The Stary Oskol is the newest diesel submarine to join the Black Sea Fleet. It successfully completed its delivery voyage from its shipyard in St Petersburg to the Black Sea, arriving at its new permanent base in Novorossiysk. On its arrival, the ship’s company took part in a ceremony that included Admiral A V Vitko, the commander of the Black Sea Fleet. The Stary Oskol is the third unit of Project 636.3, built at the Admiralty Shipyard in St Petersburg specifically for the Black Sea Fleet. This class consists of third-generation diesel submarines, considered amongst the stealthiest of all submarines in worldwide service, being much quieter in operation than earlier Russian subs. This class is very combat-effective, with the latest missile and torpedo technology aboard, guided by the latest radar, electronic, and hydro-acoustic sensors.
2 July 2016
The US Navy, like all armed forces, tailors its forces to enable it to carry out its main missions (which means compromises on this-or-that). The main mission of the USN is to protect the seaborne LOCs of the Anglosphere, to keep it tied together as a single entity. Its secondary mission is to project and support American ground forces abroad, along with the USAF. This does NOT mean that American naval supremacy translates into “naval monopoly”. The USN bases its forces on carrier task groups and nuclear attack submarines (boomers are more national strategic assets, not naval forces per se). These systems are best utilised in blue-water deep-ocean scenarios, with much room for manoeuvre. They aren’t suited for narrow seas such as the Baltic, Mediterranean, and Black Seas. That is, no American carrier task force will operate in the Baltic or Black Seas due to the extreme danger posed by landbased anti-ship missiles and conventional subs like the Project 636s. Carrier task forces can only operate in the Med as they can count on landbased NATO assets to give them the additional air cover that they need in such confined seas.
That is, this deployment helps to cement Russian control of the northern Black Sea waters… a control that the USN would concede in wartime, much as the RN conceded control of the Baltic to the Kriegsmarine in both World Wars. To control it would simply cost too much in ships and men… a cost that the USN doesn’t consider well-worth paying. Don’t listen to American chest thumping… it can only do so much with the actual naval assets it possesses. The 636s are quieter than any American attack boat… in the narrow seas in which it operates, that makes the 636 the King of the Battlefield. Keep it focused…