Russia’s $30 Million Missile Corvettes Have Four Times the Weapons Range of US $2 Billion Destroyers and Cruisers

Yes they're glorified river boats. They still outrange US ships ten times their weight 660 kilometers to 130

Russia is adding warships to its navy faster than the US. The reason for that is simple, while the US is pouring $14 billion into the USS Gerald Ford carrier the Russians are building corvettes. A class of warships between 500 and 1,000 tons.

Not only are they small, they are cheap. The newest class, Karakurt, sets back the Russian budget 2 billion rubles or just over $30 million at the exchange rates.

These sound like puny vessels, except here is the thing: they can hit an enemy surface ship from four times the distance a US destroyer (Arleigh-Burke) or cruiser (Ticonderoga) can.

Four different classes of corvettes are being built. Buyan-M-class of which 15 are planned and 10 are already serving. Steregushchiy-class of which 24 are planned and 6 are serving. Karakurt-class of which 18 are planned and one is already serving. And Gremyashchiy-class of which 4 are planned and 1 is already serving.

Except the Steregushchiy-class all these vessels may fire the Kalibr and the P-800 Onyx anti-ship missiles with the respective range of 660 and 600 kilometers. Steregushchiy carries a lighter Kh-35 missile with the range of “only” 300 kilometers.

Arleigh-Burkes and Ticonderogas fire the Harpoon anti-ship missile with the range of just 130 kilometers. Even if the US had heavier anti-ship missiles ready its primary “surface combatants” could not fire them because their multi-functional weapons cells would be too small to accommodate them. An Arleigh-Burke costs $2 billion, the older Ticonderogas cost $1 billion at the time they were built. Both classes displace around 10,000 tons.

The Arleigh-Burkes do fire the old subsonic Tomahawk flying bomb, but that is for blowing up Afghan weddings, it does not have an anti-ship capability.

Many of Russia’s older corvettes are specialized for anti-submarine warfare, but 25 Tarantul-class, 4 Bora-class, and 3 Buyan-class vessels are likewise capable of firing the P-800 or Kalibr missiles.

Not bad for vessels light enough that they can be switched out between the Baltic, Black and Caspian fleets as need arises by navigating Russia’s network of rivers and canals.

It’s just incredible how derelict the US Navy has been in missing out on the entire naval missile revolution, which to make things worse isn’t even a new thing. The technology, albeit initially in a cruder form, has been around for 50-60 years now.

It’s also strange because when it comes to aerial warfare the US military has been obsessed with long-range missile kills. But if anything it should be far more feasible for a beyond-the-horizon missile to hit a slow-moving ship, than a far faster jet, especially a fighter which can maneuver tightly to evade it.

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  3. […] the Dagger would have something to say about it, says The National Interest. Another publication emphasizes that Russian missile corvettes, that go at a price of 30 million dollars a pop have four times the […]

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    While the US has been glorifying in its self-congratulatory stupor, Russia has been working. Ain’t America grand?

  6. Tyler says

    Lol, the ignorance here is amazing. As a F18 mechanic I’ll simply say your wrong about range. The CAG would never get close enough for that missle to matter. Information beyond that is part of Top Secret Clearance which is something the people in this discussion obviously don’t have.

    Yes the ability to load long range anti ship missiles increases the defensible area around Russia, but by no means does that come at the cost of US naval ships being incapable of removing the ships capable of firing those missiles from outside that bubble.

    Conjecture is great, ignorance to the capability of F18s is just that, ignorance.

    Now if you want to discuss F18 vs the Russian air wings that’s a different story, they have some advantage from a maneuverability aspect (while having a significant disadvantage in radar acquisition and data link capabilities).

    And for those who think theres some mystical problem with F18s linking to eachother or other aircraft of the fleet….again your ignorance shows you have never worked on those systems to understand how they work and why your wrong. If you have the top secret Clearance to actually know about it, you know it’s not something I’m going to go into detail about here.

