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Analysis: Odintsovo corvette tests Pantsir-M

The Odintsovo Karakurt-class corvette of project 22800 is testing the latest Pantsir-M anti-aircraft missile launcher. It destroys helicopter gunships, assault jets, cruise and antiship missiles. The corvette will be able to down all air targets in a radius of 20 km, the Izvestia daily writes.

Analysis Odintsovo corvette tests Pantsir M 925 001Pantsir-M anti-aircraft missile launcher showcased at Idex 2019 (Picture source: Army Recognition)

The installation of the launcher has been completed and preliminary trials held. Pantsir-M confirmed the declared characteristics, Defense Ministry sources said.

All project 22800 corvettes are to be armed with Pantsir-M although there were doubts that a small ship can carry such a sophisticated weapon.

The design of a naval air defense launcher is a complicated procedure, former Navy Chief-of-Staff Admiral Valentin Selivanov said. "The sea is mostly stormy. It complicated the design of naval weapons. They have to be stabilized and operate regardless of the waves. The launchers and radar antennas have to be properly fixed and control systems have to take waves into account," he said.

The Odintsovo has to operate in the 36th missile boat brigade of the Baltic fleet based in Baltiisk naval base in Kaliningrad region. The Mytishchi and the Sovetsk first two corvettes of project 22800 also operate there. However, they have weak armaments. Two artillery AK-630 guns which were accepted into service over 40 years ago are installed in the stern.

Selivanov is sure the Odintsovo will increase air defense capabilities of the Baltic corvettes. "They usually operate from an ambush. They sail out from a bay, fire Kalibr missiles and hide. Pantsir can defend all Karakurt-class ships in such a rapid attack. It can also protect naval bases and will be included into a single fire force of the area," he said.

Pantsir-M has eight antiaircraft launchers and two six-barrel 30mm automatic guns. It defends various-displacement warships from massive attacks by cruise and antiship missiles, drones, airplanes and helicopters.

Pantsir-M provides two-tier air defense to protect a warship from any airstrike. The adversary is first attacked at a distance of 20 km. The targets that breakthrough come under fire of 30mm guns. They can destroy targets in a range of four kilometres. The rate of fire is 10 thousand shots per minute. It is difficult to break through the two-tier defense, experts said.

Pantsir-M can destroy surface and coastal targets. It can repel an attack of small warships or missiles and guns in the destruction range. Pantsir-M is to replace Kortik air defense which was designed yet in Soviet time.

The ground Pantsir-S excellently performed in Syria. It was operated by Russian and Syrian forces. The first launchers were deployed at Humaymin airbase in 2015.

Project 22800 corvettes have much room for modernization. In particular, they can develop into small antisubmarine ships to defend Russian coastal waters and naval bases from adversary submarines, the Izvestia said.

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