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Russia to Build 5th-Gen. Nuclear Subs by 2020 in Push to Modernize Military

© Photo : press-service of JSC PO Sevmas /  / Go to the mediabankNuclear submarine (NS) "Yuri Dolgoruky"
Nuclear submarine (NS) Yuri Dolgoruky - Sputnik International
According to the general director of Sevmash, a Russian shipbuilding company, the construction of fifth-generation nuclear-powered submarines could begin by 2020.

A Russian-built, Kilo-class diesel submarine recently purchased by Iran, is towed by a support vessel in this photograph taken in the central Mediterranean Sea - Sputnik International
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MOSCOW (Sputnik)  The construction of fifth-generation nuclear-powered submarines could begin at the Sevmash shipyard in northern Russia by 2020, the company’s general director Mikhail Budnichenko said.

“The modernization of the shipyard’s capacity is actively underway to ensure the construction of advanced submarines. This process will provide a platform for the future construction of new-generation boats,” Budnichenko said in an interview with RIA Novosti.

He added that at the moment, the company buys new equipment and machinery, updates slipway, and reconstructs freight transfer systems.

“In line with the current federal program, the modernization should be completed by 2020,” he added.

Russia’s Navy chief, Adm. Viktor Chirkov, said in May that the development of fifth-generation submarines, featuring unified module platforms and integrated robotic weaponry, had already started in Russia.

Sevmash shipyard, the largest ship-building complex in Russia, is located in the port city of Severodvinsk on the White Sea.

Russia is currently undergoing a $325-billion rearmament program to achieve a 70-percent modernization of its military by 2020.

Sevmash shipyard has no problem with import substitution, as equipment and materials produced by “potential aggressor” are not used in the construction of nuclear-powered submarines Mikhail Budnichenko said.

The United States, the European Union and their allies imposed several rounds of anti-Russia sanctions aimed at weakening Russia's economy and specifically its defense industry in 2014. As a result, the construction of several ships have been suspended due to lack of engines that were to be supplied by Germany and Ukraine.

"Import substitution is not a problem for Sevmash. I think it is needless to say how risky it is in an age of almost unlimited capabilities of IT-technologies to equip submarines with materials and systems produced by ‘potential aggressor’," Budnichenko said in an interview with RIA Novosti.

He added that use of only indigenously manufactured equipment and materials in construction of nuclear submarines has been a common practice in Russia since Soviet times.

Following sanctions' introduction, in order to replace foreign components used in the country's defense industry, Russia began work on an import substitution program.

The military equipment and arms import substitution plan was finalized December 2014 and intended to eliminate Russia's dependency on foreign-made defense products.

Sevmash shipyard is on schedule to deliver overhauled nuclear cruiser Admiral Nakhimov to the Russian Navy in 2018, the company’s general director said.

“At present, all repair and overhaul works carried out by the shipyard are going according to schedule,” Mikhail Budnichenko said.

The Admiral Nakhimov, formerly named the Kalinin, is the third ship of the Kirov class, which saw a total of four heavy guided missile cruisers enter service with the Soviet and then Russian Navy from 1980 to 1998.

Only one of the ships, the Pyotr Veliky, is operational, but Russia plans to return the other three to service starting with the Admiral Nakhimov.

Sevmash shipyard will be able to build a future aircraft carrier after modernization of the shipyard’s capacity if a relevant decision is made, the company’s general director said.

Earlier this month, the head of a department for state defense orders from the United Shipbuilder’s Corporation said that the companies, cost, and dates of construction of the new Russian aircraft carrier had been defined.

"After the successful completion of the state rearmament program, if there is a decision to build an aircraft carrier taken at the highest level of the government, as well as if the plan of the company’s development is fulfilled, the shipyard will be able to begin construction," Mikhail Budnichenko said.

He added that the company could manufacturing other surface ships as well since it has a considerable experience in this field.

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