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Northern Fleet

The mission of the Northern Fleet is to defend Russia's far northwestern Arctic region surrounding the Kola Peninsula. The Soviet Fleet of the Northern Seas was established in 1933, and in 1937 it was renamed the Northern Fleet. The rise of Northern Fleet to a position of preeminence in the Soviet Navy under Admiral Sergei Gorshkov was associated with nuclear power and nuclear weapons. The Northern Fleet became the primary basing area for the largest concentration of Soviet nuclear-powered surface and submarine forces. The Soviet Union developed the world's largest fleet of nuclear-powered icebreakers. Nuclear power plants provided the electricity for the region's vast military-industrial complex. Once an ocean-going force, the Northern Fleet's principal mission is now to defend Russian borders.

The Northern Fleet is headquartered at Severomorsk, at the top of the Kola Peninsula near Murmansk, with additional home ports at Kola, Motovskiy, Gremikha, and Ura Guba.

The Russian Northern Fleet underwent significant changes since the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991. Since the end of the Cold War the total number of ships in the Northern Fleet declined by 40%, with many ships placed in reserve status. As of 1996 the fleet provided home ports for thirty-seven nuclear submarines, twenty-two other submarines, forty-seven principal surface combatants, and ten coastal and smaller ships. The naval aviation contingent included a complement of twenty Su-39 fixed-wing aircraft and ten antisubmarine warfare helicopters on board the Admiral Kuznetsov , which heads the air defense of the Barents Sea. Shore-based naval aviation included 200 combat aircraft and sixty-four helicopters. The Northern Fleet has two naval infantry brigades, one coastal defense regiment, and an air defense missile regiment.

Upon exiting the Northern Fleet home waters, ships must pass between the North Cape of Norway, Bear Island, and/or Svalbard, which are outliers of Norway. This portion of the Barents Sea is sometimes referred to by NATO as the Barents Strait. A line drawn along 30 EAST longitude is used by NATO forces to designate Russian platforms as either "in-area" or "out-of-area." At the southern end of the Norwegian Sea, Russian ships are confronted with two more choke points. The first is the Greenland-Iceland-Norway (GIN) Gap and approximately 100 miles further south is the Greenland-Iceland-United Kingdom (GIUK) Gap.

Except for occasional exercises in the Norwegian Sea, Russian surface presence in the North Atlantic is routine, but has declined substantially in recent years. There are usually no surface combatants, unless they are transiting between the Kola Peninsula and Baltic Sea or enroute to or returning from duty in the Caribbean, West Africa, or the Mediterranean. Again, while activity has diminished significantly in post Cold War Russia, the Northern Fleet does house a substantial submarine fleet, many units of which are capable of polar, under-ice operations. Assets include Typhoon and Delta class platforms.

The harsh Arctic weather and continuous ice flow experienced by the Northern Fleet makes basic maintenance difficult and complex. Operations like underway replenishment are nearly impossible. These problems, coupled with allied controlled choke points and long lines of communication, present serious obstacles for the Russian Northern Fleet.

In 1989 the Soviet Navy had nearly 200 nuclear submarines in operation, while by 1996 barely half this number was in service, of which two-thirds belonged to the Northern Fleet. Principal concerns with respect to the Russian Northern Fleet are related to de-fuelling activities and laid-up submarines still containing nuclear fuel. Given the former Soviet Union's inadequate management of nuclear and chemical wastes from industrial and military activities, and the associated health and environmental risks, these efforts are critical. The case against environmentalist and former Soviet Navy Captain Aleksandr Nikitin raised questions about Russia's commitment to international standards of human rights. Nikitin was arrested in early 1996 for his role in publishing a report on the nuclear hazards posed by the decaying Russian Northern Fleet. The prosecution's case is based on secret decrees, which were issued after Nikitin's arrest and released to Nikitin and his attorney only after the trial began.

Russian authorities have admitted the theft of substantial quantities of highly-enriched uranium within their own borders. A Russian naval officer on trial in Murmansk for having stolen 4 kg of 20%-enriched U235 in November 1993 has described how he simply walked straight into a poorly guarded storage area in Severomorsk (headquarters of the Russian Northern Fleet), forced a padlock on a door, and walked out with several canisters of nuclear fuel rods.

History

From the fleets of Russia northern - youngest. If to Baltic fleet during May were carried out 299 years, Black Sea - 219, then northern on 1 June were carried out 69 years. For the sake of fairness it should be noted that more than 300 years was ago made the first attempt at the creation of fleet on the north. In 1693 on the indication of Peter I in Arkhangelsk was placed Solombal'skaya shipyard and the building of warships began.

On 14 August, 1694, the constructed in Solombale 24- cannon frigate "holy Pavel", purchased in Holland 44- cannon ship "holy prophecy" and yacht "holy Peter" under the bel-blue- red flag under the management of Peter left to sea, accompanying eight English merchant it was ship. But warships in the White Sea for long did not remain, but they were transferred on to Baltic region.

In 1740 on the north appeared the first connection (squadron) of the Russian warships, which accomplished cruising from the Norwegian to of Kara Sea, preventing thus the approach of Swedish fleet into the Russian harbors and the arbitrariness of their ships on the coast of Murman.

