Russia plans to upgrade Black Sea Fleet with new warships
SEVASTOPOL, April 13 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's Black Sea Fleet will receive up to four frigates and four diesel-electric submarines in the next five years, a Navy source told RIA Novosti on Tuesday.
The Russian official said that the new warships were needed to replace vessels which have been in service for over 30 years and may soon not be fit for sea missions.
"The need to revamp the operational strength of the Black Sea Fleet is dictated by the decommissioning of various outdated vessels," the source said.
Earlier reports indicated that the Black Sea Fleet is set to decommission its Ochakov destroyer and a diesel submarine built in 1982. Next on the "scrap" list are the Kerch destroyer and several large support ships.
The first new vessels that are likely to join the fleet in the near future are the Admiral Gorshkov frigate and the Lada class Sevastopol diesel submarine, which are still under construction.
Russia needs to maintain a strong combat-capable fleet in the Black Sea and the Mediterranean not only to protect its interests in the region but also to contribute to international efforts in fighting sea piracy and drug-trafficking.
Warships from the Black Sea Fleet regularly participate in the Blackseafor naval drills, the Black Sea Harmony and the Operation Active Endeavor counterterrorist operations.
"The new ships will ensure the fleet's active participation in these operations and in other missions planned by the Russian Navy,' the source said.
He added that the planned overhaul did not violate the 1997 agreements with Ukraine on the presence of the Black Sea Fleet in the Crimea.
"Our plans are absolutely transparent and they will be discussed at meetings of a Russian-Ukrainian subcommittee on the Black Sea Fleet."
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