RAMSTEIN, Germany – Allied Air Command successfully accomplished support for the US-led Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) exercise Formidable Shield 17 from September 24 to October 18, 2017.
This tactical level BMD exercise was conducted by Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKFORNATO) on behalf of the US Sixth Fleet. Allied Air Command enabled the datalink architecture through NATO’ system of systems that can manage, communicate and provide decision-making information to NATO command entities.
A US exercise with NATO involvement, Formidable Shield 17 demonstrated the capability of Nations and the Alliance to execute live intercepts of missile threats using a complex system of sensors and shooters in defence of NATO Allies’ territories, populations and forces from the sea.
This exercise provided nations the ability to connect fire units and sensors to NATO’s data-link architecture. With the assistance of US Joint Interface Tactical Control Officers and through a complex architecture, Allied ships and aircraft were able to integrate surveillance pictures from the tactical to the operational levels of command.
For the first time in Allied Air Command history a fully Integrated Air and Missile Defence Picture involving joint assets was used to support a no-notice launch and simultaneous engagement of ballistic and air defence targets to test the live-fire version of the defence in depth concept of operations.
Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States participated with forces in exercise FORMIDABLE SHIELD 17; Belgium and Denmark also send staff members. In total, 14 ships, ten aircraft, and more than 3.300 personnel participated in this exercise. NATO AWACS sorties conducted important link integration and range safety functions throughout the exercise.
Russia bans sailing around Novaya Zemlya for a period of ten days in the Barents Sea.
The Port Administration for Northwestern Russia has issued several navigation warnings for larger parts of the eastern Barents Sea and Kara Sea. All warnings read: ‘Missiles shooting’ and are posted on the portal of the agency.
The warnings are for different dates within the period from Tuesday October 17th and last until October 30th.
The warning regarding the costal waters just northeast of the Kildin Island north of Murmansk, followed by a warning for the same dates further north in the Barents Sea is typical for a submarine launched intercontinental ballistic missile (SLBM). Such test-launchings are normally done submerged, either from a Delta-IV class or a Borei class submarine.
Both the Northern Fleet’s six Delta-IV submarine and the Borei submarine Yury Dologuky are based in Gadzhiyevo on the coast of the Kola Peninsula, a few hours sailing from the area east of Kildin marked on the map.
The larger sealed off area in the northern part of the Barents Sea is where the first stage of the missile is separated and fells to the sea before the rest of the missile enters orbit on its way to the target on a shooting range on the Kamchatka Peninsula in the Far East.
Similarly, when sailing restrictions are announced for the waters in the Chosha Bay, east of the Kanin Peninsula, another SLBM is likely on its way in the opposite direction. Launched from one of the Pacific fleet’s Delta-III or Borei class submarines towards the Chizha range on Cape Kanin. Such trans-Arctic criss-cross ballistic missile tests are carried out several times in recent years when Russia is exercising its strategic nuclear rocket forces.
Both warnings indicating ballistic missile testings are valid for the 10 days period October 20th to 30th.
The warning issued for the waters around Novaya Zemlya is dated from October 17th to 22nd. Normally when waters around Novaya Zemlya are sealed off, it indicates testing of one or several cruise missiles, either submarine launched or from a larger surface warship.
This time, however, the sealed off area is much larger than normal, including both the Barents Sea side of Novaya Zemlya and the southwestern part of the Kara Sea.
The only information attached to the agency’s civilian warning is, as stated: ‘Missiles shooting’.
U.S. with similar warnings
Similar warnings like the ones issued by Russia’s civilian port administration, are also to be found on the public portal of the U.S. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. Here, the two warnings regarding the Barents Sea for the period October 20th to October 30th are listed and marked with: ‘Hazardous operations’ and ‘Missile operations’. The coordinates are similar to the ones published in Russia.
Europe’s premier integrated air and missile defense drill Formidable Shield concluded October 17 with ally ships engaging a supersonic target off the coast of Scotland.
The US Navy-led exercise began September 24 and saw the participation of warships from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom and US.
