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Russia launches first Project 15310 cable laying ship

The first of the Russian Navy's two Project 15310 cable laying vessels, Volga, was launched at Zaliv Shipyard in Kerch, eastern Crimea, on 18 August, the shipyard has announced.

Volga and sister ship Vyatka were laid down at Zelenodolsk Shipyard in January 2015, with construction subsequently shifting to Zaliv Shipyard.

However, while the hulls were completed by early 2017, progress has since been delayed because of equipment availability issues.

The ships are built to Ice-class 5 standard, equipped with dynamic positioning systems, and have a fight deck forward of the bridge. They can carry 5,500 tonnes of cable and have an endurance of 50 days.

Other ship specificiations include a deadweight tonnage of at least 8,000 tonnes, an overall length of 140 m, a beam of 19 m, and a draft of 4 m.

Under current planning the vessels are expected to be commissioned in 2023 and 2024.

The ships were ordered by the Ministry of Defence's Main Directorate of Deep-Sea Research (GUGI) in conjunction with the classified Military Unit 45707.

GUGI is engaged in reconnaissance activities, including wiretapping communication cables and installing motion sensors, as well as collecting the wreckage of ships, aircraft, and satellites from the seabed.

Volga is now sailing to Severomorsk on the Arctic Kola peninsula, which is home to Russia's Northern Fleet.

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