Pacific Fleet (Russia)

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Pacific Fleet
Sleeve Insignia of the Russian Pacific Fleet.svg
Russian Pacific Fleet sleeve insignia
Active 1731 –present
Allegiance  Russian Empire
 Soviet Union
 Russian Federation
Branch Emblem of the Военно-Морской Флот Российской Федерации.svg Russian navy
Role Naval warfare
Amphibious warfare
Size 50 Warships
23 Submarines
Part of Medium emblem of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation (27.01.1997-present).svg Russian Armed Forces
Garrison/HQ Vladivostok(HQ)
Engagements Russo-Japanese War
October Revolution
Russian Civil War
World War II
Decorations Order of Red Banner.png Order of the Red Banner
Adm. Nikolay Kuznetsov
Adm.Ivan Yumashev
Adm. Zinovy Rozhestvensky

The Pacific Fleet (Russian: Тихоокеанский флот,[1] translit: Tikhookeanskiy flot, named Red Banner Pacific Fleet, Краснознамённый Тихоокеанский флот in Soviet times) is the part of the Russian Navy that is stationed in the Pacific Ocean, which formerly secured the Far Eastern borders of the Soviet Union. The fleet headquarters is located in Vladivostok and a number of fleet bases are located in the Vladivostok area. Another important fleet base in the Russia Far East area is Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky in Avacha Bay on the Kamchatka Peninsula, with a major submarine base located at Vilyuchinsk in the same bay.

In the Soviet years, the Pacific Fleet was also responsible for the administration and operational direction of the Soviet Navy's Indian Ocean (8th) Squadron and Soviet naval technical support points hosted by nations in the Indian Ocean rim, such as the facilities in Socotra Island.


Navies of Russia

Flag of Russia.svg Imperial Russia

Imperial Navy (1696–1917)

White movement fleet (1917—1922)

Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Soviet Union

Soviet Navy (1918–1991)

Flag of Russia.svg Russian Federation

Russian Navy (1991–Present)

In 1731, the Imperial Russian Navy created the Okhotsk Military Flotilla (Охотская военная флотилия, Okhotskaya voyennaya flotiliya) under its first commander, Grigoriy Skornyakov-Pisarev, to patrol and transport government goods to and from Kamchatka. In 1799, 3 frigates and 3 smaller ships were sent to Okhotsk under the command of Rear-Admiral I. Fomin to form a functioning military flotilla. In 1849, Petropavlovsk-na-Kamchatke became the Flotilla's principal base, which a year later would be transferred to Nikolayevsk-on-Amur and later to Vladivostok in 1871. In 1854, the men of the Flotilla distinguished themselves in the defense of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy during the Crimean War, (1853-1856). In 1856, the Okhotsk Military Flotilla changed its name to the "Siberian Military Flotilla" (Сибирская военная флотилия, Sibirskaya voyennaya flotiliya).

In 1860, the provisions of the Convention of Peking ceded parts of Outer Manchuria in northeastern China, including the modern day Primorsky Krai to the Russian Empire. A large squadron under Rear Admiral A. A. Popov was sent from the Baltic Fleet to the Pacific Ocean. During the American Civil War ships of the squadron visited San Francisco while the Baltic Fleet visited New York City. Parts of the squadron, including the Finnish corvette Kalevala, returned to the Baltic in 1865.

At the turn of the 19th century, the Flotilla was still small in numbers. Owing to a gradual deterioration in Russo-Japanese relations, the Imperial Russian government adopted a special shipbuilding program to meet the needs of the Russian Far East region, but its execution dragged on and in addition there were several clashes and defeats between Russian and Imperial Japanese Navy vessels. In response, the Naval headquarters in St. Petersburg ordered the Baltic Fleet to the Pacific to reinforce Russian naval forces, primarily the Pacific Squadron on the east coast of Asia and its naval base at Port Arthur.

By the beginning of the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905, Imperial Russian naval forces in the Far East consisted of the 1st Pacific Squadron (7 battleships, 8 cruisers, 13 torpedo boats, 2 gunboats) and a number of ships from the "Siberian Military Flotilla" (2 cruisers, 2 mine cruisers, 12 torpedo boats and 5 gunboats), based in Port Arthur. Other ships of the "Siberian Military Flotilla" (4 cruisers, 10 torpedo boats) were stationed in Vladivostok.

During the Russo-Japanese War, most of the Russian Navy in the Pacific was destroyed. The Russian Baltic Fleet under Admiral Zinovy Rozhestvensky, renamed the Second Pacific Squadron, was defeated at the Battle of Tsushima.

