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Likely No Russian SAMs on Arctic Sea

September 11, 2009

According to the Jamestown Foundation, it would be structurally impossible to place the bulky and complex S-300 missile components on the MV Arctic Sea, as some have speculated:

An operational S-300 antiaircraft complex consists of radars, control stations, missile launchers and service vehicles. The radars and launchers are based on heavy 8 or 10 wheel transporters. The Arctic Sea is not a big ship -4,700-ton water displacement. It could possibly carry an S-300 antiaircraft complex, but it would have occupied the entire deck and hull. The Finnish port authorities state that when the ship came to load with timber, its hull and deck were clear (Interfax, September 8). Some contraband could have been stashed away somewhere on board the Arctic Sea, but concealing an entire S-300 complex is physically impossible. Separate S-300 missiles are also bulky (2.8 tons together with launch container) and without specialized launchers, radars and control centers they are useless.

Another question I have: if it was Israeli’s who are supposed to have hijacked the Arctic Sea, where did they go? None of the 8 so-called pirates now in custody, “Russian-speaking residents of Estonia and Latvia” are Jewish citizens, as far as we know.

H/T to Information Dissemination.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. September 16, 2009 3:59 pm

    From the BBC:

    Arctic Sea investigation ‘over’

    Russia says it has finished looking into the case of a cargo ship allegedly hijacked in the Baltic Sea in July.

    They say they are preparing to hand the MV Arctic Sea to authorities in Malta, where it is registered.

  2. September 15, 2009 3:35 pm

    I wonder if there’s a trail of lumber afloat back towards the Cape Verde islands.

  3. Mike Burleson permalink*
    September 15, 2009 10:12 am

    Perhaps to unload something?

  4. WookieDoo permalink
    September 15, 2009 2:25 am

    Another question: why did Russians send a navy transport ship alongside the Ladny? Admiral Kouts (the EU guy) mentioned the other ship, but then this fact somehow fell through the cracks

  5. William permalink
    September 12, 2009 12:53 pm

    Ferrero Rocher.

  6. September 12, 2009 12:29 pm

    The Russians have a new MANPAD which is supposedly equal to the Stinger in effectiveness. Maybe a few hundred of those or high-performance anti-tank missiles would be worth concealing & smuggling into Iran.

    The simple fact that a Russian warship is providing the tow for the MV Arctic Sea seems like enough of a red flag to indicate that something other than lumber is aboard the ship.

  7. Mike Burleson permalink*
    September 12, 2009 7:54 am

    If not the SAMs then something else? Nuclear components?

  8. September 11, 2009 2:38 pm


    Yeah, that article makes some excellent points. The Russians took over that ship on August 16 or 17. It’s now September 11. Where is the MV Arctic Sea? Earlier this week it was reported to off the northwest coast of Africa, southwest of Gibraltar. So, after basically -four- weeks since it was taken the ship has moved from the Cape Verde Islands to somewhere near Gibraltar.

    Now, of course – this may be due to the tow being provided by the Krivak class frigate Ladny (why does it need to be towed, BTW?). Maybe an ASW frigate is a poor means by which to tow a slightly larger commercial vessel. Then, why wouldn’t the Russians send out a fleet or ocean tug to take over the tow? They sent tugs along with deployed groups of warships over the last year or so. Perhaps the problem that would emerge if a tug was provided would be the continued presence of the Ladny. Presently it’s a warship providing the tow. Provide a tug and then keep the warship alongside the continuing towing operation? Wouldn’t that suggest that there’s something there that requires the close screening of a warship.

    And there is still that question about why three heavy lift aircraft were sent to the Cape Verde islands to transport back eight hijackers and eleven crew members removed from the MV Arctic Sea. Kinda like a bit of overkill, don’t you think?

    So, unless it’s just one shipment of components for the S-300 SAM system (out of possibly multiple smuggled shipments?) – then it would seem likely to be something else equally or even more embarrassing for the Russian government.

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