In Japan’s Backyard, Russian Navy Warship ‘Knocks Out’ Anti-Ship Cruise Missile With Air Defense Missile

The Russian Navy tested one of its new corvettes by intercepting an anti-ship missile fired towards it by a friendly warship with its onboard surface-to-air missile (SAM). The drill took place in the Sea of Japan on Wednesday. 

Rezky, the Project 20380-class corvette designed by Russia’s Almaz Central Marine Design Bureau, is optimized for antisubmarine and surface warfare in addition to supporting land operations.

The Russian Ministry of Defense (RuMoD) released a video of the test between an R-20 missile boat and the Rezkiy, where the former fired a Moskit anti-ship cruise missile (ASCM), and the latter claimed to shoot it down with its Redut anti-aircraft missile. 

The Sea of Japan has seen several joint drills between the Russian and Chinese militaries since 2022.

The last maneuvers were held on June 6, comprising Russian Tu-95MS strategic bombers, Su-35S, Su-30SM fighter jets, China’s H-6K strategic bombers, and J-11B jets flying in formation. 

Intercepting Anti-Ship Missile With Air Defense Missiles & Cannons

The RuMoD footage showed three different shots of the R-20 missile boat, acting as the enemy ship, performing a launch of the Moskit ASCM from its forward-slanted canister launchers.

The RuMoD claimed the firing took place from a distance of 90 kilometers. The Rezkiy then opens four of the hatches of its Vertical Launch Silo (VLS) cells and fires two Redut SAMs. 

A Steregushchy-class Corvette in 2018.

The ship’s main gun, identified as the A-190 artillery gun, also turns left and fires at least five rounds, presumably to shoot down the missile. 

“The personnel of Rezkiy radio-technical combat unit detected the launch of the target missile and escorted it, after which the crew of Redut anti-aircraft missile system destroyed the supersonic target at a safe distance for the ship. Simultaneously with the SAM system, a 100-mm A-190 artillery gun fired at the target,” the RuMoD statement said. 

Refining Tactics

The REDUT-K SAM is the naval version of the S-350 Vityaz medium-range Air Defense (AD) system. The publicity video, however, did not show the interception, so it is unclear if the projectile was shot down by the Redut missile or the volley of fire from the A-190. 

Firing a two-missile salvo on incoming aerial threats is a common air defense tactic since it is assumed a single missile might miss the target. The large main gun, too, can double up as a Close-In Weapon System (CIWS) since the rounds released by the stabilized platform travel faster than a missile and stand a chance of hitting it. 

The rounds fired can also be programmed for different effects, such as delayed explosion, explode-on-impact, or air-burst modes, the last of which could be the most useful for hitting or throwing off an ASCM. 

Russian Navy’s Newest Corvette

Interestingly, the RuMoD also released a video of the Rezkiy on June 22, where it fired a Kh-35 Uranus cruise missile at a “naval target in the Sea of Japan as part of a factory Sea trial.”

“The cruise missile successfully hit a designated training target at a distance of more than 30 kilometers,” the RuMoD added. 

Trollstoy, a leading Twitter handle that reports the war from the Russian perspective, while posting the video of the previous June 22 test, said the corvette is “designed for the search and destruction of enemy submarines, surface ships and defense of naval bases.” 

Rezkiy belongs to the Project 20380 Steregushchy class of missile corvettes built by the JSC Severnaya Verd shipyard and the Amur Shipbuilding Plant. Earlier ships of the class had the famous twin-Gatling gun Kashtan close-in weapons system (CIWS) that was replaced with the REDUT-K SAM. 

It said the Pacific Fleet has three corvettes of this project – Perfect, Loud, and Aldar Tsydenzhapov. “In total, the Pacific Ocean will receive six corvettes of this project, then the plant will go on to build the classified project 20385 corvettes,” the handle said.