The Soviet Navy:
Strategy, Growth, and Capabilities
CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY Directorate of Intelligence June2
The Soviet Navy: Strategy, Growth, and Capabilities
The Soviet Navy2 reflects nearly twoof effort on the part of the Soviet Onion to extend ita defense perimeters away from the Soviet coastline and to achieve sufficient mobile capability to counter US and NATO naval forces in distant areas. To support these national goals, the Soviet Navy has developed operational capabilities for anticarrier defense, strategic attack, and distant deployments.esser extent, tho Soviets have worked toward acquiring an antisubmarine warfare capability, while preserving their interdiction and coastal defense forces.
The US and Soviet navies are now competitors in overall size and in technical advances in the fields of weapons, propulsion systems, and sensors. This fact and the rapidity with which tho Soviet Navy has improved its capabilities during the past ten years have provoked questions regarding Soviet naval strength and intentions.
This report describes the background and current status of the Soviet Navy in terms of its strategic concerns, force composition, construction programs, and distant operations. To place theseof the Soviet Navyleareromparison of US and Soviet fleet structures, design and construction efforts, and deployedis included.
The Current Period,
Soviet Naval Strategy in Perspective
Changes in Force Composition and Size
Soviet Naval Deployments
Current Construction Activity
Comparison of US and Soviet Naval Forces
US and USSR: Naval Ships and Aircraft,
US and USSR: Naval Ships Commissioned, by
Soviet Naval Strategy
The Soviet Navy's strategy in the postwar period concentrated on coastal defense, support of the army's flanks, and interdiction of tho sea lines ofto Europe. In executing these missions, major surface ships and naval aircraft were to combat enemy naval units in coastal areas, and an attack submarine force of as manynits was to cut the sea lines and to assist in coastal defense. Some naval leaders, who probably desired to extend the dofense barriers further to sea, advocated the construction of carriers. One reliable source reported that Stalin actuallylan for construction of fourcarriers Stalin's deathajor reorganization of the navy terminated the largeprogram atnits and ended plans for acquiring carriers.
The political events of theKhrushchev's rise to powerhe replacement of Admiral Kuznetsov by Admiral Gorshkov as commander in chief of the navynd the ouster of Marshal Zhukov inhad an impact on naval programs. These events, along with the emergence of the newaircraft armed with nucleara sweeping reexamination of naval programs and affected the shape of the future forces.
Khrushchev and Gorshkov quickly exerted theirto shape the new Soviet Navy. In response to the carrier threat, they authorized the development of cruise missile launch systems, emphasizing submarines and aircraft. Khrushchev and Gorshkov were proponents of submarines and it was under their leadership that the first ballistic missile submarines appeared. Khrushchev believed that conventional surface warships were of little use and stopped the construction of larg
gun-anncd ships. Seme of the ships already underwere completed, but others were scrapped. In compliance with the new policy, the Soviets builtew surface ships, and these were armed with missiles.
In the early Sixties, with the deployment of tho Polaris submarine, tho Soviets realized that thecarrier was becoming relatively less importantuclear weapons delivery system, although they still regarded the carrierhreat to the Soviet periphery, to their own naval forces, and to "national liberation" movements. esult tho development of anticarrier weapons, such as submerged-launched cruise missile submarines, continued into the Seventies.
Tho Current Period,
Soviet naval strategy now emphasizes five primary missions: strategic attack, defense against aircraft carriers, distant deployments, strategic antisubmarine defense, and interdiction.
Stratogic Attack. Tho Soviet Navy concentrated its naval strategic strike and deterrence weapons in ballistic missile submarines. diesel-powered, with three missile tubes) andnuclear-powerod, with three missile tubes) submarines wore constructed, followed bylass (nuclear-powered, withubesm missile) lass patrols are conducted in the North Atlantic and Pacific. lass submarine is still in production and it is estimated thatnits will have been constructed by the end lass has recently appeared, equipped withissiles having an estimated rangem.
Defense Against Aircraft Carriers. Although con-tinuing to improve Eheir anticarrier capabilities, the Soviets appear reasonably satisfied that they can handle the threat. S2 the number of
Soviot cruise missile launch rails, including launchers on small patrol craft, grew. At present the Soviets haveuclear andiesel cruise missileadger medium bombers with air-to-surface missiles and abouturface ships with cruise missiles. These forces give the Soviettand-off attack capability and have replaced the traditional concept of massive numbers of ships in face-to-face confrontations.
