Impressive Beneath the Waves
Russian Northern Fleet
The modern Russian Navy, similar to its Soviet predecessor, looks best underwater. Russia’s fitful attempts to revive its surface fleet could leave some observers unimpressed, but such criticism misses the point that the country’s current naval power largely resides in its submarine force.
Russia has retained the industrial capacity and knowhow to produce capable submarines. Today the navy is recapitalizing its nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) force, which has the highest naval priority, modernizing its nuclear-powered guided-missile and attack submarine (SSGN/SSN) force, and still pumping out venerable diesel-electric submarines (SS), which are upgraded to launch land-attack missiles.