Russian Cold War Naryan-Mar ship downs target with OSA missile

On May 20, the small anti-submarine ship Naryan-Mar from the White Sea Naval Base of the Northern Fleet executed a series of training and combat operations. These exercises involved defending against simulated air attacks as part of their scheduled combat training in the White Sea. 

Russian Cold War Naryan-Mar ship downs target with OSA missile
Photo credit: Russian MoD

The crew of the Naryan-Mar honed their skills by firing at simulated air targets using the OSA-MA anti-aircraft missile systems, the naval counterpart of the OSA. They also employed AK-176 artillery mounts and the rapid-fire AK-630 30mm cannons. Within the exercise’s parameters, the crew successfully repelled a mock enemy attack and destroyed a controlled aerial bomb. 

Beyond direct fire practice for air defense, the Naryan-Mar’s crew also engaged in maneuvering tactics to counteract simulated aerial assaults and escorted air targets. They practiced countermeasures against unmanned enemy boats and fine-tuned their skills in eliminating high-speed small targets and floating mines with naval artillery.

Russian Cold War Naryan-Mar ship downs target with OSA missile
Photo credit: Wikipedia

About OSA-MA

The Russian Osa-MA missile complex, known to NATO as the SA-N-4 “Gecko,” is a ship-based air defense system designed to protect naval vessels from aerial threats like aircraft and incoming missiles. This system is an upgraded version of the earlier Osa-M, featuring improvements in targeting, tracking, and missile guidance technologies. 

The Osa-MA missile complex includes a dual-launcher system capable of firing surface-to-air missiles [SAMs]. These missiles are stored in ready-to-launch containers, allowing for quick deployment. Designed to engage low- to medium-altitude targets, the system provides a solid defense against a range of aerial threats. 

One standout feature of the Osa-MA system is its ability to track and engage multiple targets at once. It uses radar and electro-optical tracking technologies to detect and lock incoming threats. The radar system operates in various modes, including search, track, and missile guidance, ensuring comprehensive coverage and high accuracy. 

The missiles used in the Osa-MA complex are typically short-range, with an effective range of around 15 kilometers [about 9 miles] and an engagement altitude of up to 12 kilometers [about 7.5 miles]. Equipped with proximity fuses, these missiles can detonate near their targets to maximize damage through fragmentation.

How does OSA-MA work?

Russian Cold War Naryan-Mar ship downs target with OSA missile
Video screenshot

The Osa-MA system boasts several advanced technologies to boost its effectiveness. This includes phased-array radar for better target detection and tracking, as well as digital fire control systems that enable rapid response and high precision. The system also employs electronic counter-countermeasures [ECCM] to counter jamming and other electronic interferences. 

In operation, the Osa-MA complex first detects incoming threats using its radar system. Once a target is tracked, the system continuously monitors it, calculating its speed, direction, and altitude. The fire control system then chooses the optimal moment to launch a missile, guiding it toward the target using radar or electro-optical tracking until the missile’s onboard seeker takes over for the final approach. 

The Osa-MA missile complex is mainly deployed on various Russian naval vessels, including frigates, destroyers, and corvettes. Its versatility and effectiveness make it a crucial element of Russia’s naval air defense strategy, providing a reliable shield against aerial threats and significantly enhancing the fleet’s overall survivability.

The Albatross

The Albatros class, officially known as Project 1124 Small Anti-Submarine Ships, emerged from Soviet ingenuity during the tense Cold War period. These corvettes are a testament to a strategic focus on anti-submarine warfare [ASW], playing a vital role in both Soviet and Russian naval tactics. 

As for their size, these ships are relatively compact, measuring about 71.2 meters [233 feet] in length, with a beam of 10.3 meters [34 feet] and a draft close to 3.4 meters [11 feet]. Their smaller dimensions and agility make them well-suited for their specialized ASW missions. 

When loaded, an Albatros class ship displaces around 1,100 tons, striking a balance between speed, maneuverability, and the capacity to carry the necessary equipment and weaponry for effective mission execution.

Russian Cold War Naryan-Mar ship downs target with OSA missile
Photo credit: Top War

Albatross propulsion and armament

The Albatross-class ships run on a powerful CODAG [Combined Diesel and Gas] propulsion system. This unique setup features two diesel engines for cruising and two gas turbines for high-speed maneuvers, pushing these vessels to impressive speeds of up to 32 knots. 

When it comes to sensors and electronic warfare, the Albatross class doesn’t disappoint. These ships are packed with sophisticated sonar systems for submarine detection, advanced radar for both surface and air searches and top-notch electronic countermeasure [ECM] equipment to thwart enemy missiles and radar detection. 

The armament on Albatross-class ships is built for Anti-Submarine Warfare [ASW] missions. You’ll find an array of weaponry, including torpedo tubes, anti-submarine rocket launchers like the RBU-6000, and racks for depth charges. In addition, they come equipped with surface-to-air missiles for self-defense and various naval guns for engaging surface targets.


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