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The Russian Navy ideally needs to have at least 50 nuclear-powered submarines, a high-ranking Navy officer said during a live interview with Ekho Moskvy radio station on Saturday.
The Russian Navy has some 60 strategic, multi-functional and diesel-powered submarines in its fleet that are combat ready.
"The number of nuclear submarines in Russia's Navy should be no less than 40-50," First Deputy of the Naval General Staff Vice Admiral Oleg Burtsev said.
He said that France, Britain and the United States have at least nine combat ready nuclear subs at sea at all times.
"In order to counterbalance them, we need to have two or three nuclear-powered submarines. They need to know that we are prepared to respond to any strike," Burtsev said.
In answering a call-in question of whether Russia is behind in developing its fleet in comparison with China, which builds two or three submarines a year, Burtsev said that Russia was not behind in development.
"Trial runs are taking place with the Yasen class subs, and this year the final trial stages of the Lada class submarine will be held."
MOSCOW, March 20 (RIA Novosti)
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The growing outright rivalry between the United States and China gives Russia more foreign policy weight, enabling it to assume the role of a balancer. So far it has been doing so rather skillfully. Today it may participate in a joint naval exercise with China that Beijing positions as outwardly anti-American. But tomorrow it can team up with the naval forces of the Old World.