Russia dispatched a three-vessel squadron to join its anti-piracy efforts off the coast of Somalia earlier this month. In an email interview, Thomas Fedyszyn, a professor of national security affairs at the U.S. Naval War College, discussed Russia’s anti-piracy operations.
WPR: What is the current size and scope of Russia’s anti-piracy efforts in the Horn of Africa?
Thomas Fedyszyn: The Russian Federation Navy (RFN) has conducted anti-piracy operations off the Horn of Africa since 2008. The minimal force is composed of one ocean-going surface combatant with helicopters, an oiler (tanker) and a seagoing tug. Each of Russia’s four fleets has contributed ships to this effort, with deployments on station averaging about four months. An especially large contingent from the Black Sea Fleet will arrive on station shortly, composed of cruiser Moskva, amphibious ship Saratov and tanker Bubnov. They will be joined by destroyer Smetliviy, amphibious ship Novocherkassk and tug MB 304. An anti-piracy flotilla has just gotten underway from Vladivostok, comprised of destroyer Marshall Shaposhnikov, tanker Irkut and rescue tug Alatau. After conducting exercises with a number of navies en route, this group will become Russia’s eighth naval patrol squadron to be employed in anti-piracy operations.