Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Klavesin-2R-PM to be Tested in Black Sea

Klavesin-2R-PM autonomous unmanned undersea vehicle
[courtesy: TASS]

Rubin Central Design Bureau of Marine Technology recently secured an insurance policy with SOGAZ (Gas Industry Insurance Company) to cover the loss of or damage to two Klavesin-2R-PM autonomous unmanned undersea vehicles, each worth RUB 300 million.

The first attempt to secure insurance began on February 10. Rubin announced it was accepting bids to insure the two vehicles during testing in St. Petersburg, in Crimea, and in the Black Sea, as well as for transportation between the locations. The insurance premiums (RUB 48 million) were unequally divided between the two vehicles: RUB 27 million for one (in 2016), RUB 21 million for the other (in 2017). Each vehicle being covered includes a load-bearing frame, propulsion system, containers with equipment and batteries, and other related components. The technical specifications provided for the Klavesin-2R-PM were:

  • length: approximately 6,500 mm
  • diameter: approximately 1,000 mm
  • weight: approximately 3,700 kg
  • maximum range: approximately 50 km
  • diving depth: approximately 2,000 m (due to the depth in the Black Sea test range, the diving depth will be 500 m)

Despite the fact that two companies bid on the contract (Ingosstrakh and SOGAZ), the competitive process was unexplainably stopped on March 4.

A second attempt began March 23. In the version of the documents published for this round, the vehicle's technical specifications were moved from the main contract document to an annex, which was not published. On April 6, the contract selection committee announced that the competitive process was nullified as only a single company (SOGAZ) had bid on the contract.

The third and final attempt began on April 6 with no changes made to the contract documentation. On April 21, after reviewing bids from two companies (MAKS and SOGAZ), the contract selection committee chose SOGAZ; the contract was signed on May 4. A few weeks later, SOGAZ released a statement on its website confirming that it had won the contract.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Simultaneous Exercises by Black Sea Fleet, Caspian Flotilla Kalibr Ships

Patrol combatants "Zelenyy Dol" (left) and "Serpukhov" (right)
On August 9, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced that three Kalibr-capable Caspian Flotilla combatants will take part in an exercise in the southwestern portion of the Caspian Sea on August 15-20. The frigates "Tatarstan" (not Kalibr-capable) and "Dagestan", along with the patrol combatants "Grad Sviyazhsk" and "Velikiy Ustyug" will conduct gunnery and missile drills during the exercise.

On August 11, defense officials announced that the Black Sea Fleet's two Kalibr-capable patrol combatants, "Serpukhov" and "Zelenyy Dol", had departed Sevastopol en route to the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Those two ships, together with other ships assigned to Russia's Standing Mediterranean Sea Task Group, are scheduled to begin a "graded tactical exercise" on August 15. As with the Caspian Sea exercise, this exercise will include gunnery and missile drills.

Flight bans for Russian Navy exercises -- August 15-20, 2016
Flight bans have been announced for the eastern Mediterranean Sea exercise:
A0837/16 - RUSSIAN NAVY EXERCISE (ROCKET TEST FIRINGS) WILL TAKE PLACE IN AREA BOUNDED BY: 344400N0345800E, 351300N0345800E, 351300N0353300E, 344400N0353300E. SFC - FL660, 0500-1700, 15 AUG 05:00 2016 UNTIL 20 AUG 17:00 2016.
A0838/16 - RUSSIAN NAVY EXERCISE (ROCKET TEST FIRINGS) WILL TAKE PLACE IN AREA BOUNDED BY: 351900N0300000E, 350500N0302500E, 350900N0304400E, 354300N0300000E. SFC - FL660, 0500-1700, 15 AUG 05:00 2016 UNTIL 20 AUG 17:00 2016.
These two exercises are likely linked to next month's scheduled "Kavkaz-2016" operational-strategic exercise.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Russian Pacific Fleet Launches Bastion CDCM

Bastion coastal defense cruise missile launch -- July 22, 2016
[credit: Russian Pacific Fleet press service]

On July 22, the Eastern Military District press service announced that a Pacific Fleet Coastal Troops unit had launched a Bastion (SSC-5 Stooge) coastal defense cruise missile. Although the press service did not mention when the launch occurred, the target wasn't in place until July 22, and metadata from pictures taken of the launch indicate the launch date was July 22.

