The question is about building several submarines for the Chinese military fleet. The contract for 3 years will bring in at least 1.5 billion dollars to Russia and provide work for several military dockyards for 4 to 5 years. The Rubin Central Design Office should create submarines with a diesel-electric power system of the 636th project (Kilo) and powerful cruise missiles; these submarines will be the Chinese fist in the Pacific Ocean. Such powerful military weapons will be most likely used by China to block the shores of Taiwan, with whom China has not yet come to terms. Among China’s neighbors, there is no country that would be willing to stick its neck out. Within recent years, Russia has already sold four such submarines.
According to a source in the Russian Ship-Building Agency, there are already disputes about who will receive these superprofitable export orders. Experience shows that such orders are appointed by the government. Of course, the prime-minister follows the recommendations of the Defence Ministry and Russian Ship-Building Agency, though he is more attentive to his internal voice. What this “internal voice” is currently whispering to Mikhail Kasyanov is unknown.
The procedure of sharing the currency pie is always painful in Russia. For the time being, the question about the order belongs to three Russian dockyards: in Northern Machine-Building Works (the city of Severodvinsk), Admiralty Dockyards (St Petersburg), and Red Sormovo (the city of Nizhny Novgorod).
Actually, two Kilo submarines were already built for China at the Red Sormovo and Admiralty Dockyards. However, according to Indian specialists who have been cooperating with Russia in reparing submarines, the highest quality shipbuilding could be expected from t Severodvinsk, whose dockyards have not been touched by the changes of last 10 years. However, Nizhny Novgorod is certain to receive at least one Chinese order: a Kilo submarine was started already several years ago, though for another customer. The submarine is 50 percent complete, so it will be more profitable for the Chinese. According to the Russian Ship-building Agency, the work of the St Petersburg dockyards is not of a high quality. However, there is one important detail: the Russian president comes from St Petersburg. Therefore, there is a connection between this fact and the possible candidacy of the submarine's builder. China has concluded the order with all Russians, while Russia will decide who should perform the order. Though, recently, it seems that St Petersburg is chosen too often. Andrei Mikhailov Specially for PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Vera Solovieva
Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/main/2002/06/04/42200.html