The events of the last week of January 2021 made Russians nervous and intensified their propaganda activities. It all began before the arrival of the US Navy Guided Missiles Destroyer (DDG-78) Donald Cook in the Black Sea on January 23, 2021. Observing the Montreux Convention, the US military notified in advance about the passage of the Black Sea straits. Knowing this, the Russians immediately rushed to use the norms of international law so “loved by them” and hastily closed several thousand square kilometers of the Black Sea for ships and aircraft. “ARC” has already told its readers in the article “Virtual Duel of Occupants and the US Army” about the subsequent actions of the Russian Black Sea Fleet patrol ship “Pytlivyi” in the waters off the occupied Crimea, about the use of aviation and the “Bal” coastal missile system by the aggressor State .
Without repeating ourselves, we add that the Russians announced the fixation of the escort of the US Navy destroyer by Turkish fighters while passing the Black Sea straits, as well as its cover by fighters from Romania in the Black Sea. Describing the maneuvers of its own aviation, the edition “Russian Dialogue” reported that the first to rise into the sky were two front-line bombers “Su-24”, directed to the southwestern part of the Black Sea. They covered about 300 kilometers, after which they turned around and headed for the “permanent airfield” Following them, two “Su-30” fighters took off and made a similar route. Later, Su-27 fighters appeared over the Black Sea. According to Russian propaganda, during the exercise, the crews of the fighters worked out the “destruction” of the American destroyer Donald Cook. At the same time, earlier, when foreign warships appeared in the Black Sea, such activity of Russian aviation was not observed .
Our attention was drawn to the clumsy Russian propaganda in describing its view of the US destroyer’s visit. There is no point in repeating the messages of more than thirty different Russian publications that have “authoritatively expressed” on this matter. It should be noted that the online publication “Svobodnaya Pressa” especially “tried”, reporting on the “persecution” that Russian planes perpetrated against the American destroyer “Donald Cook”, with reference to the anonymous channel “Hunter’s Notes”. The propagandists said that the aircrafts of the occupiers “did not wait for the ship to approach the territorial waters” and they “flew to intercept another 300 kilometers”. Having reached the target, the planes allegedly “simulated attack and bombing in pairs, and they flew in low level flight low above the deck itself”. As Russian propaganda notes with satisfaction, “all these dangerous and openly hooligan maneuvers were supposed to serve as a harsh warning to the destroyer, so that he could change the course that lay to the coast of Crimea”.
The publication also recalled the incident in April 2014, “when the same “Donald Cook” intended to approach the shores of the Crimea”. Then the Russian military sent the “Su-24” to meet it, which “was instructed to simulate a missile attack” in order to “force the ship to change course”. True, the newspaper notes, there were allegedly no bombs and missiles on board the plane at that time, but only the “Khibiny” electronic countermeasures system. Allegedly, this complex made the “Su-24” invisible to the electronics of the “Donald Cook”, and “visually, the American sailors observed the bomber, but it was not on the monitors”. “Su-24” allegedly then “simulated 12 attacks” due to which the “Donald Cook” allegedly “urgently changed its course” .
As a result, talking about the “victories” of 2014 and about current events, almost all Russian propagandists assured that “the warning about the missile guidance of the “Bal” complex and aviation maneuvers” “greatly frightened the Americans, forcing them to” retreat “towards Romania and” hastily leave the Black Sea. But shortly after these announcements, the next US guided missile destroyer, “Porter” (DDG-78) of the “Arleigh Burke” class, entered the Black Sea to conduct maritime security operations in the region. This destroyer, among other things, took part in the “Tomahawk” cruise missile attack on the Syrian airbase ‘Al-Shayrat’ on April 7, 2017.
Also to clarify to the reader, “Donald Cook” (DDG-75) and “Porter” (DDG-78) are not really easy targets at all. As guided missile destroyers, they carry powerful armaments including “Tomahawk” precision cruise missiles, “SM-2” anti-aircraft missiles, “Harpoon” anti-ship missiles and “ASROC” anti-submarine missiles. In addition, according to an objective classification, they are also destroyers of antimissile defense.
As the message of the US Navy’s Sixth Fleet stated, “US Navy ships and aircraft regularly operate in the Black Sea to ensure the security of NATO allies and partners”. The statement stressed that the Black Sea is the most important waterway for maritime trade and stability throughout Europe. As the US military explained, “the US Navy regularly visits the Black Sea to work with our allies and NATO partners, including Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Turkey and Ukraine. It is in the interests of the whole world to maintain a stable and prosperous region of the Black Sea and restrain aggressive players seeking destabilization in their own interests” .
As the US Embassy in Ukraine modestly tweeted, in the Black Sea, US Navy destroyers “Donald Cook” and “Porter” conducted a multi-sectoral maritime operation involving “AWACS” aircraft and “P-8A” anti-submarine patrol US aircraft “to further strengthen interaction between NATO members”. “Either these are our ships, or aircraft, we are here in the Black Sea to support Bulgaria, Georgia, Turkey, Ukraine and Romania,” American diplomats said .
According to experts, the same type of destroyers, DDGs “Porter”, “Donald Cook”, “Roosevelt” and “Ross” are permanently deployed in Europe at the NATO military base in Rota (Spain). At the same time, both “Donald Cook” and “Porter” are serious irritants for the Russian Navy, since they carry “Tomahawk” cruise missiles with a flight range of 1600 km, for which a variant with a nuclear warhead is also possible. The destroyers are also equipped with the “Aegis” missile defense system, combined with US ground bases in Poland and Romania, which are part of the European adaptive missile defense system.
Moreover, the weapons of these destroyers will be further modernized, and they will be able to destroy satellites and ballistic missiles in the extra-atmospheric space. Today, their target range is 3500 km at an altitude of 350 km, and soon it will increase to 5500 km, this will pose a serious threat to Russian missiles.
So the propaganda “exhaust” of the Russian Federation clearly failed, and more sober Russian experts noted that destroyers and cruisers with guided missile weapons had become real “workhorses” of the US Navy. It is on them that, by and large, rests on US power and domination at sea. Only destroyers and guided missile cruisers, of which the US Navy currently has about a hundred, can provide massive cruise missile strikes against the enemy coast. Each “Arleigh Berk”-class destroyer of the latest series has 96 launch cells in two “Mk 41” vertical launch units, and of the “Ticonderoga” – class has 122 cells already. In turn, the newest “Zumvolt” – class destroyers are already carrying the “Mk 57” installation with 80 cells. If necessary, all these settings can be filled to capacity with “Tomahawks”, although this is usually not done. Moreover, the ships of the “Zumvolt” type, as it became known recently, also want to arm them with some new hypersonic missiles .
In general, the aggressor has something to think about.