An area closure, two flight bans, and three flight route restrictions were announced for the missile launch activity:

CHARTS RUS 62071 60300
1. MISSILE EXERCISES FOR 11 HOURS FROM 2300 UTC 21 22 24 AND 25 JUL IN AREA BOUNDED BY 41-33-18N 132-22-48E 42-10-48N 131-42-48E 42-45-00N 131-15-00E COASTLINE 42-51-12N 131-25-00E 42-32-00N 132-10-12E 42-03-12N 133-02-06E

P6757/16 - 21 2300-22 0300, 22 0500-1000, 22 2300-23 0300, 23 0500-1000, 24 2300-25 0300, 25 0500-1000, 25 2300-26 0300, 26 0500-1000
TEMPO DANGER AREA ACT WI COORD: 422430N 1322400E-420312N 1330206E-413318N 1322248E-421048N 1314248E-421747N 1313715E-422430N 1322400E.
SFC - FL280, 21 JUL 23:00 2016 UNTIL 26 JUL 10:00 2016.

P6758/16 - 21 2300-22 0300, 22 0500-1000, 22 2300-23 0300, 23 0500-1000, 24 2300-25 0300, 25 0500-1000, 25 2300-26 0300, 26 0500-1000
SFC - FL280, 21 JUL 23:00 2016 UNTIL 26 JUL 10:00 2016.

P6759/16 - 21 2300-22 0300, 22 0500-1000, 22 2300-23 0300, 23 0500-1000, 24 2300-25 0300, 25 0500-1000, 25 2300-26 0300, 26 0500-1000
AIRSPACE CLSD WI COORD: 425112N1312500E-423200N1321012E-422430N1322400E-421747N1313715E-424500N1311500E-425112N1312500E.
SFC - FL080, 21 JUL 23:00 2016 UNTIL 26 JUL 10:00 2016.

Area closure, flight bans, and flight route restrictions -- July 21-25, 2016

Although the Bastion has a range of 600+ km (324+ nm), the target was located a mere 53 km (29 nm) from the launch point. According to the press statement, the missile successfully impacted the target based on reports by observer ships and aircraft. The target was subsequently towed back to Bukhta Abrek for re-use in future missile launch exercises.

The Ministry of Defense's Zvezda television station broadcast video of the launch on July 22.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Impending Pacific Fleet Exercise

Akula I nuclear-powered submarine (possibly "Kuzbass") near La Perouse Strait -- June 20, 2016
(credit: Japanese Ministry of Defense)
All signs are pointing to a large-scale Russian Navy exercise taking place in the Sakhalin Island, southern Sea of Okhotsk, and Kuril Islands this week. At least four submarines, sixteen warships, and two auxiliaries were noted by Japanese P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft passing through the La Perouse and Tsushima Straits in mid-June, as described below:

Jun 15 Slava cruiser "Varyag" noted heading east through La Perouse Strait
Jun 17 Kilo submarine noted heading east through La Perouse Strait
Jun 18 Kilo submarine noted heading east through La Perouse Strait
Jun 19 Grisha frigate "Kholmsk" | Tarantul III patrol combatants "R-18" + "R-298" noted heading east through La Perouse Strait
Jun 20 Akula I nuclear submarine (possibly "Kuzbass") | Udaloy destroyer "Admiral Tributs" | Sovremennyy destroyer "Bystryy" |  Tarantul III patrol combatants "R-14" + "R-29" | Nanuchka III patrol combatants "Iney" + "Moroz" + "Razliv" | Grisha frigate "Koreyets" | Chilikin replenishment oiler "Boris Butoma" noted heading east through La Perouse Strait
Jun 21 Kilo submarine noted heading east through La Perouse Strait
Udaloy destroyer "Admiral Panteleyev" | Alligator landing ship "Nikolay Vilkov" | Ropucha landing ships "Admiral Nevelskoy" + "Peresvet" | ocean-going tug "Aleksandr Piskunov" noted heading south through Tsushima Strait

While there has been no official announcement of an exercise, social media sources indicate that the ships began departing the Vladivostok area on June 14 for an exercise. According to those sources, the ships will not return to port until mid-July.

"Varyag" was not in Vladivostok when the ships began departing. It was returning from a Mediterranean Sea deployment that began in November of last year. Its last port call was Singapore in early June.

