Analysis: Zeleny Dol corvette passes successful trials

The Zeleny Dol Buyan-class corvette of project 21631 was tested in the Barents and White Seas. It sailed by internal waterways from the Baltic Sea to the Arctic to participate in Northern fleet manoeuvres and successfully fired cruise missiles. The exercise showed that small ships with Kalibr missiles can reinforce the northern direction. It is vital, as NATO is likely to deploy missile defense in Norway, the Izvestia daily writes.
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Analysis Zeleny Dol corvette passes successful trials 925 003Russian Navy Project 21631 Buyan-M class corvette Zelyony Dol. (Picture source: Russian MoD)

Trials of the Zeleny Dol in the Northern fleet were recognized as successful. It was unclear before that whether small project 21631 corvettes can operate in the Arctic weather and hydrographic conditions. The corvette coped with the mission and fulfilled all tasks.

The Zeleny Dol of the Baltic fleet sailed to the exercise area via internal waterways, the Neva River, Lake Ladoga and Belomoro-Baltiisky Canal to the White Sea. In the Northern fleet, the corvette called at Severodvinsk and Severomorsk. It sailed over 3.3 thousand nautical miles.

In the White Sea, the corvette live fired a Kalibr missile which hit a coastal target in Chizha range. The corvette will soon return to the Baltic naval base by the same route.

Until recently, the Russian Navy has not sailed from one direction to another by internal waterways, expert Dmitry Boltenkov said. "The maneuvers give the Navy bigger possibilities to concentrate forces in various directions in case of threats. It is no problem for a well-trained crew. If necessary, small ships from the Baltic and Caspian Seas can reinforce the Northern fleet," he said.

The Zeleny Dol has a displacement of 850 tons and fights sea targets in brown waters. It carries eight launchers for Kalibr or Onix missiles and artillery guns. Besides, the corvettes can be included into the so-called reconnaissance-strike and reconnaissance-fire forces.

Besides the Zeleny Dol, the Odintsovo Karakurt-class corvette of project 22800 was also tested in the Northern fleet. Sources said it trained fire.

The trials showed that the Northern fleet can be rapidly reinforced with cruise missile carriers. It may be necessary if NATO deploys missile defense in Norway or adjacent waters, expert Dmitry Kornev said. "It can deploy warships with Aegis missile defense. It can theoretically down Russian intercontinental missiles flying over Norway and close to it. Cruise missile carriers are necessary to break through the defense. Shipborne Kalibr can fire two types of missiles - antiship and against ground targets. Both are necessary to break through the missile defense. One will destroy Aegis and the other will target ground infrastructure," he said.

In October 2019, the Norwegian government refused to acquire radars and interceptor missiles for a ground missile defense of NATO on its territory. It is not going to deploy foreign missile defense bases in the country. However, Norway provides its seaports to foreign warships of the missile defense system. Infrastructure is upgraded in Tromso for US warships with Aegis and cruise missiles, the Izvestia said.

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