The Russian Navy has continued to operate in the neutral waters closer to its shores including the Baltic and Black Seas, but this week the Baltic Fleet’s Project 20380 corvette Steregushchiy took part in a long-distance deployment mission to the North Atlantic and then held drills in the North Sea, where it took part in air, anti-ship and anti-submarine defense drills. Additional drills involved marines from the corvette’s anti-terror units.
Tass reported that the main aim of the long-distance deployment of the warship, which had been at sea for almost two months, was to ensure the naval presence and to demonstrate the Russian Navy’s flag in the area of responsibility of the Baltic Fleet.
The Project 20380 is among the newest class of corvettes being built for the Russian Navy. Designed by the Almaz Central Design Bureau of Marine Engineering in St. Petersburg, the Steregushchiy is the lead ship in the class. It is a multi-purpose warship that was developed to accomplish green-water escort and strike missions, to patrol coastal waters and to provide fire support during amphibious assault operations.
The ships can be used for littoral zone operations, engagement with enemy submarines and surface ships, as well as in the support of landing operations. The first of the Project 20380 corvettes, Steregushchiy, was commissioned in November 2007, and the Russian Navy had previously announced the intention to buy at least thirty of the ships—for use in all of its four major fleets. These were part of Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin’s calls for an upgrade to the Russian Navy in 2013.
To date eight have been completed while six are in active service.
The corvettes of Project 20380 are equipped with the armament and maritime properties to allow them to accomplish the mission in any ocean environment. The warships carry Uran anti-ship missile systems along with Redut surface-to-air missile launchers as the main armament, while secondary weapons include a 100mm A-190 artillery gun and 30mm AK-630 small-caliber air defense missile systems. The corvettes are also able to carry a Ka-27 helicopter.
The deployment of the Steregushchiy to the North Atlantic and North Sea follows a similar spring sortie of the warship when it was part of a Russian flotilla that included two additional Project 20380 corvettes, two Project 775 Ropucha-class landing ships and two Project 11365 Admiral Grigorovich-class frigates that transited the English Channel. Vessels of the Royal Navy, supported by Merlin and Wildcat helicopters, tracked and monitored the movements of the Russian flotilla.
The Stergushchiy and her sister ship Soobrazitelny also took part in similar anti-ship drills in the North Sea in March. During those operations the two Project 20380 corvettes conducted notional missile launches against enemy combat ships, while the crews practiced electronic measures.
Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Amazon.com.