Also missing from the mix is a task group consisting of Udaloy destroyer "Admiral Vinogradov", Dubna oiler "Irkut", and Baklazhan rescue tug "Fotiy Krylov"; they were last noted visiting Myanmar in mid-May. Although the task group's current whereabouts are unknown, social media sources indicate "Admiral Vinogradov" will not return to Vladivostok until early August, which provides plenty of time to participate in this event.

Area closures (red), flight bans (yellow), and flight route closures (green) for missile activity -- July 5-9

Over the past week, Russia announced a number of area closures, flight bans, and flight route closures:

1. MISSILE EXERCISES 05 TO 07 JUL 0000 TO 0300 AND 0400 TO 0800 IN AREA BOUNDED BY 44-13-30N 148-48-00E 44-45-00N 148-15-00E 45-26-00N 149-18-00E 45-40-00N
149-58-00E 45-53-00N 150-06-00E 45-56-00N 150-11-00E 46-59-00N 152-35-00E 45-28-00N 153-41-00E 44-08-00N 153-23-00E
1. MISSILE EXERCISES 072300 TO 080300 UTC JUL 08 JUL 0500 TO 0800 UTC 082300 TO 090300 UTC JUL 09 JUL 0500 TO 0800 UTC IN AREA BOUNDED BY 44-28-00N 145-16-00E 46-00-00N 145-16-00E 46-00-00N 147-24-00E 45-08-00N 147-24-00E 44-49-00N 147-09-36E COASTLINE 44-44-06N 147-07-54E 44-27-00N 146-34-00E COASTLINE 44-28-00N 146-04-30E
P6342/16 - FLW ATS RTE SEGMENTS CLSD: B917 OSGEN - NELER, B919 ORSUK - LAVNI, B932 NETRI - ODERI,mG239 IKADA - SARET, G583 LATAK - BISIV, G810 SARET - ALODI. SFC - UNL, 07 2300-08 0300, 08 0500-0800, 08 2300-09 0300, 09 0500-0800, 07 JUL 23:00 2016 UNTIL 09 JUL 08:00 2016.
P6343/16 - TEMPO DANGER AREA ACT WI COORD: 460000N 1451600E-460000N 1472400E-450800N 1472400E-444900N 1470930E-444600N 1470748E-442700N 1463600E-442800N 1460500E-442800N 1454300E-443900N 1451600E-460000N 1451600E. SFC - UNL, 07 2300-08 0300, 08 0500-0800, 08 2300-09 0300, 09 0500-0800, 07 JUL 23:00 2016 UNTIL 09 JUL 08:00 2016.
P6365/16 - TEMPO DANGER AREA ACT WI COORD: 465900N 1523500E-464400N 1524500E-441500N 1484600E-444500N 1481500E-452600N 1491800E-454000N 1495800E-455300N 1500600E-455600N 1501100E-465900N 1523500E. SFC - UNL, 07 JUL 00:00 2016 UNTIL 07 JUL 08:00 2016.
P6367/16 - TEMPO DANGER AREA ACT WI COORD: 465900N 1523500E-464400N 1524500E-441500N 1484600E-444500N 1481500E-452600N 1491800E-454000N 1495800E-455300N 1500600E-455600N 1501100E-465900N 1523500E. SFC - UNL, 0000-0300 0400-0800, 08 JUL 00:00 2016 UNTIL 08 JUL 08:00 2016.
Russian IL-38 May maritime patrol aircraft flights east of Japan -- June 27-28, 2016

Probably related to the movement of ships, on June 27-28, two Russian IL-38 May maritime patrol aircraft were noted operating east of Hokkaido and northern Honshu.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

"Staryy Oskol" Heading to the Black Sea

"Professor Nikolay Muru" heading south through the Turkish Straits - March 4, 2016
[credit: Yörük Işık]

On June 23, "Professor Nikolay Muru" possibly began escorting new Kilo-class submarine "Staryy Oskol" as it continues its transfer to the Black Sea.

According to an anonymous source, "Staryy Oskol" departed Polyarnyy on or before June 1 following state weapons testing in the Barents Sea. The submarine was being escorted near the Netherlands on June 7. Soon after, the submarine, with its escort - rescue tug "Altay" - were spotted in the English Channel.

The trail went silent until Interfax and RIA Novosti, again citing anonymous sources, revealed on June 22 that "Staryy Oskol" was located in the central Mediterranean Sea. According to the RIA Novosti source, the submarine would transit the Turkish Straits in late June and arrive in an unspecified Russian port in early July.

