“Russian navy will create an Arctic group of tanker ships of Project 23130” –NavyRecognition

Project 23130 is a series of medium-size replenishment oilers developed by the Spetssudoproect JSC and built by Nevsky Shipyard for the Russian Navy. (Picture source Nurlan Aliyev Twitter account)

NavyRecognition reports that the Russian Navy is building a fleet of six ice-capable underway replenishment tankers. The ships are relatively small,

“Project 23130 tanker has a displacement of 9 thousand tons. It is 130 meters long and 21 meters wide. The maximum speed is 16 knots. The autonomous navigation can last two months. The maximum range is 8 thousand nautical miles. The tanker can operate in 0.8-meter thick Arctic ice.”

But on the other hand the US Navy has nothing comparable.

The article also seems to point to a serious shortage of underway replenishment vessels in the Russian Navy.

12 thoughts on ““Russian navy will create an Arctic group of tanker ships of Project 23130” –NavyRecognition

  1. Is it really that hard for the USA and NATO to copy this concept? I would think that this would involve just a severely raked undercut hull and perhaps Azimuth pod shrouded propellers and a thicker hull. Please correct me if I’m wrong. Thanks.

    • These are certainly nothing special in any respect other than the fact that they anticipate they will operate in Arctic. Several merchant ships have been built for independent operation through the Northern Sea Route.

      It is just that the USN has not been thinking about operating surface ships in the Arctic, warships or auxiliaries. If they do start operating warships in the Arctic, they will also need underway replenishment ships to go with them.

      • The Navy doesn’t really have enough replenishment ships for the areas they currently patrol.

      • @Brett Baker, True, If they surged a major part of the Fleet against say China, they would not be able to adequately replenish them, and certainly not enough to provide redundancy for combat losses.

    • True, but any spill in an ice-bound environment is going to be way, way harder to clean up. The methods will need to be different, and I’m not sure anyone has developed those methods nor has any capacity to accomplish that mission. Plus it will be in their EEZ at least (likely within their 3-mile boundary), and the Russians are notorious at not accepting help. The mess would probably just not be dealt with at all….

  2. Subs have become very useful. We are in kind of hole right now, because the number of USN SSNs is expected to decline and trying to build SSBNs at the same time makes it hard to increase production rates.

    Still at some point we are probably going to want to do construction in the Arctic which will require surface ship access.

    Or we may want to keep some missile shooters in the Arctic.

    • I think that the SSN shipyard can be expanded if a new construction building is built to build SSNs. A new building can usually accommodate two SSNs under construction simultaneously.

      The question is if the USA can afford this endeavor and if there are enough crew to man four to five subs a year. Given the rate of Los Angeles-class SSN retirement, this might not be too hard to do. Submariners usually like their job a lot and having a newer sub is a big perk; many long-time Submariners usually stay and make a career in the US Navy as a Submariner.

      Interestingly, it is Congress that funds such ventures and the USA’s Congress is now very old with many members around 80 and above. I’m not sure if the newer Congressional members would be willing to fund Defense given all the pressing issues of the USA.

      I agree that two SSNs a year is too low, even with the Virginia Payload Module. Hopefully the OPC and FFGX can happen at that time to take up the slack of fewer SSNs being built to accommodate the new Columbia-class SSBNs.

      • Shipyard infrastructure is starting to get some attention. Not sure what will come of it. We could of course do more, all it takes is money.

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