“Russian navy to receive container air defence system” –Navy Recognition

The Pantsir- M presented at Army 2017

NavyRecognition is reporting that the Russians are planning to package air defense systems in standard containers.

Specifically they refer to possible use on the project 20386 corvettes and project 22160 patrol ships. One of the two systems discussed is a missile and gun “Close In Weapon System” (CIWS) but the other system is a much longer ranged system.

This is a significant departure from the container packaged cruise missile systems we have heard about before.

The Pantsir-M CIWS (photo above) would also be effective against surface targets, at close range. In addition to the two 30mm gatling guns, the missiles may also have an anti-surface capability.

In time of war, we might see these, or something similar, on naval auxiliaries or even merchant ships as well as the naval vessels mentioned above. Encountering them on a terrorist controlled vessel is far less likely, but not impossible.

The other way to look at this is, could we do something similar, to make it easy for our icebreakers or perhaps other ships, to go from armed, to unarmed, and back again relatively easily?

“VIDEO: Russian Destroyer Put U.S. Cruiser at Risk with ‘Unsafe’ Maneuver” USNI

US Naval Institute brings us a report on an encounter between a US cruisers, USS Chancellorsville and a Russian Udaloy class large anti-submarine vessel (destroyer).

Both are large surface combatants, with the Russian nearly as large as the cruiser. Both are gas turbine powered and about 30 years old.

Looking at the wakes of the ships, it appears to me the Russian did in fact change course to close the Chancellorsville and veered away only at the last moment. I do not see in the video the crash stop by Chancellorsville that was reported. Looks almost like they are ready to conduct a highline drill. Maybe the Russian would like to trade movies. 

With Coast Guard cutters operating in the South China Sea we can probably expect that they may encounter similar behavior from the Chinese and Russians.

High Latitude Challenges from Russia and China

Map of the Arctic region showing shipping routes Northeast Passage, Northern Sea Route, and Northwest Passage, and bathymetry, Arctic Council, by Susie Harder

Two recent articles, first from the Institute for the Study of War, a discussion of how the Russians appear to be following the lead of the Chinese in the South and East China Seas by militarizing the Arctic and attempting to thwart the concept of innocent passage just as they have at the Kerch Strait connecting the Sea of Azov to the Black Sea.

Keep in mind the Navy had asked the Coast Guard to provide an icebreaker to conduct a Freedom of Navigation Exercise in the Arctic, but the Coast Guard felt it would be unable to provide because of the state of the icebreaker fleet.

It also considers the apparent frienemy relationship between Russia and China. Russia needs China’s investment, but distrust China’s long term motivation.

Thanks to Sven for bringing this to my attention

Second, an article from the US Naval Institute discussing Chinese ambitions in the Arctic and Antarctica, “China’s Activities in the Polar Regions Cannot Go Unchecked.”

Apparently they are planning a permanent airport in Antarctica.

“Beijing claims the new airfield would support scientific research and economic tourism. But like many overseas Chinese facilities, it could be quickly, easily, and covertly repurposed for military use.”

‘The Chinese government currently spends more than any other state on new Antarctic infrastructure—bases, planes, and icebreakers intended to underpin China’s claimed Antarctic resource and governance rights.”

In the Arctic, China is making,

“strategic investment in infrastructures and resources that may serve military or security as well as commercial purposes (but which often make little economic sense), and scientific research that advances both military and commercial interests.”

It appears the Chinese, in addition to their interests in the Arctic for transportation and resource exploitation, may be positioning themselves to make extensive claims in Antarctica when the current treaty system expires in 2048 or if it should be annulled earlier.

Frankly I feel we are going to see a land rush in 2048, with all the craziness that can bring.

China Developing Containerized Cruise Missile Launchers

Above: Marketing video for comparable Russian system

The Washington Free Beacon is reporting that China is developing containerized cruise missiles launch systems for a land attack version of its 290 mile range YJ-18 anti-ship cruise missile which is a reverse engineered version of the Russian Klub-K cruise missile.

“China is building a long-range cruise missile fired from a shipping container that could turn Beijing’s large fleet of freighters into potential warships and commercial ports into future missile bases.”


“China operates or is building deep water ports in several strategic locations, including Bahamas, Panama, and Jamaica that could be used covertly to deploy ships carrying the YJ-18C.”

The Washington Free Beason may not be the gold standard in reporting, but I would have been surprised if the Chinese were not developing such systems. The Russians have been marketing such systems for about a decade. The Israelis have launched semi-ballistic missiles from a merchant ship and are marketing such a system.

In China, every enterprise is ultimately an arm of the State, ready to do the States bidding. We have seen their fishing fleet serve as a naval militia, it is likely their merchant marine would also serve military purposes beyond simply carrying cargo. In fact they have announced that that is their intent.

 

Russian CG and Ukrainian Navy Go to Blows.

A couple of reports of a nasty incident that culminated in the seizure of three Ukrainian naval vessels. This may be worth watching. It is another assault on Freedom of Navigation.

“Tension escalates after Russia seizes Ukraine naval ships”

“Russia blocks passage in Kerch Strait Near Crimea, Deploys Su-25 Jets And Ka-52 Attack Helicopters.”

 

New Russian Nuclear Powered Icebreakers

NavyRecognition provides us some information on a new class of Russian nuclear powered Icebreaker. They are, to say the least, huge.

  • Length: 209 meters (686 feet)
  • Beam 47.7 meters (156 feet)
  • Draft: 13 meters (43 feet)
  • 120 MW (160,923 HP) (More than twice that of the Polar Star)
  • Power will be provided by four props on conventional shafts.

They are planning to build three. It is claimed they will be able to break ice 4.3 meters thick and be able to continuously break two meter ice while making 11 knots. They are expected to cost 70B rubles, or about $1.04B US.