Russia's surface combatant ship force will not be downsized until 2020, Navy Commander-in-Chief Vladimir Kuroyedov said in a RIA Novosti interview.
Adequate repairs and maintenance will make it possible for the Russian Navy to avoid cuts on the number of its surface ships through 2020, he said. In a longer term, surface vessels will be upgraded to carry modern weaponry systems.
According to Admiral Kuroyedov, smaller surface vessels and boats will have to be discarded first, as their service life is shorter than that of larger vessels.
"The firstborn of our surface shipbuilding is the corvette-a new multifunctional littoral combat ship, which combines qualities of anti-submarine ships and missile carriers," the Russian Navy chief said, citing the Steregushchy and the Soobrazitelny by way of example.
Major naval powers now tend to orient their navies toward the goals of local rather than global warfare and to redirect their combat forces from sea to on-the-ground targets, our interviewee said.
In view of the above, crucial to the development of the Russian Navy is its ability to interact with other armed forces, to use high-precision weapons on a mass scale, to effectively employ modern IT systems, to operate in high secrecy, and to defend itself against air strikes.
Russia will be able to sustain its status of a great power only if it remains a naval power, which is impossible without a modern, well-balanced fleet, the admiral pointed out.
The construction of a multifunctional frigate will soon get underway, Adm. Kuroyedov announced. The next type of surface ship to manufacture for the Russian Navy will be an oceangoing torpedo boat destroyer. Its mass production is expected to start in about a decade's time, just as the large surface vessels, cruisers, and torpedo boat destroyers that are currently in operation will be approaching the end of their service life, he said.