The Russian Navy for the first time test-fired a supersonic anti-ship cruise missile in the Black Sea, the military announced Friday with tensions still high following Russia’s troop buildup near Ukraine.
The Moskva guided missile cruiser launched one turbojet missile toward the “opposite end” of the Black Sea, according to the Defense Ministry-run Zvezda broadcaster’s coverage. A drone spotted the wreckage of a simulated enemy ship 100 seconds later, it added.
“These missiles are the reason why our cruiser is called ‘aircraft carrier-killer’,” a Zvezda correspondent said from the deck during the launch.
“The Black Sea Fleet’s Moskva missile cruiser for the first time in recent history fired the Vulkan missile with the ship’s Bazalt main missile system in the waters of the Black Sea,” the Defense Ministry tweeted.
The P-1000 Vulkan is an improved version of the Soviet-era P-500 Bazalt missile with a reported firing range of 800 kilometers, compared to the Bazalt’s 550 kilometers.
The Zvezda correspondent said the Moskva had previously deployed its missile systems only during long-haul missions.
The Black Sea Fleet test-fired the system in the week that it launched live-fire naval combat exercises with the Moskva, other warships and military helicopters.
The Defense Ministry also said Tuesday that its fleet was monitoring the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Hamilton that entered the Black Sea to work with NATO allies.
Russia alarmed the West and Ukraine in recent weeks with a massive buildup of troops along the Ukrainian border and in annexed Crimea, some of which it abruptly began withdrawing last week.
The Defense Ministry had said that it amassed its military in response to NATO’s perceived threatening behavior, but maintained that its drawdown was not caused by outside pressure.