Distant Oporations. Admiral Gorshkov's emphasis4 on distant operations broadened the scope of the Soviet Navy's operations militarily and Militarily, distant oporations allow the Soviet Navy to extend its defense perimeter outward from the Soviet land mass. They also permit more flexibleto an international criais such as the Indo-Pakistan War. Politically, theyounter to US forces in the Third World. By means of distant naval operations, the Soviet Union has extended its presence into areas where it traditionally has had little or no influence, such as the Caribbean andareas, the Indian Ocean, and West Africa.
At the same time, problems associated withoperations limit Soviet naval capabilitiesostile situation. Because Soviot aircraft are land-basod in the USSR, exceptew stationed in Egypt, the Soviets lack air cover for most of their distant operations. This shortcoming has been partially compensated for by equipping ships with surface-to-air missileby the continuation of Kashin class construction and the Kanin class conversion.
Logistic support is weak. At present the navy draws in part upon the merchant fleet for itseffort, an option that might notostile situation. The lack of out-ot-area port facilities isotential problem, as the Soviets have no means to effect major repairs or overhauls without returning to the Soviet Union. In
addition, long transit distances from major Soviet naval bases could actimiting factor on naval out-of-area deployments.
Strategic ASW. The Soviets quickly recognized the threat posed by nuclear submarines in the late Fifties when the Polaris program was inaugurated by the US. They apparently did not appreciate the full implications of Polaris until the raid-Sixties, when they found their attempts at counterweapons were short of the mark. At about the same time, the threat of Western nuclear attack submarinesoality as the Soviets deployed their fleets to distant operating areas. The focus of antisubmarine warfare efforts apparently shifted from strategic (anti-Polaris) to the more manageable tactical problem. Improved sonars and antisubmarine weapons were developed and deployed, while increasedand development efforts were undertaken toolution to the Polaris problem.
Despite these continuing efforts, the Soviet Navy's ASW capability is limited. Current Soviot ASW forces do noterious threat to the US ballistic missile submarine force because the Soviets do not possess an ocean surveillance system capable of tracking Polaris and do not have sensors adequate for initial detection of quiet nuclear submarines. It is unlikely that there will be any substantial improvement in the near terra. Soviot submarines are noisier and have loss effective sonar equipment than their US counterparts, and airborne and surface-ship ASW systems lag behind US standards. The general lackapability for initial detection ofalso represents an important tacticalin the Soviet Navy. This vulnerability has become more important with the increase in distant operations by Soviet surface combatants and auxiliaries.
Interdiction. The Soviets, in their writings, continue to recognize the interdiction of sea routesiable mission. The importance of interdiction, however, depends on the nature of any future conflict
in Europe. hort, intense conventional warapid escalation to nuclear war between the Warsaw Pact and NATO countries, interdiction will notajor naval mission.
A nuclear or conventional war protracteddays, however, would require the deploymentcombatants in an interdictory posture, andNavy probably has contingency plans foreventuality. f '_ ' '
n general, trie size or rue suvibl And the antiship capabilities of its
submarine torce and the antiship capab surface combatants give the Sovietignificant interdiction capability.
Soviet Naval Strategy in Perspective
Since tho mid-Sixties tho Soviet Navy has expanded its aroa and style of operations but it remainsa defensive force. Perhaps one reason for the seeming shifts in Soviet strategy has been the emergenceuclear and ballistic missile environment. The longer ranges of the weapons systems arrayed against the USSR require that the Soviet Navy be able to detect, localize, and neutralize hostile forces farther from the Soviet land mass. For an effective defense, attack carriers must bo destroyed before their aircraft are aloft and ballistic missile submarines stopped before their missiles are launched.
Soviet naval strategy, although more positive, haB not drastically changed. The Soviet Navy continues to develop systems to better achieve its missions of strategic deterrence, antisubmarine and anticarrier warfare, interdiction of sea routes, and preparedness for military or politicalin distant areas. Tho overall thrust of Soviet strategy remainsSoviet Navy lacks the air defense, amphibious forces, and
logistic capabilities needed to support an offensive posture.
The more outward-looking posture of Soviet naval strategy is demonstrated by current Soviet navaland operations. For example/ the rate at which the Soviets have built their new ballisticsubmarines attests to the value they puttrategic deterrent system. New construction programs including the Krivak destroyer* theruiser and the new Boris Chilikin replenishment ship, appear to be designed in part toore balanced capability for open-ocean operations in distant Expansion of Soviet naval operations into the Caribbean and near West Africa, along with the sustained operations in the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean, are examples of this moro forward posture.
