Home » Budget Industry » Russian Missile Cruiser to Conduct Live Fire Drills in Rare Visit to South China Sea


Russian Missile Cruiser to Conduct Live Fire Drills in Rare Visit to South China Sea

Russian guided missile cruiser Moscow (or Moskva) arriving in the port of Colombo, Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka Dept. of Government Information Photo

Russian guided missile cruiser Moscow (or Moskva) arriving in the port of Colombo, Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka Dept. of Government Information Photo

The flagship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet is currently in the South China Sea with plans to conduct air defense and “rocket, artillery and torpedo weapons,” drills in a rare visit to the region, according to an announcement issued Wednesday by the Russian Ministry of Defense.

The 11,500-ton Slava-class cruiser Moscow (or Moskva) left Singapore after a port call to conduct the training exercises in an unspecified area of the South China Sea in the last few days, read a translation of the statement.

The ship — based on a 1970s era design and commissioned in 1983 — was built to be crewed by almost 500 and is centered around 16 massive P-500 (SS-N-12 Sandbox) anti-ship cruise missiles, giving the ship a distinctive saw toothed look.

Moscow left the Russian naval base in Sevastapol, Crimea on Sept. 6 and made port calls in Greece in late September before transiting the Suez Canal in mid-October, according to the Russian Defense Ministry. It’s unclear if the cruiser made a port call to the Russian naval base in Tartus, Syria — though possible given the proximity of the ship to Syria. The ship then arrived at Colombo, Sri Lanka on Oct. 23 and then to Singapore.

While in the South China Sea, it’s unclear if the ship will train with any other ships or freindly navies. Russia enjoys good economic, diplomatic and military relations with both China and Vietnam and has trained with China in the past. However, China and Vietnam’s relationship is currently at a historic low over competing mineral claims in the region that came to a head in May when a Chinese oil platform being petroleum exploration in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Russia has mostly stayed quiet on the overlapping claims in the South China Sea, according to a June analysis in The Diplomat.

The rare exercise comes ahead of a planned state visit this month of Russian President Vladimir Putin to Beijing later this month to sign a bilateral cyber security agreement but it is unclear if the deployment is connected.

Regardless, the deployment of Moscow to the South China Sea is a rare show of surface presence in the region, Eric Wertheim, author of the Naval Institute’s Combat Fleets of the World, told USNI News on Wednesday.
“That area of the South China Sea hasn’t been a core Russian operating area but its part of this expanded push from Russia that we’re seeing,” he said.
“There is some effort to ramp up the surface operations but it’s going to be at a slower pace.”

Russia has increased their military operations in the last year but has focused more on its more capable aviation and submarine fleets and less on its aging surface fleets, U.S. Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert said on Tuesday.

Russian ship Moscow in 2009.

Russian ship Moscow in 2009.

For surface missions, Russia has leaned on a handful of their better maintained ships for deployments further afield in a scheme they call “inter-theater maneuver” in which selected major capital ships redeploy quickly to different parts of the world as part of a recent naval strategy, according to Jane’s World Navies.

Moscow conducted exercises in the Sea of Japan with Northern Fleet flagship Kirov-class nuclear cruiser Petr Velikiy (or Peter the Great) in 2010 as an example of the tactic, Jane’s said.

Likewise, Moscow also deployed last year to Russia’s naval base in Tartus, Syria as a sign of support for the government of Bashar al-Assad and has participated in anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden with the U.S. led Combined Task Force 151 (CTF-151).

However, it’s still unclear whether the current deployment of Moscow is an anomaly or a sign of greater Russian surface expansion.

“It’s hard to tell how long this is going to last, but this is them trying to reassert their place in the world,” Wertheim said.

  • Chesapeakeguy

    Last time I heard or read of a Russian cruiser doing a live fire exercise, the Kursk was sunk! Just sayin’..

    • oxi

      Last time a U.S. warship was in the Middle East, it was rendered useless by a rubber boat, just saying…

      • Chesapeakeguy

        I guess the Russians are your guys, eh? I’d try to school you on the difference between the two events, but I’m pretty sure that would be a waste of time. Whine away!

