This advanced warship is using docking space formerly used by the U.S. cruise lines of Carnival and Norwegian. The Russian frigate has an arctic port of Severomorsk and is part of the Northern fleet. Cuba gave a 21 gun salute greeting to the arrival. Remember too, that several weeks ago, Russia dispatched a pair of Tu-160 strategic bombers to Venezuela. Gotta wonder if this Russian frigate will make the next stop in Venezuela…
A U.S. destroyer is off the coast of Havana, Cuba, shadowing a detachment of Russian naval ships that includes one of the country’s most advanced surface ships, USNI News has verified.
As of Tuesday morning, Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Jason Dunham (DDG-109) was roughly 50 nautical miles north of Havana and about 72 miles from Key West, Fla., operating in the Straits of Florida, according to publicly available ship location data reviewed by USNI News.
A day earlier, Russia’s first-in-class frigate Admiral Gorshkov arrived in Havana. Admiral Gorshkov was joined by support vessel Elbrus and salvage tug Nikolay Chiker, according to several media reports.
Navy officials told USNI News they were aware of the Russian detachment’s arrival in Cuba and were monitoring its activities. The same officials referred USNI News to U.S. Northern Command for more information on Dunham.
In a statement provided to USNI News on Wednesday morning, NORTHCOM said, “We are aware of the deployment of the Russian ship Gorshkov and are taking steps to actively track it. We won’t discuss all measures being taken, but NORAD is conducting air operations in defense of the U.S. and Canada and USNORTHCOM has deployed maritime assets to track Gorshkov.”
The first-in-class Admiral Gorshkov departed its homeport of Severomorsk, on the Barents Sea, on Feb. 26. This around-the-world cruise is the ship’s first significant deployment, according to a Russian Navy statement. Admiral Gorshkov made port calls to Djibouti, Sri Lanka and China. The frigate also visited Ecuador before passing through the Panama Canal, according to the Russian Navy.
The Russian Navy did not release information about Admiral Gorshkov’s visit to Cuba, only stating that “the Russian ships will continue to perform tasks in accordance with the long-range cruise plan and make business calls to the ports of some island states in the region.”
During the past decade, Russian naval ships have periodically visited Cuba, according to several media accounts, including a post from PBS News Hour.
In the last several years, the Russian signals intelligence ship Viktor Leonov also has visited Cuba.
The Admiral Gorshkov class of frigates has a displacement of 4,500 tons, a top speed of 29 knots and a crew of about 210, according to an account posted on English-language Russian news site RT Sputnik. The ship features a modern Russian vertical launch system and a variety of anti-ship and land-attack missiles that parallel capabilities of modern U.S. and allied surface combatants.
The ship is the first of a new generation of Russian Navy surface ships that have been developed since the end of the Cold War. Russian surface forces have lagged behind their submarine counterparts, with limited deployments of surface action groups relative to submarines.
The ship is the first in class of new blue water frigates for the VMF, according to Vice Admiral Viktor Bursuk, deputy chief of naval armaments. “We will operate four Gorshkov-class surface combatants,” he said.
The Admiral Gorshkov has a full displacement of 5,400 tonnes, a length of 135 m, a beam of 16 m, and a draft of 4.5 m. Its armament suite comprises 16 3M55 Oniks anti-ship missiles (ASMs) or 3M54/3M14 Kalibr ASMs/land attack missiles, a 9K96 Poliment-Redut naval air defence system, an RPK-9 anti-submarine rocket launcher, two 3M89 Palash close-in weapon systems, and an A-192 130 mm naval gun. The frigate also carries a Ka-27PL anti-submarine helicopter. The Admiral Gorshkov is powered by a combined diesel and gas turbine engine, producing a maximum speed of 30 kt. The ship has a range of 4,500 n miles and an endurance of 30 days. It has a crew of 180-210.
A military source told Jane’s the Admiral Gorshkov has already been assigned to the Northern Fleet’s 43rd Missile Ship Division.
Jane’s has also learned that sea trials of the second Project 22350 frigate, Admiral Kasatonov , are scheduled for late 2018.
The source also reported that the Severnoye Design Bureau (SPKB) started design work on the upgraded Project 22350M frigate in 2018. “The navy is planning to build a larger series of modernised [Project 22350] ships and to receive the first upgraded frigate in 2026,” the source said.