A Guide to Russia's Naval Weapon Systems

Article excerpt

The third volume of "Russia's Arms and Technologies-the XXI Century Encyclopedia--has just become available, close onto Volume II ("Rocket and Artillery Armament of the Ground Forces"). It is truly a product of outstanding art and information.

Gone are the days when these genres of publications provided small, black and white photographs and a paragraph or two of technical information. Instead, this work is replete with full-color images, overlaid in some cases with artist's renderings of weapons systems that provide a unique perspective of the subject.

For example, the rendition of the "R-29 ballistic missile of the D-9 system' (pages 4758) features a cut-away of the missile, followed by a large-scale, full-color shot of the submarine that houses the missile, overlaid by an artist's drawing of the full complement of missiles being loaded into their silos. On the following pages, there is a side and overhead cut-away of the sub, indicating the silo layout and then several full-color alternate angles and additional shots of the sub-again with renderings of the missile overlaid on the photo.

Each succeeding volume of the encyclopedia seems to be breaking the mold of what we have come to expect from such technical publications, setting a new level of excellence for competitors, if any exist. The standard of quality for printing, full-color pictures, technical diagrams, charts and illustrations are outstanding. Yet, the price for this 631-page tome has remained the same ($495, plus $15 for shipping and handling in the United States).

Certainly, this Russian-produced publication from TommaX Inc., in association with the Arms & Technologies Publishing House, has attained a unique niche with this series. The dual-language format does not detract from the information or presentation. On the contrary, it provides you with a unique language dictionary of Russian military-technical terminology.

Contributors to this volume are listed by name, rank and position in the Russian naval ministry, and each section is provided with an introduction by the head of that specific military section. An introduction by Vladimir Kuroedov, commander in chief of the Russian Federation Navy, discusses the development and deployment goals of his service, and the director general of the Russian ship-building agency-Vladimir Pospelovaddresses future policy of "naval activity" through 2010.

Russian industry has taken a page from U.S. public relations methodology with a vengeance. A perfect example is the use of such terms as "extending warranty-covered service life" of weapons systems.

Included are appendices, which provide complete details for contacting the enterprises and organizations, listed. An explanation of abbreviations is supplied to help you bridge the gap between Western and Russian military-nomenclature. A reminder to the reader: Much of the material was declassified recently and offers numerous Russian weapons-system references hitherto known in the West only by NATO designations. …