The military effectiveness of Soviet ships in distant operations is still limited by logisticdeficiencies, inadequate antisubmarine defences, and poor air defense capabilities. These deployments have proved fruitful in the political sense, however, and probably will remain an important element of Soviet strategy as Soviet interests increasethe world.
Changes in Force Composition and Size
The changing operational needs of the Soviet Navy have resultedhift in the structure of the total force over the years. This change isin (appended). The size of the submarine force, for example, has decreased aboutercentnd the number of surface ships has increased aboutercent. Naval aircraft declined aboutercentargely through the removal of fighter aircraft and light bombers from naval jurisdiction The PVO (airforces assumed the coastal air defense mission at that time.
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Rather than making substantial quantitative increases in the size of its naval force, the Soviet Union has concentrated on making qualitative The submarine force, for example, hasin size through the years, but its capabilities have improved through technological changes. oviet submarines consisted entirely of diesel-powered torpedo attack classes of world War II design. 0 percent of the force was armed withmissiles and anotherercent carried cruise missiles. This trend has continued, and todayercent of Soviet submarines carry ballistic missiles andercent, cruise missiles.
The shift to nuclear propulsion of submarines is another example of technological improvements. ercent of the force had nuclear propulsion, butverercent was nuclear powered. In the four-year9he Soviet Union will have builtiesel-powered submarines (some of these for export) compared withuclear-powered units.
The size of the Soviet surface forces hasover the years, but this results primarily from an increase in the numbers of minor combatants65 and the addition of amphibious landing and auxiliary ships0 to the present. The number of major combatants is about the same today as it was
The composition of the surface combatant force has altered through the years, reflecting the concern of the Soviet Navy about its anticarrier andmissions as well as its ability to conduct distant operations. The Soviets have put increasing emphasis onandarming their surface combatants. In6 the Soviet Navy had no missile capability. Today about one-fourth of its surface combatants arc missile equipped.
he Soviets improved theirlanding capability, but this effort remains
minor. The fledgling naval infantry consists of0 troops andmphibious ships. The largest of these ships,apacity ofersonnel, are small by US standards. The naval infantry is probably intended for coastal operations in the event of war or to secure areas of special naval interest, such as the ingress and egress routes of the various Soviet fleets. Its utility in distant areas is limited, forair cover it probably would not be effective against well-defended beaches.
Soviet naval aviation has undergone the most pronounced numerical changes of any naval element during the period. The transfer of the coastal air defense role to the PVO forces9 resultedarked reduction in the number of aircraft assigned to the navy, and the current force is only one-third the size of the force aval aviation has concentrated on its anticarrier andmissions, and has increased its missile-carrying strike force by aboutercent, itsand bomber force by about ercent and its ASW aircraft and helicopters by almostercent.
Soviet Naval Deployments
The general-purpose ships of the Soviet Navy spentays in out-of-area deployments50 As shown in Tablepproximately half the increase in distant operationsesult of greater use of naval auxiliaries in support of fleet deployments and one-third of the changeonsequencereater number ofcombatant deployments. The remainder was due to an increase in submarine patrols.
The greatest annual increases in Soviet out-of-area ship-days occurred7 Two-thirds of the increasehip-days7esult of the expansion of the Soviet Hediter-
ranean squadron during and after the Arab-Israeli War. The jumphip-days0 wasa consequence of Exercise Ocean which diroctly involved the deployment ofhips.
Ballistic missile submarine operations have grownays5aysccounting forercent of strategic and general purpose naval deployments combined. (See)
Soviet deployments to the Mediterranean Sea1 accounted forbout half of the general purpose out-of-area deployments. When the Soviet Mediterranean squadron was establishedt consisted of one to four diesel submarines, one to four surface combatants, and up to six Following tho June warhe Soviets quadrupled their submarine and surface combatant strengths and introduced cruise missile submarines, amphibious ships, and naval aircraft. he Soviet Mediterranean squadron has grown by roughly one-third to its present average level of approximatelyhips--about equal in numbers to the US Sixth Flout. This total normally includesourface combatants, oubmarines, and
The Soviets probably view their presentforce as approaching the optimum level to counter the US Sixth Fleet,imitedforce in crisis situations, gather intelligence demonstrate support for their friends, and constrain the political and military options of other countries.
