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Russian Karakurt class corvette fitted with Pantsir-M intercepts Ukrainian Storm Shadow missile in Black Sea.

| Naval News Navy 2024

A British "Storm Shadow" missile was reportedly intercepted and destroyed by the Pantsir-M air defense system installed on the Russian Project 22800 corvette Karakut (Cyclone) near the coast of Crimea. The event, revealed by Oleg Ryazantsev, general director of NPO High-Precision Complexes during an April 7, 2024 interview on the Russian Defense Ministry's TV Zvezda channel, would represent the first confirmed use of the Pantsir-M system in a situation of real combat. Although broadcast images show a flaming object crashing to the ground and resembling the Storm Shadow, the channel has not formally confirmed that it was this missile.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Project 22800/Karakurt class corvette is fitted with a Pantsir-M air defense missile system mounted at the rear deck.  (Picture source: Russian media and Army Recognition)

The Karakurt-class corvettes, including the Askold corvette, damaged in November 2023 by these same Ukrainian Storm Shadow missiles at the Kerch shipyard, are equipped with equipment to counter a wide range of threats. They have a vertical launch system capable of launching Kalibr-NK cruise missiles and potentially P-800 Oniks supersonic anti-ship missiles. For proximity defense, they use the CIWS Pantsir-M system, which proved its effectiveness in this recent incident.

Karakurt class

Project 22800, also known as the Karakurt class, is a new generation of guided-missile corvettes designed and built for the Russian Navy. These ships, named after the black widow spider ("Karakurt" in Russian), aim for an optimal balance between firepower and maneuverability and are considered more suitable for high seas operations compared to the Buyan-class corvettes -M, which are more oriented towards coastal areas.

The Karakurt class ships measure approximately 67 meters long by 11 meters wide, with a displacement of approximately 800 tonnes. They are powered by three M-507D1 diesel engines and three DGAS-315 diesel generators, producing a total power of 24,000 horsepower (17,706 kW) and an additional power of 945 kW. The propulsion system is made up of three shafts driving three propellers.

These corvettes are heavily armed, equipped with an eight-cell vertical launch system (VLS) capable of launching Kalibr-NK cruise missiles and possibly P-800 Oniks supersonic anti-ship missiles. For air defense, the first ships of the class are equipped with AK-630M CIWS, and subsequent ships benefit from the more advanced Pantsir-M system. The ships are also armed with a 76.2mm AK-176MA general-purpose cannon.

Since their commissioning in 2018, these ships have been deployed in the Baltic, Black Sea, and Pacific fleets. The first units, such as Mytishchi and Sovetsk, have been operational since 2018 and 2019 respectively. However, the class has faced challenges, including delays linked to engine supply issues and international sanctions, which have particularly affected shipyards in occupied Crimea.

Pantsir M

The Pantsir-M is specially designed to provide two-tier air defense, capable of neutralizing aerial targets up to 20 kilometers away with its missiles, and up to 4 kilometers away with its 30mm cannons. This high rate of fire, which can reach ten thousand rounds per minute, makes the Pantsir-M an effective defense system against intensive air attacks, significantly increasing the survivability of equipped ships.

Storm Shadow

The Storm Shadow cruise missile, a joint development of France and the United Kingdom, designed to be launched from the air, weighs 1,300 kg and has a range of 560 km. The exported version, sent to Ukraine, is limited to 250 km to avoid its use against Russian territory. The missile is equipped with a 450-kilogram BROACH warhead. To ensure its precision, the missile uses a guidance system combining inertial navigation, GPS, and TERPROM. In its final phase, it employs a DSMAC infrared guidance system. Powered by a Turbomeca Microturbo TRI 60-30 turbojet, the SCALP develops a thrust of 5.4 kN. In terms of dimensions, the missile is 5.1 meters long, with a diameter of 0.48 meters and a wingspan of 3.0 meters.

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