Monday, September 16, 2013

UPDATE: Is Russia's Surface Fleet Being Stretched to the Limit?

In a brief update to my previous blog entry:

  • Admiral Panteleyev finally returned to the Mediterranean Sea last week following possible repairs of unknown equipment that broke down some time in July.
  • Russia had to use a Tarantul III-class patrol combatant to escort another "Syrian Express" landing ship to the Mediterranean Sea and back in mid-August.
  • Rumors abound that Udaloy I-class destroyer Vitse-Admiral Kulakov suffered some type of propulsion problem in early-August shortly after its Havana, Cuba, port call. The ship failed to meet its previously scheduled port calls despite Moscow's insistence that the destroyer has been tagging along with Slava-class cruiser Moskva the entire time. Instead of bringing the ship home early, naval officials apparently decided it was better to keep the destroyer out of sight and tow it back to the Barents Sea on/about its scheduled return date. Given that no immediate tow service was required, it's possible the destroyer is as least partially operational, which means it has enough power to limp into port while TV cameras are rolling. As soon as the sailors hit the shore, we'll learn more... According to some internet chatter, Sorum-class oceangoing tug MB-304 may be towing the destroyer northeast in the Atlantic Ocean, and both units may rendezvous with Baklazhan-class salvage and rescue tug Nikolay Chiker, which has been hanging around the United Kingdom for several weeks -- most recently southeast of Cork, Ireland.