Soviet General Purpose Naval Deployments Outside Home Waters: Characteristics and Trends
Soviet General Purpose Naval Deployments Outside Home Waters: Characteristics and Trends
Deployments of Soviet general purpose naval forces outside home waters grew fivefoldi50 and were extended from the Mediterranean Sea to the Indian Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and West African waters.0 Soviet ships have not deployed to any new major areas. The time they spend away from their local fleetareas appears to be leveling off.
The cur-eni stabilizing trend may reflect fiscal and logistic constraints on routine naval deployments. Furthermore, analysis of Soviet construction programs, Soviet statements on deployments outside home waters, and foreign basing possibilities indicates that any increases in routine Soviet naval deployments to distant areas during the next few years will be gradual and limited. Recent contingency deployments, however, indicate that the Soviets may keep some forces in readiness for nonroutine operations in distant waters.
The Soviet Navy's general purpose missions fall into two general categories: defense of the USSR against Western naval forces and extension of Soviet political influence Soviet naval acttvity in ihe Norwegian Sea, Mediterranean Sea, and northwestern Pacific Ocean reflects an orientation toward anti-navy missions. The USSR's newest and best armed ships usually operate in theso areas. In contrast, the small Soviet task groups routinely assigned to waters more distant from the USSR-the Indian Ocean, Caribbean bea, and West African waters-are tailored primarily for political roles and have lesser military capabilities.
CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY Directorate of intelligence7 3
Soviet General Purpose Naval Deployments Outside Home waters: Characteristics and Trends
The Report in Brief
The scope of deployments of Soviet general purpose naval forces outside home waters expanded steadily during the late Sixties and drew world attention to the Soviet Navy. Prior 4 ships of the Soviet Navy infrequently ventured outside their homeolicy statement by the commander in chief of the Soviet Navy4 placed unprecedented stress on the conduct of long cruises and marked the beginning of more extensive deployments.
50 these deployments grewand were extended into the Indian Ocoan, Caribbean Sea, and West African waters. The overall rate of growth of Soviet naval activity outside home waters appears to be leveling off. The chief exception is the increase in the Indian Ocean brought about by the harbor clearing activity in Bangladesh.
The current stabilizing trend may reflect fiscal and logistic constraints on routine naval2 pledgeorthern Fleetcrew to save state funds through operating economyoviet consciousness that financial and material resources for fleet operations are limited. Slumps in routine out-of-area operating levelsperiods of unexpectedly high naval activity
indicate that the availability of ships formay constrain Soviet general purpose force operations. Also indicative of pressures for economy of ship usage are the Soviet practices ofunits already deployed and varying the time of force rotations to meet unexpected requirements for naval forces in distant areas.
Logistic shortcomings resulting from the design features of Soviet combatants, the small number of major auxiliary ships,ack of worldwide basing facilities also place constraints on the level of operations. Deployed Soviet naval forcesow level of activity, however, which creates only modest needs for resupply of fuel, spare parts, and munitions and minimizes maintenance requirements.
The missions of the Soviet Navy's general purpose forces fall into two general categories: defense of the USSR against Western naval forces and the extension of Soviet political influence. Soviet naval activity in the Norwegian and Mediterranean Seas and thePacific Ocean reflects an orientation toward anti-navy missions. The USSR's newest and best armed ships usually operate in these areas. In contrast, the small Soviet task groups routinely assigned to waters more distant from theIndian Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and West Africantailored primarily for political roles and have lessercapabilities.
Analysis of Soviet construction programs, foreign basing possibilities, statements, and naval constraints indicates that any increases in routine Soviet naval deployments to distant areas during the next few years will be gradual and limited. Recent contingencyhowever, indicate that tho Soviets keep some general purpose forces in readiness for nonroutine operations.
