Unprecedented naval force deployments in the Mediterranean

Despite French and European mediation attempts, tensions between Russia, Ukraine and NATO have continued to intensify in recent days. In addition to the uninterrupted deployment of new troops along the Ukrainian border in Russia, Crimea and Belarus, the Russian armies are said to have undertaken to move the powerful 2nd Guards Combined Arms Combined Army, the mainstay of the Central Military District, to the West, this contributing to the massive reinforcement noted for several days of the Russian offensive device on its western borders. To these deployments of land and air forces, are now added those of many naval units, creating an unprecedented tension since the cold war in the Mediterranean.

Indeed, alongside several frigates, corvettes, intelligence and landing ships, the Russian Navy has deployed, in recent hours, its 3 heavy cruisers of the Atlant class, designated Slava by NATO, in the eastern Mediterranean, where these 3 ships, among the most powerful existing combat surface units, face a NATO fleet organized around the simultaneous deployment of 3 aircraft carriers, the USS Harry Truman of the US Navy , the Cavour of the Italian Navy, and the Charles de Gaulle of the National Navy, escorted by a dozen destroyers and frigates, and by several submarines, creating in fact the most intense concentration of naval forces since the first Gulf War , or the darkest hours of the Cold War.

SLava Marshal Uztinov News Defense | Military Alliances | UNITED STATES
The cruiser Marshal Ustinov in December 2019 after her modernization was completed in 2016. Note the silos for the P-1000 Vulkan anti-ship missiles giving the ship a characteristic silhouette

In the event of a confrontation, the two naval forces would most likely have an identical mission, namely to control, potentially, access to the Black Sea, and the possibility of moving naval units into and or out of this sea in the heart of the crisis between Russia and Ukraine. The Slava cruisers, 186 meters long for a displacement of 11.500 tons, are equipped with formidable firepower with 16 supersonic anti-ship missiles P-1000 Vulkan with a range of 300 nautical miles, and designed specifically to eliminate large naval units such as aircraft carriers and amphibious ships. In addition, each ship has a significant air access denial capability, with the powerful Top Pair 3D radar, and 60 S-300F missiles, a naval version of the S-300P, with a range of 90 km and capable of targets up to 25 km altitude, supplemented by 40 OSA-M self-defense missiles, a 130 mm twin-barrel cannon and 6 CIWS AK-630 30mm anti-missile systems.

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