As I am sure all my readers are very aware;
According to Radio Free Europe, there has been a surprise attack by Russia against targets in Syria, using sea-launched cruise missiles.This was only a matter of time, and we should realize that they just started down a path we first travelled in our first combat use of land attack cruise missiles; 1991.
The Russian Minister of Defence, Sergei Shoigu, described the incident while speaking in Moscow on October the 7th during a televised meeting with President Vladimir Putin. He said that four boats of the Caspian Flotilla, launched 26 cruise missiles against targets in western Syria, that the missiles all hit their targets and that the mission was successful.
This the first time Russia has launched cruise missiles from a warship platform against land targets in combat.
According to the available information, the frigate Dagestan, the corvettes Grad Sviyazhsk, Uglich and Veliki Ustyug are equipped with 2 × 4 UKSK Vertical Launch System cells for eight 3M-14T “Kalibr” missiles (NATO: SS-N-30A).
From yesterday - this should look familiar.
The SS-N-30A is, in many ways, a superior weapon - and more flexible weapon - than our TLAM. This should not be shocking. We have been complacently living off the hard work of the 1970s for awhile.
This action by the Russians is significant, but in this way. We were hesitant in using our TLAM, but when we finally did, we became rather fond of it.
The Russians have broken the seal on its use, and I think they will like it. Why not? For the last quarter century the USN has set a global norm on the use of this one-way armed drone. We have no room at all to argue against it use. None.
Expect more use from Russia of this weapon. They will get an inventory of hundreds to thousands. Western Europe, when it is through converting their churches in to mosques, will have to ponder this capability.
This move was also expected in some circles. Just this August;
Russia is inching closer to the deployment of a new missile that can target all of Europe with nuclear or conventional warheads, according to defense officials.Bill Gertz was on it too;
The new missile, the SS(sic)N-30A, with Russian President Vladimir Putin behind the wheel, has allowed Moscow to reemerge as an existential security threat, Defense Secretary Ash Carter warned Thursday.
The new naval missile, nicknamed the "Kalibr" missile, can be fired with both nuclear and conventional warheads and can put most of Europe in it's cross-hairs when fired from a naval ship in the Black Sea, Pentagon officials stated, noting that the long range version of the missile can reach targets between 620 and 923 miles
The new supersonic missile is capable of being used to strike targets both at sea and on land.That's right Shipmate; roughly six weeks.
“This system is about ready to be deployed,” said one official who voiced concerns for U.S. interests and those of allies in Europe. “It allows the Russians to cover most of Europe from the Black Sea on naval vessels.
Mark Schneider, a former Pentagon nuclear strategy expert, said the Kalibr is a capable, supersonic, very accurate nuclear and conventional missile.
The missile is expected to see “a very widespread deployment” on both submarines and surface ships, including the new type 885 Yasen class submarine, older submarines and cruisers, and newer models of destroyers.
From a professional point of view, we should give a nice clap to our Russian Navy counterparts on their first operational use of their Kalibr family of impressive cruise missiles in such a short turnaround.
Huge PR, PSYOPS, INFO OPS act - and a great demonstration of the utility of projecting power at sea.
They learned from us well.
Firing over the Caspian Sea was genius. Out of left field - with a flight path over Iran, Iraq, and Kurdistan before doing the good work in Syria killing Islamic radicals. Strong horse.
Via Sam - let's see what the Kurdish Peshmerga saw ... watch the whole thing.
Russian missiles pass in sky of #Kurdistan heading to Syria for the bombing of the headquarters of Syrian opposition pic.twitter.com/SA6SPZB20E— Peshmerga (@KURDISTAN_ARMY) October 7, 2015
Let's look at that Caspian Sea Flotilla;
The Russian Caspian Sea Flotilla has two new Gepard-class frigates, Tatarstan and Dagestan, six Buyan-class corvettes (Project 21631), Astrakhan, Volgodonsk, Mahachkala, Grad Sviyazhsk, Uglich, Veliki Ustyug, three Buyan M-class corvettes, Grad Sviyazhsk, Uglich, Veliky Ustyug and one Tarantul-class corvette, the MAK-160.I would refer you to the post here earlier this week. Specifically Dmirty Gorenburg's point;
As for the conventional naval force, the Russian Navy has decided (quite rationally) to focus on rebuilding its coastal defense mission first and foremost. It is building a fair number of highly capable smaller ships in the current rearmament program (i.e. through 2020) that will allow it to fully carry out this mission.Let's look at those ships. Ton by ton ... that is an impressive amount of tactical, operational, and strategic effects:
So rather than facing imminent collapse, the Russian Navy is going to continue to grow, but primarily with smaller ships coming in the short term, and larger ships entering the fleet no earlier than eight to ten years from now. What’s more, the new small ships will be well-armed, carrying the latest Oniks anti-ship missiles and Kalibr multi-purpose missiles, both of which can both be fired through universal vertical launch systems.
Gepard Class frigate:
Length: 335.1 ft
Displacement: 1,930 tons full load.
Range: 4,000NM @ 10kts
8 × Kh-35 Anti-Ship missiles (two quadruple launchers) or 8 × Kaliber NK ASM (Dagestan)
1 × Osa-M surface-to-air missile system (one twin launcher, 20 SA-N-4 Gecko missiles)
1 × 76.2 mm 59-caliber AK–176 automatic dual-purpose gun (500-round magazine)
2 × 6-barreled 30 mm AK-630 point-defense guns (2,000-round magazine for each)
4 × 533 mm torpedo tubes (two twin launchers)
1 × RBU-6000 12-barreled Anti-Submarine rocket launcher
This class, mostly aimed at the export market, was originally laid down in the early 90s, though finally completed much later. A few for Russia, and the balance to Vietnam.
Look at her condition ... and at the 00:30 mark ... I have that clock.
This video is a bit more "fun."
Yes, I know - 55% the displacement of an LCS and ... she can do all that.
Buyan M-class corvette:
A more modern ship first laid down a decade after the Gepard class.
Length: 246 ft
Displacement: 949 tons full load.
Range: 2,300NM @ 12kts
Weapons: 1 × 100 mm A-190 
2 × 30 mm AK-630 (AK-630-M2 in 21631)
1 × 40 retractable A-215 "Grad-M" (only 21630)
2 × 4 UKSK VLS cells for 3M-54 Klub (SS-N-27) (only 21631)
1 × 4 3M-47 Gibka (Igla-1M) (2 × 4 in 21631)
1 × DP-65 anti-saboteur grenade launcher
2 × 14.5 mm
3 × 7.62 mm (only 21631)
If you are keeping score, that is 27% the displacement of the LCS-1 Class.
So, there you go. Well played Russia. Well played. A little "how do you like those apples" moment via the Russian Navy, again from the Caspian Sea Flotilla, if you will pardon the pun - a relative backwater that was last on most people's radar when it had this;