Monday, March 4, 2024

Unprecedented deployments of naval forces in the Mediterranean

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Despite French and European attempts at mediation, tensions between Russia, Ukraine and NATO have continued to intensify in recent days. In addition to the continued deployment of new troops along the Ukrainian border in Russia, Crimea and Belarus, Russian armies are reportedly moving the powerful 2nd Guards Combined Arms Army, the mainstay of the Central Military District, to the West, this contributes to the massive strengthening observed for several days of the Russian offensive system on its western borders. In addition to these deployments of land and air forces, there are now those of numerous 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 combat surface units in existence, 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 French Navy, escorted by around ten 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.

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SLava Marshal Uztinov Defense News | Military alliances | UNITED STATES
The cruiser Marshal Ustinov in December 2019 after its modernization 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 in and out of this sea in the heart of the crisis between Russia and Ukraine. The Slava cruisers, 186 meters long and with a displacement of 11,500 tonnes, are equipped with formidable firepower with 16 supersonic P-1000 Vulkan anti-ship missiles 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 3D Top Pair radar, and 60 S-300F missiles, a naval version of the S-300P, with a range of 90 km and capable of reach targets up to 25 km altitude, supplemented by 40 OSA-M self-defense missiles, a 130 mm twin-tube cannon and 6 30mm CIWS AK-630 anti-missile systems.

LOGO meta defense 70 Defense News | Military alliances | UNITED STATES

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