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US Coast Coast monitors Russia Navy spy ship Kareliya near Hawaii.

| 2023

According to information published by the US DoD on January 18, 2023, in recent weeks, the U.S. Coast Guard has continued to monitor a Russian vessel, believed to be an intelligence gathering ship, off the coast of the Hawaiian Islands. The ship could be the Vishnya-class intelligence ship Kareliya.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Vishnya class intelligence ship Kareliya. (Picture source: US DoD)

The Vishnya class (NATO reporting name) (also known as the Meridian class), Soviet designation Project 864, are a group of intelligence collection ships built for the Soviet Navy in the 1980s. The ships continue in service with the Russian Navy. The Russian Navy operates seven of these ships.

These ships are large, purpose built ships designed for signals intelligence gathering via an extensive array of sensors. The data could be transmitted to shore via satellite link antennas housed in two large radomes. The ships are armed with two AK-630 close-in weapon systems and SA-N-8 surface-to-air missile (SAM) launchers, for last-resort self-defense.

The Vishnya-class ships are approximately 150 meters long and displace around 4,500 tons. They are powered by a combined diesel and gas turbine propulsion system, which allows for a maximum speed of around 30 knots (56 km/h).

The ships are typically crewed by around 200 sailors and officers. They are also equipped with a helicopter landing deck and hangar for a small helicopter to be used for reconnaissance missions.

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