Evolution of Naval 5
Naval Activity Prior5
Poriod of 8
Soviet Naval Objectives 8
Defense Against Western Navies 9
Extension of Political Influence . 12
Indian Ocean 12
Limitations on Routine ActivityHome Waters. 16
Logistic Support Limitations
Operational Reflections of Resource
Limited Shore Support
Continued Political Missions in
Annex: Soviet General Purpose Naval Force Deployments Outside Home Waters, 24
Soviet Fleet none waters (Map) <l
Naval Forces Outside Home Waters (Chart). 7
Evolution of Naval Activity
Naval Activity Prior5
Tho first recorded soviet naval activity outside fleet home waters after World War II occurredhen ships of the Soviet Navy participated in afleet review in England. In the Fifties someshow- visits were made to foreign ports. These visits were typically conductedverdlov class light cruiser accompanied by three or four destroyers, and most were to European countries.
Soviet naval exercises throughout the greater part of the Fifties were confined to home waters faao map at loft) and were focused on the defense of these areas from opposing surface forces. The first known Soviet submarine patrol outside home waters took placeorthern Fleet unit operated briefly in the Norwegian Sea. ubmarine of the Pacific Ocean Fleet operated in the Bering Seahe first known out-of-area deploymentnit of that fleet. These submarine deploymentsgradually through the Fifties until patrols in the northwestern Pacific and Norwegian Sea became nearly continuous.
8 the Soviets extended the exercise activity of their Northern and Baltic Fleets into the Norwegian Sea and employed submarines in simulated attacks on surface targets. The Pacific Ocean fleet conducted similar exercises beginning in the mid-Fiftioa, but ships involved in them rarely ventured outside the Sea of Japan or Sea of Okhotsk.
The Soviets made their first attempt at basing naval units outside areas contiguous to the USSR8quadron of medium-range diesel-powered attack submarines was based in Albania, thereby moving the first lino of Black Sea naval defenses forward from the Bosporus into the eastern Mediterranean. The Albania squadron, numbering up tonits, was maintainedhen an ideological splitAlbania and the USSR caused its removal.
Two eventserhaps in recognition of Soviet naval shortcomings in the Cuban missile crisis, marked the beginning of more extensive naval Oneolicy statement by the commander in chief of the Soviot Navy, Admiral Gorshkov,the training objectives of the Navy withstress on the conduct of long voyages. The other was the deploymentmall force of surface ships and submarines to the Mediterranean Sea. This force was the forerunner of the USSR's first continuous naval presence outside its four fleet operating areas.
The magnitude of Soviet deployments outside home waters changed markedly5 Soviet naval activity increased at an average rate ofercent per year as ship operating days rose from5 to0* This increase reflected the growth of tho SovietSquadron, particularly after the Arab-Tsraeli Warhe initiation of operations in the Indian Oceannd more extensive worldwide exercise activity, including Exercise Ocean, which directly involvedoviet ships
The regional distribution of Soviet naval activity outside hone waters also changed duringeriod. The Mediterranean Sea's share of Soviet naval activity declined fromercent to 48 percent, while tho portion of ship-days in tho Indian Ocean grew from zero toercent and in the Atlantic, fromoercent. Ship-days accumulated in the Pacific Ocean remained nearly constant at aboutercent of the worldwide total, and operations in the Caribbean Sea and West African waters grew toercent of the total.
See Annexetailed breakdown of levels and trends of skip-days sincei>.
Period of Stabilization:
eriod of stabilization in Soviet naval deployments outside home waters began. Soviot activity in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Mediterranean areasin terms of ship-days has declined or has been relatively stable for two years. Activity in the Caribbean and West African waters has shown somebut this does not significantly affect the general trend. These trends are illustrated in the chart on pagehich reflects the statistical detail presented in the annex to this report.
