ASTRAKHAN, November 28. /TASS/. Russia’s naval flotilla in the Caspian — a land-locked sea washing the shores of four other countries — Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan — is in the process of a fundamental upgrade, expected to increase the share of the newest combat ships and boats to 85% by 2016, its commander, Captain 1st Class Ildar Akhmerov, told a news conference on Friday.
“According to a plan for implementing a presidential decree we are expected to build up the percentage of modern hardware to 70% by the year 2020. The Caspian Flotilla is currently ahead of schedule. Many new ships are entering duty these days, including those carrying advanced rocket complexes,” Akhmerov said.
Already now new ships account for about 60% of the Caspian Flotilla’s strength. Last year five ships went operational and another eight domestically-built vessels joined in for testing in 2014. Russia’s naval flag has been hoisted on two rescue ships and two rocket boats. Three multi-functional ships and one rocket boat will be included in the flotilla before the year is out.
“Next year we are going to get several rescue ships. Starting from 2016 we shall be getting small displacement amphibious ships. Part of the rocket boats originally meant for the Caspian Flotilla would join the Black Sea Fleet,” Akhmerov added. A total of 20 new ships will be incorporated into the Caspian Flotilla by 2020.