Northern Fleet eyes six Yasen submarines as Russia approves largest ever defence spending

By Thomas Nilsen, The Independent Barents Observer - November 21, 2023
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The “Kazan” is the second Yasen-class multi-purpose submarine sailing with the Northern Fleet. Photo: Russian Navy

 

State-controlled news agency TASS reports the number of Yasen-class submarines to increase from nine to a total of 12, of which half will be based on the coast to the Barents Sea.

The State Duma, the lower house of Russia’s parliament, on Friday approved the 2024 budget with a strong emphasis on the country’s war economy.

Overall spending is expected to reach 37 trillion rubles (about €380 billion) an increase of around 25% from 2023. Almost a third of this, 10,8 trillion rubles is earmarked for defense- and security structures. The increase year-by-year is 68% and 2023 already had a doubling compared with the year before the full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Russia has never spent a higher share of its economy on the military since the breakup of the Soviet Union.

Weapons, ammunition, and fuel for the war are costly, but Russia’s most expensive weapons are the advanced nuclear submarines built at the Sevmash shipyard in the northern town of Severodvinsk.

The Barents Observer has previously reported that construction at Sevmash has reached a post-Soviet peak. In 2019, it was decided to build nine Yasen-class submarines, up two from the original plan of seven.

Now, another three will be added to the program, according to TASS.

With 12 Yasen submarines, the plan is to deploy six with the 10th Submarine Division of the Pacific Fleet in Vilyuchinsk and six with the 11th Submarine Division of the Northern Fleet in Zapadnaya Litsa.

Today, the Northern Fleet has two submarines of the class, the “Severodvinsk” and the “Kazan”, while a third, the “Novosibirsk” sails for the Pacific Fleet.

Next in line for the Pacific Fleet is the K-571 “Krasnoyarsk”, believed to be commissioned in December 2023.

Five more Yasen submarines are a various stages of construction at Sevmash and are expected to be commissioned from 2024 to 2028. They are the “Arkhangelsk”, “Perm”, “Ulyanovsk”, “Voronezh” and “Vladivostok”.

The Yasen and Yasen-M class are 4th generation submarines carrying Kalibr and Oniks cruise missiles. Later, the class is expected to be armed with the Zircon missile, one of which was test-launched from the “Severodvinsk” in October 2021.

Zapadnaya Litsa submarine base is the westernmost on the Kola Peninsula, a short 50 kilometers from Russia’s border with NATO country Norway.


Located in Kirkenes, Norway, just a few kilometres from the borders to Russia and Finland, the Barents Observer is dedicated to cross-border journalism in Scandinavia, Russia and the wider Arctic.

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