The Russian Black Sea Fleet will be updated and improved to ensure the country's national security. Up to 20 new ships, submarines and boats will join the fleet in the near future, the Fleet's Commander Vice-Admiral Alexander Fedotenkov said in connection with the 230th anniversary of the fleet to be marked on May 13.
It is an objective and very important process, given the fact that the naval forces of Black Sea and Mediterranean states continuously increase their combat potential with the qualitative improvement of weaponry without considerable reduction of their number, he noted.
The Black Sea zone countries plan in the next decade to build a substantial number of warships and support vessels for their navies. "To reliably ensure national security, we have no right to remain among the laggards," the commander said.
The latest guard ship Admiral Grigorovich of Project 11356 is expected to be launched in 2013 and placed in service in 2014. It will be the first in the series of six guard ships of the project with the Kalibr high-accuracy long-range missile system. The ships are named Admiral Essen, Admiral Makarov, Admiral Butakov, Admiral Istomin and Admiral Kornilov, the commander said.
The navy also expects to receive six new submarines of Project 636, the Varshavyanka class. The first three will be named Novorossiisk, Rostov-on-Don and Stary Oskol, the vice-admiral said, adding that seven more various-purpose naval boats and other ships would join the fleet.
The Black Sea Fleet command proposed the Russian Navy command, when distributing forces and means for operational assignments, to consider the possibility to add latest small artillery ships of Project 21630 to the fleet. It will allow improving the efficiency to carry out tasks to maintain the operational regime in the zone of responsibility, he said.
The fleet also needs new sea and inshore minesweepers to ensure there are no mines at base places.
The balanced and adjusted fleet will allow forming all-purpose groups of forces to comprehensively carry out tasks, he noted.