During the closing collective self-defense scenario, Dutch frigate HNLMS Tromp (F803) fired a Standard Missile (SM) 2 and an Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) against the supersonic target.
U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons from 31st Fighter Wing, Aviano Air Base, Italy, were designated as “opposition forces” and fired the supersonic target during this exercise scenario.
The two missiles fired against the supersonic target Oct. 17 occurred during the third live-fire event of FS17. During FS17, four nations conducted a total of 11 successful missile launches.
During the first live-fire event Oct. 7, the Canadian frigate HMCS Montreal (FFH 336) fired three Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles (ESSM) and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Mitscher (DDG 57) fired two SM-2s at four incoming anti-ship cruise missiles.
The second live-fire event took place on Oct. 15, with the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) firing one SM-3 Block IB guided missile against a medium-range ballistic missile target. Also on Oct. 15, the Spanish frigate SPS Alvaro de Bazan (F101) fired one ESSM against an incoming anti-ship cruise missile while Tromp fired two ESSMs against a pair of incoming anti-ship cruise missiles.
Notable ‘firsts’ that occurred during FS17 include: the first time NATO’s smart defense concept was demonstrated with ships serving as air defense units protecting naval ballistic missile defense units; the first no-notice launch of anti-ship cruise missiles as part of an IAMD scenario; and the first time a NATO IAMD task group was exercised at sea.
Russia’s Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation reported on October 9, 2017 that Moscow and Riyadh had reached an agreement on the delivery of S-400 air defense missile systems and other armaments to Saudi Arabia.
The S-400 Triumf (NATO reporting name: SA-21 Growler) is a Russian long-and medium-range air defense missile system. It is designed to destroy air attack and reconnaissance means (including stealth aircraft) and any other aerial targets amid intensive counter-fire and jamming.
Development and entry into service
The work on the conceptual design of the point air defense missile system initially designated as the S-300PM3 was launched by the Almaz research and production association (currently the Almaz research and production association named after Academician Alexander Raspletin, Moscow) in the mid-1980s under the supervision of Chief Designer Alexander Lemansky. This work was intensified in the late 1990s and on February 12, 1999 the system was demonstrated for the first time at the Kapustin Yar practice range (the Astrakhan Region) to then-Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev. The trials of the most advanced air defense missile system were carried out in the 2000s.
On April 28, 2007, the S-400 went into service and the first battalion of the newest surface-to-air missile systems assumed combat duty on August 6 that year in the town of Elektrostal (the Moscow Region). Six weeks later, On September 27, 2007, the Triumf’s developer, Alexander Lemansky who saw the launch of his missile system into serial production, died at the Kapustin Yar practice range. The system’s first live-fire exercises were successfully carried out at the Kapustin Yar practice range in 2011.
The S-400 is based on the S-300PMU2 air defense missile complex. It differs from its predecessors by its extended combat range and the capability of using new surface-to-air missile systems. It is capable of detecting and destroying low-observable (stealth) and fast-moving aerial targets.
S-400 system and its integral parts
The S-400 Triumf comprises the following:
a combat control post;
a three-coordinate jam-resistant phased array radar to detect aerial targets;
six-eight air defense missile complexes (with up to 12 transporter-launchers, and also a multifunctional four-coordinate illumination and detection radar);
a technical support system;
missile transporting vehicles;
a training simulator.
The S-400 system can also additionally include an all-altitude radar (detector) and movable towers for an antenna post. All the S-400’s means are mounted on the wheeled all-terrain chassis (produced by the Minsk Wheeled Tractor Factory and the Bryansk Automobile Enterprise) and can be transported by rail, water and air transport.
The S-400 can selectively operate with the use of no less than 5 missile types of various takeoff weights and launch ranges to create a layered air defense zone.
