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A new threat to Ukraine: Why's Cyclone missile ship dangerous?

A new threat to Ukraine: Why's Cyclone missile ship dangerous? Russians claim the Cyclone small missile ship is ready for combat missions (Photo by

The occupation authorities in Crimea have reported the raising of the flag on the small missile ship "Cyclone" in Kerch. According to their statements, it will be added to the Russian Black Sea Fleet and is supposedly ready to carry out combat missions.

Ukrainian military expert and Defense Express analyst Volodymyr Zablotskyi shared more details about this vessel and its possible threats.

The "Cyclone" is a serial small missile ship of the "Karakurt" type. Its main armament consists of eight launchers for "Kalibr" cruise missiles. It carries the same weaponry as other small missile ships that could be deployed for strikes on Ukrainian territory, particularly from the Azov Sea waters.
This is already the second vessel of this type in the Russian Black Sea Fleet. It differs from the previous "Buyan"-class ships in its anti-aircraft capabilities, having its air defense systems. It also has an artillery installation, but these are all for self-defense purposes.

Given that it is a platform for "Kalibr" missiles, we are closely monitoring all information and considering it in our assessments. If it goes on patrol, we will see it. However, it does not pose any significant threat. The point is that theoretically, its participation could increase the number of "Kalibr" missiles in a single salvo by the ship formation of the Black Sea Fleet to eight units.

Shipbuilding in Crimea has faced significant challenges since its annexation in 2014. The shipbuilding corporation "Ak Bars" in Zelenodolsk, Tatarstan, and the Pella plant in St. Petersburg took over the shipyards in Kerch and Feodosia. These entities became the leading developers and builders of the "Karakurt" project.

Three ships of this type were initially under construction at the "More" shipyard in Feodosia but remained unfinished. After the completion of the hulls, they were transported via inland waterways to St. Petersburg, where they remain to this day due to a lack of funding.
Another three ships, under the responsibility of "Ak Bars," were being built at the "Zaliv" shipyard in Kerch. All the naval equipment and fittings were imported from Russia. Moreover, two helicopter carriers were laid down in the presence of Vladimir Putin. These shipyards face labor shortages and funding issues but are trying to continue their operations. However, these ships will unlikely be completed as Ukraine will not allow that.

The "Cyclone" is a small vessel with unique characteristics, as it is made of aluminum-magnesium alloys. Before the occupation, we equipped shipyards in Crimea. For instance, two air-cushion-type "Zubr" ships were sent from Feodosia to China. The Russians tried establishing production and taking over the industry, but the Chinese side refrained from breaking the contract with Ukraine.

Construction of the small missile ships began in 2019-2020. There are doubts about the readiness of the "Cyclone" for combat missions, even considering that it is a serial production and all the documentation was transferred from Russia. For example, not all armament has been installed on the "Karakurt" type ship built in St. Petersburg, which operates in the Baltic Fleet. Another vessel is currently undergoing testing.

The fact that the occupiers raised the military-naval flag on the "Cyclone" does not signify much. I have not heard anything about its trials, and we have no information that it has already been deployed at sea. Currently, it has little importance. It is not yet ready if it does not join the naval grouping in the Black Sea shortly. But if it does join, we know what it is capable of - plus 8 "Kalibr" missiles, and that's it.