Russia’s $30 Million Missile Corvettes Have Four Times the Weapons Range of US $2 Billion Destroyers and Cruisers

Marko Marjanovic – Checkpoint Asia May 22, 2019

Russian navy launches cruise missiles from one of its corvettes in the Caspian Sea at Islamic State militants in Aleppo, Syria. Click to enlarge

Russia is adding warships to its navy faster than the US. The reason for that is simple, while the US is pouring $14 billion into the USS Gerald Ford carrier the Russians are building corvettes. A class of warships between 500 and 1,000 tons.

Not only are they small, they are cheap. The newest class, Karakurt, sets back the Russian budget 2 billion rubles or just over $30 million at the exchange rates.

These sound like puny vessels, except here is the thing: they can hit an enemy surface ship from four times the distance a US destroyer (Arleigh-Burke) or cruiser (Ticonderoga) can.

Four different classes of corvettes are being built. Buyan-M-class of which 15 are planned and 10 are already serving. Steregushchiy-class of which 24 are planned and 6 are serving. Karakurt-class of which 18 are planned and one is already serving. And Gremyashchiy-class of which 4 are planned and 1 is already serving.

Except the Steregushchiy-class all these vessels may fire the Kalibr and the P-800 Onyx anti-ship missiles with the respective range of 660 and 600 kilometers. Steregushchiy carries a lighter Kh-35 missile with the range of “only” 300 kilometers.

Arleigh-Burkes and Ticonderogas fire the Harpoon anti-ship missile with the range of just 130 kilometers. Even if the US had heavier anti-ship missiles ready its primary “surface combatants” could not fire them because their multi-functional weapons cells would be too small to accommodate them. An Arleigh-Burke costs $2 billion, the older Ticonderogas cost $1 billion at the time they were built. Both classes displace around 10,000 tons.

The Arleigh-Burkes do fire the old subsonic Tomahawk flying bomb, but that is for blowing up Afghan weddings, it does not have an anti-ship capability.

Many of Russia’s older corvettes are specialized for anti-submarine warfare, but 25 Tarantul-class, 4 Bora-class, and 3 Buyan-class vessels are likewise capable of firing the P-800 or Kalibr missiles.

Not bad for vessels light enough that they can be switched out between the Baltic, Black and Caspian fleets as need arises by navigating Russia’s network of rivers and canals.

It’s just incredible how derelict the US Navy has been in missing out on the entire naval missile revolution, which to make things worse isn’t even a new thing. The technology, albeit initially in a cruder form, has been around for 50-60 years now.

It’s also strange because when it comes to aerial warfare the US military has been obsessed with long-range missile kills. But if anything it should be far more feasible for a beyond-the-horizon missile to hit a slow-moving ship, than a far faster jet, especially a fighter which can maneuver tightly to evade it.



4 responses to “Russia’s $30 Million Missile Corvettes Have Four Times the Weapons Range of US $2 Billion Destroyers and Cruisers”

  1. The United States cannot get into any sustained conflict with Russia or we will be handed our heads. The much vaunted Gerald R. Ford is already rendered obsolete thanks to Russia’s hypersonic missile array. For which by the way, we have no defense. And now the cost-effective and flexible Corvette platform the Russian navy has, clearly illustrates the difference between us and them. The Russians build weapons to kill people. We build weapons to make people rich (defense industry). The preceding statement is not mine but from another sobering article on our lagging U.S military..

  2. We are only shown the tip of the iceberg in terms of what weaponry will be used in the coming ww3.

    Heck all it would take is for lasers to be deployed with powerful enough power packs to make most weaponry on the battle field obsolete.
    If a laser was large enough and fitted to a warship, with the right lenses and focus, it would have a potential kill range far greater than the missiles Russia is fielding on their corvettes, trouble is they are smaller less armoured craft, so would not stand upto laser fire for much time.
    Heck the obsolete aircraft carriers are a perfect platform for such weaponry, given they are nuclear powered so have enough juice to sustain such weapons, while being stable enough in the ocean to offer greater accurancy at range.

    Even if the laser was used to detonate muntions, or fuel on board ships, that would devastate any enemy fleet, crippling it at the same time.

    So although the west may seem behind technologically, ww3 is going to be a planned blood bath for both sides involved, do not falsely belive the west will get a pounding and cease to exist.
    Both sides will be pounded into one world governent acceptance as the saviour and only way forward.

  3. Are lasers a direct line of sight weapon?

  4. harry, yes they are technically direct line of sight weaponry, but they can also be fired at a target without direct sighting, radar, drones, sattelite image, they can all be used to locate the target at great range.
    Heck even a low tech soldier with a portable laser designator could ping up the target and trajectory for the laser.
    You try and find a navy seal in the cold ocean floating with one of those lol.

    Plus unlike kinetic projectiles, the laser does not need to destroy the target in a violent way, it could simply burn a hole close to the water line crippling the ship as it takes on water and begins to sink, sure they may be able to contain the intake of water by sealing off sections of the ship, but the damage would make the ship non combat ready and would need to carry out repairs at a dock before going back into service, thus costing the enemy time and money, all the while taking the asset out of the battlefield.
    Again as stated, if they can ignite the fuel of munitions, the enemy ship will destroy itself.

    Finally, the lasers could be used to blind the optics of the enemy ships, damage the radar systems, even blind the crew on the bridge, this would all render the ship ineffective if not crippled, allowing for other ships within the fleet to get within missile, cannon, rail gun etc range safely.

    Plus the added bonus of such weapons is they cost nothing once built and operational (well they do not cost nothing, but compared to £100 thousand plus a missile, they do, maintenance and spare parts for the laser system would be a fraction of the cost of sending a few dozen missiles to take out a target, as mentioned if coupled to a nuclear reactor, no worry about energy costs or burning diesel etc to charge the batteries).

    This is just one weapon system that could be deployed that is already developed and no one knows exists outside of the inner defence circle.

    Tesla based lightning (energy) weapons could have the same effect, I remember reading on here during the second Gulf war, the US were secretly testing weaponry capable of melting buses and cars.
    Sounds an awful lot like the effects of a Teslas based energy weapon from the discriptions of it before Tesla was neutralised with insanity as an excuse and all his research stolen.