Russian Navy Project 20380 Corvettes Conduct First Mediterranean Cruise

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Naval Forces News - Russia
 
 
 
Russian Navy Project 20380 Corvettes Conduct First Mediterranean Cruise
 
On the evening of October 29, 2017, a task force of the Baltic Fleet, which comprised the Project 20380 guided missile corvettes ‘Boikiy’ and ‘Soobrazitelniy’ escorted by the ‘Kola’ tanker, passed by the Rock of Gibraltar and entered the Alboran Sea, the western bound of the Mediterranean Sea. Then, the tanker will replenish the task force at the assigned anchoring point. One cannot be surprised by long-rang cruises of all the fleets of the Russian Navy; however, this one stands apart, as two Project 20380 ships have visited the Mediterranean Sea for the first time, Ilya Kramnik, an expert, writes for the Izvestia newspaper.
     
Russian Navy Project 20380 Corvette 1The project 20380 corvette "Soobrazitelniy" and the project 160 medium tanker "Kola" of the Russian Navy during the passage of the Strait of Gibraltar in the Mediterranean Sea on the evening of 28.10.2017. Picture by Erne / forums.airbase.ru
     
The building of the new Project 20380 corvettes for the Russian Navy has started in 2001, when the lead ship named ‘Stereguschiy’ was laid down at the Northern Shipyard. Four her sisterships were laid down in the following five years, including three in Saint Petersburg (‘Soobrazitelniy’, ‘Boikiy’ and ‘Stoikiy’) and one (‘Sovershenniy’) in Komsomolsk-on-Amur. These aforementioned ships composed the first series of the new project. Thereafter, the project has substantially evolved, turning into a full-fledged multipurpose ship with a guided missile armament suite that can be described as typical for frigates. Such features set one`s thinking about the usage of the ships in blue waters, despite lack of endurance.

The ‘Stereguschiy’ corvette was brought into service in 2008, while ‘Soobrazitelniy’, ‘Boikiy’ and ‘Stoikiy’ were delivered to the Navy in 2011, 2013 and 2014, respectively. The ‘Sovershenniy’ corvette was laid down in 2006 and delivered to the service in 2017. Despite harsh economic conditions and various difficulties, the manufacturing processes were tuned up, the plants were upgraded, and the bringing of the ships into service started. In 2012-2016, eight more ships were laid down, including five in the Project 20380 configuration, two in the updated Project 20385 version with a modified armament suite and a new energy system, and one in the Project 20386 variant that, in fact, is a newly developed ship, considering the progress in the area of armament and equipment.

The delivery of the ‘Gremyaschiy’ Project 20385 corvette to the Navy is scheduled for 2018 (its building is being finished). In fact, the first Russian Navy`s task force that comprised a group of new-generation combatants had been formed within the Baltic Fleet by the second half of 2014.
     
Russian Navy Project 20380 Corvette 2The project 20380 corvette "Soobrazitelniy" of the Russian Navy during the passage of the Strait of Gibraltar in the Mediterranean Sea on the evening of 28.10.2017. Picture by Erne / forums.airbase.ru
     
The new corvettes rarely gave up the Baltic Sea until recently. In July 2016, ‘Boikiy’ and ‘Stoikiy’ made a cruise to the Northern Sea, and in October 2016 - to the Bay of Biscay. In April 2017, ‘Boikiy’ and ‘Soobrazitelniy’ left the harbor to the Atlantic Ocean; this visit was followed by the voyage of ‘Boikiy’ and ‘Stereguschiy’ to the region in June 2017. The fifth sortie of the task force that included ‘Boikiy’ and ‘Soobrazitelniy’ was the first cruise of the new Russian corvettes to the Mediterranean Sea.

The Project 20380 corvettes` capabilities are large, especially in the area of anti-submarine warfare. The missile system integrated with their armament suite can engage enemy`s ships, while the combatants feature other assets to destroy ground targets. The corvettes can accomplish reconnaissance and escort missions. The first cruise of these ships to the Mediterranean Sea will provide the information that will allow the optimization of the project and the modernization of the already built (or being built) Project 20380 ships. The Navy`s demand for the surface combatants of this class reaches 20 items, and the long cruises of corvettes to the areas that pivotal for Russia`s security will be frequent, Ilya Kramnik, an expert, writes for the Izvestia newspaper.

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