An oxception to this overall stabilization occurred in the Indian Ocean, where the number ofexcluding the atypical harbor clearing activity infrom1 This rise was due mainly to the augmentation of Soviet forces in that area during the India-Pakistan war. Soviet units engaged in the harbor clearinginsmall coastaland diving support craft--expondedhip-days
Variations in the time that deployed soviet ships spend at anchor or in port limit the extent to which ship-day totals can be taken as direct indicators of levels of Soviet naval operations. Por example, Soviet combatants and naval auxiliaries worldwide spend onlyercent of their deployed time under way, whereas attack submarines spend overercent. Surface ships in tho Mediterranean Soa spenduarter of their time under way, whereas those in the Atlantic* and Pacific are under way almost constantly.
Soviet Naval Objectives
The0 ship-days accrued by deployed Soviet naval units in2 were in support of two main
" -i perations.
objectives: defense of the USSR against Western naval forces, and the extension of Soviet political influence. Soviet naval activity in the North Atlantic, theand the northwestern Pacific is related to defense, whereas Soviet task groups routinely in waters more distant from theIndian Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and West Africantailored
olitical role and most have low militaryagainst modern navies.
Defense Against Western Navies
Operations in the Atlantic, Pacific, andregions, where the primary mission is defense against Western navios, accounted for three-fourths of the total2hip-days In the portions of these areas nearest tho USSR, the Soviets deploy their newest and best equipped ships and react to tho presence of Western naval task forces byto track them continuously and by simulatingstrikes against them. The Soviets usually conduct one large exercise each year in the Norwegian Sea and another in the northwestern Pacific. These exercises emphasize defense against naval penetration of home float waters. Smaller scale exercises take place in the Mediterranean Saa, primarily in its eastern half, ononthly basis.
Atlantic. Soviet naval operations in the Atlantic Ocean--excluding the Caribbean and West Africanaccounted for about ercent of the total ship-days arge segment of thesehalf the surface combatant and submarine activity--was taken up by transits of units between Northern Fleet ports and the Mediterranean or Caribbean Seas. The remaining surface combatant and submarine activity consisted of barrier patrols at tho entrances of the Baltic and Barents Seas, exercises in the North Atlantic and the Norwegian Sea, and surveillance of US and NATO forces, including Polaris submarines at Holy Loch, Scotland, and Rota, Spain.
Naval auxiliary ship operationa in the Atlantic--which totaled abouthip-days in
about evenly divided between direct support of other naval activity and intelligence ship deployments.
Pacific. Ships of the Pacific Ocean Pleet, which were deployed forhip-daysattern similar to that of Soviet ships in the Atlantic. Surface combatant activity consists primarily of transits to and from the Indian Ocean and patrols in the southern entrance to the Sea of Japan. There are occasional special deployments such as those of three major combatants and three yubmarines from Petropavlovsk to the Gulf of Alaska and then to Hawaiian waters Half the Pacific Ocean Fleet submarine operations are patrols in the Philippine Sea, and the remainder are exercises and Indian Ocean transits
Naval auxiliaries account for about two-thirds of the ship-days of the Pacific Ocean Fleet. More thanercent of this auxiliary ship activity is conducted by intelligence ships. Routine submarine rescue ship deployments ond tanker operations make up most of the rest.
Mediterranean Sea. Over the past two years, the Soviet Mediterranean Squadron has consisted of 15 tourface combatants, aboutubmarines, and someuxiliaries. 12 the surface combatant portion of this forceruisers or large SSM-equippcd ships fSverdlov, Moskva, Kresta, or Kynda classonits of destroyer or destroyer-escort sizo, oneinecraft,mphibious ships. The submarine contingent included oneuclear-powered attackleast one equipped with cruise8 toicscl-powered units.
The squadron is normally supportedajor fleetcruise missile support ship, one submarine tender, one orepair ships,ilers. The remainder of the auxiliaries arc miscellaneous smaller units including light cargo ships, merchant tankers, intelligence collectors, tugs, water carriers, and diving tenders.
ship-days in tho Mediterranean totaled someaboutercent of the year's total.
Soviet exercises indicate that tho primarymission of the USSR's naval force in theSea is probably to counter tho carriers and submarines of the US Sixth Fleet in waters east of the Straits of Sicily. econdary mission is the interdiction of NATO shipping.