The S-400 is also capable of exercising control of other air defense missile systems (the Tor-M1, the Pantsyr-S1), providing highly effective air defense even amid a mass air attack with the use of electronic warfare means.
target detection range – up to 600 km;
aerodynamic target kill range – from 3 to 250 km;
tactical ballistic missile destruction range – from 5 to 60 km;
target destruction altitude – from 2 to 27 km;
engageable target velocity – up to 17,300 km/h;
the number of targets engaged at a time – up to 36 (up to six with one air defense missile complex);
the number of simultaneously guided missiles – 72;
the time of the system’s deployment from its march position – 5-10 min, the time of making the system combat ready from the deployed position – 3 min;
the operational service life of ground-based systems – no less than 20 years, air defense missiles – no less than 15 years;
Russian Aerospace Force Deputy Commander-in-Chief Viktor Gumyonny said on April 8, 2017 that missiles capable of “destroying targets in outer space, at long distances and large speeds” had started arriving for S-400 systems.
S-400 systems on combat duty in the Russian Armed Forces
According to public sources, 19 regiments armed with S-400 complexes were on combat duty in the Russian Armed Forces as of April 2017. Overall, these regiments included a total of 38 battalions and 304 launchers in Elektrostal, Dmitrov, Zvenigorod, Kurilovo (Moscow Region), Nakhodka (the Primorye Territory), Kaliningrad, Novorossiysk (the Krasnodar Territory), Polyarny (the Murmansk Region), Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky (the Kamchatka Territory), Novosibirsk, Vladivostok, Sevastopol and other places.
The state armament program envisages the arrival of 56 S-400 battalions for troops by 2020, which will make it possible to rearm 28 two-battalion air defense missile regiments.
A battalion of Triumf surface-to-air missile systems was deployed on November 25, 2015 from the Moscow Region to Syria’s Hmeymim air base accommodating the Russian air task force. Later on, according to media reports, another S-400 battalion was deployed in the Syrian province of Hama.
In a live-fire integrated air and missile defense (IAMD) scenario organized as part of exercise Formidable Shield 2017 off the coast of Scotland, ally ships worked together to defend against three subsonic anti-ship cruise missiles on October 7.
During the collective self-defense scenario, Canadian frigate HMCS Montreal (FFH 336) fired Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles (ESSM) and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Mitscher (DDG 57) fired Standard Missiles-2 at the incoming Mirach and Firejet anti-ship cruise missiles as part of a no-notice launch of anti-ship cruise missiles in the IAMD exercise scenario.
The Mirach and Firejet missiles were launched from the U.K. Ministry of Defense’s Hebrides Range located on the Western Isles of Scotland.
Simultaneously, ships from France, Italy, Spain, and USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) tracked a short-range ballistic-missile target that was also fired from the Hebrides Range during a simulated engagement, conducting all steps of a routine engagement.
More than 14 ships, 10 aircraft, and approximately 3,300 personnel from Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, the U.K., and the U.S., are participating in FS17.
Formidable Shield 2017 began Sept. 24, and is scheduled to conclude Oct. 18, 2017. This exercise is planned to be a recurring, biennial event, and is designed to assure allies, deter adversaries, and demonstrate our commitment to collective defense of the NATO alliance. Formidable Shield and exercise Joint Warrior 17-2, a U.K.-led, multinational exercise in a maritime training environment for allies to improve interoperability and prepare forces for combined operations, are occurring concurrently.
“This exercise provides the opportunity to use portions of NATO BMD architecture and develop potential tactics, techniques and procedures in the NATO operations. STRIKFORNATO is, since 2016, the organization responsible for control of NATO Maritime Ballistic Missile Defense forces; Formidable Shield is the ideal opportunity to exercise those capabilities at sea, for the first time, with a NATO IAMD task group.
This exercise is a prime example of NATO strength and demonstrates the commitment of NATO allies to the security of Europe,” said Rear Adm. Francesco Covella, Italian Navy, STRIKFORNATO Deputy Chief of Staff of Operations.
The Russian Navy will soon receive the first batch of the Pantsir-ME naval missile and anti-aircraft artillery weapon systems, the weapon manufacturer said recently.
Alexander Denisov, general director of the High Precision Complex holding company, which includes Pantsir-ME manufacturer KBP, told journalists in late September that the system would be soon put into service with the Russian Navy without providing specific timelines.
