The Russian fleet does not have the global reach of the American fleet. To make up for its lack of blue water operations the Russian #navy concentrates on submarines. Presently the Russian navy has about 50 operational submarines. This fleet is also beset by technical problems and a shortage of trained crew, resulting in an operational capability of only about 50%. In contrast, the erstwhile Soviet fleet operated over 250 submarines, making it the operator of the largest sub-fleet in the world. The Soviet submarine force had a global presence, which is not the case with the present Russian fleet. The world is changing, and with Putin at the helm a new class of nuclear submarine has come, and his aggressive intentions have seen the nuclear submarine patrolling off the coast of Syria and the UK.

Woes of the submarine fleet

The Russian navy had literally collapsed after the breakup of the Soviet union. There was a shortage of funds as economic woes multiplied. Much of the fleet went to seed and tens of nuclear-powered submarines were just abandoned. The USA in a pilot project helped the Russians to disarm and make inoperative the nuclear subs. Matters came to the lowest point when the nuclear submarine "Kursk" sank off the coast of #Russia. The Russian navy at that time was like a ghost, unseen and unheard.

Changing times

Things changed since the middle of the first decade of the 21 century. With Putin at the helm, the Russians have started a refurbishment and reconstruction program of their fleet. They have produced a new breed of nuclear-powered submarines, but the cost is prohibitive and one submarine at a time is built. In the meantime, the Russian Kilo class diesel submarines are being improved and built. These are an improvement on the earlier ships and will pack a punch.

Last word

The US Navy need not overtly be worried about the Russian fleet but there is another danger. Due to cutbacks in defense spending, anti-submarine equipment has been neglected and that is the real problem. The Russian fleet is slowly reforming but it is a long way off from the heyday of Soviet power when 250 subs patrolled the oceans of the world. One can assess that the Russian fleet (though a shadow of the former Soviet fleet) can still inflict tremendous damage. The West has to beware.