    1. skinner15 says

      If a US carrier sails beyond 2500km, to assure his safety from Kalibers, then how does an F18 hit those missile launchers?
      An F18 flys below Mach2, how long do you think it takes an F18 to fly 2500km?

      The Kalibers fly as quick, and go Mach3 in the terminal phase.

    2. freewheelinfranklin543 says

      Russian EW is superior. Russian tech is superior. Those carrier battle groups will be on the bottom with thousands of dead US sailors. This ain’t WW2.

      1. Tyler says

        The tech in the battle group isnt ww2 tech. F18s are not ww2 tech. And with a range of thousands of miles no Russian ship would ever be in range of the CAG.

        Outside of being with a CAG and working with the tech for decades there is no way you know what its capable of, it isnt exactly public knowledge, theres a reason why the capabilities of our fleets are protected through top secret clearances, which most of the people here surely dont have.

        But sure, think that Russian tech is superior……Chernobyl was superior too right? Oh wait…..

        1. skinner15 says

          Chernobyl is in Ukraine.

          F18s do not fly faster than Mach2, and would be days late attacking empty corvettes, and would have no carriers to get back to, if they ever managed to evade the S400S reaching out to them.

          1. Tyler says

            The fact you say that shows how little you know. You think Mach sub 2 is the max speed of an F18 at altitude because what, some wiki lists that as the max speed lol.

            I’ve worked on them for most of my life I can assure you their capabilities are far beyond what you think or read online. Its top secret information so wouldn’t expect you to know.

            I will say that their range is far beyond 2500km, especially with Inflight refueling, the fact you dont consider this shows you dont know much.

            1. skinner15 says

              The F18 does not fly 2500km with missiles and bombs in less time than a Russian corvette would be able to fire off its Kalibers to sink his carrier.

              I couldn’t care less about your top secret capabilities, your silly jet cannot stop Kaliber missiles from being fired from 2500km away.

              If your F18 takes off before the missiles sink the carrier, then the Russians will have over an hour to fire off its S400 missiles at your jet. Any tankers trying to re-fuel your F18 will also be shot down.

              Don’t you know that Russia has radars.

  7. Séamus Ó Néill says

    Any intelligence I’ve previously credited the US with , seems to have vanished…they’re still building aircraft carriers ?…future marine wildlife habitats , the death of six or seven thousand sailors apparently irrelevant and expendable. Have they buried their heads completely , do they not believe in Russia’s and China’s highly advanced weaponry ? Am I missing something , is the US deliberately setting itself up for a massive fail…..I can believe in , because of bankruptcy , setting its currency up to collapse and blaming the usual suspects , but aircraft carriers , the F-35 etc etc, profoundly expensive rubbish….why ?

  8. Jesus says

    “””It’s just incredible how derelict the US Navy has been in missing out on the entire naval missile revolution, which to make things worse isn’t even a new thing. The technology, albeit initially in a cruder form, has been around for 50-60 years now.”””

    US navy has neglected the antiship missile capability at the expense of carrier based aviation. With Russian and Chinese antiship missiles out ranging the combat radius of carrier borne aircraft, and considering carrier vulnerability in view of newly developed hypersonic weapons, the US navy is a double looser, producing expensive floating platforms with little offensive capabilities and high vulnerability.

    1. RedRider1600 . says

      Can’t shoot at what you can’t see and don’t know is there. Assuming the radar is 100 foot off the surface, radar can’t see below the horizon and can’t see beyond 25 miles anything that is less than 100 feet in height. Any ship using it’s radar can be seen by E-2 AWACS 30,000 feet in the air, spotting for the US fleet from 400 to 800 miles away using active and or passive radar. F-18’s and F-35’s can also detect ships from long distances.

