The story on the Russian Navy increased presence in the Eastern Mediterranean is developing further than just a naval‘red line’ scenario.
Russian MoD said that hold large-scale drills
will be held in the Eastern Mediterranean on Sept. 1-8 after Western countries threatened to bomb Syria again xhne.ws/rmGIb 25 Russian naval ships and 30 warplanes are scheduled to take part.
This combined air & sea Mediterranean exercise is the first ever in the history of the modern Russian Navy, especially using 4 different & distant ship groupings:
The commander of the Navy Admiral Vladimir Korolev gave a TV briefing
in which the areas are mapped out:
Notice how the Russian Navy is spread out as a screen.
- interlinked radar, ECM & other systems to monitor and track. Hence the use of the Caspian Flotilla ships. (Makes senses to redeploy the Buyan-Class out of the Caspian, as it increases their combat readiness skills ++++, get their liin’s share of action and makes use of their technology). The US would have deploy more assets to hinder and jam the Russian systems.
Certainly a multiplayer cat and mouse situation. The only weakness to this all is land-based.
The naval force will include ships from the Russian Northern, Baltic, Black Sea fleets and the Caspian Flotilla with the missile cruiser ‘Marshal Ustinov’,as flagship.Destroyers (Northern Sea Fleet)
(ASW screen)Frigates (Black Sea Fleet)
Admiral Makarov (Black Sea Fleet but hasn’t got there yet!)Small missile ships
(Black Sea Fleet & Caspian Flotilla)
Possibility of Krasnodar And remote possibility of ‘Orel’. (Maybe stretching the OSINT here but I don’t have confirmation that it is back with the Northern Sea Fleet) href="http://tass.com/defense/1019373" target="_blank">2 Submarines
to take part in ex confirmed Minesweepers
The air components is reported to consist of:
- Tu-160 strategic bombers,
- Tu-142MK &
- Il-38 anti-submarine aircraft,
- Su-33 &
- Su-30SM naval aviation fighters.Side note: How does thid fleet compare to April’s situation?
The Mediterranean group was 15 from Black Sea Fleet combat ships & also auxiliaries. It was reinforced by anti-sub patrol aircrafts: Il-38H.
Land components that were deployed; - S400,
- Pantsir-S1 (stationed at Hmeymim & Tartus port).
7 frontline ships are modern type or have been modernised.
Consequently, another round of NOTAMS have been issued for Russian Navy live firing exercises. But by now these aren’t really a gauge of what is to be expected, as dozens and dozens have been issued over the years (some for real & others as a safeguard, precautionary measure as seen by the Wednesday's issue).
One NOTAM warning issued on Wednesday and one on Friday so far this week. More to come. Today’s might be linked to this:
US & allies can have missiles ready to strike Syria within 24 hours
– Russian Foreign Ministry on.US concerned by possibility
of offensive in Idlib — Department of State
The US military’s view is summed up in this section (as reported in CNN article:By having so many ships there, the Russians can attempt to use their shipborne radars to blanket that area and "see" any potential US Tomahawk missiles coming, the official says. One scenario the US is considering is that Russian shipborne radars could then cue Russian S-400 class anti-air systems on the ground in Syria and try to shoot US missiles down.
This would give the Russians a better chance of shooting down US missiles than in April 2018 when Russia was unsuccessful after the US, UK and France launched strikes against targets at three sites after an alleged chemical weapons attack on civilians in the Damascus enclave of Douma.
The US intelligence community has a very good understanding of what the Russians are trying to do with this seaborne strategy, officials tell CNN. It is also well known that the US military could use jamming and electronic warfare countermeasures against any Russian military efforts. In the April strikes against Syrian chemical targets, US and allied ships and aircraft fired from not only the Mediterranean but the Red Sea and North Arabian Gulf to avoid Russian detection.
NATO noticed the naval group: https://apnews.com/62161903b29c4febb19c6d34435c877f
Sometimes you’ve got to laugh at the lurid headlines, this one is a good ‘un:
The two ships in this image just happen to be the ‘Nikolay Filchenkov'and'Orsk', both landing ships that came with the ‘Pytlivyy‘, doing their latest run of the ‘Syrian Express’ logistical shuttle service. Hardly what I’d call a huge group or call it the fleet. Maybe because I have an idea that the combat component is at sea. Judging by the last reported position of one of the auxiliaries, (30 August), an element of the group is far out at sea and not off Lattakia. The NOTAMS give a clue (there again are most journalists aware of these and Navtex warnings- I doubt it).
Update on Russian Navy deployments:
The Royal Navy recently escorted
an AGI ship,Project 18280,‘Yury Ivanov‘
. The 2nd time that minehunter HMS Hurworth in a week through the English Channel
Maybe another heading to the Med.
Meanwhile the flip side to the Russian exercise is "Bright Star 2018". Land, naval and air forces of the United States will join in Middle East largest drills
US Navy top officers are holding a meeting:
“The heads of 6th Fleet and the newly reborn 2nd Fleet
convened Thursday at the Navy’s European headquarters to discuss how they will monitor an increasingly assertive Russian navy, which is now massing warships in the Mediterranean Sea for large-scale exercises.”
Down in the Gulf of Aden the USS Jason Dunham has made a weapons seizure
The US nuclear submarine ‘USS Newport News’ (SSN 750) arrived in Gibraltar
on a portcall.
The UN envoy to Syria offered to help get civilians out of Idlib, (how realistic this is, given that previous humanitarian corridors were used by militant groups (terrorists)to shoot civilians on sight, to deter them from attempting to leave).
There is much speculation, worry that an escalation might happen, ‘interesting viewpoints’ made: (this is one ⤵️ Whishful thinking ?)