Each year during the past three years, the Soviets have conducted four or more anticarrier exercises in the Mediterranean Sea involving one or two cruisesubmarines and one or more major surface combatants. Some of these exorcises have been controlled by the Main Naval Staff in Moscow, reflecting the USSR's high-level interest in such activity.
Other exercise activity appears to bc focused on basic ASW problems. ASW exercises have most frequently employed one to five ships against Soviet target ew exercises have taken place in which larger numbers of ships formed antisubmarine barriers in waters south of Crete and in the Straits of Sicily. The Soviets have had no success in tracking US ballistic missile submarines.
Mediterranean operations are politically moreto the Soviets than Atlantic and Pacific naval activity. Byounter to tho US Sixth Fleet, the Mediterranean Squadron lends credence to the Soviets' self-appointed role as protector of the Arab states in the Middle East. Soviet naval units can be positioned at any point in the eastern Mediterranean Seaay's time, giving the USSR the capability of interposing its forceslient state and an opposinq forco.
Tho political role of tho Soviet Mediterranean Squadron is also evidenced by its program of port calls, occasional joint exercises with littoral states such as Syria, and the presencemall Soviet amphibious force ofaval infantrymen.
The ouster of the Soviets from Egypt hus notin any major changes in Soviet naval activity in the Mediterranean. The greatest loss to Moscow was the reconnaissance and strike supportprovided by the naval air squadron formerly based there. Egypt has reasserted its control over the port facilities, but Soviet warships still use Alexandria and Port Saidoutine basis, and the Soviets still use Alexandria for overhauling diesel submarines.
Tho Soviets also appear to be developing some support capabilities in Syria. Soviet warships now routinely call at Tartus and make frequent visits to Latukia.
Extension of Political Influence
Soviet naval forces in the Indian Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and West African waters have been tailoredfor political rather than military missions. The soviet forces normally deployed to these areas moke many port calls but arc otherwise largely inactive. Soviet task groups operating in the Indian Ocean and West African waters have been composed mainly ofships more thanears old and have included few submarines. Surface combatants fitted with long-range ASW sonars or the newer surface-to-air missile systems have been almost completely absent. In the Caribbean, however, where naval deployments areto impress Western observers, the Soviets have employed their newer combatants and more submarines.
During the past three yuars the Soviets haveontinuous naval presence in the Indian Ocean, typically including one destroyer or cruiser, one or two fleet minesweepers, one amphibiousiesel submarine, and three or four auxiliary support ships, with this nucleus of ships, the Soviets can
demonstrate their political interest in the area and introduce additional units less provocatively than if no ships were already there.
Goodwill visitsrincipal objective of Soviet operations in the Indian Ocean. rend toward more port visits by warships in the few countries which are most receptive to the SovietSouth Yemen, andbeen evident. These threeaccounted for only aboutfort visits by combatants in the Indian Ocean8ut approximatelyfuch visits1
During periods of tension, Soviet ships support countries friendly to the USSR. The presence of Soviet warships in Somali ports for periods of several weeks at various times during the past few years may have helped to bolster tho Somali regime. Theof ships in the Bay of Bengal during the India-Pakistan Warisible aspect of the USSR'sfor India in that conflict.
One of the few Soviet military uses of the Indian Ocean has been that of transferring ships between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Even this role has been limited, however, for only one-fourth of the Soviet surface combatants and submarines that have entered the area have been on transits between fleets.
To facilitate their support of Indian Oceanthe Soviets recently made arrangements to improve the port facilities in Berbera, Somalia, and to conduct routine maintenance there. oviet naval communications station which was established near Berbera in2 should improvebetween Soviet naval headquarters in Moscow and ships in the Indian Ocean. The Soviets have also sought the use of Iraqi facilities at Umm Qasr on the Persian Gulf.
The Soviet naval presence in the Caribbean Sea has been small and discontinuous but has included
the USSR's more modern units. During tho past three years, when Soviet ships accrued an averagehip-days per year in the area, surface combatants and submarines were present less thanercent of the time. Nearly all the combatants were less thanears old.