However, permanent, regular northern fleet is beret its beginning since 1933, when the circular of the chief of staff OF RKKA - WORKERS' AND PEASANTS' RED ARMY from 1 June formed northern military flotilla with the base - Kola molded edge. As first commander was appointed Zakhar Alexandrovich zakupnev.

Severomortsy napryazhenno worked in always, mastering northern maritime theater, ships and technology, they improved its combat skill. In 1935 the submarine division for the first time completed march to Novaya Zemlya. In 1938 the submarine "d-th" conducted to sea 120 days, after passing more than 11 thousand miles. In 1936 two destroyers Of "voykov" and "Stalins" completed unprecedented passage from the Transarctic to the Far East northern by sea. In 1938 the submarine "D -3" accomplished for the first time in the history of navy under-ice floating, 30 minutes went under ices.

In 1940 the first in the history passage of submarine 5-423 of the polar into Vladivostok was realized northern by sea.

On 11 May, 1937, by the order of the people commissioner of defense flotilla was preobrazovana into the northern fleet. Commander of the navy assigned the flag officer of 1 ranks Constantine Ivanovich dushenov.

The first baptism of fire fleet accepted in the war with Finland 1939-1940. It actively acted on the seaside flank of the 14th army. 72 severomortsa were rewarded with combat orders and medals. World War II was severe testing for the young northern fleet. At the beginning of war the fleet contained 15 submarines, 8 destroyers, 7 destroyer escorts, other spacecraft. Aviation counted 116 combat aircraft.

During the entire war the fleet reliably covered the seaside flank of the 14th army from landings and firings of enemy ships, protected its sea communications, by continuous impacts on the communications of enemy it disrupted the transport transportation of enemy and it deprived its initiatives at sea.

Fleet landed troops and reconnaissance detachments into the rear of enemy, formed and sent to the land front of the part of marines. Severomortsy became famous in combat in the environs of Moscow, Leningrad, Stalingrad, in the North Caucasus.

Opposing with the large forces of enemy, seamen appeared mass heroism, raided enemy on the water, under water, in air and on dry land. More than 600 warships is destroyed and are damaged by the naval forces, transports and auxiliary are ship enemy, 1308 aircraft of enemy, piloting 76 union escorts with 1463 transports and 1152 escort ships is provide ford. On the internal communications of the Arctic Ocean were carry ouied 1548 escorts.

Severomortsy remember and chtut the names of the hero- submariners Ivan kolyshkin, Mohammed Gadzhiyeva, Nikolai lunina, Grigoriy Shchedrin, Israel Fisanovicha, Fedor vidyaeva, the pilots Boris safonov, Ivan katunin, Zakhara Sorokin, Peter sgibneva, katernikov of Aleksandr shabalin, Vladimir Alekseyev, Sergey korshunovich, courageous intelligence officers of Victor Leonov, Sergey agafonov, Ivan katorzhny, marines Vasiliy kislyakov, Ivan sivko, Anatoliy bredov and many other unbending defenders of the Transarctic.

Fleet to the end carried out its debt before the native land. More than 48 thousand severomortsev are rewarded with orders and medals, 85 people are honored the high Title of Hero of the Soviet Union, and three of them - pilot Boris feaktistovich Safonov, katernik Aleksey osipovich Shabalin and intelligence officer Victor Nikolayevich Leonov - became twice Heroes of the Soviet Union.

12 ships, parts and the connections of fleet are preobrazovany into the guard, 47 - are rewarded with orders, to 14- TI appropriated honorable designations. On 24 June, 1945, in the victory parade participated 200 severomortsev.

The fleet continued to be improved in the postwar years, it became atomic, rocket-carrying, oceanic. During September 1955 for the first time in the world in the White Sea was produced the start of ballistic missile from the submarine, while during June 1956 first PL "B -67" with the ballistic missiles it was accepted in the composition of northern fleet. On 1 July, 1958, was raised the white ensign on the first domestic nuclear-powered submarine "kOe".

On 17 July, 1962, after completing march under ices of the Arctic, nuclear-powered submarine the "Leninist komsomol" for the first time in the history floated up in the region of the north pole, where were erected the national flag OF THE USSR and the white ensign. Only since 1962 submariners visited the north pole and were accomplished tasks in the polar regions of more than 300 times.

In 1966 the force of the submarines of northern fleet completed group round-the-world floating, after passing without the united emersion 25 thousand miles. During September 1963 two nuclear-powered submarines SF in the history for the first time completed passage under ices of the Arctic from north to the Pacific Ocean fleet. During the subsequent years more than 25 submarines completed this passage.

The first floating airfield for the carrier-based aviation became the heavy aircraft-carrying cruiser "Kiev". For the first time raised into the sky aircraft from the deck of ship Colonel f.Matkovskiy. In 1965 the fleet is rewarded with the Order of the Red Banner.

Today seamen -severomorqy continue to improve combat training and military craftsmanship, they vigilantly stand difficult watch, they highly hold the title of severomortsa. The marines of fleet during the guidance of constitutional order in the Chechen republic with fortitude and heroically acted. 10 of them is awarded the Title of Hero of the Russian Federation. But entire into the postwar period for the selfless fulfillment military duty, courage and heroism 41 to severomortsu appropriated the Title of Hero of the Soviet Union, 26 soldiers of fleet they became the heroes of the Russian Federation. Northern fleet is combat-ready, reliably it stands on the guard of the northern boundaries of the fatherland.




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