Russia intends to equip its large surface combatants, including the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, with this system which includes protection against low-flying and small-size unmanned aerial vehicles.
Pantsir-ME is being procured to replace the obsolete 3М87 Kortik (Dirk) close-in weapons system.
Pantsir-ME combines artillery armament, a multimode missile armament and an integrated radar-optical armament control system in a single turret mount.
The control system features a multifunction radar station with a phased antenna radar and allows for a simultaneous engagement of 4 targets at a time.
Ships operating the system will be able to first open fire on a target with missiles and then, if the target still breaks through, use artillery to neutralize it.
Missiles fitted on the system have a range of 20 kilometers in length and 15 kilometers in height. Maximum artillery range is 400 meters. The system will also be capable of fielding the Hermes-K guided missile.
KBP, the system manufacturer, says the system can be installed on ships displacing over 300 tonnes.
The Finnish defense forces have been cleared to sign a letter of intent and a pre-design activities contract with Patria for the upgrade of Hamina-class missile boats.
The mid-life upgrade (MLU) of the four vessels in the class will be performed as part of the Squadron 2000 upgrade program and will be worth around 199 million Euro.
Once completed, the MLU will extend the missile boats’ service life to the 2030s.
Upgrades are to start at the beginning of 2018 and to be completed by the end of 2021. In addition to hull and structure maintenance, Hamina boats will be equipped with light torpedoes, thus becoming the only units in the Finnish Navy with this capability. The addition of the torpedo capability will be the costliest part of the upgrade.
The Hamina class is comprised of FNS Hamina, FNS Tornio, FNS Hanko and FNS Pori. The ships were commissioned into the navy between 1998 and 2006.
Currently, the new-generation Voronezh radars are on combat duty in the Leningrad, Kaliningrad and Irkutsk Regions, as well as in the Kransnodar Territory.
MOSCOW, October 4. /TASS/.
Russia will complete the creation of a network of the Voronez early warning radars by 2019, the commander-in-chief of the Russian Space Forces, Col. Gen. Alexander Golovko, told reporters on Wednesday.
“Work continues to create new radars of the missile attack warning system in the Republic of Komi and the Murmansk Region,” the official said on the occasion of the Space Forces Day, celebrated in Russia on October 4.
“We plan to complete the network of the new Voronezh radar stations on the territory of the Russian Federation in 2019.”
He said the Russian Space Forces view the project as one of its top priorities.
Currently, the new-generation Voronezh radars are on combat duty in the Leningrad, Kaliningrad and Irkutsk Regions, as well as in the Kransnodar Territory.
State trials of similar radars in the Krasnoyarsk Territory, the Altai Territory and the Orenburg Region have been completed. They will enter combat duty once their trial run period is over, which is expected by the end of the year.
The Russian Space Forces Day is celebrated in Russia annually on October 4 and marks the launch of the Earth’s first artificial satellite, carried out by the Soviet Union in 1957.
The US Navy has awarded General Dynamics Bath Iron Works a contract modification fully funding the construction of two new Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, DDG 126 and DDG 127.
DDG 126 was awarded under the contract that was part of a multi-year competition for DDG 51-class destroyers in 2013. DDG 127 was approved by Congress under separate legislation.
Dirk Lesko, president of Bath Iron Works, said: “These contracts help to stabilize our business and are welcome news. We are grateful to Maine’s congressional delegation and Navy Secretary Spencer for their efforts and leadership.”
The contract modification includes funding for the Flight III upgrades on DDG 126. The upgrades will incorporate the new Advanced Missile Defense Radar (AMDR) that will replace the existing SPY-1 radar installed on the previous DDG 51 ships.
Flight III destroyers will operate with more personnel, have a wider stern to increase ship’s buoyancy and will have a modified deckhouse to accommodate the radar’s size and weight.
There are currently four DDG 51 destroyers in production at Bath Iron Works: Thomas Hudner (DDG 116), Daniel Inouye (DDG 118), Carl M. Levin (DDG 120) and John Basilone (DDG 122).
