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​Baltic Fleet of russia Prepares to Accept Three New Kalibr Missile Carriers, the Possibility of Transfer to the Black Sea

A small missile ship (corvette) of Project 22800 Karakurt / Open-source illustrative photo
A small missile ship (corvette) of Project 22800 Karakurt / Open-source illustrative photo
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Two Karakurt-class and one Buyan-M–class corvettes with a total capacity of 24 cruise missiles are about to get commissioned to the russian navy

Citing sources in the shipbuilding industry, russian media report that the Baltic fleet of the russian navy is poised to receive three more combat vessels of the "small missile ship" type, a Soviet equivalent to a corvette armed with LACMs. As stated, the ships will be commissioned this year: Burya and Kozelsk of Project 22800 Karakurt, as well as Stavropol of Project 21631 Buyan-M.

The Burya small missile ship (corvette) of Project 22800 Karakurt / Defense Express / Baltic Fleet of russia Prepares to Accept Three New Kalibr Missile Carriers: Assessing the Possibility of Transfer to the Black Sea
The Burya small missile ship (corvette) of Project 22800 Karakurt / Open-source illustrative photo

The first two ships were built at the Pella Shipyard (official name Leningrad Shipbuilding Plant), and the third one at the Zelenodolsk Shipyard. In addition, as previously reported by the press service of the Baltic Fleet, by the end of 2024 it should receive submarines. Preliminary data says it will be the Velikiye Luki submarine of Project 667(M) Lada.

Read more: ​What is the Real Reason Why russia Relocates Missile-Carrying Submarines to Crimea

As for the Burya and Kozelsk ships of Project 22800 Karakurt, both were laid down in 2016, launched in 2018 and 2019, respectively. Currently, they are at different stages of testing.

Speaking of the Stavropol of the Buyan-M project, this is the 12th and last ship of this series: all other ships have been completed (the 11th was in 2023) and are in service with the Caspian, Black Sea and Baltic fleets.

Illustrative photo: Serpukhov corvette of the Buyan-M class / Defense Express / Baltic Fleet of russia Prepares to Accept Three New Kalibr Missile Carriers: Assessing the Possibility of Transfer to the Black Sea
Illustrative photo: Serpukhov corvette of the Buyan-M class / Open-source illustrative photo

Stavropol was laid down on July 12, 2018. According to open source information, the ship is still being finalized, although the russian media assured in the early 2020s the works should be finished and Stavropol commissioned in 2023.

The main armament of all three ships is eight vertical launchers for Kalibr-NK land-attack cruise missiles (LACM), i.e. the potential total salvo at disposal of the Baltic Fleet should increase by 24 missiles of this type this year.

Now the important question is whether russia can transfer these ships into the Black Sea to take part in the war against Ukraine. The answer is yes, though it will be a difficult operation to pull off. In fact, the russian military already has the experience of redeploying a Karakurt-class ship in the opposite direction, from the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea.

Waterways from the Black Sea to the Baltic and the Caspian seas through russia / Defense Express / Baltic Fleet of russia Prepares to Accept Three New Kalibr Missile Carriers: Assessing the Possibility of Transfer to the Black Sea
Waterways from the Black Sea to the Baltic and the Caspian seas through russia / Source credit: Grigorovich, Igor & Therriault, Thomas & MacIsaac, Hugh. (2003). History of aquatic invertebrate invasions in the Caspian Sea

Besides, according to the recent disclosure from the Ukrainian Defense Intelligence service, the russians wanted to transfer its Serpukhov missile corvette of the Buyan-M class from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea but the plans were disrupted by a fire breakout on this ship.

Regardless, the Kremlin's rhetoric about the reason for adding another three Kalibr missile carriers to the Baltic Fleet is primarily to provide a "reinforcement against the background of increasing threats from NATO." The russian armed forces deem these types of ships the most suitable for activities in this region.

Read more: ​Damaged russian Rostov-na-Donu Submarine Leaves the Dry Dock, Relocated to Another Repair Plant