Defense Tech: Russian Force to the Caribbean
The Russian government is sending one of the world’s largest warships into the Caribbean for a joint naval exercise with Venezuela. This will mark the first time since the end of the Cold War in December 1991 that a Russian naval force will sail that “American sea.” The ships will operate in the Caribbean during November, showing support for Venezuela’s government, which is strongly anti-United States.
Leading the Russian force will be the Petr Velikiy, a 26,000-ton, nuclear-propelled “battle cruiser.” The ship, completed in 1998, is the world’s largest warship other than aircraft carriers, and displaces more than twice as much as the largest U.S. surface combatants, the Aegis missile cruisers of the Ticonderoga (CG 47) class.
The Petr (or Pyotr) Velikiy, a Kirov-calss ship, was laid down in 1986 as the Yuri Andropov. Completion was delayed for years following the collapse of the Soviet Empire, and the ship has had a number of reliability issues since joining the fleet. Like most Russian ships.
In 2004, the chief of the Russian Navy said that Pyotr Velikiy could “explode at any moment.” Again, this is like most Russian ships.
The Caribbean/South American area is going to be getting much more interesting in the coming years if Russia is really serious about re-establishing itself as a major player.