Atlantic Ocean deployments accountedhip-days, approximately one-fourth of the Soviet Navy's general purpose ship-days in out-of-area operations Ships transiting from Northern and Baltic Fleet ports to the Mediterranean Sea and South Atlantic have contributed heavily to the Atlantic ship-day totals. Soviet deployments to tho Caribbean Sea and the West African area comprised
less thanercent of Atlantic ship-dayshe USSR appears to be making efforts tomall, continuous naval presence in the Caribbean and off West Africa which might slightly increase the level of soviet operations in the Atlantichole.
2 percent,hip-days, of the Soviet Navy's out-of-area operations were spent in the Pacific Ocean. Most of this activity involved general purpose submarine operations throughout the West Pacific, fleet training exercises in the Northern Pacific, and intelligence collection activity, rowing portion of Soviet ship-days in the Pacific Ocean hasonsequence of the transits of ships to and from the Indian Ocean.
ercent of the Soviet Navy's deployed ship-days were in the Indian Ocean. 8 when Soviet naval deployments to the Indian Ocean began andhe Soviet force in the area grew to include an average of four surface combatants, including an amphibious ship, one or two submarines, and up touxiliaries. During the India-Pakistan War, the Soviets built their Indian Ocean naval forces upeak level ofhips, includingombatants.
The current force is about one-half this size, but it now includes one more submarine equipped with cruise missiles and two more surface combatants than were there prior to Unless the US increases its naval forces in the area or the Suez Canal is opened, the Soviets will probably maintain their Indian Ocean force near its present level.
The Soviets have attempted to redress their logistic problems through the acquisition of naval operating bases abroad. They have been mostto date in the Mediterranean, where Egypt has made the port of Mersa Matruh and an associated airfield available to Soviet naval forces of the Mediterranean squadron. The Soviets also have use of Port Said and the shipyard and harbor at Alexandria.
In tho Indian Ocean, reports indicate that the Soviets may have obtained access to tho Iraqi port of Umm Qasr on the Persian Gulf. acility would relieve the long Soviet sea linos of communication. In addition, the Soviets maintain small forces at Cuban and Guinean facilities. These facilities do not support major Soviet fleet deployments of the sort which exist in the Mediterranean or Indian Ocean. Rather they appear to be designed for local political impact-in Cuba to acclimate the USoviet Caribbean presence, and in Guinea to demonstrate Soviet support for Guinea against Portugal.
Soviet naval air operations have expanded along with the operations of the surface and submarine forces. 5 the naval air forces receivedeconnaissance aircraft and began to conduct long-range missions over the open ocean. oviet naval air squadron was established in Egypt, and0 naval reconnaissance aircraft began to make brief visits to Cuba.
Current Construction Activity
Tho USSR is continuing the construction of small cruisers, destroyers, large patrol craft,ew class ot large naval auxiliary, ingle unitarge unidentified ship also is under construction, and several destroyer modification programs are under way.
Cruisers. The first unit of thelass missile cruiser is on seaecond unit is fitting out, and the third unit is on the ways. ofon vessel at Nikolayev has been accompanied by an apparent end to the Kresta II program at Leningrad, The seventh unit ofon Kresta II class is now fitting out, and no further units aro on the ways. nits will probably
be turned outlightly lower rate than the one-per-year average for the Kresta class.*
Destroyers. Construction ofon Krivak class continues at both Kaliningrad and Kerch. Three units of this class are already at seaourth unit is fitting out. Four more units are on the ways, in the early or middle stages of construction. The sixth unit at Kaliningrad was begun aboutof this year,hird unit probably will appear at Kerch soon. Krivak construction is expected to continue for several years,ate of four or five units per year.
Construction ofon Kashin class appears to have ended with the launching ofh unit at Nikolayev. This unit has several changes from earlier units, however, and may be servingrototypeollow-on class.
Modification activity continues to be an important factor in current Soviet destroyer programs. Three of the last four Krupnyy class units are underto the Kanin class configuration. imilar modification, involving the replacement ofcruise missiles by surface-to-air missiles, has begun on two of the four Kildin class units. An older Kashin class destroyer also is receiving minor modifications,ossible program tothis class which first entered service.
* nd Kresta classes and the earlier Kynda class are commonly identified as light cruisersof their surface-to-surface missiles, but they are about the same sizeS guided missile frigate. US cruisers range from0 to0 tons, and US frigates rangeons. The displacement tonnages of the three Soviet ships, in comparison, rangeoons. The last large Soviet cruiser was the Sverdlov class,0 tons, built in the early Fifties.