The headquarters of the Pacific Fleet in Vladivostok

During the Russian Revolution of 1905, the sailors of the Pacific Fleet were actively engaged in the revolutionary movement, participating in armed revolts in Vladivostok in January 1906 and October 1907. During the October Revolution of 1917, the sailors of the Siberian and Amur military flotillas fought for the establishment of Soviet authority in the Far East and against the White army and interventionists. During the Russian Civil War, almost all of the ships of the Pacific Fleet were seized by the White army and the Japanese. After the departure of the interventionists in 1922, the Soviets created the Naval Forces of the Far East, under commander Ivan Kozhanov, as a part of the Vladivostok unit, and the Amur Military Flotilla (Амурская военная флотилия, or Amurskaya voyennaya flotiliya). In 1926, these were disbanded: the Vladivostok unit was transferred to the command of the frontier troops in the Far East, and the Amur flotilla became a flotilla of its own.

Owing to Japanese aggression in Manchuria in 1931, the Central Committee and the Soviet government decided to create the Naval Forces in the Far East on 13 April 1932. In January 1935, they were renamed the Pacific Fleet, under commander M. Viktorov. The creation of the fleet entailed great difficulties. The first units were formed with small ships delivered by railroad. In 1932, the torpedo boat squadron and eight submarines were put into service. In 1934, the Pacific Fleet received 26 small submarines. The creation of the naval aviation and coastal artillery was underway. In 1937, they opened the Pacific Military School.

By the beginning of World War II, the Pacific Fleet had two surface ship subdivisions, four submarine subdivisions, one torpedo boat subdivision, a few squadrons of ships and patrol boats, airborne units, coastal artillery and marines.

World War II

Light cruiser Lazar Kaganovich

During the Great Patriotic War (the Soviet World War II campaign against Nazi Germany of 1941–45) the Pacific Fleet was in a permanent state of alert and ready for action, although the Soviets remained neutral with respect to the Empire of Japan, the only Axis power in the Pacific, even after Japan entered World War II. At the same time, the Soviets transferred 1 destroyer leader, 2 destroyers, and 5 submarines from the Pacific Fleet to the Northern Fleet (see Soviet Red Banner Northern Fleet). More than 140,000 sailors from the Pacific Fleet were incorporated in the rifle brigades and other units on the Soviet front against Germans in Europe. By August 1945, the Pacific Fleet consisted of two cruisers, one destroyer leader, ten destroyers, two torpedo boats, 19 patrol boats, 78 submarines, ten minelayers, 52 minesweepers, 49 "MO" anti-submarine boats (MO stands for Малый Охотник, or "little hunter"), 204 motor torpedo boats and 1459 war planes.

During the Soviet-Japanese War of 1945, the Pacific Fleet participated in the removal of the Empire of Japan from Northern Korea (a part of the Manchurian Operation of 1945), in the Invasion of South Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands Landing Operation the same year.

Thousands of sailors and officers were awarded orders and medals for outstanding military service; more than fifty men received the title Hero of the Soviet Union. Eighteen ships and fleet units received the title of the Soviet Guards, and sixteen were awarded the Order of the Red Banner.

Ships of the Soviet Pacific Fleet at Vladivostok in 1990

Cold War

On 5 May 1965, the Pacific Fleet itself was awarded with the Order of the Red Banner.

Following the victory of communist North Vietnam and the end of the Vietnam War in 1975, a Soviet naval material-technical support facility was established by intergovernmental agreement at Cam Ranh Bay in the south of the unified country.

The Pacific Fleet started deploying forces to the Indian Ocean, and established the 8th Operational (Indian Ocean) Squadron in 1968, after the British government announced its intention to withdraw its military forces east of the Suez Canal by 1971. In addition to the defensive function of balancing the naval strength in the Indian Ocean against that of the United States Navy, the 8th Squadron played a role in promoting Soviet foreign policy. Regular visits and port calls were made in the Indian subcontinent, the Persian Gulf, and the East African coast. After 1975, its major stronghold was Cam Ranh Bay in Vietnam.

The 8th Operational Squadron grew quite substantial at times; in 1980, a Soviet flotilla of 'about ten guided missile cruisers, destroyers and frigates and more than a dozen support ships' was juxtaposed to the U.S. Navy's Task Force 70 in the region.[2] There were also 23 other Soviet ships in the South China Sea, at the same time. In addition, Soviet IL-38 reconnaissance planes, based in Aden or Ethiopia, maintained a close watch on U.S. vessels, as did Ka-25 Hormone helicopters from Soviet warships.

