President Vladimir Putin revealing that several new warships and nuclear submarines are in the pipeline.

Delivering a speech through video conference as part of the Army 2021 expo from the Patriot Park outside Moscow on Monday, Putin said, “Today, at leading shipyards across Russia, two modern short-range ships and four new submarines – including two equipped to carry nuclear missiles – are being laid.”

The president stressed that it was very important for Russia to incorporate new innovations into its military hardware, saying, ”We are developing Russia’s defense industry and our armed forces in line with new technological principles based on our scientific and technical advances.”

Putin further added that artificial intelligence and robotics would be used to support the troops, and boasted of the latest command and control systems that have been applied in navy.

Moscow is planning to overhaul its naval power by both adding new vessels and replacing outdated hardware. Putin added that the share of modern weapons in the strategic nuclear forces already exceeds 80 percent.

United Shipbuilding Corporation, the largest shipbuilding company in Russia, is responsible to deliver the orders. In northwestern Russia, two strategic nuclear-powered underwater cruisers have been laid down at the Sevmash Shipyard. Also, in the Russian Far East two corvettes at the Amur Shipbuilding Plant will be launched, while two Varshavyanka-class conventional subs will be laid down at the Admiralty Shipyard in St. Petersburg.

Moscow has made military modernization a top priority and believes to have achieved technological supremacy in a number of areas of military technology.

Putin stressed that “many of these weapons have no analogues elsewhere in the world in terms of their tactical and technical characteristics… and according to what we see, one can firmly say they will not have them for a long time.”

Russia boosting its military overhaul takes on added significance in the light of simmering tensions between Moscow and Western states, Washington in particular. The two sides have for years locked horns over a long list of issues from Ukraine, cyber attacks, election interference, the Nord Stream 2 project, and the drama surrounding Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny.

From exchanging heated rhetoric, to the summoning of ambassadors and the imposition of sanctions, the rivals have been engaged in a flurry of diplomatic tensions.

In May, Russia’s nuclear submarine Kazan was delivered to the navy. In July, more than 50 warships took part in a parade reviewed by the Russian president in the port city of Saint Petersburg. A nuclear missile cruiser was also put to sea in Severodvinsk port.

Putin announced during the parade that Russia was capable of “detecting underwater, surface or aerial enemies and target them if a lethal strike is necessary.”

The comments came a month after the British destroyer HMS Defender breached Russia’s territorial waters off the Crimean coast, prompting a Russian border guard patrol ship to fire warning shots and a Sukhoi-24M bomber to drop bombs ahead of the destroyer. The HMS Defender was forced to leave the waters.

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