Patrol craft. Major patrol craft programs are thelass,and theNanuchka class Both of these units are considerably larger tnan earlier patrol craft and fallategory so^where'etLen ocean escorts and coastal patrol
Auxiliaries. econd unit of the Boris fhilikin
o^rHof ?f P "fSr^ forces on distant operations. rogram is not clear, but it may be the beginning of an effort to improve Soviet naval logistics capabilities.
unidentified Class. arge unidentified ship ofoTOOO-tons is under construction at Nikolayev. It is almost certainly aship, and probably is designed to carry helicoptersTOL aircraft. It could alsoaval auxiliary or some other kind of special-purpose vessel, but ?his is unlikely. It will be two or three years before the ship is ready for service.There is no evidence yet of the startecond unit.
The USSB continues to build submarines of the ballistic missile, cruise missile, and torpedotypes emphasizing nuclear propulsion. At the same time, older units are involved in majorprograms.
mmiatic Missile Types^ Highest priority has been-glven tolass nuclear-power ballistic
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missile submarine. This submarine is being built at twoin the northwestern USSR and Komsomol'sk in the Soviet Far East. Twelvo units are being assembled simultaneously on the building ways, eight at Severodvinsk and four at Komsomol'sk. The rate of construction is about seven units per year andnits are operational. lassurface displacement ofons.
Of the older ballistic missileH and Gwere originally built to launch missiles from the surface but are now being converted to launch missilesubmerged position. Aboutnits have been converted.
Cruise Missile Types. There are two new types of nuclear-powered cruise missile submarines,lass andlass. lass is being built in tho western USSR at Gor'kiy at the rate of two per year. lass carries eightntiship cruise missiles. lassurfaceofons andnits have been launched.
At present, only one unit oflass has been completed. It was built at Severodvinsk and hasorobably submerged-launched cruise missiles. The missile carried onlass is unknown, but because the launch tubes apparently are of greater diameter and length than those oflass, the missile probablyonger range than that carried onlass. lassurfaceofons.
A program to convert five older nucloar-poworod cruise missile submarines oflass to torpedo attack units has been under way for several years at Petrovka, noar Vladivostok in the Soviet Far East. This program involves removal of their missilo launch tubes and probably the addition of new sonar. Three units have now been converted and the fourth is in the conversion process. The surface displacement of thesons.
Torpedo Attack Typos. lass nuclear-powered attack submarino is under construction in the western part of the Soviet Union at the Leningrad Admiralty Shipyard. The construction rate is two units per year andnits have been launched. lass is the world's fastest operational submarine,peed of aboutnots. Its surfaceisons.
Only one unit oflass nuclear-powerodsubmarine has been completed to date. It was built at the Sudomokh Shipyard in Leningrad from hull sections that are highly reflective and of similarthe sections seen for most other submarines. The reflectivity of these sections may indicate use of unconventional material, possibly titanium-clad steel. The similar diameters of these sections possibly suggest an effort to achieve greater diving depths. lass unit is also abouteet shorter than the other new-generation nuclear submarines. lass took more thanears to fitlongest period recorded for any Soviet submarine. Iturface displacement of tons orons less thanlass.
Tho ultimate mission oflass is presently unknown. It couldindew ASW submarine intended for series construction.
Becauso of the many anomalies in the construction oflasses ofone unit of each, much longer than usual fitting-out periods, highly reflective pressure hull sections, hulland size,ew missile for thetho Soviets may regard them as prototypes requiring operational evaluation tests prior to enteringroduction program for each class.
Tn7 the Soviets began series production of their first long-range ASW patrol aircraft, tho
ay. In90 the Soviets also began making an ASW version of theear heavy bomber, tho Theontinues inbutate of only aboutircraft per year. The status of therogram isfewer thanf these aircraft have been identified and it is not clear whether theso wore obtained by modifying existing Bear bombers orimitedprogram.
7 the Soviets also began producing theormone ASW helicopter for use aboard the Moskva class ASW cruisersew other ships. The Soviots had employed land-based Hound helicopters for coastal ASW missions since the mid-Fifties, but did not make any significant use of ahipborne helicopters until the appearance of the Hormone. Production of the Hormone continuesodest rate ofer year.
In sum, the Soviets in the late Sixties began series production of new ASW aircraft, twond thoa markedfrom past patterns, but most of which simply replaced older aircraft in coastal ASW.
