Home » Budget Industry » Kurdish Video Lends Credibility to Russian Navy Caspian Sea Strike Mission Claims


Kurdish Video Lends Credibility to Russian Navy Caspian Sea Strike Mission Claims

Undated photo of Russian Navy guided missile frigate Dagestan firing UKSK Shot.

Undated photo of Russian Navy guided missile frigate Dagestan firing UKSK Shot.

Russian officials claim that a flotilla of four ships in the Caspian Sea sent a barrage of 26 guided cruise missiles across Iran and Iraq to strike Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) targets in Syria — more than 900 miles away.

Those claims were bolstered on Wednesday when Kurdish Peshmerga forces fighting ISIS released a video on Twitter showing a guided cruise missile streak by their encampment.

According to a Wednesday release from the Russian Ministry of Defense, three 1,000-ton Buyan-M corvettes and the 2,000-ton guided missile frigate Dagestan fired the SS-N-30A cruise missiles from ships to target sets including “plants producing ammunition and explosives, command centers, storages of munitions, armament and POL as well as a training camp of terrorists on the territory of the Raqqah, Idlib and Aleppo provinces,” according to the statement.

The Peshmerga video shows two subsonic cruise missiles that correspond to the characteristics of the SS-N-30A.

The Russian Foreign Ministry released its own video combining footage of the ships launching weapons and map of the alleged flight path of the missiles to central Syria at a distance of more than 900 miles for the sub-sonic SS-N-30As or Kalibr NK or 3M-14T.

Officials with the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) and the U.S. Central Command would not confirm any of the Russian claims surrounding the strikes and independent verification of the strikes have not been forth coming.

In addition to the distance the missiles would have had to travel, taking the Russians at their word, the missiles would have to transit through Iranian, Iraqi and Syrian airspace to reach their targets.

Moving that many missiles through that airspace would require a major deconfliction with the air defense systems and aircraft in Iraq and Iran, said Bryan Clark , a retired Navy officer, the former special assistant to the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) and now a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Analysis (CSBA).

“If they actually did this, that’s a huge step forward in their ability to coordinate theater wide operations that they haven’t demonstrated in decades,” Clark told USNI News on Wednesday.

If ultimately confirmed, the ability for the Russians to launch a strike from that far is also revelatory Eric Wertheim — naval analyst and author of U.S. Naval Institute’s Combat Fleets of the World — told USNI News on Wednesday.

Buyan M guided missile corvette.

Buyan M guided missile corvette.

Russian possession of a weapon that parallels the range and performance of the Raytheon Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM) — the U.S. long range land attack missile — shows “the rest of the world is catching up to this technology,” Wertheim said.
“It’s a wake up call.”

In addition to a statement of the effectiveness of Russian technology the strike on the targets, which could have just as easily been undertaken by the forward deployed Russian aircraft, have a messaging component, Steven Horrell, the U.S. Navy senior fellow at The Atlantic Council told USNI News.

“Regardless of whatever tactical value, this is clear messaging to the U.S. and NATO,” he said.
“It’s possible this is specifically a message to Turkey with recent friction over airspace on the border.”

Launching from the Caspian Sea, rather than from the Black Sea-based surface action group, currently in the Eastern Mediterranean, also shows the the seams in the abilities of the Russian surface fleet.

The Buyan-M corvettes and Dagestan are among the more modern surface combatants in the Russian fleet and are equipped UKSK vertical launch system capable of fielding the long-range cruise missile. Ships of the Black Sea SAG are incapable of fielding the more modern weapons as Russia has elected not to modernize the ships.

However, the Russian Navy is expanding platforms with the cruise missiles.

“In addition to the Caspian Sea, this capability is in the Black Sea on the Improved-Kilo-class submarine Novorossiysk which just arrived last month and in the Baltic Fleet on their newer frigates,” Horrell said.

The following is the complete Oct. 7, 2015 statement from the Russian Ministry of Defense on the missile strikes from Caspian Sea.

This night the ship strike group of the Russian Navy launched cruise missiles against ISIS infrastructural facilities in Syria from the assigned district of the Caspian Sea.

The cruise missiles hit all the assigned targets. The deviation from aims during the long-range engagement did not exceed 3 meters.

