Ukrainian forces have struck two Russian Project 22160 patrol ships in southwestern Black Sea, damaging both vessels, the Armed Forces of Ukraine said in a Telegram post on Sept. 14.
Ukraine’s Digital Transformation Minister Mykhailo Fedorov later published a video of the naval drone attack, suggesting the operation was carried out by Ukrainian Defense Intelligence.
According to information published by Radio Svoboda on October 12, 2023, the Russian Black Sea Fleet’s patrol ship Pavel Derzhavin sustained damage near the occupied Sevastopol in the Black Sea.
Project 22160 was conceived by the Northern Design and Construction Bureau in St. Petersburg, known for its long-standing tradition of developing versatile warships for the Russian Navy.
The ship was initially envisioned as the “workhorse of the fleet”, designed to undertake tasks that didn’t require exceptional combat power or record-breaking specifications.
Its primary role was to patrol the waters around naval bases and safeguard territorial waters within the 200-mile exclusive economic zone. In peacetime, these ships are tasked with border patrol duties, combating piracy, safeguarding maritime infrastructure, and assisting distressed sailors.
In wartime, they escort transport convoys, engage with enemy surface and submarine vessels, and launch attacks on maritime and terrestrial targets. They can also undertake anti-aircraft defense missions. They are versatile patrol ships with relatively small displacement, designed to support and augment corvettes and frigates.
In the Soviet naval tradition, almost every ship was equipped with a missile system. This ranged from aircraft carriers to corvettes and boats. Often, this widespread “missilization” resulted in highly effective combat units equipped with powerful anti-ship missile systems.
However, the limited displacement of the Project 22160 patrol ship did not allow it to be equipped with the Kalibr missile system, similar to the ones on the Karakurt missile boats or modern corvettes and frigates.
Instead, the designers proposed a modular design for Project 22160, allowing the ship to be equipped with different weapon or equipment containers based on the fleet’s requirements.
The ship remained without a missile system, but it was anticipated that it could be adapted to accommodate the containerized version of the Kalibr-K missile system in the future.
Recent events have highlighted the importance of artillery weaponry for these small patrol ships. Each ship is equipped with the AK-176MA-01, featuring a rapid-fire 76mm gun and the МР-123-02 Bagira modified fire control system, which includes a radar for detecting small surface objects.
This gun is designed to engage both maritime and aerial targets. Additionally, each ship is equipped with two MTPU-1 Sting naval machine gun mounts, one on each side.
However, the absence of a standard missile system on the Project 22160 patrol ship remains a point of valid criticism. Still, it’s possible that these systems might be introduced during future upgrades.
Some ships of this project have been experimentally equipped with modules of the land-based “Tor-M2KM” anti-aircraft missile system, providing them with new air defense capabilities.
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