High Kalibr

According to Defense News, the Russian Federation will equip several ships in their Navy with Kalibr cruise missiles. The Kalibr has seen significant use in Ukraine since the start of the war in February 2022. During the opening assault of the war, Russians unleashed at least 30 of these missiles on the Ukrainians, mainly targeting air bases, air defense batteries, and command and control centers. In service since 1994, the multi-role missile has seen widespread use by the Russians in their conflict with Syria.

During the invasion of Ukraine, the Kalibrs were likely launched from Buyan-class corvettes, Admiral Grigorovich-class frigates, and Kilo-class submarines from locations in the Black Sea. International military affairs expert, and former Army officer Brent Eastwood of the Jamestown Foundation, tells us that the Kalibr is roughly equivalent to the American Tomahawk missile and can easily defeat Ukrainian air defenses.

Here are some instances of their use by Russia in its war against Ukraine:

  • In July of 2022, three Kalibr impacted the Ukrainian city of Vannytsia and killed 20 civilians, including three children
  • That same month at least two missiles hit the port city of Odesa. Ukrainian air defenses reportedly downed two others.
  • During October, November, and December of 2022, numerous Kalibrs fired from Black Sea locations targeted Ukrainian energy infrastructure leading to the destruction of at least 50% of their energy-producing facilities by mid-November.


Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu announced that the future Lada-class submarine Kronstadt (currently being built) could fire the Kalibr cruise missile. In addition, Tass, the Russian state-owned news agency, has reported that the corvette Steregushchiy will be armed with the new Kalibr-NK missile system during current modernization upgrades.


Graphic from globalsecurity.org

The CEO of Russian shipyard Sevmash, Mikhail Budnichenko, reported earlier this month to Defense News that the nuclear missile cruiser Admiral Nakhimov will also be upgraded with the Kalibr NK in the course of scheduled modernization work.

As quoted in TASS last Thursday, Russian Navy Commander Admiral Nikolay Yevmenov said,

“The next logical step would be to equip all submarines with hypersonic missiles.”