Two political objectives hove been evident in most of the Soviet naval operations in tho Caribbeanimprovement of Soviet-Cuban relations and testing of US reactions to the Soviet naval presence.
Tho object of improved relations with Cuba was particularly evident during the USSR's first naval deployment to the Caribbean Port calls coincided with Cuba'sh of July celebrations, and Soviet ships and sailors participated in Cuban ceremonies throughout their stay. The task group which supported this diplomatic activity included more major surface units than any subsequent Caribbean deploymont.
In their Caribbean exercise activity, Soviet naval units have playedilitary assistance role. Ships involved in the three longest Soviet deployments to thu Caribbean devoted nearly all their at-sea time to training the Cuban Navy in the use of navalprovided by tho USSR.
The Soviets have experimented with the use of Cuban ports for submarine supportanner which indicates an intent to test US reactions to their presence. In the late summer0 nuclear support barges and submarine nets were positioned in Cienfucgos harbor and recreational facilities were built on an island in the bay. No nuclear submarines visited Cienfuogos untilowever. An anchorage in the Bay of Nipc was used briefly tor repair workiesel submarine during December0 and was used again during1 whenI class nuclear-powerod cruise missile submarineubmarine tender tied up together there for seven days. The most recent submarine activity in the Bay of NlpeI clasn Utllistic missile submarineubmarine tender thai, moored there eek during April and May
- M -
The visit ofI to Cuba has been the only port calloviet ballistic missile submarine outside the USSR.
The Sovietsescue tug in or near Cuba to provide emergency assistance to submarines in the eastern Atlantic. Rescue tugs have accounted for overercent of the Soviet naval ship-days accrued in the Caribbean Sea since
Prior tooviet naval activity in West African waters consisted only of an experimental submarine support operation, two submarine-associated research expeditions,ransits to the Indian Ocean,how of force off Ghana in In the Ghanaianour-unit task group was deployed to West African waters in support of diplomatic efforts to obtain the release of two Soviet fishing boats and their crews which had been seized by Ghana the previous fall.
In0 the Soviets responded to Guinean President Sekou Toure's request for protection from raids by Portuguese-backed Guinean exiles bya naval patrol near the Guinean coast. Since its inception the Guinea patrol has been virtually continuous, averaging one to two combatants and one support ship.
The Soviets evidently have only political purposes inaval force near Guinea. There are no indications that the Soviet ships engagod in the Guinea patrol have conducted any exercises or tests while in West African waters or served any military purpose useful to the Soviets.
West African logistic support has been useful but probably not essential to Soviet ships transiting to the Indian Ocean. During the past three years roughly One-third of the Soviet naval units en route to or from the Indian Ocean have stopped in west African ports.
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Limitations on Routine Activity Outside Soviet Home Waters
There are indications that fiscal and logistic limitations affect the pace of routine Soviet naval activity. The current leveling-off inhole and some shorter term variations in activity levels within fleets may reflect these
The2 pledgeorthern Fleet submarine crew to "save state funds through competent use of equipment, extension of equipment service life, efficient consumption of fuel and electric power,hrifty attitude toward uniforms and specialis indicativeoviet policy decision to stress operating oconomy. ecisiononsciousness of limitations on the availability of operating funds. This consciousness could bein the Soviet Navy, since its active general purpose forces* received less than nine percent of tho USSR's defense expendituresnd almost half of this money was absorbed by the procurement of ships and weapons systems and the construction of shore facilities.
Logistic Support Limitations
The modest tempo of activity by deployed Soviet naval forces may reflect logistic support limitations.
Including the naval infantry, naval aviation, coastal defense forces, and shore support.
Roughly two-thirdstha Soviet surface combatants and auxiliaries operating outside Soviet homeexcluding intelligenceusually in port or at anchor. This low level of activity minimizes Soviet needs for fuel, spare parts, munitions, and maintenance support. The design of Soviet combatants, the small force of major support ships, and the lack ofbasing facilities are weak elements in the Soviet Navy*s logistic structure.
