Pacific Fleet Task Unit Heads for Mariana Islands, USA


Pacific Fleet (PF) task unit headed by Guard missile cruiser Varyag has finished courtesy visit to Japanese port Maizuru and laid a course for Mariana Islands (USA), reported RIA Novosti on Oct 1 referring to PF Commander’s press secretary Capt 1 rank Roman Martov.

After large-scale exercise off Kamchatka, the task unit consisting of the fleet’s flagship cruiser Varyag, tanker Irkut, and sea-going tug MB-66 on Sept 20 started a long-range cruise in order to visit Japan, the US, and Canada. The cruise is held under command of Capt 1 rank Sergei Zhuga. In Sept 25-30 the task unit paid a courtesy visit to Japanese port Maizuru (Honshu Island).

Russian and Japanese mariners held a bilateral naval exercise and rendered assistance to a ship “in distress” at high sea. Along with PF task unit, four ships of Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force headed by destroyer Akebono took part in the exercise. According to the scenario, a fire occurred on board a cargo ship in the Sea of Japan. Servicemen of the two countries had effectively conducted crew-rescue operation by means of deck-based helicopters, and extinguished the “fire”.

“Upon termination of the visit, the task unit left Maizuru and set a course for Mariana Islands. Russian military delegation paid a visit to Maizuru City Council and laid wreath at memorial to Japanese mariners died on duty”, said the interviewee.

According to him, Russian servicemen had an eventful cultural program in Maizuru. Sailors of the two countries played friendly soccer and volleyball games. Festive banquettes with participation of Maizuru authorities were arranged on board destroyer Akebono and then on cruiser Varyag. That was the second call of Russian ships at Maizuru. In 2006 the port was visited by PF task unit headed by large ASW ship Admiral Panteleyev, recalled Martov.

Calling at Mariana Islands, PF task unit will hold the Pacific Eagle joint anti-terror exercise along with American counterparts. Four years ago PF large ASW ship Marshall Shaposhnikov visited the islands and attended the anti-piracy maneuvers“, Martov said.

According to him, at the final stage of the cruise Russian servicemen will pay informal visit to Canadian port Vancouver. The task unit is expected to return at PF main naval base Vladivostok early in Dec 2011.

Present-day missile cruiser Varyag is a successor of the same-named legendary ship which crew won glory in the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905) during sea battle at Chemulpo. Missile cruiser Varyag is armed with powerful multipurpose missile attack system capable to hit sea- and land surface targets at considerable distances.

Also, the ship is armed with ASW rocket launchers, torpedo tubes, and various gun mounts. NATO dubbed Russian ships of this type as “flattop killers”.

Source: rusnavy, October 04, 2011