As was expected, the first Project 22800 Small Missile Ship (Karakurt-class) was floated out on the eve of traditional Russia's Navy Day celebration (last weekend of every July). It is the first ship, traditionally named after wind calamities, Uragan (Hurricane), of the large series--13 similar boats are in a different state of completion over several Russia's shipyards. First three ships of this class will not have a navalized version of the famed Pantsir AD complex, all following those first three will have it. This will give these 800 ton displacing ships an immense bang for a buck in surface warfare scenarios.
Thus Russian tradition of building serious littoral forces, now with a very impressive reach to a strategic depth, once one considers 3M14 capabilities, continues. This is not to speak of pure anti-shipping punch these boats pack. Unlike now globally known Project 21631 Buyan-class missile ships, Karakurts have better sea keeping properties which, most likely, will allow them to venture painlessly into Mediterranean in anti-shipping (and, of course, land-attack) role in support of Russian fleet operating near Syria. This will be serious addition considering the fact that with navalized Pantsir installed Karakurts will provide a superb short-range (up to 20 kilometers) air defense cover.
Operational and strategic implications of this Mosquito fleet actively entering its In Being phase, are immense, way out of proportion with the modest size of these ships. With such ships counting in dozens and packing such a punch one can only guess how this all may play out in the nearest future.
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