Plants producing ammunition and explosives, command centres, storages of munitions, armament and POL as well as a training camp of terrorists on the territory of the Raqqah, Idlib and Aleppo provinces were engaged.

The missile ship Dagestan (project 11661) was the flag ship of the ship strike group. Its displacement constitutes about 2 000 tons, its length is about 200 meters. The ship is equipped with a modern high-accuracy missile system Kalibr NK capable of engaging targets by cruise missiles located on all the territory of Syria with the accuracy of up to 3 meters. The cruise missiles fly at the altitudes of up to 50 meters following the terrain.
The missile ship Dagestan is capable of task performance at the distance of 4 000 km from the permanent base.

The displacement of small-sized missile ships Grad Sviyazhsk, Uglich, Veliky Ustyug (project 21631) is 1 000 tons, their length is over 70 meters. The main strike weapon of the ships of this type is the Kalibr NK high-precision ship missile system, which allows to engage targets day and night in bad hydrometeorological conditions.

  • disqus_zommBwspv9

    Reminds me of the Tomahawk strikes against Iraq

  • If that’s true, It gives Russia a new capability and on par with the UK and French.

  • astreo

    h i see russia can strike against israel

    • Стефан Евгений

      Why? have you been there? i guess not cose there are huge number of Russians living there.

      • astreo

        yeah russian jews. i think that putin dont worry about that

  • David Ayers

    I wish I had some of them. I’d give them to Putin. To rain on our allies. The “Moderate Muslim Rebels”. Our strategic pardners.

  • andrew

    russia is a continental power, unlike amerika which has to project its alleged power through carriers and large flotillas of expensive targets.

    • sferrin

      ROFL!!!! You’re just upset because any US Aegis ship -all 80+ of them- could double the cruise missile strike of your little “flotilla”.

      • Jim DiGiacomo

        Wow a 76mm or100mm gun, vertical launch system, long range anti-ship and anti-surface missiles, 30mm CIWS, torpedoes, sonar, anti-sub rockets and a ton lighter than the LCS. I wish we could purchase corvettes and frigates from the Russians.

        • Secundius

          @ Jim DiGiacomo.

          Unfortunately, Russia work on the Stalin Model of Productivity (Quantity, Over Quality). If you Build or Produce enough CRAP, you can Overwhelm Your Enemy. Russia, has a Major Maintenance Problem Issue, with the Products they Produce. This is a Country that produce a Million Pair’s of Women’s High-Heeled Shoes, with the Heels attached to the Toes of the Shoe’s. Instead of Correcting the Problem, They actually tried Selling the Shoe’s, Hoping that Nobody would Notice the Problem…

          • Алексей Зайцев

            Yeah, F35 is just a marvel of engineering. Talking of shoes and trying to sell them…

          • Secundius

            Big Difference Sir. The F-35 Actually Flies. NO WOMAN I Know of could Actually Wear and Walk with these Shoes On. If know of any WOMEN THAT DID, Provide their Information Sources…

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  • Ctrot

    Just looking at that Buyan-class corvette and thinking how out classed the LCS is in comparison. It is to weep.

    • Tim Dolan

      You are comparing their ships designed for offensive capability with one of the USA’s ships designed for something different (multi-mission module). It would be closer to compare to Perry class frigates if the USA had any left in service. 40 missiles to their 8. And all Russia has done is demonstrated they are only 25 years behind the USA at this point.

      • Ctrot

        I am comparing cost and size vs combat capability. The Russians have a ship that is 1/4 the size of, undoubtedly a fraction of the cost of and yet an order of magnitude more combat capable than the LCS.

        Yes the OHP were more capable, but as you point out they are gone, history. What are they being replaced by? The LCS, and that’s what I used for the comparison because it’s in service, in production and the Perry’s are not.

        • Tim Dolan

          Well for a glorified minesweeper, the LCS has a whole lot of capability. And that modular part means it could be configured later to an anti-ship version if needed, in which case I would bet on the LCS over either of the Russian ships that tossed missiles in a one-on-one. But the LCS is not a replacement for the OHP class.