The USSR has taken an independent and innovative approach to the development of many of its surface combatants. In many respects, in fact, new Soviot combatants are more advanced than their Western counterparts.
Weapons Systems. Nearly all new majorare arraeo with antiship cruise missiles.nms tho latest such Soviet onger range cruise missile,mas been installed on the Nanuchka. All
new major combatants and some minor combatants are being fitted with surface-to-air missiles and improved antiaircraft gun systems such as theoint defense SAM. Less innovation has been devoted to antisubmarine weapons, but all major combatants carry short-range ASW rockets and ASM torpedoes. onger range ASW rocket launcher is installed on the Moskva class, but not on later combatants.
Sensor s. New classer. of major and minor coraba-tants are being fitted with improved low-frequency sonars operatingHz and below. Variable-depth sonars have been deployed on the Moskva class, the new Krivak class destroyer, and some Petya class hole, however, the ASW sensors of Soviet combatants are inferior to those of Western navies.
Improved air defense radar systems are being installed on new large combatants, with an increasing number of shipsapability to control fighters for air defense missions.
The Soviets have continued to place emphasis on electronic warfare capabilities--both offensive andhave provided their surface forces with increasingly secure communications systems, including advanced underwater systems.
PropuJ lion. Hie as , .1 il Li*,u; in naval applications of gas turbine propulsion Tho Kashin class destroyer, first deployeds still the world's largest gas turbine combatant. Gas turbines also arc used on four classes of escorts and patrol ships as well as on tho new Krivak class destroyer, and may be used on the new light cruiserlass. Tho Soviets have not, however, applied nuclear propulsion systems to their surface combatants.
Technical advances have been evident in recent Soviet submarine design, but the predominant emphasis
has been on greater speed and improved weapons systems capabilities.
Weapons Systems. Thes the latestin Soviet naval ballistic missiles. lass submarine modified to carry this missile wouldautical miles in range over those equipped withm. This increased rangewouldlass submarines to operateuch greater ocean area, increasing their potential time on station and making their detection more difficult.
Theruise missile carried onlass submarines is the first Soviet cruise missile capable of submerged launch. Unlike theissile, carried by earlier cruise missile submarines, theay receive complete targeting information from the submarine's sonar and thus require notargeting assistance. Theay be replaced with another cruise missile system, the
Another possibly naval-related missile is theballistic missilerobable range of lessm and an apogee ofm. Theas undergone testing since9 at the Kapustin Yar missile test center. Its high, short trajectory, coupled with target sensors, an onboard computer,aneuverable reentrywhich allows course alterations of uphat the missile is meant for use against moving targets such as carrier forces. Little is known about the missile and nothing about its launch lass submarine,, may be its test platform.
Sensors. During the past four years, the Soviets haveew generation of low-frequency active and passive submarine sonar systems. These systems, installedlass submarines, op-crate inHz frequency range and are probably
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powerful enough in the active mode to utilize bottom bounce and convergence zone detection paths. The Soviets are unable to capitalize fully on thesein sonar technology, however
Propulsion. Advances are also apparent in Soviet submarine propulsion. The first nuclear submarines built inlate Fifties and early Sixties were of questionable operational reliability and were observed under tow several times. The most rocont propulsion casualty occurred aboardlass SSBN in the North Atlantic in the spring It was towed backorthern Fleet operating base. There have been no known operational casualties in any of the newer Y, C,lass units now being built, indicating that they are more reliable. The newest Soviot attackachievo speeds ofonots, about one to six knots faster than US attack units. In their quest for speed, the Soviets have installed more machinery por unit volume in their submarines than has tho US, at the expense of propulsion plant quietness.
Soviot naval aviation has been characterized by technical advances in weaponry, new platforms, and ASW sensors. The USSR has put most or its emphasis on the construction of longer range aircraft and more advanced detection devices.
Weapons Systems. Theissile, introduced into the inventoryontinues to be deployed with Soviet naval air forces. The missilepeed of aboutange ofm, more than double that of previous naval air systems. The missilo is carried on the Badgor G, butof some Badger Cs to anonfiguration
suggests that the missile mayeplacement for the AS-2.
New Platforms. The ASM strike force of Soviet naval aviation presently consists ofadgers. The Soviets may plan to introduce the swing-wing Backfire into the inventory to replace their aging Badgers. Theackfire will probably boin twofree-fall bomber and an ASM carrier. The aircraft probably will not become operational with naval aviation4nd it will be even later before the Backfiroreaches substantial levels.