Combatant Design* Soviet combatants are designed with emphases on speed and armament at the expense of range and endurance- They have marginalfor underway replenishment and limited or no reloads for major weapon systems. Moreover, Soviet ships have relatively small crews with limitedfor self-repair of shipboard systems.
Support Ships. The major elements in the Soviet naval auxiliary fleet are itsleet oilers, ubmarine tenders,ceangoing repair ships, and six cruise missile support units. With the exception of thu oilers, these ships are relativelythan ono-third the size of their US counterparts.
Tho Soviets have recently constructed two new types of replenishment ships that are designed to transfer fuel and dry stores while under way alongside the receiving ship. These typos of ships could enable small Soviet task groups to operate for longer periods on the open oceans with less dependence on fair weather for replenishment. Other Soviet auxiliaries can trans* fer dry stores only at anchor and are unable to refuel combatants unless they are nearly motionless in calm water with hoses over the bow or stern.
Over the past four years the USSR's use ofships for fleet support has grown from lesship-days per year tohip-days. This increased use of nonnaval shipping probably
reflects both the USSR's shortage of naval auxiliariesolicy of preparing the Soviet merchant marine for contingency naval support. During the India-Pakistan war, for example, two civil tankers wereto supply the Soviet naval force in the Indian Ocean.
Basing. No Soviet combatants are based outside the Warsaw Pact, and there are no Soviet naval shore establishments, other than communications relayin any foreign countries outside the Pact. Soviet naval units do have regular access to port facilities in Egypt, Somalia, Cuba, Syria, Iraq, and Guinea, however.
To overcome their lack of foreign bases the Soviets have used floatingofships responsible for the maintenance andof out-of-area combatant forces. These floating bases can accomplish their missions at anchorages in international waters or in foreign harbors.
The use of floating bases minimizes the political problems associated with out-of-area operations, but does not provide drydocking facilities for hull repair and in most cases does not permit rosupply by aircraft. When auxiliary ship support takes place in anthe units are usually vulnerable to bad weather
and the crews do not have opportunities for rest and recreation.
nal Reflections of Resource Limitations
Variations in routine soviet deployment levels indicate that resource constraints may affect the availability of ships for deployment/ As an example, the activity of the Pacific Ocean Fleet was at an abnormally low level for five months following its support of unexpected deployments to the Indian Ocean arid South China Soa between1 and For nearly five months following the return of
the Soviot combatant task force from the South China Sea, there were no other out-of-area deployments by major combatants of the Pacific Ocean Fleet. The fleet's annual defensive exercise, which had been held each fall during recent years, did not take place
When possible, the Soviets have responded to new requirements for ships in distant areas by utilizing forces already deployed. The Soviets formed what has become the Guinea patrol by detaching two destroyers from their Mediterranean Squadron. During the India-Pakistan War the Soviet ships in the Indian Ocean which had been relieved at the end of their six-month deployments remained in the area until the crisis had passed.
Limitations on submarine operating resources could explain what mayradeoff betweenand general purpose submarine operations.0 Soviet ballistic missile submarinehave risen by morehip-days per year, but the previously rapid growth in general purpose submarine operations has stopped.
Despite any constraints on routine operations, the Soviets haveuick-responseduring four periods of.political tension In none of these instances was the USSRthreatened. The more recent of theseindicate that the Soviets have certain general purpose ships on alert for quick reaction.
The first and largest force buildup was that of the Soviet Mediterranean Squadron during the period surrounding the Arab-Israeli War it began in May and lasted through July7 and resulted in the addition of eight submarines andombatants and sup-
port ships. Previously the Mediterranean Squadron had averaged about two to three submarines and four surface combatants.