          The OHPs are being replaced by Aegis Destroyers, a whole lot more expensive and capable ship. One of those could probably take on the entire Russian Caspian Sea flotilla if they didn’t have to worry about anything else. They would have to deal with other stuff, so I wouldn’t use it that way, but they probably could take them all out..

          • Ctrot

            Burkes are not a replacement for an FFG. The US Navy would be stupid to risk a $2 billion dollar warship where a half billion dollar warship would suffice. And the Navy advertised the LCS from the beginning as a replacement for the retiring OHP’s.

            And thus far, 10 years into the program, the “mission modules” for LCS have proven elusive. There is no proof that any “mission module” will add anything to an LCS’ combat capability. Don’t claim capabilities for LCS that only exist on paper.

          • Tim Dolan

            If I can only claim current capabilities, then it is a helicopter carrying minesweeper only at this point. A minesweeper is not comparable to a corvette/frigate.

          • Ctrot

            You’re making my point. Except you leave out the part where it costs $500 million each. Meanwhile the navies of our allies and foes alike are building Real Frigates with serious combat capabilities for less cost.

          • Tim Dolan

            And our carriers cost 5 billion a piece (not counting aircraft), but then they are hugely superior to anyone else’s carrier. We are no longer building Corvettes, Frigates, or Cruisers (or battleships) for our Navy, there are some equivalents to corvette size vessels in the Coast Guard. Our Destroyers are the size of most other navy’s Cruisers (if they built cruisers) and they cost as much as a battleship probably would if anyone else built it.

            The LCS is a mission configurable ship, and while they may cost more per unit, we need far less units because we only need a small number for each of those missions at any particular time. They are not true combatants, although as mentioned we have plans for them to do a sort of combatant role, if we need them to at some point. They would probably be even lower cost if we made the basic hull form for the Coast Guard as well so as to be producing enough to get volume discount (as much as any ship-building program can. I just reread an article that the last few of the LCS designs will be designated as FF and upgunned. I was not able to easily find what they consider upgunned though, now if/when they produce that variant then you can complain they are not well armed enough and I may be with you then. Right now though they are not a FF/FFG, not even a corvette, they are a minesweeper with options.

          • Ctrot

            So since we have carriers (which cost $10-15 billion each for Ford class, not $5) we don’t need small combatants, is that the argument you’re making? I’m not sure, because otherwise that bit of information is immaterial to the discussion.

            You say we no longer build corvettes, yet that is the best description for the LCS. Except it is much bigger and at the same time less well armed and much more expensive than any other corvette in any other navy.

            You say we no longer build frigates, yet the Navy is now preparing to build a frigate version of the LCS. I’ll lay a marker here and now and say that if the LCS-FG is ever built it will cost between $750 million and a billion.

            Again you claim “mission configurability” for LCS, but that depends on the infamous LCS “mission modules” none of which have ever been completed or deployed. Ten years into the program I might add. Seven years since LCS-1 was commissioned.

            But then you go on to claim that the LCS isn’t really a combatant. So what does the “C” in LCS stand for? And why are we paying $500 million each for 50 no-combatant hulls for the US Navy, which is supposed to be an “armed” service, made for combat?

            There is no excuse for LCS. It is a travesty that is costing billions and which will cost American lives if it is ever called on to fight against anything bigger than a PT boat.

          • Tim Dolan

            Sorry, my argument is that ALL of our ships are expensive. (I will give perhaps more than necessary)
            The “C” stands for Combat as go into a littoral combat zone and survive, not necessarily fight in combat (except against small boats close up).

            I just happen to like the concept and I have been around long enough to know that if it is a good concept it will eventually work out the bugs and problems and work well when it has to. It may have some growing pains, but the concept is good.

          • Ctrot

            Yes, all of our ships are expensive. But all of our ships are also more capable than any comparable ships in the world. Except for the LCS, it is more expensive and less capable than any other similarly sized warship in the world.

            I am sorry, but going into the littorals and just “survive” is not what a combat vessel is intended to do and regardless the LCS can’t do that either, to survive requires firepower / protection and LCS has neither. If an LCS ventures too close to shore it will be out gunned by any tank built since 1942!

            I’ve been around a while too, 50+ years in fact. And I’ve seen enough to realize that the LCS is a white elephant.

