Either this ship will not be allowed by the Turks through the Straits, or this corvette will also catch up with “Neptune.”
On April 13, 2023, in the city of Baltiysk, in the Kaliningrad enclave, the Russian military held a formal ceremony for the inclusion of the Project 20380 Mercury missile corvette into the Black Sea Fleet. The ceremony was personally attended by the Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy, Admiral Nikolai Yevmenov, but it is not known what the Russians plan to do with this missile ship.
Possible options – either the corvette will actually remain in the Baltic Sea, or the Russians will transfer it to the shores of Syria for service as part of the Mediterranean Group of the Russian Navy.
The Russian corvette “Mercury” of Project 20380 can be attributed rather to a light frigate in terms of its dimensions. The Russians have the capacity to build such large ships either in the same Baltiysk or in St. Petersburg at the Severnaya Verf enterprise. That is why it happened that the corvette for the Black Sea Fleet was built at the “Northern Shipyard” with the expectation that after completion and commissioning, the ship would be able to be driven to the temporarily occupied Crimea.
But now, this option is unrealistic for the occupiers, if only because of the ban on passage through the Bosphorus and Dardanelles, which was introduced by Turkey on February 27, 2022, for both warring countries.
And even if the worst scenario happens, and the racist “Mercury” goes to Crimea, this ship will still be vulnerable to the Armed Forces of Ukraine’s missile weapons, particularly the coastal complexes “Neptune.”
The Russian corvette “Mercury” construction started in 2015; the ship was launched in March 2020. The delivery to the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation was generally planned for the fall of 2021. Still, completion and testing were delayed, so the introduction into service took place almost 2 years later than planned.
The new “Mercury” corvette for the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation does not carry “Calibers”; its main armament is eight Kh-35 anti-ship missiles of the “Uran” complex. But here, it is worth recalling that the Russians used the same X-35s from the Bal coastal installations for strikes on Ukraine.
This ship is also armed with one 100 mm gun and two AK-630 guns, two 4-tube 324 mm torpedo tubes and 12 Redut short-range SAM launchers, and can carry one Ka-27 anti-submarine. The ship’s hull is 104 meters long, with a full displacement of 2,200 tons.