      Corvettes, being very small have radars maybe only about 40 or 50 feet off the surface of the Earth will have less than 25 mile range, maybe less than 15 miles. I also can’t imagine cheap $30 million corvettes would have large powerful radars. So in a real situation, Corvettes will probably never see an American destroyer or cruiser or carrier beyond 15 miles away. And the cheap Russian corvettes will probably be sunk by F-18’s or F-35’s. The little corvettes have almost no defense against aircraft or cruise missiles. So that means they can easily be sunk by a Harpoon strike coming by air or by sea. They can be sunk by unseen US destroyers just 20 – 75 miles away below the horizon, sharing a data link and targeting info with AWACs or F-18’s or F-35’s.

      A small corvette loaded with fuel and packed with missiles and explosives will not survive a single Harpoon hit.

      1. Marko Marjanović says

        A Russian corvette isn’t meant to venture out to high seas and duke it out with carrier groups in the Pacific. It’s a defensive weapon that will remain close to the coast and inside the Russian anti-access bubble supported by land-based radars, air-defenses, and coastal missile artillery. Its function is simply to extend the range of Russian anti-ship defences beyond what they would be if they would be based off the coast alone.

        Their missiles are autonomous with own guidances. They are directed to the general area of hostile forces, based on data acquired from satellites and airborne assets, after which they switch on their own radars and acquire a target. They do not require the launching platform to ever lock onto the intended target, which as you correctly point out is not possible beyond the horizon.

      2. Peter Five-Oh says

        Redrider1600, wishful thinking there. I think the Russians have figured out how to target objects that are 600km away.

      3. BillA says

        datalink ?
        bunk argument

        1. Marko Marjanović says

          Last time I read something on this F-35s still had trouble datalinking even just between themselves.

          1. BillA says

            for sure, as I understand it
            is such a RF limitation as well ? (already used for missile guidance)

      4. freewheelinfranklin543 says

        Probably maybe, will get thousands of US sailors killed, Mr. Expert!

      5. Canosin says

        what a brilliant expert you could be….. if your crap would make sense…..

      6. Jesus says

        Your analysis is based on limited factors, the weapons these corvettes carry are of the fire and forget technology, target acquisition is not based on the radar of the ship but a myriad of other sources. We saw Kalibr strikes from th Caspian Sea deep into Syria by Buyan type corvettes, they can deliver similar strikes all over the Persian gulf, the F18 and F35 would need the range to reach these boats. These boats posses Pantsir SHORAD defenses, which are effective against cruise missiles and guided munitions, and these corvettes since they are coastal vessels, brown/green water, will be augmented by costal and anti aircraft defenses including aircraft. No way the F18 and F35 can get anywhere near them. Try it in the Baltic or Black Sea.

        1. Canosin says

          very good one….

      7. kpevt12 . says

        so you assume the Corvettes have no recon assistance and are out there by themselves ? I guess you work for the DoC Naval services who never think things through completely. You honestly think Russia is going to send out a group of Corvettes and not support them. You need some naval strategy and logistic training.

        1. Canosin says

          he works for the thiefs of the Palestinian homeland…… seems

          1. kpevt12 . says

            as does most of the District of Columbia

        2. Marko Marjanović says

          I think the assumption is that the Russians built a missile with a 600km range but forgot to include a way to guide it beyond 20km.

          1. Canosin says

            wrongly assumed

      8. Rhetorius says

        HAHAHAHAHAHAHA so you are seriously trying to say the Russian Corvettes are left entirely on their own in a case of war? What a moron….the biggest of its kind, an AMERICAN one.

    2. Marko Marjanović says

      Indeed, the US Navy seems determined to refight its last war, WWII when carriers were supreme. Also more profitable for defense contractors and more stars for the admirals that way. Far sexier to command 7,500 men of a carrier group with 70 aircraft, than to accomplish much of the same at the fraction of the price for taxpayers and with far fewer men with a squadron of missile ships or, God-forbid, submarines.

  9. BillA says

    it is indeed fortunate for the RF that the US MIC is so incompetent and corrupt

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