Chavez Orders Kilo Subs


Venezuela has placed a preliminary order for five advanced diesel-electric submarines with Rosoboronexport, Russia’s arms export company. The submarines will be of the Project 877EKM or Varshavyanka series, known in the West as the Kilo class.

The announcement came during the visit of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez - known for his strong anti-U.S. views - to Moscow earlier this month to discuss additional weapons purchases and wider economic ties with Russia. Upon his arrival in the Russian capital he declared, If the United States attacks Venezuela, we are ready to die defending our sacred land.”

Chavez continued, “We support Russia, we need Russia, which is becoming stronger day by day.” He added that Venezuela intended to continue cooperating closely with Moscow, including in the military sphere.

After visiting Russia and meeting with President Vladimir Putin, Chavez planned to go on to Belarus and then to Iran, where both governments are portrayed by the U.S. government as outlaw regimes. Chavez had previously visited Iran. (He has also made several highly publicized trips to Cuba.)

In conjunction with Chavezs trip to Russia, Konstantin Makiyenko, Deputy Director of the Center for the Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, said: “Most likely, [Venezuela] will buy five. . . submarines with missile systems … but they could end up buying nine.”

The Project 636/877 submarines are advanced diesel-electric submarines, which first entered service with the Russian Navy in 1981. Similar submarines are in service with the Algerian, Chinese, Indian, Indonesian, Iranian, Polish, and Romanian navies. (The Venezuelan Navy now operates two German-built Type 209/1300 diesel-electric submarines.)

Reportedly, Chavez is also negotiating with Russia for the purchase of an advanced air-defense system.

Last year Chavez signed agreements for the purchase of Russian-made helicopter gunships, fighter aircraft, and small arms for a total of $3 billion.

— Norman Polmar

  • mike

    This is just Chavez trying to buy the loyalty of the middle and upper ranks of his military while tweaking Bush’s nose, like with the fighter buy… the actual implications are minimal.

  • sglover

    Hallelujah! Now the Navy can pump up the “threat” of the fearsome Venezuelan armada, and “justify” all kinds of new toys! I can hear the boys at Raytheon and General Dynamics now, in a rousing chorus of “Thank you, Hugo!”

  • Vstress

    I just wonder where all this money is coming from! This stuff isn’t cheap to run either, so I hope he just doesn’t incur heavy economic sanctions from the US. Otherwise I’m sure the US couldn’t care less, such a leader is just begging to be thrown over by his own people - possibly by a US backed coup.

  • Phil

    The Military implications are minimal. . .however, long term economic/political implications (like Chinese mineral deals with Peru)could begin to undermine the Monroe Doctrine. . .so it is wait and see.

  • Siconik

    This is just sooo stupid. He would need to buy 10x times more hardware to become anything more then a speedbump if the war were to take place.. of course, the only person who actually seem to want the war is Hugo himself. I am sure there are plenty of people in his not-too-well-off country that could use the money he is wasting buying the token amounts of advanced weapons.

  • Springbored

    Well, aside from the fact that we’ll now get an opportunity to test our ASW skills without needing to pay for the privledge, at least now we’re going to start focusing some REAL attention on Latin America. That “Dagger pointed directly at the heart of Antarctica” could get really crazy, really fast.
    We ignore it at our own peril

  • Wembley

    I love this ‘Chavez is provocative’ stuff.
    He has a Northern neighbor with vastly overwheliming military superiority who he believes (rightly or wrongly) supported a coup attempt and is actively funding resistance groups.
    In spite of this he continues to sell oil to the US - and not because he couldn’t find other customers.
    The subs are a political virility symbol (he is South American, after all). Who’s really threatening who here?

  • George Skinner

    Oil embargoes have never worked very well for oil producers. Since it trades on a global market, it’s very difficult to unilaterally stop the sale of oil to a particular customer. A prime example is Israel, which continues to obtain supplies despite incurring the hostility of all of the oil-producing states in the region. So whether or not Chavez would like to stop selling oil to the US, it’s likely that he simply can’t stop it anyway.

  • Bruce

    I am constantly amazed how insecure Americans feel. You spend as much on ‘defence’ as the rest of the world combined! It’s laughable that Venezuela could be a threat. The rest of the world knows who the real threat to world peace is.
    I doubt Venezuela’s military spending is out of line with other nations with similar sized oil reserves. I suspect it’s rather low.

  • Noam

    @ Charles
    #Chavez is provocative.
    Huh? Provocative Against a nation convicted by the International court of Justice for terrorism?
    # Then again, many times soldiers do not make the best presidents.
    No, draft dodgers are much better.

  • ajay

    “Then again, many times soldiers do not make the best presidents.”
    Yeah. Take that, Messrs Washington, Eisenhower and de Gaulle.

  • 1984

    “This is 1984esque “eternal war” crap meant to distract the populace methinks. ”
    Look to Straussian neocon project PNAC, “full spectrum dominance” and all…
    Chavez hardly wants war, I think his main objective is to atleast send signals that we’ll fight back were we to become invaded.
    Still, he has gone way too far on many things…but that that even remotely justifies war against that country.

  • Dave

    It would be better for Venezula if they did some of the fit out in Venezula and did similar things to encourage some small naval manufacturing/servicing capacity locally. Either way this is good news for Russia.
    It does seem to be such a huge waste of money given the more pressing problems Venezula has. Still the concept of having a viable, small, sub presence is sound strategy.