In addition, the Caspian has the sharpest debate on the right of countries to build pipelines on the seabed. For example, Turkmenistan would like to build such a pipeline in order to sell gas to Europe, for example, through the Nabucco gas pipeline. However, Russia is against such a decision. Formally, Moscow refers to the vulnerable ecology of the sea. Actually, we are talking about the struggle for the gas monopoly in the European market. The appearance of large volumes of Turkmen gas in Europe would be unprofitable for Russia.
In addition, the Caspian is overshadowed by the still ongoing conflict over Iran’s nuclear program. A hypothetical possible variety of scenarios, including the military. In the latter case, the Caspian may even become a place of armed confrontation.
In general, the overall uncertainty of the situation forces the parties to be vigilant. All this led to the fact that in recent years a real naval arms race has unfolded in the Caspian. Moreover, their character does not at all correspond to the size of the lake and the very possibility of waging naval battles here.
Modern warfare at sea is conducted with the use of anti-ship missiles (RCC). This is the main thing weapon all modern fleets. Even torpedoes today play a smaller role, it is unlikely that a submarine will manage to get close to a torpedo shot at a modern ship, as it was during World War II. In addition, submarines can also use anti-ship missiles. These missiles can also be used from aircraft. Therefore, today the main task of a warship at sea is to see the launch of an anti-ship missile in time and try to shoot it down. For this purpose, air defense systems of the ship are used. And finally, the last defense argument is automatic small-caliber artillery complexes, which for a short period of time form a protective wall of flying projectiles from the side from which the rocket flies. But here it is important to see the rocket, from where it, in fact, flies. Therefore, detection tools are one of the most important conditions for the protection of the ship.
For example, in 1982, during the Falkland War, Argentines sank a number of British ships fleet with the help of French Exoset anti-ship missiles launched from the Mirage strike aircraft. Moreover, in some cases, the warheads of the missiles did not even explode. But the Exocet hit was enough to sink a modern ship like the Sheffield destroyer, and a number of other English ships.
Although rocket rocket discord. Much depends on the warhead delivered to the target and the speed of its approach. For example, during the tanker war in the Persian Gulf in the middle of the 1980-s, the Iranian and Iraqi Navy regularly attacked with anti-ship missiles "Exocet", "Harpoon", "Sea Killer" on tankers from different countries, but their real losses were only 3 percent. from all hits. In 1987, the Iraqi Mirage was hit by an American stark frigate with two Exochet missiles. The ship was then damaged, but did not sink.
In general, most of the RCC today is subsonic rockets that fly to a target at low altitude, relying on surprise. In the USSR, developed supersonic missiles, they are in service with the Russian Navy. This complex "Granit", "Mosquito." Russia is developing jointly with India, another Brasom supersonic complex. Supersonic rockets fly most of the way to the target at altitudes 15 – 20 km, and the final segment - already at supersonic speeds at a super-low altitude. The problem with them is that they are too large because of the need to carry a lot of fuel and they can be seen at a great distance. Here, they are capable of shooting down not only ship defense of a long range, but also fighter-interceptors.
In any case, PKR is the basis of modern naval weapons systems. When, after the collapse of the USSR, the Caspian flotilla was divided between the Caspian countries, primarily Azerbaijan and Russia, Baku had one missile boat project 205 with subsonic Termit radars, but the rocket launchers were dismantled. In Russia, the fleet had an experimental ekranoplan "Lun" with anti-ship missiles, but it turned out to be inoperable.
However, from the beginning of the 2000s, Russia began to deploy ships with anti-ship missiles in the Caspian. In 2003, the Tatarstan patrol of the 11661 "Gepard" project with the Uran missile on board, with a displacement of 2000 tons, was introduced into the Caspian flotilla. According to Western terminology, this is an URO (guided missile weapon) frigate. Nobody had anything like this on the Caspian. The X-35 subsonic anti-ship missiles of the Uran complex had a firing range of 130 km.
