Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, based out of the Crimean capital city of Sevastopol, is not Russia’s largest or strongest naval fleet. Almost all of the Fleet was commissioned before the Soviet Union fell, and the country willingly sank some of its own ships to blockade the Ukrainian Navy last week.
Nevertheless, it is celebrated in Russia. Both the Black Sea Fleet and Sevastopol were founded by Russian Prince Potemkin on May 13, 1783. The Fleet defeated the Ottoman Empire, fought in both World Wars, and later established Soviet authority in the area.
Today, it still plays its role in projecting Russian power into the Mediterranean and the Caucasus. It was used in Russia’s 2008 war with Georgia and is used to protect important shipping routes.
Below are some of the ships Russia has based out of Sevastopol.
Moskva, a conventionally powered warship, is the only Slava-class guided missile cruiser in the fleet.
Kerch, a missile cruiser, is the only Kara-class vessel in both the Black Sea Fleet and the entirety of the Russian navy. She is scheduled to be decommissioned in 2019.
Smetlevy is the only Kashin-class missile guided destroyer in the Black Sea Fleet. It took part in the 2008 war with Georgia and was deployed off the coast of Syria in 2013.
Ladnyy is one of two Krivak-class missile frigates currently deployed with the Black Sea Fleet.
Alroso B-871 is a diesel-electric Soviet Kilo-class submarine. It appears to be the sole vessel in the Black Sea Fleet’s 247th Independent Submarine Division.
Orsk is an Alligator class landing ship in the 197th Assault Ship Brigade. There are two other Alligator class ships in the fleet — the Saratov and the Nikolay Filchenkov.
Caesar Kunikov is also a landing ship of the Ropucha I-class. There are also Novocherkassk and Yamal, Ropucha I-class landers, and Azov, a Ropucha II-class lander.
The Black Sea Fleet also contains six Natya I-class minesweepers. All the ships date from the 1970s. There are also two Sonya-class minesweepers and one Gorya-class seagoing minesweeper in the fleet.
Bora is one of two Dergach-class guided missile corvettes in the fleet. There are also reportedly two Nanuchka III-class guided missile corvettes. Both classes of ship are armed with anti-ship missiles.
The R-44 is a Matka Mod-class ship. This class of ship are light hydrofoils that are equipped with missiles.
There are five Tarantul-class missile ships in the Black Sea Fleet. Pictured below is the sole Tarantul-II in the fleet. The other four ships are Tarantul-IIIs, which have upgraded engines and armaments.
There are three Grisha III-class anti-submarine corvettes in the Black Sea Fleet. Alongside them are two Grisha I-class anti-submarine corvette and a Mukha-class anti-submarine corvette.
Here is a graphical comparison of the Russian Black Sea Fleet and the Ukrainian Navy.
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