The Navy has named DDG 126 the Louis H. Wilson, Jr., after the 26th Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, who was a World War II recipient of the Medal of Honor for his actions during the Battle of Guam.
The Russian Defense Ministry has carried out a test launch of the intercontinental ballistic missile RS-24 Yars towards a proving ground in the Kamchatka Peninsula. All tasks have been coped with.
“At the experimental space site Plesetsk a combat crew of the Yoshkar-Ola missile unit carried out a test launch of the solid propellant mobile-based intercontinental missile (ICBM) RS-24 Yars with a multiple re-entry vehicle.
The warheads reached the designated area at the Kura proving ground in the Kamchatka Peninsula,” the Defense Ministry said. “All tasks have been coped with in full.”
The purpose of the launch was to reaffirm the reliability of a batch of missiles of this class.
“Strategic missile forces practiced the procedure of redeploying a battery of the mobile system Yars to a remote region, preparations for and the launch proper,” the Defense Ministry said.
On September 12 the Strategic Missile Force test-launched a silo-based RS-24 missile with a multiple warhead from Plesetsk. The experimental warheads reached the designated area at the Kura proving ground.
The RS-24 ICBM was designed by the All-Russia Thermal Engineering Institute. It is based on the same scientific and technological solutions as the Topol-M missile, which allowed for considerably reducing the research and design phase and costs.
Currently this missile systems are on duty at five missile units located on a vast area from the Ivanovo region in the west to Irkutsk, in the east.
The Kirov-class battlecruiser is a class of nuclear-powered warship of the Russian Navy, the largest and heaviest surface combatant warships (i.e. not an aircraft carrier or amphibious assault ship) in operation in the world (28,000 tons fully loaded).
Among modern warships, they are second in size only to large aircraft carriers, and of similar size to a World War I era battleship. The official designation of the ship-type is “heavy nuclear-powered guided missile cruiser” (Russian: тяжёлый атомный ракетный крейсер). The ships are often referred to as battlecruisers by western defense commentators due to their size and general appearance.
Originally built for the Soviet Navy, the class is named for the first of a series of four ships to be constructed, Kirov, which was renamed Admiral Ushakov in 1992. Original plans called for the construction of five ships, however the last was cancelled. In Russia this class of ship is usually referred to by the designation Project 1144 Orlan (sea eagle).
Only the Pyotr Veliky is currently operational. Admiral Nakhimov is projected to re-enter the Russian Navy in 2018.
Russia planned to reactivate the remaining two vessels by 2020, but recent reporting suggests that the reactors in Admiral Ushakov and Admiral Lazarev are in a poor condition, and these ships cannot be safely reactivated.
The appearance of the Kirov class played a key role in the recommissioning of the Iowa-class battleships by the United States Navy in the 1980s.
This week, the Pyotr Veliky has been involved in battle-drills in the Arctic Ocean.
The Russian Ministry of Defense released a video of the Granit missile launch:
The SS-N-19 with its booster attached is about the size and weight of a combat loaded MiG-21 and carries a 1,650 high explosive charge or a 500kt thermonuclear warhead.
In the case of the latter, a near miss is still a certain kill, although it’s very unlikely that the Russians still deploy these missiles loaded with nuclear warheads.
The Russian Navy initially planned to return both Admiral Ushakov and Admiral Lazarev to service after several years of disuse. It was later indicated that the condition of the reactor cores of both ships was such that it would prove difficult, expensive and potentially dangerous to remove the spent nuclear fuel and repair the cores.
As a consequence, it is likely that both ships will be scrapped. The modernization of Admiral Ushakov seems unlikely due to an alleged nuclear incident which may have left one of its reactors damaged with scrapping to start in 2016 or later.
Other sources disagree, stating that all four ships will be modernized and returned to service. In 2014 some maintenance work was performed on Admiral Lazarev (the only cruiser located in the Pacific). Skepticism was expressed regarding the ability of Sevmash shipyard to simultaneously modernize two Kirov-class battlecruisers.
Modernization of Admiral Nakhimov is ongoing (to be completed by 2018) with the modernization of Pyotr Velikiy to last from 2018 until 2021.