Russian Minister of Defense Sergey Ivanov took part in the ceremonial launching of world’s largest strategic purpose cruiser of the “Shark” class (this is “Typhoon” under NATO classification) at the Sevmashpredpriyatiye enterprise in the northern city of Severodvinsk. This enterprise repairs and upgrades systems and mechanisms of nuclear submarines. The unique repair of the submarine lasted for twelve years because of insufficient financing. In addition, the repair can be included in the Guinness Record Book as a very non-traditional one. It was originally planned to cut the submarine, then an idea appeared to turn it into a submarine ore carrier to transport ore to Norilsk. It was also suggested to store it until better times. It seems that better times are coming gradually for the Russian fleet.
The “Typhoon” itself was included in the Guinness Record Book at beginning of the 1980s. Its total displacement makes up about 33,000 tons; it carries 24 ballistic missiles capable of being launched underwater. Six submarines of this kind were constructed in Severodvinsk. The sub launched today is the oldest of its kind: it is already more than twenty years old. The unique sub was a response to the US’s construction of the “Ohio” nuclear submarine with 24 ballistic missiles on board. However, the “Typhoon,” constructed at Russia’s famous design bureau Rubin under the guidance of famous designer Spassky, surpassed the “Ohio”: The “Typhoon” is still the largest submarine in the world.
The Minister of Defense arrived in Severodvinsk together with other long-expected guests: Russian Minister of Economic Development and Trade German Gref, Minister of Nuclear Power Alexander Rumyantsev, Director of the Shipbuilding Agency Vladimir Pospelov and General Staff leadership. Are the guests really long-expected? The visit is very important for Sevmashpredpriyatiye, because the officials who arrived in Severodvinsk are authorized to negotiate the settlement of governmental debts to the Russian Center of Nuclear Shipbuilding (the enterprise is the core of the Center).
The debt of the Ministry of Defense to the Center is enormous. For example, about a half billion rubles have not been paid for the newest submarine, the “Gepard.” The ebt of the ministry for the repair of the “Typhoon” has not yet been estimated, as the enterprise performed works practically at its own expense.
We will publish an exclusive interview of our PRAVDA.Ru correspondent with Minister of Defense Sergey Ivanov in the near future.
Vitaly Bratkov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/06/26/43271.html
Europe which is panic-stricken over the consequences of rising energy and food prices could strike a treacherous blow to Ukraine this winter, writes Simon Tisdall for The Guardian.