          • Tim Dolan

            So presuming you are correct for a moment, what is YOUR solution to the need for all of the missions the LCS is supposed to be able to conduct? Mine is fix the LCS design if needed.

          • Ctrot

            There are numerous corvettes / frigates in service with foreign navies that are more than a match for the LCS at a much lower cost. The US could easily buy the rights to build any of these in US shipyards. Even if the price turned out to be as much as LCS, due to US labor laws etc., these ships would still be much more capable than the LCS. Just two examples: the German Braunschweig class corvette or the French La Fayette class frigate.

          • Tim Dolan

            And your talking combatants and I am talking auxiliaries with some limited combat capabilities. Auxiliaries are not sexy, but they are needed.

          • Ctrot

            The Littoral Combat Ship is NOT an auxiliary. It is being bought by the Navy as, and “sold” to the public as, a COMBAT ship.

            Here is what Lockheed Martins own website states about their LCS:

            “The U.S. Navy’s current Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) are designed to defeat growing littoral threats and provide access and dominance in the coastal water battlespace. A fast, maneuverable surface combatant, the LCS provides warfighting capabilities and operational flexibility for focused missions including mine-clearing, anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare.”

            “Like all warships, the LCS is being built to fight.”

          • David

            CTrot, I encourage you to look into the USN SSC (small surface combatant) program, which is effect is the US navy’s effort to field a ~3000T. In broad strokes its the effort to take a LCS hull and give it long range anti ship strike capability, it will ultimately be classified as a frigate if i’m not mistaken. They’ll still have us on the cost of the program undoubtedly, but all things considered since U.S. ships generally have greater capability, and it is a larger ship, it could be exactly what you’re looking for the USN to field.

          • Ctrot

            I am well aware of the program. It is destined to be another disaster since the navy insists on using the LCS hull.

          • David

            I mean say want you want about the LCS program but the Freedom class hull is a pretty standard looking hull.

          • Secundius

            @ Ctrot.

            Unless these Countries Are Direct Defense Contractor’s to the US Military, the “Jones” Act of 1920 are going to prevent ANY sales to US…

  • Fred Gould

    If the electronic warfare were up and online, and excellent opportunity to observe their capabilities.

  • sferrin

    “According to a Wednesday release from the Russian Ministry of Defense, three 1,000-ton Buyan-M corvettes and the 2,000-ton guided missile frigate Dagestan fired the SS-N-30A cruise missiles from ships to target sets”

    How sad is it that the most powerful missile the LCA can carry is a friggin’ Hellfire?

    • Secundius

      @ sferrin.

      Put a Couple of Lightweight Aluminum Quad-Canister Mk. 141 Launchers, and you can also “Field” the Harpoon, Tomahawk, THAAD, SM-1’s, 2, 3, 4 and 6, ASROC. I’m pretty sure I left some out…

  • publius_maximus_III

    Pretty impressive, I’ve got to admit. Dat Poot done done good. So, the big question from this latest action, is the enemy of our enemy our friend?

    Wonder why a launch from the Caspian instead of the Black Sea though? I’ll assume it was due to the presence of NATO ships in the Black Sea, which might have mistaken such launches as an immediate threat and responded in kind. And I doubt Russia wanted to tip them off, so ring up the Caspian fleet. JMO

    I’m curious, is there any navigable connection between those two Russian “Great Lakes” in the south?

    • disqus_zommBwspv9

      Beats flying around Turkey. Easier to replinish them. Saving the Med squadron missles for other uses.

    • publius_maximus_III

      Since my post yesterday I read that the Russians informed our embassy in Baghdad about one hour before the launch, apparently to avoid any misunderstandings about their intended targets.

    • Sibir_RUS

      “I’m curious, is there any navigable connection between those two Russian “Great Lakes” in the south?”

      yes, ships from the Caspian sea can go into the Black sea and back.

    • disqus_zommBwspv9

      How. A canal connecting the Don?

  • Ctrot

    At least 4 of the 26 Russian cruise missiles launched reportedly crashed in Iran. That’s a 15% failure rate.