Inrisis developed in Jordan and the Soviets again sent additional units to the Mediterranean. As was the case with the Arab-Israeli Warost of tho major combatants and submarines were in the Mediterranean before the hostilities began, but two Northern Fleet submarines
and three Black Sea Fleet surface combatants were added. The additional combatants left their home portsday period and made unhurried transits to the Mediterranean.
Sincehere have been twowhich indicate that the Soviets probablysmall "duty forces" in readiness for sudden deployments.
During the India-Pakistan War inhe first shipsoviet task group started for the Bay of Bengal after aperiod of probablyoours. otal of three Soviet surface combatants, four submarines, and four auxiliary ships eventually left Vladivostok and Petropavlovsk. The lead ship in the group, a Kynda class cruiser, steamed at an average speed of nearly nots and reached the Straits of Malacca in nine days- The last group of ships to reach the Indian Ocean ubmarine tender and two submarines and took three weeks to complete the trip.
The most recent example was in2oviet naval task force was sent to the South China Seaesponse to the US mining of North Vietnamese ports. The three surface combatants and probably the four submarines which eventually were deployed to
the area were under way withinay after President Nixon's speech was broadcast. Six days later the surface combatants arrivedoint near the entrance to the Gulf of Tonkin and rendezvoused with six otherand auxiliary ships which hadtheir transits to or from the Indian Ocean to loiter in the area. During the one to five weeks the Soviet units were in the Gulf of Tonkin area they were almost totally inactive.
Analysis of the USSR's naval construction programs, its prospects for increased access to foreign ports, and Soviet statements on naval operations indicates that the Soviets do not intend to expand the level of operations of their general purpose naval forces at the rate of the late Sixties. They do intend totheir capabilities to conduct naval operations in distant areas, however.
Soviet capabilities for distant naval operations will gradually be increasedesult of ongoingprograms. Larger ships with greater cruising ranges and better capabilities for self-defense are being built. Two examples arc an aircraft carrier which was recently launched in the Black Sea and the Kara class cruiser which made its initial deployment to the Mediterranean Sea in ships are not being produced with any urgency (one or two perven though they would ease Soviet support operations in distant areas. Although
amphibious landing ships aro elements of the USSR's naval presence in distant areas, the Soviets are expanding theirate of only one unit per year.
In addition to construction activity, the Soviets recently modified two Sverdlov class light cruisers, probably for seaborne command center roles. These ships demonstrated extensive communicationsin their first postmodification deployments, one of which was to the Indian Ocean, and will improve the Soviet Navy's ability to control distant operations.
Limited Shore Support
The Soviets are working to increase their port usage rights although their prospects for muchare limited. During the past two years the Soviets have made inroads by initiating routineship support work in Berbera, Somalia, and Tartus,increased military aid for harbor access in each case. They may have triedtoort rights agreement with Guinea as well and may attempt to use their harbor clearing operations in Bangladesh to bargain for harbor rights there. Other countries possessing good harbors and some diplomatic ties to theas India andnot been interested in permitting Soviet warships to use their ports for support
Continued Political Missions in Distant Areas
The comments of Soviet naval officers such as Admiral Kasatonov, deputy commander in chief of the Soviet Navy, on distant naval operations reflect pride in the USSR's new-found ability to conduct these operationsrowing awareness of their political utility. Political roles have beenprimarily in terms of the Soviet Navy's ability to protect the "state interests" of the USSR around the world. The use of the Soviet Navy to strengthen ties with friendly socialist states and
to end the domination of the seas by the British and American navies fits with tho rationale of protecting the USSR's "state interests"lobal power.
8 the Soviet Navy's accomplishmentsoodwill ambassador have been praised by naval leaders, including Admiral Gorshkov. The fact that Soviet naval units visitedountries during the past three years was mentioned in every major Soviet Navy Day address
If the protection of "state interests" and the accomplishment of goodwill missions are in fact the primary motivating forces behind distant Soviet naval operations, future "long cruise" deployment patterns will follow foreign policy shifts as the USSR seeks political influence in various parts of the world.
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