MOSCOW, March 20 (UPI) -- The Russian navy needs at least 50 nuclear powered submarines to counter overseas threats, a top Russian navy officer says.
Though the navy has about 60 strategic, multifunctional and diesel-powered submarines 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 Adm. Oleg Burtsev said, RIA Novosti reported.
Burtsev said 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 (ready at all times). They need to know that we are prepared to respond to any strike," he said.
Asked whether Russia is behind in development in comparison with China -- which builds two or three submarines a year -- Burtsev said no: "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," Novosti said.