Russia Builds a New Navy to Dominate the Arctic Ocean

Russian Navy aims to add 40 new ships (yes, you read that right) in 2014 alone.

Jan 19, 2014 at 3:00PM

The mightiest force on the high seas, the United States Navy boasts a fleet 283 warships strong. In comparison, Russia's navy, once America's archrival, has only 208 warships -- but Russia is closing the gap, and quickly.

G
Russian Kirov-class nuclear-powered missile cruiser at sea. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Just last week, in an interview with RIA Novosti, deputy commander of the Russian Navy Rear Adm. Viktor Bursuk confirmed plans to add 40 new vessels to the Russian fleet this year alone -- taking the fleet to within just 35 ships of U.S. fleet strength. Surface warships will make up the bulk of the additions, but a Borey-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine and a Varshavyanka-class diesel-electric submarine are both on order as well. An advanced search-and-rescue ship, the Igor Belousov, will further backstop Russia's submarine forces by extending the country's ability to assist submarines in distress. 

Building a nuclear navy
Nor is this the end of Russia's expansion plans. Bursuk told RIA that Russia is working quickly to upgrade the "mothballed" Kirov-class nuclear-powered missile cruiser Admiral Nakhimov, and refurbishing three nuclear-powered attack submarines. Plans may even include the addition of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier -- Russia's first.

Kuznetsov

Russia's only active aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Why the sudden spate of shipbuilding? President Vladimir Putin gave us a hint last year. In a statement delivered to the Russian Defense Ministry in December, Putin averred that one of Russia's "top defense priorities" going forward is to increase Russia's influence at the North Pole. 

And for good reason. 



The Cold War is over. Now we're talking global warming

Global warming has opened up 1 million square miles of new navigable waters in the Arctic Ocean. Already commercial shipping companies are beginning to exploit new routes. More crucially to Russia are the mineral resources made accessible by a shrinking ice cap. Already, 95% of Russia's probable natural gas reserves are located in the Arctic, with sizable deposits found in Russia's adjacent Barents and Kara Seas. 60% of the country's believed oil reserves are located in the Arctic as well. Local oil and gas giants Rosneft and Gazprom (NASDAQOTH:OGZPY), therefore, have a vested interest in defending these deposits... and searching for new ones.

Earlier this month, Russia announced plans to up the tempo of air patrols in the Arctic "significantly," flying Tu-142 and Il-38 reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft. The country also intends to reopen upwards of a half dozen Arctic airfields and ports, shuttered since the days of the Cold War.

According to reports, many of Russia's new warships may be tasked for Arctic duty to defend these interests. And if Russia actually does build itself a nuclear aircraft carrier, Admiral Vladimir Vysotsky, former Commander of the Russian Northern Fleet, thinks it should be sent to the Arctic to support the country's nuclear submarines.

America responds... sort of
America isn't standing entirely still in the face of this Arctic military buildup. Last week, word began filtering out about a new Navy report advocating a program to "harden" U.S. warships to enable them to operate in an Arctic environment -- at a cost of up to $8.4 billion. Talk of a project to build up to 10 new Arctic icebreakers, at a further cost of $7.8 billion, has also begun. If these projects get under way, it could mean billions of dollars of new revenues for America's three main military shipbuilders: Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT), General Dynamics (NYSE:GD), and Huntington Ingalls (NYSE:HII).

But while America talks, Russia is forging ahead at flank speed -- and building a new Arctic Navy.

File
Flagship of the American Arctic fleet? The 38-year-old icebreaker USCGC Polar Star. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Invest in an even bigger gun
Maybe America will respond to Russia's Arctic push in time to make the defense contractors a good bet -- but maybe not. Could it perhaps be smarter to invest in more of a "sure thing?"

U.S. News & World Report has found a trend that it thinks "Will drive the U.S. economy." And Business Insider calls it "The growth force of our time." In a special report entitled "America's $2.89 Trillion Super Weapon Revealed," you'll learn specific steps you can take to capitalize on this massive growth opportunity. Act now, because this is your shot to cash in before the fat cats on Wall Street beat you to the potentially life-changing profits. Click here now for instant access to this free report.

 

Fool contributor Rich Smith has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Money to your ears - A great FREE investing resource for you

The best way to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as “binge-worthy finance.”

Feb 1, 2016 at 5:03PM

Whether we're in the midst of earnings season or riding out the market's lulls, you want to know the best strategies for your money.

And you'll want to go beyond the hype of screaming TV personalities, fear-mongering ads, and "analysis" from people who might have your email address ... but no track record of success.

In short, you want a voice of reason you can count on.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich," rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

And one of the easiest, most enjoyable, most valuable ways to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as "binge-worthy finance."

Whether you make it part of your daily commute or you save up and listen to a handful of episodes for your 50-mile bike rides or long soaks in a bubble bath (or both!), the podcasts make sense of your money.

And unlike so many who want to make the subjects of personal finance and investing complicated and scary, our podcasts are clear, insightful, and (yes, it's true) fun.

Our free suite of podcasts

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. The show is also heard weekly on dozens of radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers are timeless, so it's worth going back to and listening from the very start; the other three are focused more on today's events, so listen to the most recent first.

All are available for free at www.fool.com/podcasts.

If you're looking for a friendly voice ... with great advice on how to make the most of your money ... from a business with a lengthy track record of success ... in clear, compelling language ... I encourage you to give a listen to our free podcasts.

Head to www.fool.com/podcasts, give them a spin, and you can subscribe there (at iTunes, Stitcher, or our other partners) if you want to receive them regularly.

It's money to your ears.

 


Compare Brokers