This premium article is exclusive to SOFREP+ Subscribers - Thank you for your support.
Russian corvette Steregushchiy. (Source: Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation/Wikimedia Commons)
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.
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.”
Yevmenov noted that “all Russian submarines, including strategic missile carriers, can be fitted with Kalibr-PL cruise missiles. According to the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, the PL variant is similar to the 3M-14T, except that it is launched from a submarine platform. He told the Krasnaya Zvezda newspaper, “Second-generation submarines were used to test Kalibr cruise missiles. Currently, practically all submarines in service, including strategic underwater cruisers, can be armed with them.”
He followed up by saying that the next logical step would be to equip all submarines with hypersonic missiles. “Make no mistake, we will do that.”, he said in a series of interviews leading up to today, March 19, the official Russian “Day of the Submariner.”
Currently, non-nuclear subs armed with Kalibr-PL cruise missiles are in use with Russia’s Black Sea and Pacific fleets. However, it was Russia’s improved Kilo-class subs that used Kalibr missiles to good effect on targets in Ukraine and, earlier, in Syria.
Fast Facts on the 3M-14TKalibr-NK
Russian Designation – 3M-14 Kalibr
NATO Designation – SS-N-30A
Variants – 3M-14T Kalibr-NK; 3M-14K Kalibr-PL
Mobility and Role – Sea Launched Strategic and Tactical Land-Attack Cruise Missile
Designer/Producer – Novator Design Bureau
Range – 1,500-2,500 km
Warhead Type and Weight– Conventional -450 kg; Reported Nuclear
Guidance System/Accuracy– Inertial; TERCOM; GPS; Terminal-Phase Active Radar Seeker/Reported 3 m CEP
Launch Vehicles – Kalibr-PL (sub-surface ships) – Kilo, Lada, Akula, Yasen, Borei class submarines; Kalibr-NK (surface ships) – Admiral Gorshkov, Admiral Grigorovich, Gepard, Gremyashchy, the second batch of Steregushchy, and Buyan-M class ships
Russia fires six Kalibr missiles at IS targets in west-central Syria. Effect on target shown. Video from YouTube
The NK or “Klub” family of these cruise missiles is believed to carry a 450kg conventional or (reported) nuclear warhead. They are said to travel above the surface of the water at a height of approximately 64 feet and traverse the ground at 164 feet at speeds up to 965 km/h.
The designers of the missile system have developed a shipping container version allowing the cruise missiles to be forward deployed on ships, trucks, and trains without being detected.
Experience news and stories of our veteran journalists with a SOFREP.com subscription! Sign up now and get exclusive access to unique and honest perspectives.
Barrett is the world leader in long-range, large-caliber, precision rifle design and manufacturing. Barrett products are used by civilians, sport shooters, law enforcement agencies, the United States military, and more than 75 State Department-approved countries around the world.
There are on this article.
You must become a subscriber or login to view or post comments on this article.