On the night of September 13, 2023, a Russian shipyard in Sevastopol was attacked. The Ukrainian Air Force hinted that the strike was carried out by Su-24 fighter bomber.
Russian authorities have officially stated that the air defence system intercepted none of cruise missiles. As a result, the Minsk landing ship and the Rostov-on-Don submarine were hit. The Rostov-on-Don submarine was launched less than 10 years ago and is a carrier of Kalibr cruise missiles, and its construction cost about $300 million.
Aside from inflicting significant naval losses, the sidelining of a major naval dry dock facility complicates Russia’s ability to operate on the Black Sea.
In modern warfare, dry docks have always been a high-priority target.
As complex pieces of heavy machinery, necessary for the basic maintenance of any naval force, dry docks—facilities where ships can be floated in and repaired after water is pumped out—are not easy things to fix. America is spending billions to refresh undamaged dry docks. Repairing battle damage will be far more costly.
Meanwhile, Ukraine officially hinted that the strike was carried out by Su-24 aircraft. Lieutenant General Mykola Oleshchuk, commander of the Ukrainian Air Force, thanked Ukrainian pilots for their work.
At the moment, the Ukrainian Defence Forces have only two air-launched cruise missiles in service that could reach the Sevastopol plant. These are the British Storm Shadow and the French analogue SCALP EG. Ukraine is rumoured to have received export versions of these missiles, with a maximum launch range of no more than 300km.
Further to Storm Shadow missile attacks, the Ukrainian army also launched ten Ukrainian-made Neptun anti-ship cruise missile. It was modified to hit ground targets and recently destroyed the launcher of the S-400 Triumf surface-to-air missile system.
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