According to reports, an advanced Kilo-class Russian submarine equipped with Kalibr cruise missiles has entered the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea near the coast of Syria.
The reports, coming from a source in the Russian Ministry of Defence cited by Interfax, are as yet unconfirmed by the Russian MoD.
In mid-November, there were reports of the same submarine striking targets in the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa.
These were neither confirmed nor denied by the MoD. Russian warships in the Caspian Sea hit Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) targets in Syria with modern Kalibr cruise missiles in early October.
They also fired 18 cruise missiles in late November.
Known as ‘Improved Kilo’ under a NATO code name, the Rostov-on-Don (B-237) is the first trade-off model of the third generation submarines of the Varshavyanka class (Project 636) subs. The diesel-electric stealth sub is believed to be the quietest in the world. It also possesses an extended combat range and its relatively small size helps it maneuver in shallow waters.
The sub is armed with 533mm torpedoes and reportedly Kalibr-PL (submarine modification) water-to-surface cruise missiles. The sub weighs 4,000 tons, reaches underwater speeds of 20 knots (37kmp/h) and can dive to a depth of 300 meters. It has a 52-man crew and can spend 45 days at sea before needing to go to port. NATO has called this type of submarine a “black hole” for its ability to remain undetected.