Soviet Union Table of Contents
Between 1962 and the early 1970s, the Soviet Union's World War II-era Naval Forces became a modern guided missile cruiser and destroyer force. In addition, in the late 1970s the Soviet Union launched its first nuclear-powered Kirov-class battle cruiser, its third class of guided missile cruisers, and two new classes of guided missile destroyers. These surface forces have had the peacetime task of supporting Soviet allies in the Third World through port visits and arms shipments as well as visibly asserting Soviet power and interests on the high seas. In wartime, they would conduct both antiship and antisubmarine operations.
A variety of auxiliary ships supported the Naval Forces and the armed forces in general. In 1989 the Soviet Union operated sixtythree intelligence-gathering vessels, manned by naval reservists and equipped with surface-to-air missiles. It also had the world's largest fleet of oceanographic survey and marine research vessels. Over 500 ships gathered and processed data on the world's oceans that would be crucial to the Soviet Union in wartime. In 1989 eleven specially equipped vessels, including the new Marshal Nedelin-class, monitored and tracked Soviet and foreign space launches. Yet Western experts have noted that the Soviet Naval Forces still lacked enough specialized underway replenishment vessels to provide adequate logistical support to naval combatants at sea.
Data as of May 1989