In 2012, the twin brother of "Tatarstan" from the 11661 project frigate URO "Dagestan" entered the flotilla. In addition, in the Astrakhan region is located Astrakhan coastal division "Redoubt" with subsonic cruise missiles П-35. Their range 300 km, which allows you to cover the entire northern waters of the Caspian Sea. Even in the flotilla four rocket boats with Termit missiles. In 2013, the flotilla also included two more small rocket ships of the 21631 project with the Caliber anti-ship missiles on board.
So, Russia has so many ships with RCC in the Caspian that they are capable of sinking a small fleet. The problem is that there is simply no such fleet in the Caspian, there is nobody to sink. Even if we ignore the idea that no one is going to fight with Russia, Russia still has no real opponents.
Azerbaijan has one patrol ship with a displacement of one thousand tons of large ships and there are no ships with anti-ship missiles at all. But in the 2012 year, it was reported that Azerbaijan, in the framework of a deal with Israel, had acquired the subsonic anti-ship missile "Gabriel". In May 2014 of the year, according to Russian media reports, Baku showed interest in acquiring the Russian Bal-E coastal defense complex with subsonic anti-ship missile X-35. In fact, it is the same "Uranus" that is in service with the "Tatarstan". Theoretically, all these missiles are needed by Baku to protect their oil development in the Caspian. Azerbaijan has disputes with Iran and Turkmenistan over the ownership of certain sites.
By the way, Turkmenistan was the first of the small Caspian countries to acquire its own RCC. In 2011, Russia delivered two Molniya missile boats of the 1241 project with a supersonic anti-ship missile system Moskit to Ashgabat. After that, Turkmenistan theoretically became the most powerful naval power in the Caspian Sea. Even Russia has no supersonic rockets here. True, these missiles are designed to strike large ships, there is simply no one to shoot at the Caspian. Well, not for the Russian "Tatarstan" or "Dagestan".
In turn, Iran in March 2013 launched the frigate Jamaran-2 with a displacement of 1500 tons and the Nur missile, which is a modification of the subsonic Chinese anti-ship missile system P-802, in the Caspian Sea. It is the largest ship of the Iranian fleet in the Caspian. The Iranians also have a number of missile boats with Chinese PRKs on board.
In this situation, Kazakhstan turned out to be the only country in the Caspian that does not have an RPC. In 2012, KADEX announced the signing of a protocol of intent on acquiring the famous French Exocset missiles. But whether the transaction was implemented is unknown. In 2012, a ship with a displacement of 250 tons, which was positioned as the first rocket ship of Kazakhstan, was launched at the Zenit plant. However, there is no information about its armament by one or another RCC. Judging by the available image of the ship "Kazakhstan", there are no missiles on board it. Wikipedia indicates the presence of the MLRS (salvo fire rocket system), that is, there are unguided rockets, like on some land "Grad".
So, whether we have PKR remains a big question. Another question is related to that, but do we need such anti-ship missiles, and if so, is it necessary to build ships for this? In principle, if everyone already has PKR in the Caspian, then we should have a few, at least for demonstration. Moreover, theoretically, we should be able to try to protect oil-producing facilities in our Caspian zone. It is clear that Russia will cover us in case of anything, but you yourself also need to have something in stock.
If we try to answer the question of whether we need a large ship with anti-ship missiles, this is a difficult question. We will not be able to build it, as the Iranians did, we will have to buy from Russia, as the Turkmen did. But you can get along with coastal complexes, as the Azerbaijanis are going to do, or by forces aviation. Subsonic cruise missiles (RCCs) may well be used from aircraft, as demonstrated by the experience of the Falkland Islands war and battles in the Persian Gulf. That is, you need to have a base of air forces, preferably in the depths of the territory, from where aircraft with anti-ship missiles on board could deliver their strikes against a potential aggressor at sea. In this case, carrier aircraft will be needed, as well as choosing the appropriate type of subsonic anti-ship missiles.
The paradox of the modern naval situation in the Caspian is that there are practically no goals for powerful anti-ship missiles. Only Russia and Iran have big ships, all the rest have only boats and small ships. Accordingly, any use of anti-ship missiles in the Caspian basin is the use of a guarded club against a sparrow.
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