In the 1980s, Soviet naval strategy shifted to an emphasis on bastion defense, fortifying the Sea of Okhotsk for that purpose.[citation needed] By the mid-1980s, the Pacific Fleet had constituted 32% of all Soviet naval assets, up from 28% in 1975 and 25% in 1965. It included approximately 800 ships, over 120 submarines, and 98 surface combatants.[3] Two of the ships were aircraft carriers Minsk and Novorossiysk, which served from the 1970s and 1980s to the 1990s. The battlecruiser Admiral Lazarev of the Kirov class served with the fleet in the 1980s and 1990s as well.

Recent events

In the 1990s and 2000s, the Pacific Fleet lost many of its larger units. Within a few years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Fleet lost all its aircraft carriers, and by early 2000 only one cruiser remained active with the Fleet. By the end of the 2010s, the Fleet consisted of one large missile cruiser, five destroyers, ten nuclear submarines, and eight diesel-electric submarines.

Plans for deployment of new large units to the Fleet have been announced. Several new SSBN submarines, and large cruisers are to join the Fleet in the coming years.[4][5]

Between 5–12 July 2013, warships from the Russian Pacific Fleet and the North Sea Fleet of the People's Liberation Army Navy participated in Joint Sea 2013, bilateral naval maneuvers held in the Peter the Great Bay. Joint Sea 2013 was the largest naval drills yet undertaken by the PRC's navy with a foreign navy.[6]

2008 Russian submarine accident

An accident aboard Nerpa, a nuclear-powered attack submarine doing a test run during sea trials in the Sea of Japan on 8 November 2008, killed more than 20 people,[7] marking the worst submarine disaster since Kursk sank in 2000. Nerpa was an Akula-class submarine belonging to the Pacific Fleet. Its construction began in 1991, but was delayed due to lack of funding.[8]

Current fleet

Major active surface combatants of the Russian Pacific Fleet
# Type Name Class Year
011 Cruiser Varyag Slava 1989
543 Destroyer Marshal Shaposhnikov Udaloy I 1985
564 Destroyer Admiral Tributs Udaloy I 1985
572 Destroyer Admiral Vinogradov Udaloy I 1988
548 Destroyer Admiral Panteleyev Udaloy I 1991
715 Destroyer Bystryy Sovremenny 1989
Active Submarines of the Russian Pacific Fleet
# Type Name Class Year
K-551 SSBN Vladimir Monomakh Borei 2014
K-550 SSBN Alexander Nevsky Borei 2013
K-44 SSBN Ryazan Delta III 1979
K-223 SSBN Podolsk Delta III 1980
K-433 SSBN Svyatoy Georgiy Pobedonosets Delta III 1981
K-150 SSGN Tomsk Oscar II 1991
K-456 SSGN Tver Oscar II 1991
K-442 SSGN Chelyabinsk Oscar II 1990
K-132 SSGN Irkutsk Oscar II 1988
K-186 SSGN Omsk Oscar II 1993
K-331 SSN Magadan Akula I 1990
K-419 SSN Kuzbass Akula I 1992
K-322 SSN Kashalot Akula I 1988
K-391 SSN Bratsk Akula I 1987
K-295 SSN Samara Akula II 1995
B-260 SSK Chita Kilo 1981
B-394 SSK Kilo 1988
B-445 SSK Svyatoy Nikolay Chudotvorets Kilo 1988
B-464 SSK Ust'-Kamchatsk Kilo 1990
B-494 SSK Ust'-Bolsheretsk Kilo 1990
B-187 SSK Komsomolsk-na-Amure Kilo 1991
B-190 SSK Krasnokamensk Kilo 1993
B-345 SSK Mogocha Kilo 1994

Naval Aviation

As of 2007 the Naval Aviation of the Pacific Fleet consisted of:[9][10]

  • 568th Independent Composite Aviation Regiment - HQ at Mongokhto - Tu-22M3, Tu-142MR/MZ;
  • 865th Red Banner Order of Labour Fighter Aviation Regiment PVO - HQ at Yelizovo-Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky Airport - MiG-31 - transferred to Pacific Fleet on 1 July 1998;[11]
  • 317th Composite Air Regiment - HQ at Yelizovo - Il-38;
  • 71st Independent MIlitary Transport Air Squadron - HQ at Nikolayevka, Primorskaya - An-12, An-24, An-26;
  • 175th Independent Shipborne Anti-submarine Helicopter Squadron - HQ at Yelizovo - Ka-27;
  • 289th Independent Anti-submarine Air Regiment - HQ at Nikolayevka - Il-38, Ka-27, Ka-29;

