On May 16, during a meeting with the Defense Ministry leadership and defense industry heads, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that given the continuing threat of attacks posed by international terrorists in Syria, Russian ships armed with Kalibr cruise missiles will be constantly deployed in the Mediterranean Sea.
Following the announcement, the Russian news agency Ria.ru published opinions by Russian analysis, explaining the goals envisioned in Putin's decision.
Below are excerpts from Ria.ru's article:
Military Expert Sivkov: If The Americans Destroy Our Intelligence Gathering Ship… This Is When Kalibr Missiles Will Prove Useful
Konstantin Sivkov, a military analyst and member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, stated:
"During the Cold War years, the USSR Naval Forces' Fifth Operational Fleet operated on a permanent basis in the Mediterranean. [Back then], the U.S. aircraft carrier groups could have struck the USSR via Turkish territory from the eastern regions of that body of water. Thus, our southern 'underbelly' was endangered. So, the main operational goal of the fleet's surface ships and submarines was to impede the potential adversary from reaching a 'striking position' in case military conflict started. Obviously, the operational naval task force dispatched to the region since 2013 has similar goals, while the constant presence of Kalibr cruise missile armed destroyers upgrades the combat capabilities of the regiment...
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"Even in case the war starts and the Americans destroy our intelligence gathering ship (operating as a part of the regiment), the ship will have enough time to pass the coordinates of aircraft carrier group to the headquarters. This is the point when Kalibr missiles will be useful. The aircraft carrier group will be attacked by cruise missiles from surface ships, nuclear powered submarines of project 949, diesel powered Varshavaynka class submarines (project 636.3). The fleet will receive aerial support. Su-34 and Su-24 strike aircraft will be operating from the Hameymim airbase, further – the strategic long range aviation, Tu-22M3, will join in. In order to cause damage to an aircraft carrier it's enough to hit its flight deck or exert a side-strike. In the latter case, the ship will list to the side, so nothing will be able to take off from its deck."
Russian Journalists Kots: Kalibr Missiles Will Back Up The Black Sea Fleet, If Relations With NATO Will Get Worse
Russian journalist Andrey Kots weighed in:
"In peacetime the operational squadron also has lots to do also. The Middle East is a volatile region. For the entire course of the XX century it has been wracked by wars, major and small. Kalibr armed destroyers will definitely play an effective peacekeeping roler, containing aggressive aspirations of certain state and non-state actors. The fleet will also assist Russia's allies, assuring safe navigation for the merchant fleet and guaranteeing the safety of Russian citizens, who live and work in the region's countries.
"One more important goal is to provide 'insurance' for the Black Sea fleet, in case the relations with NATO get worse. If the potential enemy blocks the Bosporus Straits, the Black Sea fleet may be locked in the 'home shores' sea. In this case the Mediterranean regiment will provide the combat goals. Moreover, Kalibrs' range is more effective if launched from the Mediterranean than if launched form the Black Sea or Caspian Sea."
Military Expert Leonkov: The Kalibr Missiles Will Enable The Mediterranean Force To Keep The Enemy Away
Russian military expert Alexey Leonkov made this assessment:
"The cruise missiles have quite a long range – so various tasks might be solved. They reach the shores of Malta, cover a part of Persian Gulf, a major part of all the Gulf States and the Suez Canal. If needs be, Russian ships may help India – our BRICS ally. The long range cruise missiles will enable the Mediterranean squadron to tackle strategic goals and keep the enemy far away".