TechFire on Russian Missile Ship "Sierpukhov" Raises Security Concerns

Fire on Russian Missile Ship "Sierpukhov" Raises Security Concerns

A fire broke out on the Russian ship "Sierpuchow".
A fire broke out on the Russian ship "Sierpuchow".
Images source: © Getty Images | Irina Shuvaeva

4:18 PM EDT, April 9, 2024

The press service of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine reported a fire on the small missile ship "Sierpukhov" on April 7. The unit caught fire at the Baltic Fleet base in Baltiysk, about 12 miles from the Polish border. Intriguingly, Ukrainian intelligence shared a video showing one of the ship's rooms where the fire broke out. We delve into what "Sierpukhov" is and its activities in the Kaliningrad Oblast.

The Ukrainian intelligence (HUR) not only shared footage from the fire site but also released a portion of the "Sierpukhov" ship plan, highlighting the fire's origin. However, they did not officially confirm its destruction. The Ukrainian service Militarny noted that the incident happened in a cabin opposite compartment 3C-14, which houses a universal missile launcher. The publication emphasized that the fire inflicted significant damage, particularly to communication equipment and automation systems.

According to HUR, restoring the unit's combat capability may require considerable time. Strikingly, HUR representative Andriy Yuso mentioned on Radio Liberty that the fire obstructed Russian plans to relocate the ship from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea.

Are Russian ships becoming helpless targets?

Since the onset of the conflict in Ukraine, Russian ships have faced challenging times. Units stationed in both the Black Sea and Baltic Sea are susceptible to increasingly sophisticated attacks. For the Black Sea Fleet, the frequency of incidents has reached a point where, according to British Defense Minister Grant Shapps, "it is [ed. now] currently functionally inactive." Furthermore, the fleet has adopted a defensive posture, with ships remaining in Crimea.

Notably, Russian military expert Vladislav Surigin also commented on the condition of the Russian Navy. He pointed out that the navy is trailing behind other Russian military segments, partly due to sanctions imposed in 2014 and severed trade ties with Ukraine. These developments severely hampered ship construction and repair efforts. Surigin highlighted Ukraine's former monopoly on supplying turbines and other critical components for shipbuilding, noting the lengthy period it took for Russia to establish new supply chains.

Missile boat "Sierpukhov"

The "Sierpukhov" is a missile ship of the 21631 project (Buyan-M class), launched and commissioned in 2015. Initially serving in the Black Sea Fleet, it joined the 36th Missile Boat Brigade of the Baltic Fleet in 2016. Measuring 243 feet in length and 36 feet in width, it displaces 1046 tons. The "Sierpukhov" has a 100 mm A-190 Arsenal naval gun, an "Igla" anti-aircraft missile launcher, and the AK-630-2 Duet complex. Furthermore, it boasts a universal missile launcher capable of firing Kalibr and P-800 Oniks cruise missiles.

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