During last week’s Kavkaz-2020 exercises, which ran from Monday to Saturday, Russian naval vessels took part in live fire exercises in the Black Sea. This included the launch of a Kalibr cruise missile that was launched from the Black Sea Fleet’s submarine The Kolpino and hit an on-shore target 100 nautical miles (185 kilometers) away.
“To practice the skills of using smart weapons The Kolpino’s crew launched one missile from the submerged position,” the Russian Ministry of Defense told state media. “The cruise missile hit the designated on-shore target at a proving ground about 100 nautical miles away.”
Drones reportedly recorded the moment the missile hit the target.
The reports did not say which version of the Kalibr missile was actually used in the attack. The Russian Navy has been working to upgrade the existing 3M14 Kalibr to the long-range, high-precision ship-based Kalibr-M cruise missile. That new version has a reported maximum firing of 4,500 kilometers. Given that the recent tests were only to a range of 185 kilometers it was likely it was the former, older version. If true, that would have been much less impressive to test the Kalibr-M at such a short distance, as the original ship-launch Kalibr has a range of 1,500 to 2,600 kilometers.
The submarine, The Kolpino, is a Kilo-class diesel-electric submarine—originally designed for the Soviet Navy but was updated in the 1990s as the more advanced Project 636 Varshavyanka. The boat, which was handed over to the Russian Navy Black Sea Fleet in November 2016, also took part in Black Sea exercises with the Russian Navy’s frigate Admiral Essen and the small missile ship Orekhovo-Zuyevo in April.
Black Sea Full of Activity
Other warships from the Black Sea Fleet also carried out live firing practice against missile targets during the Kavkaz exercise.
“Artillery fire was conducted against missile targets launched from two small anti-submarine ships—The Muromets and The Suzdalets,” the Russian Defense Ministry told Tass.
Live fire drills were also conducted with the Duet systems of the AK-630 by the crews of the missile cruiser The Moskva, small missile ships The Vyshny Volochyok and The Orekhovo-Zuyevo as well as four missile boats including the Naberezhnyie Chelny, The Ivanovets, the Shuya and R-60.
In addition, some air targets were dropped from amphibious planes Be-200 and Black Sea Fleet’s air defense aircraft to allow the crews to take part in anti-aircraft and air defense drills.
In another part of the Kavkaz simulation, Black Sea Fleet vessels “frustrated efforts” by notional “international terrorists” on the coast of the Krasnadar territory trying to deliver weapons and supplies. The Defense Ministry said that the crews on patrol boats, acting in concert with the crews of anti-sabotage boats cooperated in searching for and eliminating surface ships from the hypothetical enemy.
In total more than twenty ships and boats of the Black Sea Fleet engaged in the week-long exercises that were held in the Southern Military District including the Black and Caspian Seas under the command of the chief of Russia’s General Staff Valery Gerasimov. About 80,000 servicemen, Emergencies Ministry and National Guard Rosgvardiya personnel as well as about 1,000 additional troops from Armenia, Belarus, Iran, China, Myanmar and Pakistan took part in last week’s exercises.
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.
Image: The Russian Navy's improved kilo-class submarine Kolpino sails during the Navy Day parade in the Black Sea port of Sevastopol, Crimea July 26, 2020. REUTERS/Alexey Pavlishak.