Russian missile cruiser visits Canada

A Russian Pacific Fleet’s task force led by the missile cruiser Varyag has arrived at the Canadian port of Vancouver on a friendly visit, the fleet’s spokesman said on Wednesday.

The task force, which also includes the Irkut tanker and a salvage tugboat, set sail for a tour-of-duty in the Pacific on September 20.

It has since visited the port of Maizuru in Japan and the U.S. Mariana Islands, and took part in the Pacific Eagle-2011 exercise with the U.S. Navy.

“The Royal Canadian Navy and Vancouver authorities have prepared an extensive cultural program for the Russian sailors…On November 9-10, residents of Vancouver will be able to tour the Varyag cruiser,” Capt. 1st Rank Roman Martov said.

The task force will leave Vancouver on November 11 and is expected to return to home base in Vladivostok in the beginning of December.

Varyag, the flagship of the Russian pacific Fleet, is a Slava class missile cruiser designed as a surface strike ship with some anti-air and ASW capability. The sixteen SS-N-12 Sandbox nuclear-capable supersonic anti-ship missiles are mounted in four pairs on either side of the superstructure, giving the ship a distinctive appearance.

NATO experts have dubbed Russian combat ships of this class “the killer of aircraft carriers,” as they can launch 1,000 kg of high-explosives or a tactical nuclear warhead to a range of 300 miles.


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