AIS reporting for "Professor Nikolay Muru" - June 22-25, 2016

AIS reporting for Russian Navy rescue tug "Professor Nikolay Muru", which has been supporting Russian Navy ships operating in the eastern Mediterranean Sea since March, departed Tartus, Syria, on June 17. The tug made a direct 10- to 11-knot transit to the vicinity of Malta, where it was photographed on June 23. At approximately 11:00pm GMT on June 23, the tug began transiting east and has since maintained an average speed of 7.5 knots. The slower speed suggests the tug is either escorting a slow-moving vessel or towing something.

Ship spotters should provide the answer in the coming days.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Fire on "Georgiy Kurbatov"

Fire onboard "Georgiy Kurbatov" - June 7, 2016
[credit: St. Petersburg Department of Emergency Affairs]

A fire broke that out on Tuesday at the Sredne-Neskiy Shipyard damaged "Georgiy Kurbatov", a new mine countermeasures ship being built for the Russian Navy.

Fire at Sredne-Nevskiy Shipyard -- June 7, 2016

At 7:30pm on June 7, emergency officials received their initial report about a fire at the shipyard in Pontonnyy, located a few miles east of St. Petersburg. Within five minutes, the first fire engine arrived at the scene. By 8:10pm, the severity of the fire had been raised to Category 3. The fire was localized by 10:20pm, and fully extinguished at 2:54am on June 8.

Fire at Sredne-Nevskiy Shipyard -- June 7, 2016
[credit: TASS]

Despite the damage to the minesweeper, shipyard press secretary Aleksandr Malakhov told reporters that the ship will still be delivered to the Russian MOD on time - fall 2017. Malakhov said this was possible as no major equipment or systems had been installed on the ship prior to the fire. According to Maksim Meyksin, chairman of the St. Petersburg Committee on Industry, the minesweeper's launch, scheduled for July 2016, will be postponed.

"Aleksandr Obukhov" launched at Sredne-Nevskiy Shipyard -- September 22, 2011
[credit: TASS]

"Georgiy Kurbatov" is the first of three Project 12700/Aleksandrit mine countermeasures ships being built under a contract (1418187404941020105004105/Z/1/1/0231/GK-14-DGOZ) signed with the Russian MOD in 2014. However, the lead ship of the class, "Aleksandr Obukhov" (built under contract 253/05/8/K/0011-07, later replaced by 1415187407072010105000101/N/1/1/0210/GK-14-DGOZ) has already been launched and began sea trials in the Baltic Sea in April 2016. The minesweeper conducted at least four rounds of at-sea tests between April 29 and May 27; it departed Kronshtadt on June 7 for another round of sea trials. Once commissioned, "Aleksandr Obukhov" will transfer to the Northern Fleet; "Georgiy Kurbatov" will transfer to the Black Sea Fleet.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Indian Submarine Heading to Russia

"Rolldock Star" semi-submersible ship -- February 2, 2014
(credit: Rolldock)
Last month, an Indian delegation visited Zvezdochka Shipyard in Severodvinsk, Russia. A shipyard spokesman told reporters that the Indian Navy's Kilo-class submarine "INS Sindhukesari" would arrive in Severodvinsk in June 2016. Considering it would take over a month to complete a transfer from India to Severodvinsk, the transfer would have to start in May.

Track of "Rolldock Star" is at traveled between Singapore and India -- April 19-28, 2016
There are only a few companies that both possess heavy-lift vessels and have a history of supporting submarine transfers to/from Russia. The Dutch firm Rolldock, a subsidiary of Roll Group, is one of them. By regularly tracking the company's fleet of semi-submersible ships, it was easy to spot possible candidates.

"Rolldock Star" moves to deep-water area -- May 4, 2016

"Rolldock Star" departed Singapore on April 19 and arrived in Mumbai (Jawaharlal Nehru Port) on April 28. On May 4, the ship departed port and proceeded to an area about one-half nautical mile to the north. Over the next two days, the vessel remained in the deep-water area, where it likely onloaded its cargo. "Rolldock Star" departed the area during the evening hours of May 6 with a reported destination of Severodvinsk (estimated arrival date: June 12).

Track of "Rolldock Star" as it departs Mumbai -- May 6, 2016

Given the earlier statement of the submarine's arrival in Severodvinsk in June and the reported destination of "Rolldock Star", it's pretty clear that the Dutch semi-submersible ship is currently ferrying "INS Sindhukesari" to Russia.

Destination: Severodvinsk!