Vishnya Meridian Project 864 class
The Viktor Leonov returned to international waters off the east coast of the United States after a short stop in Cuba to refuel and resupply. The 15 March 2017 report explained the ship was spotted 23 miles southeast of a US Navy submarine base in Kings Bay in the US state of Georgia. The base is home to US Navy’s Atlantic fleet of ballistic missile submarines, according to the report.
As first reported by Fox News, the Russian ship SSV-175 Viktor Leonov was spotted 15 February 2017 in international waters 30 miles south of Groton, Connecticut — home to a US naval submarine base. According to the TV channel, the ship was found 70 miles off the coast of Delaware in international waters. "This is the first patrol since Donald Trump entered the office" - said the TV channel. Lt. Col. Valerie Henderson, a Defense Department spokeswoman, stated “It has not entered U.S. territorial waters. We respect freedom of navigation exercised by all nations beyond the territorial sea of a coastal State consistent with international law.”
US Senator Richard Blumenthal, D. Conn., a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told the Albany TImes Union “the presence of this spy ship has to be regarded very seriously because Russia is an increasingly aggressive adversary. It reflects a clear need to harden our defenses against electronic surveillance and cyber espionage.”
“The return of a Russian vessel is particularly concerning in the context of escalating Russian aggression - within days of the Russians buzzing a U.S. Navy ship in the Black Sea, as well as deploying a cruise missile in violation of our arms control treaty - which only underscores the need for an independent investigation into possible collusion between the Trump administration and Russian agents."
Vishnya class SSV [Sudno Svyazyy = Communications Vessel] electronic surveillance ships are Project 864 Meridian reconnaissance ship, with a displacement of 3,470 tonnes and 94.4 meters long. Its cruising endurance is 7,000 nautical miles. Its crew consists of 146-220 people. The first two vessels belong to the Northern Fleet, the third - to the Black Sea, the fourth and fifth - to the Pacific, sixth and seventh - to the Baltic. The Russian Navy operates seven Meridian-class vessels to be replaced by the Project 18280 intelligence ship by 2020.
The Vishnya class are a group of intelligence collection ships built for the Soviet Navy in the 1980s. The ships continue in service with the Russian Navy. These ships are large, purpose built ships designed for SIGINT and COMINT electronic intelligence via an extensive array of sensors. The data could be transmitted to shore via satellite link antennaes. The Project 864 are equipped with two satellite communications antennae inside radomes. The ships are armed with two AK-630 close-in weapon systems and SA-N-8 SAM launchers. The propulsion system consists of two diesel engines developing 4,400-bhp and a top speed of 16 knots.
In the early 80s there were technologies that enable using special sonar to detect submarines at ultra-large distances. This led to the creation of new exploration ships, which were the name of the ship underwater situation (GRO). "Vasily Tatishchev" - one of them. Total armed Navy of the Russian Federation is the seven ships of the project 864 - "Tavria", "Victor Leonov," "Sea of Azov", "Kuril Islands", "Karelia", "Vasily Tatishchev," "Admiral Fyodor Golovin." All of them were built in Polish shipyards in Gdansk in the period from 1985 to 1990. During operation some ships of this class have visited on several fleets of the Russian Federation to undergo repairs and upgrades.
The main highlight of the ships of the "Meridian" is a decoding apparatus that can intercept and listen to military communications between ships and aircraft. In addition, the board SRZK "Vasily Tatishchev" set of radio stations and radio intelligence, sonar systems, and apparatus for removing the telemetry data and trajectory of the observations.
The Ministry of Defence at the end of 2014 came to revive from the reserve the medium intelligence ship "Karelia". Project documentation on modernization work was to be prepared by the summer of 2015. Currently, CER-535 "Karelia" was at the "Dalzavod" yard. According to the protocol, "51 TSKTIS" after the installation of new equipment, such as radar equipment, it will be calculated the ship's stability. Medium reconnaissance ship of the 2nd rank "Karelia" was built in Gdansk (Poland) under the project 864 "Meridian". Launched in 1987, it went into operation in 1988, and had served in the Pacific Fleet.
A Russian intelligence-gathering ship accompanied by a tugboat roamed the waters off the East Coast and the Gulf of Mexico in April 2014. The Russian vessels Viktor Leonov and Nikolay Chiker have been operating beyond American territorial seas near the coast of Cuba. ‘We respect the freedom of all nations, as reflected in international law, to operate military vessels beyond the territorial seas of other nations,’ Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Tom Crosson stated. The Viktor Leonov CCB-175 was first sighted in Cuba back in February 2014, when it docked in Havana. At the time, neither Cuba nor Russia acknowledged or explained the presence of the spy ship in Havana. Pentagon officials believed the ships were part of an operation since March collecting against the US nuclear missile submarine base at Kings Bay, GA and other US military facilities.
The Baltic fleet's reconnaissance ship Vasily Tatishchev left Baltiysk for the eastern part of the Mediterranean, a military source told Interfax-AVN on 05 October 2015. "The Vasily Tatishchev has left for the coast of Syria, where it will join and reinforce the Russian naval group in the eastern part of the Mediterranean. The ship will be fulfilling its mission. Its crew will monitor the situation on the airwaves both in Syria and all neighboring countries, and also over their territorial waters," the source said. The source said this approach is considered routine for Baltic fleet reconnaissance ships. "They once successfully monitored the war in Yugoslavia," the source said. The Baltic fleet press service declined to comment on the issue.
In February 2016 the Ministry of Defence announced that the Russian military strengthened all kinds of intelligence in the Middle East to better defeat the terrorists. One of the elements of national technical intelligence of the Armed Forces are special reconnaissance ships of the Russian Navy. One such ship STS-201 "Sea of Azov" started getting ready for combat duty in the Mediterranean Sea. At the end of January 2016 made a reconnaissance control access to the sea.
The Medium Intelligence Ship "Sea of Azov" was built in Poland, Gdansk at CVD im.Bohaterev Vesterplyati" (factory #864 / 4). The ship was laid down 08.04.1986 city, launched on 30.09.1986, entered into operation 12.06.1987 was entered into the Black Sea Fleet. Board number - "STS-201". In 2001, the ship was named the best Russian Navy ships in the class. In 2005 the ship was "excellent" fulfill the task of three long voyage to the Mediterranean Sea, as well as was again declared the best vehicle in its class in the Navy, with the award of the prize rolling Navy. In 2006-2007. the ship's radio equipment was modernized. It is part of the 519th separate division of scout ships of the Black Sea Fleet, based at South Bay (Sevastopol).
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