  • disqus_zommBwspv9

    I like that Buyan-M corvette. Short range littoral warship good for coastal patrol like a back by Friday sortie. 100 mm gun forward 8 long range SSM. 40 short range. SSM (122mm) no much in AAW. No ASW. Just alone in Naval cannon verses naval cannon an LCS will be on the dirty end of the stick O

    • Secundius

      @ Sailboater.

      Unfortunately, the 100mm Deck Gun appears to be a “Piece of SH/T”. The Company that Produces the Gun, Arsenal Machinery Plant of St. Petersburg, Russia. Only got 70% of the Money Owed to them, Someone (Not Naming Names, P@#$N) Skimmed the 30%. So gun is Somewhat Less Than Reliable than a 100% paid for model…

      • disqus_zommBwspv9

        It better to over estimate the ability of the Russians than to assume it’s junk. Like the Germans did not until they ran into the T-34. You know I heard a lot of people say the Russians could not do this and that. Most of them ended up the letters in their service jackets. Not the good letters, the kind that shorten careers

        • Secundius

          @ Sailboater.

          T-34 was a Piece of SH|T, Too.

          The only reason the Soviet’s won the Tank War, was because the Soviet’s had 90,000 Tanks and the Germans 1,100 Tank. With those ODD’s you’d win too…

          • disqus_zommBwspv9

            T-34 piece of junk that was able to be operated by a bunch of illerate peasants with great success

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  • Bill

    They have their most modern ships in a landlocked sea? Somebody help me here.

  • With the recent action with the Gepard class frigates. It shows the weakness in the LCS. Which is why I am all for a REAL Multi Role Frigate that can do Land attack with cruise missiles. The LCS is nothing more than an expensive OPV. US REALLY needs is a REAL Frigate and what the Gepard class frigates showed is the LCS is lacking in serious firepower.

  • Chesapeakeguy

    Interesting that the Russians would place more capable ships (at least for this kind of mission) in their Caspian Sea fleet as opposed to the one(s) they can readily place in theaters like that of the Med! This strike also clearly shows that they have Iranian compliance to do as they wish when it comes to such matters.

    • TomD

      Yep. They may have made a calculation that their assets in the Black Sea need to be reserved for their adventures in the former Soviet republics that border it. And of course the Black Sea ships would have to be shifted to the Mediterranean because overflight of Turkey is out of the question. So the Caspian Sea ships may have been simply more available.

      • disqus_zommBwspv9

        I like your train of though

  • Secundius

    Hey isn’t this a Good Time to Field Test those “Generally Atonic” 64-Mj Rail-Guns on the DDG-1000, USS. Zumwalt. I mean a 16,000-ton “Paperweight”…

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  • UKExpat

    How does one know what to believe? The Russian Ministry of Defence’s quoted statement is clearly in error when it states that the Dagestan (project 11661)’s “length is about 200 meters” as a 2,000 ton warship is not normally expected to reach 650 feet in length. Incidentally Wikipedia states its length as 102.47 meters which sounds much more realistic.
    My point is that one does not expect to see this sort of fundamental error, even if it is just a typo error, occurring in a relatively important document from one of the top ministries of a major power, There maybe a question about the authenticity of the document / statement that requires verification..

  • JimThorpeSurfer

    Aloha…I have read through all the Back and forth arguments..Below..I am not trying to take sides,nor to be mean..however it seems that the Russians here seem to be the DOERS…while as occurs on a consistent basis..the US et al seem to be mostly the Talkers..1) Why have they Not USED Missiles if we are so superior here 2) Why have they not Launched More Successful and Numerous Attacks on ISIL 3) a 500 million program to train a military force against ISIL has only 4-5 fighters according to congressional testimony..the others just turn over the weapons..and move on..while others also Join with the Terrorists 4) Why have they ALLOWED ISIL an almost unhindered movement of vast amounts of ‘Black-market’ Oil to a Turkish port…I could go on though I have said enough for a reasonable Mind to think through on their own..thanks for reading..aloha

  • disqus_zommBwspv9

    The strikes in Syria have involved aircraft never before tested in combat, including the Sukhoi Su-34 strike fighter, which NATO calls the Fullback, and a ship-based cruise missile fired more than 900 miles from the Caspian Sea, which, according to some analysts, surpasses the U.S. equivalent in technological capability.

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