SEVASTOPOL, December 16. /TASS/. The Black Sea Fleet’s frigate Admiral Essen held air defense and damage control drills in its Mediterranean deployment, the Fleet’s press office reported on Wednesday.
"While practicing the course task, the sailors held various shipborne drills to prepare the ship for a battle and for its deployment, provide air defense and conduct damage control during the ship’s anchorage at a logistics point," the press office said in a statement.
The naval sailors also practiced the ship’s anti-saboteur defense during its anchorage at a port and measures within the required time limits to prepare the frigate for receiving weapons and ammunition and provide maintenance for the ship’s armament and mechanisms, the statement says.
The frigate Admiral Essen is accomplishing tasks within the Russian Navy’s standing Mediterranean taskforce.
The warships like the Admiral Essen represent a new series of Project 11356R/M frigates (the Project 11357 designation is also used). These frigates are designed to destroy enemy surface ships and vessels, submarines and ground installations, carry out patrols and defend sea lanes.
The frigates of this Project are armed with eight launchers of Kalibr-NK cruise missiles that are capable of striking surface, coastal and underwater targets at a distance of up to 2,600 km.
The warships of this Project are also armed with Shtil-1, Palash and AK-630M air defense missile and artillery systems, A-190 100mm universal artillery guns, torpedo tubes and RBU-6000 rocket launchers. The frigates also have a take-off and landing strip and a hangar for an anti-submarine warfare helicopter (Ka-27 or Ka-31).
Russian Navy’s Mediterranean Squadron
The Soviet Navy’s 5th Mediterranean Squadron served as a prototype for the Russian Navy’s permanent Mediterranean taskforce operating at present. The 5th operational Soviet Squadron dealt with the tasks of naval presence in the Mediterranean theater of operations during the Cold War period. Its main rival was the US Navy’s 6th Fleet. The Soviet Squadron was disbanded on December 31, 1992, a year after the disintegration of the Soviet Union.
In 2013, Russia started to create a new operational Mediterranean taskforce. Russia’s new standing Squadron is dealing with planned and urgent combat missions arising in the Mediterranean theater of operations, including warding off threats to Russia’s national and military security.