Russia to Strengthen Mediterranean Force With ‘Stealth’ Subs

MOSCOW, February 20 (RIA Novosti) – The combat capability of Russia’s naval task force in the Mediterranean will increase significantly following the first deliveries of Varshavyanka-class submarines to the Black Sea Fleet in 2015, Navy Commander Adm. Viktor Chirkov said Thursday.

Russia formed a permanent naval task force in the Mediterranean last year to defend its interests in the region. The move was widely seen, however, as a response to calls for international intervention in the worsening civil war in Syria, Russia’s longtime ally.

“In general, the tasks assigned to the Mediterranean group are absolutely clear: to thwart any threat to Russia’s borders and security,” the admiral said, adding that it is normal practice for any country to keep naval assets in vital regions around the globe.

Chirkov said that the first Varshavyanka-class diesel-electric submarine, the Novorossiisk, will join the Black Sea Fleet in 2015.

The Defense Ministry has ordered a total of six Varshavyanka-class subs, dubbed “black holes in the ocean” by the US Navy because they are nearly undetectable when submerged.

According to the Admiralty shipyard in St. Petersburg, the second and third subs in the series will be floated out in May and June, respectively, “to be delivered to the customer by yearend.”

Construction of the fourth submarine – the Krasnodar – began at the shipyard Thursday.

The Varshavyanka-class (Project 636) is an improved version of the Kilo-class submarines and features advanced stealth technology, extended combat range and the ability to strike land, surface and underwater targets.

Full article: Russia to Strengthen Mediterranean Force With ‘Stealth’ Subs (RIA Novosti)

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