Tuesday, 3 July 2012

The Russian Navy´s landing ship Aleksandr Shabalin in Øresund

The Russian Navy´s Ropucha class landing ship Aleksandr Shabalin (hull number 110) passed Helsingborg/Helsingør on its way northwards today at 10.45AM. The ships AIS transmitter was turned off, so it was not possible to find out where it was going. 

The Aleksandr Shabulin is one of the 28 ships of this type commissioned by the Soviet Navy from 1975 to 1991.

Wikipedia has some more information about the Ropucha class of landing ships: 

The Ropucha (toad), or Project 775 class landing ships are classified in the Russian Navy as "large landing craft" (Bol'shoy Desatnyy Korabl). They were built in Poland in the Stocznia Północna shipyards, in Gdansk. They are designed for beach landings and can carry a 450 ton cargo. The ships have both bow and stern doors for loading and unloading vehicles, and the 630 m² of vehicle deck stretches the length of the hull. Up to 25 armored personnel carriers can be embarked.
They were built for the Soviet Navy during the Cold War, but the current Russian Navy has little need for a long-range amphibious capability and most of them are kept in reserve or are retired. However, during the 2008 South Ossetia warships of this type were used for landing troops at the Georgian port of Poti.

Type:Landing Ship Tank
Displacement:2,200 tons standard
4,080 tons full load
Length:112,5 m
Beam:15 m
Draft:3.7 m
Propulsion:2 diesel engines; 2 propellers, 19,200 hp
Speed:18 knots (33 km/h)
Range:6,100 nm at 15 knots (28 km/h)
Capacity:10 main battle tanks and 200 troops or 12 BTR and 340 troops or 3 main battle tanks, 3 2S9 «Nona-S», 5 MT-LB, 4 army trucks and 313 troops or 500 tons of cargo
Armament:2* 2*57 mm AK-725 guns (Ropucha I)
1* 76 mm AK-176 (Ropucha II)
2* 30*122 mm rocket launcher A-215 Grad-M
Strela 2(SA-N-5) surface-to-air missile system(4 launchers)
2* 30 mm 
30AK-6 air defence gun(2 six-barreled gatling mounts

There have recently been news reports about Russian plans to send landing ships to Syria, where Russia has a naval base:

A day passed and another seemingly reliable daily, quoting "two sources in Russia's power ministries," reported that the Navy and "other power departments" were preparing for "a campaign in Syria". 

Plans were being prepared for a possible deployment of troops to help evacuate Russian military personnel and citizens from the naval base in Tartus and from Syria in general. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is quoted as putting the number of Russian citizens and members of families of Russian women married to Syrians at some 100,000. 
However, according to the Russian RIA Novosti news agency, the Aleksandr Shabalin seems to be on its way to Belgium

On July 2 a large landing ship of the Russian Baltic Fleet, “Alexander Shabalin”, laid a course for the Belgian seaport of Bruges (Zeebrugge), aiming to take part in the festivities on the occasion of the Belgian Navy Day.

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