Algerian Kilo submarine fired Kalibr-PL missile during exercise

Update 28/09/2019 : According to an article published by Sputnik on this test, the firing did not involve a 3M14E missile from the Kalibr-PL system, but a 3M54E Club-S missile, also belonging to the Kalibr system family, but with a much more limited range. , between 220 and 280 km, with predominant use against naval targets. However, if the test of a 3M14E could constitute a significant event, since the missile has not yet been officially exported by Russia, and its performances classify it in the category of long-range cruise missiles with potential strategic, this is not the case of the 3M54E Club-S, the export of which has been documented in several navies, notably in Algeria and Vietnam, and whose performances are comparable to those of numerous anti-ship missiles that can be used against land targets, such as the French MM40 Block III Exocet, the Norwegian RBS15, or the American Harpoon.

Until a few years ago, only three Navies in the world had submarines capable of launching conventional attacks towards land: the United States, the United Kingdom and Russia. Since then, China, and very soon France with the SSN Barracuda, have joined this very exclusive club. Therefore, the fact that two Algerian submarines carried out successful launches of Kalibr-PL cruise missiles[efn_note]see the update at the beginning of the article[/efn_note] represents a very significant event in the balance of powers in the Mediterranean basin.

The Algerian navy, if it is, as a general rule, rather discreet on the international scene, and it is only 6000 men strong, is nonetheless well equipped, with 6 Kilo class submarines. (2 project 877 and 4 project 636), 5 light frigates (3 Koni and 2 Meko-200), 10 corvettes including 3 modern and well-equipped Chinese C28s, a San-Giorgio class helicopter-carrying assault ship, 2 LSTs and around twenty patrol boats, supported by 20 Merlin, Super-Lynx and Ka-52 helicopters. This is a remarkable strength for a country with a GDP 15 times lower than that of France. With the capacity to use Kalibr-PL cruise missiles[efn_note]see the update at the start of the article[/efn_note], with a maximum range estimated between 1500 and 2500 km, the Algerian Navy is perfecting its capabilities already significant, whether in terms of anti-ship warfare (C802, SS-N-25 and RBS-15 missiles), ASM warfare, anti-aircraft defense (HQ-7 (rattlesnake) missiles, Aster 15 and Umkhoto), and force projection.

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The Algerian Air Force is 25.000 strong, and fields more than 185 fighters, as many as the format of the French Air Force according to the French LBDSN 2013, including 58 Su- 30, 18 Su-35s and 52 Su-34s in deliveries, supported by 5 Il-78 tanker aircraft, and 35 C130, IL76 and C295 transport aircraft. It also uses 90 Mi-28 and Mi-24MkIII combat helicopters, and 170 Mi-8, Mi-26 and AW139 transport helicopters. Finally, it has an undetermined number of drones, including Chinese MALE CH-3 and CH4 drones, and locally manufactured devices.

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The land army is the largest, with 180.000 men in active service, and has 2600 combat tanks including 750 T90s (in production) and 600 modernized T72s, 2500 armored personnel carriers and infantry combat vehicles, 3500 light armored vehicles, 220 self-propelled guns, 300 multiple rocket launchers including 50 TOS-1 and 50 Smerch, and 48 Iskander systems. Anti-aircraft defense is provided by 8 S300PMU-2 batteries, 48 ​​Buk-M2 medium-range systems, an unknown number of TOR-M2 systems, and a hundred Pantsir S1 systems, to mention only modern systems, in a thousand- multi-layer sheets characteristic of Russian anti-aircraft defense.

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One thing is certain, Algeria has significant military potential in North Africa and in the Mediterranean Basin. Its ability to now use Kalibr-PL cruise missiles[efn_note]see the update at the start of the article[/efn_note] from submarines perfectly complements the potential of systems like the Iskander, and the Su-34 and Su-30, to eliminate the enemy's coastal and anti-aircraft defenses, and strike its command posts and logistics centers in depth, for the optimum use of its other means, whether land, air or naval. If we cannot prejudge the effectiveness of a military force based solely on its inventory of equipment, we cannot deny that the Algerian armed forces have a perfectly coherent and balanced set of equipment, to be able to potentially respond to a very large number of engagement scenarios.

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