U.S. State Department spokesman, Sean McCormack, described the current administration’s view on Russia’s maritime exercise with Venezuela as a joke. He said:
“I've once said that the old Russian ships could not make it that far down to Venezuela. And I had seen one report where I think they were actually being accompanied by tugboats.”
What are some of the details about this Russian squadron?
According to news sources, the four ships headed for the Venezuelan coast consist of the nuclear-powered guided missile cruiser, Peter The Great, anti-submarine warship, Admiral Chabanenko and two auxiliary vessels. The flagship, Peter the Great, couldn’t be more formidable, considered one of the world’s most powerful destroyers.
Why is the missile cruiser, Peter The Great, considered so special?
Built by the Baltic shipyard in Saint Petersburg, the construction on the missile cruiser actually began in Soviet-era 1980s. Commissioned in 1995, the missile cruiser was designed to send aircraft carriers to the bottom, defending large surface targets and the rest of the squadron against potential air and submarine attacks.
The ship is unusual in a number of ways. It has a propulsion system that insures unlimited cruising endurance. This system, which is based on a combination of nuclear power and steam turbines, provides a full speed of 31 knots (31 nautical miles per hour or 36 m/ph or 58 km/h). Equipped with Granit anti-ship cruise missiles (20 missile launchers), it is capable of destroying targets as far away as 500 kilometers (more than 300 miles).
If the lead missile is intercepted in ripple-fire mode, one of the other missiles automatically replaces it. Peter the Great is also equipped with the ability to defend itself against a full range of precision weapons, including anti-ship, anti-radar missiles, air bombs, aircraft and small ships. Its missile range can engage up to six targets simultaneously and it has enough arms on board to sink two or three air carriers together with any warships accompanying them!
What does this all mean to the rest of the world?
Time will tell, but one thing is certain. The squadron of Peter the Great is no laughing matter.