MANILA, Philippines A 28,000 ton nuclear-powered Soviet cruiser and a guided missile destroyer steaming toward the South China Sea are the first ships in their classes to join the Soviet’s growing Pacific fleet, U.S. Navy officials said Saturday.

Another ship of a class not previously seen in the Soviet’s Pacific fleet, the guided missile destroyer Admiral Spirodonov, has also entered the U.S. 7th Fleet’s area of operations and is operating in the North Arabian Sea removed from the Soviet’s Atlantic fleet. The officials said they expected the vessels to be permanently based in the Pacific.

The Soviets frequently test ships in the Atlantic before moving them to the Pacific. Navy officials said the average number of Soviet ships operating out of the Soviet base at Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam, had risen as high as 30 this year.

There are an estimated 800 ships in the Soviet Pacific Fleet. The U.S. 7th fleet has 70 to 80 surface ships and seven or eight submarines, but the force can be quickly supplemented by ships from the 3rd Fleet.

Article extracted from this publication >>  November 8, 1985