        • oxi

          Russia is not my guys, but the arrogance of U.S. citizens will be your Waterloo…

      • practicalpat

        Except US warships are in the Middle East RIGHT NOW……but other than that! Also storing your anti ship missiles next to your command facilitates above the water line seems like a good way to die quickly in any surface engagement or otherwise!

        • oxi

          The U.S. will not even get close to this massive Russian warship! Why do you think Obama backed off from attacking Syria about a year ago? Obama had a carrier battle group, the French had theirs and Britain had theirs all near Syria. With about a dozen Russian warships off Syria coast at the time and who knows beneath the water, Obama knew better than to engage the smaller Russia flotilla…

          • Chesapeakeguy

            Hey oxi, one difference between the Cole and the Kursk is the Cole was salvaged! It sails TODAY! How’d that work out for the Kursk, or those poor individuals on? Your beloved Russian government let them DIE rather than accept help to save them. And that’s AFTER they sank them, if some sources are to be believed! But they’re your kinda guys, aren’t they now? Hmm, Comrade?

          • oxi

            I could list many U.S. warships sunk and lost sailors back to when the U.S. citizens had a pair to stand up to the King! You dwell on single details and judge an entire nation of people by it, are you a republican (disguised as a democrat), after all the same party, just different mascots?

          • Secundius

            @ oxi

            And the British still lost the war, twice…

          • Chesapeakeguy

            oxi, your deflection is noted! LOL..

          • Wizzy

            Chesapeakguy, do you have any substance in you?…oh wait… you are 12. My bad…

      • Secundius

        @ oxi.

        Actually it was a fiberglass boat and the US ship was docked taking on fuel…

  • oxi

    This warship by itself is a carrier killer. Anybody that even dares to attack it will feel Russia’s Strategic Rocket Forces as a response!

    • Chesapeakeguy

      Umm, Comrade, what would it attacking a US carrier bring? Hmmm?

      • oxi

        Do not ask me, ask the U.S. of why they have so many bases and troops around the world! The U.S. is the threat to global peace and stability right now…

        • Chesapeakeguy

          I believe you’re on here just to push buttons. No one can expect a rational exchange with you. But unlike your beloved Russia, here you still have the right to conduct yourself that way. Carry on Comrade!

          • oxi

            No I am not! I just ask questions like why so many military bases around the world, why so many carriers near foreign shores? Ever wonder why nations are getting fed up and getting ready to keep the U.S. out of their backyard? The dollar is under attack, only a matter of time before the U.S. pulls the first trigger for WWIII…

          • Andrey Varninykh

            — Да, на Руси, слава Богу, дураков лет на сто припасено.

          • John Jeffery

            Putin is not there yet?

        • Secundius

          @ oxi.

          Yeah, and I guess the Ukrainians are loving every Russian Ruble spent in behalf of their country, too.

          • oxi

            In reality Western Europe and the U.S. are paying Russia for Ukrainian debts…

          • John Jeffery

            I think the payments have stopped?

    • Vitonio

      Both the US and Russia should work together to stop Islam. Restarting the Cold War is a gift to Allah.

      • oxi

        I agree but the U.S. foreign policy actually wants radical Islamists, it is good business and they get to use that FEAR card over its citizens to get more powers over them! The U.S. needs Russia to fight Islam but history shows while Russia was busy fighting Islamists in Chechnya and Afghanistan, the U.S. was busy on the other side assisting the Islamists…

  • Secundius

    “Slight of Hand Magic Trick”, it sounds like they want us the US and Allies, looking there. Then looking somewhere else.

  • Secundius

    “A Thumping of the Chest”. The Russian/Putin, just want us the US Navy too send out the DDG-1000 USS. ZUMWALT. To see what she’s made of. They want to put There Best, up agaunst Our Best. “One Upmanship”, I think its called…

  • Secundius

    What it is, is Putin’s “Pissing Contest”. He want to match his 11,500-ton SLAVA class Cruiser, against out 14,456-ton ZUMWALT class Destroyer…