TASS Russian news agency
The upgraded corvettes will guard SSBN bases, protect the coast against adversary assault, and defend Borey-class SSBN of project 955 when they sail out, the Izvestia daily writes.
The experimental modernization of the Smerch ship of project 1234 was successful and the Defense Ministry decided to upgrade all other vessels of the class based in Kamchatka, sources in the ministry said.
The Navy currently operates 12 ships of project 1234. The biggest force is in the Pacific fleet. The Smerch, the Moroz, the Inei and the Razliv built in 1985-1991 were united into a single squadron.
Expert Vladimir Anokhin said a strategic defense arch from Vladivostok to Kurile Islands, Sakhalin and Kamchatka is being created in the Far East:
“It is a multi-layered defense. The fleet with air support will meet adversary warships, aircraft and assault means at distant approaches to the Russian coast. Bal and Bastion coastal complexes will follow. They can destroy targets at a distance of 500 km. On the ground, an amphibious assault will face the coastal troops of the Pacific fleet,” he said.
Kamchatka occupies a specific place in the defense configuration, as it controls an important part of the Northern Sea Route. The peninsula is also an SSBN base.
Russia needs such a defense line, as the situation in the region is hardly quiet, Anokhin said. Japan cherishes the dream to return Kurile Islands. The USA keeps numerous military bases, including in South Korea.
Small missile ships are fit for inland seas and brown waters, former Navy Chief-of-Staff Admiral Valentin Selivanov said:
“They have to bar foreign warships from our naval bases. Foreign fleets always displayed interest in Kamchatka. Ovod-class ships have to defend the submarine base in Vilyuchinsk. The submarines are a part of the Russian strategic nuclear forces. The missile ships will ensure their exit to the sea,” he said.
The modernization will upgrade all key systems of the ships. They will get modern fire controls, radars, communications, and powerful diesel engines.
The Smerch replaced the outdated Titan by a new electronic reconnaissance complex. It operates without emission and has a receiver which analyzes radio signals reflected from other objects. The equipment automatically classifies warships without switching on the main radar, as the signal configuration of most modern warships is well known. Thus, the missile ship can be the first to detect the adversary and deliver a missile strike.
The modernization armed the ships with modern Uran complexes with Kh-35 antiship missiles. They have modern homing warheads, which find and hit targets in the assigned area without operators. Kh-35 can also strike at ground targets. Artillery weapons have been renewed. Project 1234 ships will receive the latest AK-176MA gun. It can fire 150 shells in one minute to a distance of 15 km. The gun has digital control and the latest Sfera-2 optical-electronic station. Darkness and bad weather are no obstacles. The gun guarantees destruction even in a rough sea, the Izvestia said.