The Soviets are improving the capabilities of the shipbornelormone ASW helicopter. For example, inn advanced air-to-air and air-to-ground measuringassociated with the Hormone. The deployment of this system willbetter control and positioning capabilities for helicopter ASW operations. Anticipated continuedon perfecting the autohover system of the Hormone would allow an all-woather and night airborne ASW capability which has not been noted up to now.
Comparison of US and Soviet Naval Forces
Differences betwoon tho missions of the OS and Soviet naviesomparison of their composition and operations difficult. The OSaritime power and has economic and military needs for maintaining oceanic lines of communication to its allies in Europe Asia, and South America. The missions of the US Navy include the protection of sea lines of communication, the projection of power ashore, strategic attack, and maintenanceresence in distant areas.
The Soviet Navy shares with its UStrategic attack mission and the task ofa presence in distant areas. Its remaining missions reflect traditional Soviet concern for coastal defense and support of the Soviet Array. Accordingly, the Soviet Navy is tasked with countering Western strike and amphibious forces and withUS and allied son lines of communication.
To satisfy the requirement that it project power ashore in support of US overseas commitments, the US Navy hasttack aircraft carriersone training unit) andmphibious ships. To protect these forces and to preserve American linos of communication, the OS Navy has built forces with antisubmarine and antiair warfare as their principal aims. To support worldwide fleet operations, the Onited States has built large auxiliary forces which in turn impose their own needs for escorts.
The lack of aircraft carriers, the still nascent amphibious capability, and the modest, thoughlogistic support forces reflect the fact that the Soviet Navy does not have OS-style missions. Instead, the Soviets haveleet whichan antinavy and antishipping orientation. It includes the world's largest submarine force.
US and USSR: Naval Ships and Aircraft,
Soviets have no counterpart to the attack aircraft carrier. The USreater number of cruisers and frigates than tins USSR, but about half the Soviets ships in this class carry surface-to-surface missiles whemas none of the US ships do. US major combatants have belter ASW equipmentotal of about twice as many SAM launchers as the Soviet Navy. The US atso has four nuclear-cowered surface combatants, with more under construction, and the USSR has none.
forces break down as follows:
Aircraft carriers ASW helicopter cruisers Cruisers and frigates Destroyers and escorts
Ext/vttet on* mining carrierlmlfo? ji
oviet ballistic missile submarinesissiles (seeone is known to be armed with multiple warheads. TheS SSBNsotalf which canondependently targeted warheads and others of which can deliver throe warheads.
Soviets haveruise missile submarines in their attack submarine force,f them nuclear powered. The US has none. More than hall the Soviet torpedo attack aisets are obsolescent, short-range, diesel units which arethanisirs old.
amphibious ships are not as large as US amphibious ships. Most of the Soviet ships displace lessons, and the largest of them is less than half the size of similar US ships
Naval Aircraft (including helicopters)
Sovietsging missile armed strike aircraft,econnaissance and bomber aircraft,ight bombers,SW fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters. The US force-including Marino Corps aircraft-consists olighterattack aircraft,elicopters over hall ot which are trooo transports, as well asixed wing ASW aircraftigures do not include transporttility ai'Craltl.
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as well as long-range reconnaissance and ASW aircraft, antiship-missile-oquipped medium bombers, andships with antishlp and antiair missiles.
The chart at left summarizes the2 composition and some of the differences of the two
Soviet and US construction programs indicate that the structures of the two navies will notchange in the near toon. Neither construction program will replace more thanercent of the submarines and surface combatants per year and the composition of the fleets will not be alteredas net additions are in rough proportion to the existing forces. The Soviets have continued to build ballistic missile submarines in an effort to reach at least numerical parity with the US and continue to augment their amphibious ship levels. US shipbuilding programs are focused on sea control ships, more sophisticated submarines! andof the amphibious force.
esult of limited retirement of older ships, there has been an upward trond in Soviet force levels At the same time, the US has retired surface ships and submarinesaster rate than they have been constructed. Consequently, theof Soviet shipsears old or less has declined from nearlyercent to aboutercent, while for the US the percentage of shipsears old or less has risen from abouto nearlyercent.
he USSR built and commissionedhips comparedor the US. The US ships, however, were larger, amountingons in contrast toons for the Soviets, demonstrating the US tendency to build ships of greater average size than the Soviets. The average
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US surface combatant constructed during the past decadeon3 while itsons. These differences are illustrated in the chart at right.
