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The impressive picture shows the Russian submarine "Orel" (K-266), German: Adler. The very fact of getting a Russian submarine in front of the camera in this way is astonishing. The location of the picture is even more unusual: somewhere in the Danish straits and the Fehmarnbelt.

Aufmarsch zum Tag der russischen Marine am 26. Juli
Photo: Michael Nitz, Naval Press Service

On July 6, it was observed that the Oscar II-class nuclear powered submarine entered the Baltic Sea. Oscar-class submarines, known in Russian as 'missile cruisers', were developed as 'aircraft carrier crackers'. Their original main armament, 24 cruise missiles of the type P-700 granite (NATO designation SS-N-19 Shipwreck), was intended to combat the US aircraft carrier. The M-45 rocket developed in the 1970s, which can be equipped with both nuclear (500 Kt) and conventional warheads weighing 750 kg, has a maximum range of 625 kilometers at a maximum speed of 2.5 Mach.

Die Flugkörperbewaffnung der U-Boote der Oscar-II-Klasse erlebt ein Upgrade. Die Granit-Flugkörper sollen durch P-800 Oniks/Onyx (NATO Bezeichnung SS-N-26 Strobile) oder 3M14K Kalibr (SS-N-27/SS-N-30A Sizzler) ersetzt werden – Marschflugkörper, die mit dem US-Tomahawk vergleichbar sind. Auch über die mögliche Einrüstung des 3M22 Zirkon wird in westlichen Expertenkreisen spekuliert. Der hyperschallschnelle Flugkörper kann Mach 9 erreichen.

As the newer generations of missiles have different dimensions than the original granite, experts assume that the Oscar-class submarines will have higher loads.

Essential performance data of the missiles, which can be used both land-based, by aircraft and by surface and underwater units:

Granite: Warhead conventional 750 kg, thermonuclear 500 kt, range: 625 km, speed 2.5 mach

Oniks: Warhead conventional 300 kg, thermonuclear 200 kt, range: 600-800 km, speed 2.6 mach.

Calibr: Warhead conventional 400-500 kg, thermonuclear possible, no information about the explosive force, range: up to 2,500 km, speed 2.9 mach.

Zircon: Warhead conventional 750 kg, thermonuclear 500 kt, range: 1,000 km, speed 9 mach

Aufmarsch zum Tag der russischen Marine am 26. Juli

Oniks and calibration have proven their operational readiness in Syria.

Aufmarsch zum Tag der russischen Marine am 26. Juli
Photo: Michael Nitz, Naval Press Service

With “Orel”, a submarine of the Oscar II class of the Northern Fleet is taking part in the celebrations for the Russian Navy Day for the third year in a row. Russia normally uses diesel-electric submarines in this sea area. With the "Orel", the opposing situation changes in that a nuclear-powered large submarine navigates in close proximity to Central Europe and the Baltic States. Two of the possible missile variants are already present on Russian naval units (surface units and submarines) in the Baltic Sea. Thus with the "Orel" only the number increases.

It is not the first time that Russia has sent such units to the Baltic Sea for its annual naval parade. In 2017 it was a strategic submarine with “Dmitry Donskoy” (TK-208), a boat of the Typhoon class, Russian Akula class.

What is unusual and politically remarkable, however, is that this year Baltiysk, the Kaliningrad port, will also be the location of the celebrations. The fleet demonstration on Russian Navy Day usually includes a demonstration of maritime capabilities. The scenario in Baltiysk includes a simulated amphibious landing operation. It is easy to imagine that this is security-sensitive. According to announcements by the Russian Ministry of Defense, a total of 46 war and auxiliary ships from the Baltic Sea fleet, 20 other army units and two helicopters from Naval Aviation Ka-27 will be involved in this year's events for the Russian Navy Day in Baltiysk.

In addition to the "Orel", the Northern Fleet seconded the large anti-submarine ship (Russian name) "Vizeadmiral Kulakov", a destroyer of the Udaloy class, to the parade in front of St. Petersburg. The replica of the first warship built in St. Petersburg, which goes back to an initiative of Tsar Peter the Great, the "Poltava", will act as a leading ship.

Navy Day is celebrated in all Russian fleets on the last Sunday in July. For the first time, units from the Caspian Flotilla are also participating this year.

Hans Uwe Mergener