Russia is building at least six new nuclear submarines equipped with long-distance cruise missiles, according to state-connected news agency Itar-Tass. One is expected to be on line by 2011, the rest by 2017. A Russian defense ministry source say the missiles, capable of carrying low-capacity nuclear warheads, "would be designed for strikes on aircraft carriers of the enemy" as well as land targets.
"Despite the construction of a new nuclear submarine with new missiles, Russia intends to observe firmly international arms control agreements on equal terms with other countries," the source adds. Russia has said boosting its nuclear arsenal is necessary to counter a massive NATO advantage in conventional weapons.