Commanders of the Pacific Fleet

In January 1947, the Pacific Fleet was divided into the 5th and 7th fleets:

5th Fleet:

7th Fleet:

  • Ivan Ivanovich Baykov (from January 1947)
  • Georgiy Nikitich Kholostyakov (November 1951 – May 1953)

In April 1953, the Fleets were once again combined under one command:

Organization of the Pacific Fleet

  • Fleet HQ (Vladivostok)
  • Seaboard Naval Forces
    • Seaboard Combined Forces Flotilla
      • Flotilla HQ (Fokino)
      • 36th Surface ship Division
      • 44th Anti-submarine ship Brigade
      • 100th Assault ship Brigade
      • 19th Submarine Brigade
      • 165th Surface ship Brigade
      • 34th Rescue vessel Brigade
      • 31st Auxiliary vessel Brigade
      • 72nd Brigade of ships under construction and repair
      • 515th Intelligence ship Brigade
    • Fleet Marine and Coastal Defense Force
      • Marine Forces HQ (Vladivostok)
      • 155th Guards Red Banner Marine Brigade - Vladivostok (formerly 55th Red Banner Marine Division)
        • 165th Marine Regiment
        • 390th Marine Regiment
        • 84th Marine Tank Battalion
        • 263rd Marine Reconnaissance Battalion
        • 1484th Marine Communications Battalion
      • 40th Krasnodar-Harbin Twice Red Banner Marine Regiment (formerly 40th Twice Red Banner Marine Brigade)
      • 180th Naval Engineering Battalion
      • 72nd Fleet Independent Coastal Defense Rocket Artillery Regiment
      • 217th Fleet Radio-electronic Regiment
      • 140th Fleet Signals Detachment
    • Pacific Naval Air Forces
      • HQ, Pacific Naval Air Forces
      • 568th Combined Air Regiment
      • 289th Combined Anti-submarine Air Regiment
      • 71st Air Transport Squadron
      • 72nd Coastal Missile Regiment
      • 217th Electronic Warfare Air Regiment
  • Northeast Group of Troops and Forces (NEGTF)
    • Group HQ (Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy)
    • Kamchatka Combined Forces Flotilla
      • 16th Submarine Squadron
        • 10th Submarine Division
        • 25th Submarine Division
      • 182nd Submarine Brigade Flotilla
      • 114th Coastal defense ship Brigade
      • 438th Rescue vessel Division
      • 84th Auxiliary vessel Brigade
    • Marine and Coastal Defense Division
      • 3rd Marine Regiment
      • 1532nd Rocket Regiment (Surface-to-Air Missile)
      • 520th Coastal Defense Missile-Artillery Brigade
    • Naval Air Forces of the NEGTF
      • 865th Fighter Regiment
      • 317th Combined Air Regiment
      • 175th Shipborne Anti-submarine Helicopter Squadron
      • 216th Combined Electronic Warfare Regiment
      • 1532nd Anti-air Warfare Regiment

See also


  2. Time, 'Confrontation at Camel Station,' Monday, February 18, 1980
  3. Bernstein, Alvin H.; Gigot, Paul (Spring 1986). "The Soviets in Cam Ranh Bay". The National Interest. Center for the National Interest (3): 19 – via JSTOR. Unknown parameter |subscription= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "China, Russia to hold joint military drills". Xinhua. 2 July 2013. Retrieved 2 July 2013. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>Minnie Chan (3 July 2013). "China to join Russia in joint naval drills in Sea of Japan". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 2 July 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>; and "China to join Russia in Beijing's largest-ever joint naval exercise with foreign partner". Washington Post. Associated Press. 2 July 2013. Retrieved 2 July 2013. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Gutterman, Steve (9/11/09). "Russian navy: sub accident kills more than 20". Associated Press. Retrieved 2008-11-09. Check date values in: |date= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "At least 20 die in accident on Russian nuclear sub". November 9, 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-09.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. ВВС ВМФ (in russian). Retrieved 19 November 2010.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Air Forces Monthly, August 2007 issue.
  11. Michael Holm, 865th Fighter Aviation Regiment PVO, accessed October 2011

Further reading