ATACMS missile hits a warship for the first time sinking Russian corvette ‘Tsiklon’ (Project 22800) in the port of Sevastopol

The very moment of hitting russia’s Project 22800 Karakurt-class missile corvette Askold during the attack on the Zaliv shipyard in the temporarily occupied Kerch on November 4, 2023. Sister ship Tsiklon destroyed on May 19.

On May 19, 2024, Ukrainian forces reportedly used two ATACMS missiles to strike the Russian small missile carrier ‘Tsiklon’ (Project 22800) in the port of Sevastopol.

The attack resulted in the sinking of the ship and the death of six Russian sailors, with another eleven injured. This incident marks the first verified naval combat ship to be sunk by MGM-140 ATACMS missiles, highlighting the effectiveness of these weapons in the ongoing conflict.

Project 22800 Karakurt

The ‘Cyclone’ was equipped with Kalibr cruise missiles and had been recently upgraded with Pantsir-M air defense systems, which failed to prevent the attack.

While Ukraine has a Navy as a branch of its Armed Forces, it has no active ships. That is a simple truth. Russia destroyed or stole the Ships it did have after 2014. However, this does not stop Ukraine from destroying the Russian Black Sea navy.

On Saturday, November 4th 2023, it was reported that yet Russian warship was heavily damaged in Crimea. This time it was Askold – a brand new Karakurt-class corvette. It was parked by the southern shores of the occupied Crimea when at least three missiles hit it. It appears that these hits were not enough to actually sink the ship, but it is unlikely to enter service any time soon.

The Project 22800 Karakurt was publicly presented in 2015. It is a new class of small fast military ships, armed with automatic cannons and missiles, including 8 cells for Kalibr or Oniks anti-ship cruise missiles.

The building of the first Karakurt-class corvettes started in 2015 and the first one, Mytishchi (ex-Uragan), was commissioned in 2018. Russia plans to build 16 Karakurt corvettes and four of them are already active.

The Karakurt-class corvette is 67-metre long ship with a complement of 50-70 sailors. It is said that the top speed of these ships is 30 knots (56 km/h) and they have endurance for 15 days. They are not intended for long missions – corvettes in Russian Navy strategy are designed to act quickly and attack targets with guided missiles. On the other hand, Karakurt ships have a range of 4,600 km.

Construction of the Karakurt-class corvette Askold for the Black Sea Navy started in 2016. It was launched on 21 September 2021, but never entered service. It was probably pretty close to being commissioned when it was hit by a Ukrainian cruise missile strike on 4 November 2023 in the occupied Kerch.

Witnesses say that at least three missiles hit Askold. We can guess that they were British Storm Shadow cruise missiles, although some other options are available for the defenders of Ukraine. It is likely that Askold was saved by its lack of armament—no ammunition could detonate on it. In the same attack, the Zalyv Shipbuilding yard, Kerch, was damaged, too.

Ukrainian attacks on Russia’s Black Sea navy assets are impressive. Of course, the destruction of the flagship Moskva was an unbelievable achievement both symbolically and strategically.

Then there were numerous landing ships and other ships that were destroyed or damaged by cruise missile and surface drone attacks. Ukraine even attacked a Russian submarine – on 13 September 2023 Rostov-na-Donu was damaged in a dry dock by Storm Shadow missiles.

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