The Admiral Gorshkov-class frigate and its escorts entered the Caribbean Sea with an unknown destination.
A Russian Project 22350 frigate Admiral Gorshkov (named after the Soviet admiral) and its escorts have sailed into the Caribbean and may be bound for Cuba, reports The Drive. The Admiral Gorshkov is one of the newest line of Russian warships, and its presence could provoke ire from the United States. It could be especially problematic if it’s headed for Venezuela, where Russia and the US continue to support competing political factions.
But as powerful as the Admiral Gorshkov might be, its presence may be muted by its escort ships, which consists of three support ships that include a heavy tug.
According to an official statement, the Admiral Gorshkov traveled from the Eastern Pacific Ocean into the Caribbean via the Panama Canal on June 17. Other ships from the Russian Navy's Northern Fleet are expected to pass through the canal over the next day. They include the Project 23120 multi-function logistics ship Elbrus, the Kama tanker, and the heavy tug Nikolay Chiker. No announcement was made about where they’re heading.
The Admiral Gorshkov is a new vessel, entering service in July 2018. It is one of the most advanced ships in the Russian Navy, and is the first to carry the Poliment-Redut air defense system – comprised of a Poliment phased array radar and the Redut surface-to-air missile system. The defense system itself is also quite new, having completed trials just weeks before the frigate took to the seas.
Additionally, the warship features 16 vertical launch cells that may be armed with Kalibr land-attack cruise missiles for long-range capabilities. Alternatively, the array may fire supersonic Oniks anti-ship cruise missiles, and there are plans to one day integrate hypersonic Zircon missiles.
The ship also features advanced sensors that go beyond the Poliment phased array along with a new electronic warfare suite. One particularly notable feature is the reported 5P-42 Filin countermeasure system, which is comprised of high-powered strobe lights designed to disorient and nauseate enemy personnel while confusing their sensors.
Although the presence of Russia’s latest warship in the Caribbean might draw some attention from the US, especially if it goes to Venezuela, it wouldn’t be the first Russian naval vessel to visit Cuba in recent years. the Neustrashimyy-class frigate Yaroslav Mudry made a stop in Havana in 2016. The Vishnya-class spy ship Viktor Leonov also makes regular trips to Cuba.
Given how the Admiral Gorshkov has already traveled over 26,000 around the world since leaving the Northern Fleet’s main base in Severomorsk in February – with stops in the Horn of Africa, Sri Lanka, China, and Ecuador – the move through the Caribbean could be Russia’s way of showing off its latest and most advanced warship.