Soviet surface combatants usually operate in small multipurpose groups closely tied to shore or sea-based logistic support. US ships more frequently operate in large self-contained task forces where each unitpecialized role. These practices are reflected in differing design philosophies, outlined below.
US design Soviet design practice
to optimize ship designs for specific missions.
Large number of reloads for weapons (emphasis on sustained combat.)
Emphasis on range and endurance at expense of speed and armament.
Extensive provision for underway replenishment and highly developed logistic forces.
Relatively large crews with good capabilities for self-repair of ship and systems.
High concern for habitability.
Strong preference for ships with multipurpose roles.
Limited or no reloads for major weapons.
Kmphasis on speed and armament at expense of range and endurance.
Marginal capability for underway repleni shment and limited provision of logistic support forces.
Relatively small crews with limited capability for self-repair of ahip and systems.
Low concern for habitability.
US and USSR: Naval Ships Commissioned, by
The USSR commissioned moro ships21
the US ships were larger.
Tonnage On thousand tonaj""*
surface rfiipKiemenl 'o< IttaMlMS
Constant growth in ship size to accommodate desired capabilities for sustained combat (but new trend in thinking is to smaller ships.)
Soviet design practice
Determined efforts to obtain maximum firepower in relatively small ships at expense of other characteristics.
Soviet emphasisarge fleet of fast multipurpose submarines for antiship capabilities and the US emphasis on specialized submarines to counter other submarines are reflected in their respective design practices.
Emphasis on quiet operations.
Complex sonarwith long-range acquisition capabilities.
Preference for torpedo and SUBROC weapons systems.
No diesel designs since late Fifties.
Preference for high speeds over quietness.
Limited sonar capabilities, further degraded by self-noise.
Extensive use of cruise missiles on submarines.
Until recently, design and conversion of diesel units.
Any comparison of Soviet and US fleet operations highlights the fact that the US Navy deploys its ships far more extensively than do the Soviets. The US Navy haseneral-purpose shipH and submarines capable of out-of-area deployments.* In
1 Excluding patrol araft, minor auxiliaries, missile and torpedo patrol boats, intelligence ships, ballistic missile submarines, and support craft.
he US Navy accrued0 out-of-area ship-days, indicating that the average shipays. In comparison, the USSR haseployablehichotal of0 days away from their home portsndicating that the average Soviet ship spent aboutays out of area. Thisof deployment times also indicates US advantages in having ships of larger size with greater endurance, supported by forward area bases and large, long-range logistic support ships.
Perhaps the most prominent example of thein US and Soviet deployment practice occurs in the operations of ballistic missile submarines. Somefperationallass SSBNs probably are capable of deployment. Ot these, five are at sea at any one time. Tho US force currently consists ofeployable units of which aboutre usually deployed at once. The Soviet deployment rate is less thanercent, compared with the US rate of aboutercent.
The Soviets have sufficient surface combatants, submarines, and manpower resources to operateevel comparable to that of the US, but are hampered by their lack of foreign bases and large supply ships.
In terms of ship-days, tho Soviet and US navies have spent roughly similar amounts of time in the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian ocean during the past three years. In the Atlantic, the US had an average of two to throe times as many ship-days as the Soviets, while in the Pacific, US activity has beenimes that of the Soviets. The fact thatercent of all US deployments5 have been in the Pacificeflection of naval support for the Vietnam effort.
The dissimilar structures of the Soviet and US navies are reflected in their different distributions
See footnote on page
- 29 -
of manpower. Of the men in the Soviotan or support general-purpose ships, whereas the US Navy uses onlyercent of its mon for this purpose. US naval and Marino Corps aviationapproximately four times as many people as does Soviet naval aviation, and the US Fleet Marine Force is six times the size of the Soviet naval infantry Strategic forces consume lessercent of the total manpower in both the US and Soviet navies.
Manpower ot the Soviet Naval62
General purpose farces Of whlcht
Majot surCaca ship*0
Minor fturlaca ahlpn^
Joint aapporl Ground forces trategic attack force?
AfofinVTn nanpouerS uat largely due to Khrushchev'a cutback in the general rpoee frraca in the late Fiftiet.
b. 7he Soviets have no counterpart to OS
.nor auxiliary ond niccallaneoua ehvps tnatnot included in the order-of-battle and
attack aircraft oarriere. 0. includes ehcre support, reserve unite, and
combat capabilities . Includes naval infantry brigades
Top Secret.Original document.