Russia’s Varyag missile cruiser returns from 9-month voyage

The warship was involved in the Indra Navy naval exercises in the Bay of Bengal and provided air defense cover to Russia’s Hmeymim airbase in Syria
© Vadim Savitsky/Russian Defense Ministry’s Press Office/TASS

VLADIVOSTOK, July 18. /TASS/. The Guards missile cruiser Varyag, the flagship of the Russian Pacific Fleet has returned to Vladivostok port after a nine-month voyage during which it was involved in the Indra Navy naval exercises in the Bay of Bengal and provided air defense cover to Russia’s Hmeymim airbase in Syria, the press service of the Primorsky Territory administration told TASS on Monday.

The Russian pacific Fleet flagship was met at the quay by the command of the Primorskaya Flotilla of Multiple Forces, Pacific Fleet veterans, representatives of the Primorsky Territory administration, Vladivostok officials, as well as the crew relatives. According to the fleet’s tradition, the Varyag cruiser Commander, Captain 2nd Rank Alexei Ulyanenko was presented with a roasted piglet. An award ceremony was also held: Alexei Ulyanenko was awarded a Certificate of Merit and the Russian President’s Commendation, and a number of officers, warrant officers and contract servicemen were handed the “Participant in Military Operations in Syria” Medals.

A ceasefire regime is currently in effect in Syria. Russia takes an active part in the Syrian settlement effort. It helps Syria’s authorities fight terrorists and has conducted mine clearing work in the ancient city of Palmyra. Russia’s Aerospace Forces started delivering pinpoint strikes in Syria at facilities of the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra, which are banned in Russia, on September 30, 2015, on a request from Syrian President Bashar Assad.

On March 14, 2016, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered to withdraw the main part of the Russian Aerospace Forces’ group from Syria. Putin said the tasks set before the military “have been fulfilled on the whole.” Russian Deputy Defense Minister Nikolai Pankov said strikes on terrorists will continue to be delivered.


What is Russia’s S-400 Air Defense System Set to Do in Syria?

Russia deploys S-400 air defence missile system in Syria

Moscow has deployed its most advanced S-400 air defense system, said to have no equals globally, to guard the skies over Syria after a Turkish F-16 fighter shot down a Russian Su-24 bomber over Syrian territory on Tuesday.

The S-400 Triumf (NATO codename SA-21 Growler) is an anti-aircraft and anti-missile system, which is capable of intercepting all types of modern air weaponry, including fifth-generation warplanes, as well as ballistic and cruise missiles at a maximum range of nearly 250 miles. It has a tracking range of over 370 miles.The system uses three types of long- and medium-range missiles and can simultaneously engage as many as 36 targets.

In addition, the S-400 is the only missile complex in the world capable of hitting targets located beyond the horizon, defense expert Konstantin Sivkov told Radio Sputnik. The system is also well protected against electronic warfare.

The Moskva guided missile cruiser, the flagship of Russia's Black Sea Fleet
The Moskva guided missile cruiser, the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet

In short, the S-400 is the best defensive system Russia has in its arsenal.

But just in case, the Triumf will also be assisted by the S-300F Fort (SA-N-6 Grumble) air defense system outfitted on the Moskva guided missile cruiser.

“The S-300 system onboard Moskva is also an extremely capable system that is similar to the S-400, but not quite as potent. One of the missile types supported by the Rif-M system … can engage targets out to 95 miles at altitudes up to 90,000ft. The system can engage half-a-dozen targets with up to twelve missiles simultaneously,” Dave Majumdar observed in an article for the National Interest.

On Tuesday, a Turkish F-16 shot down a Su-24, claiming that the aircraft had violated its airspace. Russian officials and the Su-24 pilot, who survived the crash, insist that the plane did not cross into Turkey. The crew, according to the pilot, did not receive any warning prior to the attack.The Su-24 was involved in Russia’s counterterrorism efforts in Syria aimed at assisting Damascus in its fight against ISIL and other extremist groups trying to overthrow Bashar al-Assad.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan refused to apologize for the incident, which Russian President Vladimir Putin described as a “stab in the back” committed by “accomplices of terrorists.” Moreover, Erdogan warned Russia against using the S-400 to shoot down Turkish fighter jets if they violate Syrian airspace since, in his opinion, it would qualify as “aggression.”


Russian missile cruiser returns to Crimea from Mediterranean, Atlantic voyages

The Moskva Missile Cruiser

The Moskva Missile Cruiser

MOSCOW, August 18. /TASS/. The Moskva Missile Cruiser, which is the lead ship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, has returned to the home base in Sevastopol after a long voyage in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, Fleet spokesman Vyacheslav Trukhachyov said on Tuesday.

During its voyage, the Moskva took part in military exercises in the Mediterranean Sea and called at ports of Angola and Equatorial Guinea, he said.

“Early in June, the Moskva cruiser took part jointly with warships of the Black Sea and Baltic Sea Fleets in the Friendship Bridge 2015 drills, the first Russian-Egyptian naval exercises. Later, warships and vessels of the Navy’s permanent grouping in the Mediterranean Sea formed a group of combat ships of the Black Sea Fleet led by the Moskva, the frigate Pytlivy, the salvage tug Shakhtyor and the tanker Ivan Bubnov, which performed missions in the Atlantic,” the spokesman said.

The naval squadron held several exercises to practise anti-submarine, anti-ship and air defense of a group of warships.

Kamov Ka-27PS (NATO reporting name: Helix-D) multi-purpose helicopters performed flights from the cruiser Moskva during the military drills, which also practised fuelling of combat ships from a tanker on the move, the escort and protection of civilian vessels against pirates and terrorists.

Also, the crew of the cruiser Moskva conducted missile firing from its main missile system against targets imitating a surface ship, and also against air targets from its Fort air defense missile complex and shipborne artillery guns, the spokesman said.

The cruiser Moskva also took part in the drills of the Russian Navy’s permanent Mediterranean grouping in the eastern portion of the Mediterranean Sea several days ago, the spokesman said.