The Russian Navy’s submarine force is on a roll.
Four different kinds of submarines are under construction and more are coming. The country expects to lay down five new nuclear submarines in 2015.
The Navy is accepting Borey-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines, Yasen-class nuclear attack submarines, and Kilo- and Lada-class diesel electric attack submarines. Six Kilos are being built for Vietnam and more are offered for export.
This rate of construction is beginning to look more like Cold War days rather than the lethargic shipbuilding rates prevalent since the 1990s.
By comparison, the US only recently returned to building two nuclear attack submarines per year, and industry is gearing up to begin construction of a new class of ballistic submarines in 2021 — a three-subs-per-year construction rate not seen since the Reagan era.
Combine the revived Russian submarine construction rate with President Vladimir Putin’s aggressive stances of the past year, along with the steady drumbeat of Chinese naval expansion, and the question might be asked — is a submarine race going on?