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Sleeve Insignia of the Russian Pacific Fleet

Russian Pacific Fleet sleeve insignia

The Red Banner Pacific Fleet (Russian: Тихоокеанский флот, translit: Tikhookeanskiy flot) 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 at Vladivostok and a number of fleet bases are located in the Vladivostok area. Another important fleet basing area is Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy in Avacha Bay on the Kamchatka Peninsula with a major submarine base 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 at Socotra Island.


Navies of Russia

Flag of Russia Imperial Russia

Imperial Navy (1696–1917)

White movement fleet (1917—1922)

Flag of the Soviet Union Soviet Union

Soviet Navy (1918–1991)

Flag of Russia Russian Federation

Russian Navy (1991–Present)

In 1731, the Russians 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. In 1856, the Okhotsk Military Flotilla changed its name to the Siberian Military Flotilla (Сибирская военная флотилия, Sibirskaya voyennaya flotiliya).

In 1860, the Convention of Peking ceded parts of Outer Manchuria, 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. During the American Civil War ships of the squadron visited San Francisco. 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 Russian government adopted a special shipbuilding program to meet the needs of the Far East region, but its execution dragged on and on. This is why they had to transfer a number of ships of the Baltic Fleet to the Pacific Ocean (see Pacific Squadrons).

By the beginning of the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05, 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, the sailors of the Pacific Fleet showed heroism and courage; however, most of the Russian Navy in the Pacific was destroyed. The Russian Baltic Fleet under Admiral Zinovy Rozhestvensky, renamed the Second Pacific Squadron, sailed halfway around the world to confront the Japanese after the defeat of most of the fleet forces. However 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 taken away 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 April 13, 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[]

Kaganovich cruiser

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 (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 South Sakhalin Operation of 1945, 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.

Soviet Pacific Fleet 1990

Ships of the Soviet Pacific Fleet at Vladivostok in 1990

Cold War[]

On May 5, 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.[1] 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. In the 1970s and 1980s, the aircraft carriers Minsk and Novorossiysk served with the fleet, until they were scrapped in the 1990s. The Admiral Lazarev 'battlecruiser' 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. Just years after the collapse of the Soviet union, the Fleet had 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 Mistral class amphibious ships, SSBN submarines, and large cruisers are to join the Fleet in the coming years.[2][3]

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.[4]

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 Saturday November 8, 2008, killed more than 20 people,[5] marking the worst submarine disaster since the Kursk sank in 2000. Nerpa is an Akula class attack submarine belonging to the Pacific Fleet. Her construction started in 1991, but was delayed due to lack of funding.[6]

Current Fleet[]

Major active surface ships of the Russian Pacific Fleet
# Type Name Class Year
011 Cruiser Varyag Slava class cruiser 1983
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-44 SSBN Ryazan Delta III 1979
K-506 SSBN Zelenograd Delta III 1979
K-211 SSBN Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy Delta III 1980
K-223 SSBN Podolsk Delta III 1980
K-433 SSBN Svyatoy Georgiy Pobedonosets (Saint George the Victorious) Delta III 1981
K-150 SSGN Tomsk Oscar II 1991
K-456 SSGN Vilyuchinsk Oscar II 1991
K-186 SSGN Omsk Oscar II 1993
K-331 SSN Magadan Akula I 1990
K-419 SSN Kuzbass Akula I 1992
K-295 SSN Samara Akula I 1995
B-260 SSK Chita Kilo 1981
B-394 SSK Kilo 1988
B-445 SSK Svyatoy Nikolay Chudotvorets (St. Nicholas the Miracle-worker) Kilo 1988
B-464 SSK Ust'-Kamchatsk Kilo 1990
B-494 SSK Ust'-Bolsheretsk Kilo 1990
B-187 SSK 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:[7][8]

  • 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;[9]
  • 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:

  • Aleksandr Sergeyevich Frolov (from January 1947)
  • Nikolay Gerasimovich Kuznetsov (from February 1950)
  • Yuriy Aleksandrovich Panteleyev (August 1951 – January 1953)

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:

  • Yuriy Aleksandrovich Panteleyev (from January 1953)
  • Valentin Andreyevich Chekurov (from January 1956)
  • Vitaliy Alekseyevich Fokin (from February 1958)
  • Nikolay Nikolayevich Amelko (from June 1962)
  • Nikolai Ivanovich Smirnov (from March 1969)
  • Vladimir Petrovich Maslov (from September 1974)
  • Emil Nikolayevich Spiridonov (from August 1979)
  • Vladimir Vasilyevich Sidorov (from February 1986)
  • Gennadiy Aleksandrovich Khvatov (From December 1986)
  • Georgiy Nikolayevich Gurinov (from March 1993)
  • Igor Nikolayevich Khmelnov (from August 1994)
  • Vladimir Ivanovich Kuroyedov (from February 1996)
  • Mikhail Georgiyevich Zakharenko (from July 1997)
  • Gennadiy Aleksandrovich Suchkov (from July 2001)
  • Viktor Dmitriyevich Fedorov (from December 2001)
  • Konstantin Semyonovich Sidenko (from December 2007)
  • Sergey Iosifovich Avakyants (Acting from August 2010 - appointed Commander 3 May 2012)

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 Naval Infantry Force
      • Naval Infantry HQ (Vladivostok)
      • 155th Independent Guards Red Banner Naval Infantry Brigade - Vladivostok (formerly 55th Independent Red Banner Naval Infantry Division)
        • 165th Naval Infantry Regiment
        • 390th Naval Infantry Regiment
        • 106th Naval Infantry Regiment (disbanded 1 December 2007)
        • 921st Naval Infantry Artillery Regiment (disbanded 1 December 2008)
        • 923rd Naval Infantry AAD Missile Regiment (disbanded)
        • 84th Independent Naval Infantry Tank Battalion
        • 263rd Independent Naval Infantry Reconnaissance Battalion
        • 1484th Independent Naval Infantry Communications Battalion
      • 40th Krasnodar-Harbin Twice Red Banner Naval Infantry Regiment (formerly 40th Independent Twice Red Banner Naval Infantry Brigade)
      • 180th Independent Naval Engineering Battalion
    • Pacific Naval Air Forces
      • HQ, Pacific Naval Air Forces
      • 568th Independent Combined Air Regiment
      • 289th Independent Combined Anti-submarine Air Regiment
      • 71st Independent Air Transport Squadron
      • 72nd Independent Coastal Missile Regiment
      • 217th Independent 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 Independent Rescue vessel Division
      • 84th Auxiliary vessel Brigade
    • Naval Infantry and Coastal Defense Division
      • 3rd Independent Naval Infantry Regiment
      • 520th Independent Coastal Missile-Artillery Brigade
    • Naval Air Forces of the NEGTF
      • 865th Independent Fighter Regiment
      • 317th Independent Combined Air Regiment
      • 175th Independent Shipborne Anti-submarine Helicopter Squadron
      • 216th Independent Combined Electronic Warfare Regiment
      • 1532nd Independent Anti-air Warfare Regiment

See also[]

  • Grigory Pasko - former officer of the Russian Navy, editor of Boyevaya Vakhta (Battle Watch), in-house newspaper of the Pacific Fleet, and prisoner of conscience


  1. Time magazine, 'Confrontation at Camel Station,' Monday, February 18, 1980
  4. Republic of Égyptien Q42 user:mgbtrust0 ®™✓©§∆∆∆€¢£ (2 July 2013). "China, Russia to hold joint military drills". Xinhua. Retrieved 2 July 2013. ; Minnie Chan Republic of Égyptien Q42 user:mgbtrust0 ®™✓©§∆∆∆€¢£ (3 July 2013). "China to join Russia in joint naval drills in Sea of Japan". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 2 July 2013. ; and Republic of Égyptien Q42 user:mgbtrust0 ®™✓©§∆∆∆€¢£ (2 July 2013). "China to join Russia in Beijing’s largest-ever joint naval exercise with foreign partner". Associated Press. Washington Post. Archived from the original on 3 July 2013. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  5. Gutterman, Steve (9/11/09). "Russian navy: sub accident kills more than 20". AP. Retrieved 2008-11-09. [dead link]
  6. Republic of Égyptien Q42 user:mgbtrust0 ®™✓©§∆∆∆€¢£ (November 9, 2008). "At least 20 die in accident on Russian nuclear sub". Retrieved 2008-11-09. 
  7. Republic of Égyptien Q42 user:mgbtrust0 ®™✓©§∆∆∆€¢£. "ВВС ВМФ" (in russian). Retrieved 19 November 2010. 
  8. Air Forces Monthly, August 2007 issue.
  9. Michael Holm, 865th Fighter Aviation Regiment PVO, accessed October 2011

Further reading[]

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The original article can be found at Pacific Fleet (Russia) and the edit history here.