SEAPOWER, By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor, 1 June 2017
ARLINGTON, Va. — The Russian Navy plans to increase installations of cruise missiles on its warships, the Russian Ministry of Defense said. Installations will occur as ships go through modernization availabilities.
In a May 29 release, the ministry said that, ‘In the framework of modernization, submarines and warships of the Russian Navy will be armed with Kalibr cruise missiles.’
Since October 2015, the Kalibr missile occasionally has been used in combat in strikes against land-based ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) and rebel targets inside Syria. The missiles have been launched from warships in the Caspian Sea and more recently from warships and submarines in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The most recent strike was launched from the Eastern Mediterranean, according to a May 30 report on the Russian RT website, though no specific date of the strike was given. The frigate Admiral Essen and the submarine Krasnodar launched a total of four missiles against ISIS vehicles near Palmyra, Syria, and, according to the report, ‘All targets were destroyed.’
Russia provided notification of the strike in advance to the warn the United States, Israel and Turkey, much as the United States provided notification to Russia before its April 6 Tomahawk strike on Syria.
‘The sea-based Kalibr cruise missiles are capable to deliver high-precision strikes at a distance of 1,500 kilometers on sea and land targets, what significantly increases the combat capabilities of both surface warships and submarines of the Russian Navy,’ the ministry release said. ‘Universal technical performance of this missile system makes it possible to modernize the Navy’s surface warships and submarines effectively.’
The use of long-range land-attack cruise missiles makes Russia the third nation to use such missiles in combat. The U.S. Navy and the U.K. Royal Navy have fired more than 2,000 Tomahawk missiles in combat since 1991 against targets in Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, Libya, Bosnia and Serbia.