SEVASTOPOL, December 28. /TASS/. The Black Sea Fleet’s frigate Admiral Essen is returning to its naval base in Sevastopol from the Mediterranean Sea where it was accomplishing missions within the Russian Navy’s permanent taskforce, the Fleet’s press office reported on Monday.
"The Black Sea Fleet’s frigate Admiral Essen has transited the Black Sea’s Dardanelles and Bosporus straits and entered the Black Sea. The warship is returning to its home base after accomplishing missions within the Navy’s Mediterranean standing taskforce," the press office said in a statement.
During its transit in the Black Sea, the frigate’s crew will practice a set of tasks, following which it will enter the Black Sea Fleet’s main naval base of Sevastopol, the statement says.
The Admiral Essen had been accomplishing missions in the Mediterranean Sea from October. It was replaced by the same-type frigate Admiral Grigorovich in the distant maritime zone, the press office said.
The warships like the Admiral Grigorovich and 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 permanent 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.