The city of Severodvinsk is waiting for Vladimir Putin. The president, together with sailors and the General Staff’s leadership, will take part in actions devoted to adding to Russia’s armoury the new nuclear submarine, the Gepard. This is not strange, taking into account the president’s love of the Russian Armed Forces’ military equipment. However, against the background of recent resignations in the Northern Fleet command, his business trip gains another significance.
We will not speculate about what has happened: much was written about it. All the more, there are not so many versions. The official one – “incompatibility with the occupied post” – sounds incredible. It is humiliating for sailors, especially because Commander-In-Chief Kuroyedov is still in his chair.
Another version is connected with the Kursk nuclear submarine’s catastrophe. Probably, the Public Prosecutor General’s Office found indisputable proofs of the fleet leadership’s guilt of the submarine’s wreck. However, probably not. The investigation has not yet been finished. Therefore, let us wait for an official conclusion and then make our own.
It is well known that today’s situation in the Russian Army is complicated, in particular, it is complicated in the Russian Fleet. For the ten years, everything was being systematically ruined, while there was a kind of destruction in people’s minds. Now, we do not possess any defense doctrine, while any state cannot exist without it, all the more its creation, the army. Today’s situation in the Russian Army is the result of many years of disorder and call-up serfage. Therefore, not only the military but the country’s leadership is responsible for it, as they were demanding results against a background of the permanent lack of financing. At least the Northern Fleet’s training was carried out as a sign of Russia’s return into “superpower's club," while it was not ethical to use these expensive submarines in the training taking into account the Russian Army’s poverty.
Now, Vladimir Putin again intends to rescue the injured image of Russian Armed Forces. This is the reason why the president’s business trip is being broadly boosted: to demonstrate that the Russian Army still possesses some reserves.
Now, about the submarine. The submarine belongs to the third, latest generation of multipurpose nuclear submarines. The submarine is of the Shark II class (971 M project), has 12,770 tons of displacement, a highest possible speed of 33 knots under water, a depth of submergence of 600 meters, and a crew of 67 people. The submarine is 110 meters long and it is equipped with the RKV-500 Granit anti-ship missile system and the Strela air-defence system and with torpedoes. At the moment, according to Jane’s, there are 10 submarines of the Shark I class and two submarines of the Shark II class (Vepr and Bizon). Gepard is the third submarine of this class.
The submarine’s designers state that even the most powerful facilities of the US Navy can spot it only at a distance of 7 miles. Therefore, this submarine moves more quietly than its American sister of the same Los Angeles class, which is also inferior to it in its speed, fire power, and maximal depth of submergence. This submarine was built over a long period of time. It was planned to be finished in 1996, though in 1998, it still was docked, waiting for the Defence Ministry to apportion money for completing the work. Finally, the money was found and the submarine was completed, as if specially for President Putin’s arrival.
However, there were some troubles with the submarine’s title. Gepard was the title of the submarine once built in the Baltic plant. That Gepard was grounded September 28, 1913, and launched June 2, 1915, and came into operation July 12, 1915. The submarine participated in World War I in the Baltic Sea. On October 12, 1917, the Gepard submarine departed for Finland and never returned home. The new designers seem not to have known about this story, because new ships are never called after sunken ones. But what about Varyag-2?
Angry foreigners at once flew in the ointment. According to Times, the submarine is rather triumph of espionage than of engineering, because the technology used to create this submarinewas stolen in the 80s by KGB agents.
To be honest, to hell with it! At least, how many secrets have the Japanese and Americans have stolen from us? The whole world lives from Russian brains.
Dmitry Litvinovich PRAVDA.Ru
Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2001/12/04/34503.html