Experts Deem Latest SSN, Frigate & Cruise Missile Most Dangerous Weapons of Russian Navy

Focus - Project 885 SSN, Project 22350 Frigate, Kalibr & Tsirkon Cruise Missile
Experts Deem Latest SSN, Frigate & Cruise Missile Most Dangerous Weapons of Russian Navy
US Navy experts believe the Russian Navy’s most dangerous weapons systems are the Project 885 Yasen-class (NATO reporting name: Severodvinsk-class) nuclear-powered attack submarine, Project 22350 (Admiral Gorshkov-class) frigate and Kalibr (SS-N-27 Sizzler) sea-launched cruise missile system and the future Tsirkon hypersonic missile system as well, according to the Izvestia daily.
Project 885 Yasen class Severodvinsk Russia KalibrThe new generation Yasen-class submarine Severodvinsk test firing Kalibr missile system while sufaced. Picture via
Michael Petersen, director, Russia Maritime Studies Institute (RMSI), told the Izvestia that the Russian Navy reached a radically new level of development and was worth close study. RMSI was established under the aegis of the US Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, in 2016. The think tank’s remit includes gathering and analyzing information for both the US Navy and NATO allies.

"The Russian Navy’s surface component seems to me mostly defensive. Occurrence of such submarines like Yasen is often taken by the US Navy as a reason for concern,"
Petersen said. "It's a very powerful and dangerous submarine, and we don't understand quite well for which goals it was created."

The Project 885 submarines are fourth-generation nuclear-powered ships carrying cruise missiles. The Russian Navy commissioned the lead ship, the Severodvinsk, in 2014. The primary purpose of the submarines in the class is antisubmarine and antisurface warfare [ASW and ASuW respectively] and land attacks with cruise missiles.

"The Tsirkon hypersonic and Kalibr cruise missiles are of interest,"
Petersen continued. "These are formidable weapons embodying impressive technological advances. I would note the sophisticated Admiral Gorshkov-class frigates from the surface force development point of view. The ships have very impressive capabilities."
Project 22350 Frigate Admiral Sergey Gorshkov Russian NavyThe first frigate of the new Russian Navy Project 22350 class "Admiral Gorshkov" at full speed
The Admiral Gorshkov is the first large surface combatant to have been laid down by a Russian shipyard after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. About 10 frigates in the class are slated for construction.

The Kalibr cruise missile made its debut in Syria, launched both by surface ships and by submarines. The Tsirkon missile mentioned by Petersen is a hypersonic weapon with a velocity of 5-6 Mach. This makes it virtually invulnerable to enemy air defenses. The Tsirkon has not entered service with the Russian Armed Forces yet, but no other military in the world has hypersonic weapons either.

In Petersen’s opinion, the Russian Navy has achieved a drastically new level of sophistication compared with the Soviet times.

"Despite difficulties we've observed for decades, the Russian Navy has reached a level which allows it to compete with any fleet in the world given its crew members readiness and technology potential,"
the US expert believes. "If comparing with the Soviet times, your fleet has become quite more compact, but it's technology is still advanced."

Petersen stressed that the availability of impressive combat platforms and weapons systems to the Russian Navy makes one wonder about both its capabilities and the spheres, in which the United States and Russian could cooperate. According to him, the cooperation in quashing piracy, drug smuggling and terrorism offers a lot of opportunities.
3M22 Zircon Tsirkon Brahmos IIAccording to rumors, the Indo-Russian BrahMos II hypersonic cruise missile (pictured here at Defexpo 2014) is the export variant of the Russian 3M22 Tsirkon missile.
Expert Alexander Mozgovoi explained the cause of the concerns of US military analysts.

"While submarines used to be employed against ships, the emphasis has been shifted to land attack recently,"
he said. "Yasen-class submarines pack 32 Kalibr cruise missiles each. They can attack infrastructure, e.g. oil tanks, port terminals, etc. Admiral Gorshkov-class frigates will be fitted with Kalibr missiles in the future too. In addition, they will be given the ASW capability."

The Russian expert added that the advanced missiles afforded the Russian Navy utterly new capabilities.

"The strategic offensive capability of the Russian Federation is growing, because the advent of the Kalibr missile is turning even diesel-electric submarines into formidable strike systems,"
Mozgovoi noted. While the Kalibr can be intercepted with enough luck in theory because it is subsonic, the Tsirkon is a hypersonic missile capable of operating in both the antiship and land-attack roles. Intercepting it is next to impossible, according to the Izvestia daily.

The fourth-generation Project 885 and 885M nuclear-powered attack submarines are designed to eliminate surface combatants, submarines and land targets. Their total displacement stands at 13,800 tons. They can dive to 600 m and travel at 30 knots under water. They have a composite design, with the light hull covering only part of the pressure hull at the bow to reduce the acoustic signature. The vertical launch systems (VLS) were set aft of the conning tower, rather than in the bow, for the first time in the history of the Russian shipbuilding. The submarines of the class carry Oniks (SS-N-26 Strobile) and Kalibr missiles and a formidable torpedo-missile system.

The Project 22350 frigate is designed for ASuW and ASW operations on the ocean and for air defense of itself and its formation. Her hull is flush-deck and has a three-island superstructure, a mast tower and steel tube. The ship was designed using radar stealth technologies, which makes her almost invisible to radars of the potential adversary. The frigate displaces around 4,550 tons and measures 135 m long. Her combined diesel and gas turbine propulsion plant is 65,000 hp. The ship is armed with a single advanced 130-mm AK-192 gun and antiship, antisubmarine and air defense missile systems, including the Kalibr and Redut-Poliment. The frigate carries a Kamov Ka-27 (Helix) helicopter or its derivatives.

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