The Red Banner Caspian Flotilla is the smallest formation of the Russian Navy, but it solves the problem of protecting one of the most important areas. In recent years, systematic and effective modernization has been carried out, which has made it possible to significantly increase all the main indicators of the flotilla. At the same time, the updating processes continue – and in the future they will give new remarkable results.
The basis of the CFL is made up of warships and boats, as well as auxiliary vessels of all major classes. In recent years, the flotilla has received a lot of new pennants of different classes. To date, the share of modern samples in the ship-and-boat structure has been brought to 80%. It is curious that in 2016 its share reached 86%, but then slightly decreased due to natural processes.
The main combat units of the CFL are modern ships with guided missile weapons. These are two patrol boats / corvettes of project 11661 “Gepard”, commissioned in 2003 and 2012, as well as three small missile ships of project 21631 “Buyan-M” and a missile boat of project 12411T. There are small artillery ships of project 21630 “Buyan” (3 units), as well as artillery boats of project 1204 (4 units) and 1 boat of project 1400M.
Launch of Kalibr missiles by KFL ships
Combat ships and boats carry a variety of weapons. The most interesting is the Kalibr-NK missile system with a firing range of thousands of kilometers. Its potential was shown back in 2015, and since then the number of launch vehicles and deployed missiles has grown significantly.
The CFL has a well-developed amphibious fleet. There are eight landing boats of projects 1176, 11770 and 21820 to support the combat work of the marines. At least 7-8 anti-sabotage boats of various types have been put into service. There is a developed grouping of raid and base minesweepers of several projects in the amount of 8 units.
Search and rescue support of the flotilla is assigned to 11 pennants. Among them are several sea rescue tugs, fire fighting vessels and offshore diving boats. 15 vessels of all main classes are responsible for material and technical support, incl. sea and harbor tugs, tankers and weapons transports. There are hydrographic boats and ships – only 5 units.
The construction of ships, vessels and boats for the CFL continues, and new combat and auxiliary units are expected to be commissioned in the near future. In addition, scheduled repairs are carried out with restoration or modernization.
The CFL includes not the most numerous, but rather developed coastal troops. Due to recent changes in the organizational structure and the formation of new units and subdivisions, it was possible to significantly increase their potential. In addition, previously absent samples entered service with the BV KFl, with the help of which they expanded the range of tasks to be solved.
The largest unit in BV is the 177th Marine Regiment, formed in 2018. It has two battalions stationed in Astrakhan and Kaspiysk. It is armed with modern weapons and equipment. The basis of the regiment’s fleet is the BTR-82 amphibious armored personnel carriers.
At the beginning of the year, the 51st separate coastal missile division received a new materiel. Its task is to protect the coast from enemy ships using the Bal missile system. The coastal forces had systems of this class before, but several years ago they were transferred to the Black Sea Fleet. Now there are missile systems on the shores of the Caspian Sea.
In its current form, the Caspian Flotilla is a sufficiently developed and powerful formation of the Navy, capable of solving several key tasks in its region and, what is important, beyond its borders. Both containment and strikes against enemy targets are provided.
Demonstration performances of the Marine Corps
In terms of its size, the Russian flotilla, at least, is not inferior to the naval associations of other countries of the Caspian region. At the same time, there are significant advantages in the form of novelty and high characteristics of weapons and equipment, as well as in the form of a high level of personnel training.
The main task of the CFL remains to maintain peace and security in the Caspian Sea region, to protect the maritime borders and the coast of Russia, and with them other nearby regions, from a possible attack. Surface forces and coastal troops are able to detect and destroy in time any strike group of third countries in the region.
As practice has already shown, the offensive capabilities of the CFL are of particular importance. Ships carrying cruise missiles, without leaving the Caspian Sea, are capable of attacking targets at ranges of up to 2-2.5 thousand km. Thus, the largest region, from the Middle East to Central Asia, is under the control of corvettes and RTOs.
Coastal troops on exercises
In the wake of recent events, the situation in the Transcaucasus is of particular importance. This region is included in the CFL’s area of responsibility, and it is she who will have to respond to aggressive actions of third countries. It is important that the capabilities of the flotilla will make it possible to solve combat missions not only in the region, but also beyond its borders. The missiles from the Caspian Sea can be targeted at remote facilities of countries intending to advance their interests by destabilizing the situation in the Transcaucasus.
It should be borne in mind that CFL is not the only component of the Russian armed forces. The Red Banner Black Sea Fleet and many formations of the Southern Military District are also responsible for protecting the southern borders. The well-known events of recent years show their potential – and demonstrate what the armed forces as a whole are capable of.
It should be recalled that CFL turns out to be not only a military but also a diplomatic instrument. The countries of the Caspian region maintain equal international relations, and their fleets contribute to this. KFL ships have repeatedly made friendly visits to foreign ports, and also regularly participate in international maneuvers. Such processes contribute to the reduction of tensions and the growth of trust.
Quality or quantity
For a number of objective reasons, the Caspian Flotilla has never been able to compare with other fleets in terms of the number of ships and vessels or the size of coastal troops. In addition, for a long time, its development and renewal were far from being a priority. However, the situation has changed dramatically in recent years.
The Bal coastal missile system is looking for a training target
CFL remains the smallest formation of the Russian Navy, which affects its appearance and potential. However, opportunities have been found for the active development of the flotilla and the build-up of combat capabilities without a significant increase in numbers. In fact, it was in the interests of the CFL that small missile and artillery ships of new types were created, capable of carrying modern and effective weapons.
Despite all the difficulties and problems, in a limited timeframe, it was possible to carry out a massive rearmament of CFLs with bringing the share of modern samples to 80-86 percent. Other measures led to an increase in other key indicators. At the same time, the process of military construction and modernization does not stop. New facilities for various purposes are being commissioned, new subdivisions are being formed and modern samples are being supplied.
Thus, it is quite easy to predict the future of the Red Banner Caspian Flotilla. In recent years, its appearance and capabilities have seriously changed, and the results achieved will be maintained for the foreseeable future. In addition, new steps of various kinds should be expected, which will again lead to the strengthening of naval forces and coastal forces. CFl will remain small in quantitative terms – but in terms of quality it will meet all the requirements.