Russian submarine failed to launch new cruise missiles. Is another program failing?
WARSAW, (BM) – The Russian defense ministry informed that the nuclear submarine “cruiser” Orel carried out actual missile shooting as part of the exercise, learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing Defence24.
Despite the announced modernization of the on-board weapons system of this type of submarines, the Russians fired the old P-700 Granit anti-ship missiles again from under the water, and not the new Kalibr, Onyx and Zircon.
The missile shooting carried out on October 13, 2020 in the Barents Sea was theoretically no different from other exercises of this type. They were made by the nuclear submarine Orel [project 949A], which is part of the Northern Fleet. The shooting was carried out submerged and the target was a large surface object located in the Barents Sea, 120 km from the launch site.
In the communiqué of the Russian Ministry of Defence, it was additionally explained that the entire area of the designated training ground was secured by the ships of the Kolska Flotilla, while the effectiveness of the missile attack was checked by the Il-38 anti-submarine aircraft belonging to the independent regiment of the Northern Fleet. According to the data collected by this aircraft, the fleet command concluded that “the crew of the nuclear submarine” Orel successfully coped with the task, showing high professionalism and naval skills.
The only problem for observers is the weapons used during the shooting. According to the Russian MoD communiqué, the P-700 “Granit” rocket was launched towards the target, i.e. a system considered obsolete, which was created in the 1980s. Meanwhile, according to earlier declarations by the Russian command, the Antey ships were to be modernized and prepared to use newer weapon systems.
Units designated as project 949AM of the Antey type [Oscar II class – ed.] were to be armed with 72 new missiles of the Kalibr, Onyx and Zircon systems. However, this would mean a deep modernization of the “Granit” system launchers so that each of them could be loaded with three containers with new missiles and then fired separately.
As it turns out, no such changes have been introduced on any of the Antey-type submarines [Oscar II class – ed.] that have been released from the shipyard in the last five years after renovation and modernization, and they are still units, at best, with the same combat capabilities as when launched. In the case of Orel it was May 22, 1992.
This unit later underwent refurbishment that began in early 2014 and was completed in April 2017. As it turned out, however, it did not include the weapons system. A similar situation was in the case of the project 949A Omsk. He also stayed at the Zvezda shipyard in recent years [from 2015 to 2019] and was transferred to the Pacific Fleet in June 2019. In this case, however, the renovation ended and the ship still has only Granit missiles in its service.
Now everyone is hoping that the “Irkutsk” will be converted to the 949AM version, which is to end its stay at the “Zvezda” shipyard in 2022. However, it is the oldest ship of the Antey class [launched on December 29, 1987], so the new armament could be used on it for a maximum of seven years [when the “Irkutsk” will be forty years old]. Therefore, it is unlikely that the Russians will decide to invest huge resources on the modernization of its weapon system for such a short period.
So there is a high probability that the modernization of the Antey-class to the 949AM version will remain only an unfulfilled dream of the Sea Fleet.
NATO forces organized ‘a hunt’ of a nuclear Russian submarine in the Barents Sea
NATO ships made an attempt to “take the pincers” of the Russian submarine in the waters of the Barents Sea, according to the Nation-news resource on September 12.
Several ships from the USA, Great Britain and Sweden, supported by a Danish aircraft, attempted to block the movement of a Russian submarine in the Barents Sea. It is also reported that a silent American submarine Seawolf may be in the provocation zone. It is noted that the Russian submarine, which was “hunted” by NATO forces, is equipped with nuclear warheads and means of delivering them with Poseidon torpedoes. The American submarine, in turn, has Harpoon torpedoes and Tomahawk cruise missiles in its arsenal.
A similar incident is also reported in May 2020 in waters belonging to the Northern Sea Route. And also about the flight of a group of NATO bombers over the waters of the East Siberian Sea. Such actions are assessed by the National Center for Defense Management of the Russian Federation as provocative.
US and British Navy maneuvers into Barents Sea are a signal to Moscow
For the first time since the mid-80s, under the supervision of the Russian fleet, four American and one British ship entered the Barents Sea, which indicates a growing intensity of the confrontation between the great powers in the Arctic, writes The Washington Times.
According to the newspaper, the purpose of this operation was to send a signal to Moscow, as well as to check the readiness of the Navy for action in any weather conditions. Meanwhile, Norwegian officials refused to participate in this British-American operation – which speaks of its “provocative essence.”
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According to officials of the US Navy, these exercises are necessary in order for the US armed forces to be ready to operate in various climatic conditions, including in the Arctic. However, the Trump administration does not particularly hide its intentions to repulse other states – mainly Russia, but also assertive China – that are trying to establish control over strategically important Arctic territories.
As expected, Moscow was not happy about the joint British-American operation. Russian media reported that the Northern Fleet is actively monitoring American and British ships in the Barents Sea.
So far, there have been no reports of close contact between Russian and American ships – as well as news of high-profile statements by senior Russian officials. However, as The Washington Times notes, recalling that it carefully monitors what is happening, Moscow sent a clear signal that it considers this Arctic territory to be its own. According to American officials, on May 1, they notified Russia of an impending operation in order to avoid an “unintentional exacerbation.”
“Now, in these difficult times, it is more important than ever that we support an ongoing series of operations at the European theater, while taking reasonable measures to protect the health of our troops,” said US Fleet Commander Vice Admiral Lisa Franchetti. “We are still going to actively act for the benefit of regional security and stability, building trusting relationships and strengthening the foundation of combat readiness in the Arctic.”
Nevertheless, military analysts warn that the United States may seriously lag behind in the race for resources and trade routes in the Arctic, where with the melting of ice, many areas become more accessible for human activities. Meanwhile, Norwegian officials said that although they support the allied operation, they did not allow their sailors to take part in it – which speaks of the “provocative essence” of the US Navy mission.
The United States has not conducted operations in the Barents Sea since the mid-80s. According to US officials, the decision to resume operations there was made because “the naval forces of allies and partners must be able to operate effectively in all operating environments in order to guarantee security and access to all seas.”
For the Trump administration, these exercises are a concrete step designed to confirm its policy of containing Russia. Speaking at a meeting of the Arctic Council last May, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Moscow was obviously going to use its military power to establish tighter control over the region.
“Moscow already makes illegal demands that other countries request permission to enter. It requires the presence of Russian pilots on board foreign ships, threatening to resort to military force in order to sink any ship that refuses this,” said Pompeo. – “Such provocative actions are an element of an aggressive pattern of Russia’s behavior in the Arctic. Russia already leaves traces of its army boots in the snow.”
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