Improvements to the Russian Navy a Worry for US Congress

Sideboys render honors to U.S. Representative Joseph Courtney as he arrives to tour the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt in 2012. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons/U.S. Navy - Brian G. Reynolds)
- Improvements to the Russian Navy will be a concern of the newly-elected U.S. Congress, members of the U.S. House of Representatives told the Russian news agency Sputnik yesterday.

- Improvements to the Russian Navy will be a concern of the newly-elected U.S. Congress, members of the U.S. House of Representatives told the Russian news agency Sputnik yesterday.

The recapitalizing of the Russian shipyards and the naval fleet is the reason for the raised concern among the American politicians.

About a month ago Republicans took control of the full Congress by gaining the majority of seats in the US Senate, and retaining the majority in the House of Representatives during the 2014 midterm elections.

- The new Congress is going to be tougher on Russia than the old one, Patrick Buchanan, a former Senior Advisor to three U.S Presidents, commented to the Russian news agency RIA Novosti afterwards.

- Must invest more

Yesterday Joseph Courtney, a member of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Sea Power, told the news agency Sputnik that it’s pretty obvious that President Vladimir Putin is investing a lot.

- Frankly that's going to be a concern of our subcommittee, Courtney admitted, adding that the United States has "interests in the European theater" and thus needs to understand the reasons behind Russian Navy developments.

Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness, Rob Wittman, says the Americans still has the strongest navy, but that other nations -like Russia and China - are gaining in certain capabilities.

The Chairman don’t think it is a good idea for the United States to continue with defense spending cuts. He worries that if the U.S don’t invest in maintaining and modernizing the current forces, the country will fall behind and loose its dominant position.

Giant investments

Sputnik quote him saying that the United States need to maintain its recent historic dominance “in order to make sure there’s a balance in the world”.

Russia is currently modernizing all aspects of its military, and by 2020 the country is planning to use around 132 billion USD on new warships and submarines.

In April, Putin stated that Russia will build a unified network of naval facilities on its Arctic territories to host advanced warships and submarines as part of a plan to boost protection of the country’s interests and borders in the region.

According to Sputnik the Russian Navy currently has 60 submarines. About 10 of them are nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines, more than 30 are multipurpose nuclear submarines, and the rest diesel and special purpose vessels.


- We are not dependent on France

In 2011 Russia and France signed a deal - worth 1,5 billion USD - for two Mistral-class helicopter carriers. The first carrier is supposed to be delivered in Russia by the end of this year, and the second ship is supposed to arrive in 2015.

However, the completion of the deal has been at risk since the western countries implemented economic sanctions against Russia, over the Ukrainian crisis.

The French President Francois Hollande have threatened to suspend the ships's delivery, and officials in Kreml has answered that they will sue the French if they refuse to honour the contract.

- At the moment we are not handing over. It is possible that we will never do and Russia is aware of it, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told news channel BFM TV earlier today.

This is what Navy Deputy Commander-in-Chief Rear Admiral Victor Bursuk had to say about that matter, when he was in an interview with Ekho Moskvy Radio in October:

- We are not dependent on France in any way, it is just one of the contracts of military-technical cooperation and nothing more. The Russian shipbuilding program planned building warships of this class, and it will certainly be implemented.



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