In recent weeks, the naval aviation of the Russian Black Sea Fleet has taken on an important role in the operations of the fleet, which is trying to cope with parallel threats on the southern flank of the war in Ukraine.
This was reported by the UK Ministry of Defense on Twitter (X).
As noted in the report, naval aviation pays special attention to maritime air patrol operations, highly likely with a primary mission of the early identification of uncrewed surface vessels.
According to British intelligence, a key Russian asset in these operations is the Be-12 MAIL amphibious aircraft, designed in the 1950s, flying out of bases in occupied Crimea.
In addition, Su-24 warplanes have been conducting strike operations at sea, including at least one recent air strike on the strategically important Zmiinyi (Snake) Island.
"With more Fleet activities likely relocating to Novorossiysk in the face of threats to Sevastopol, Russia is attempting to use naval air power to project force over the north-western Black Sea," the British Ministry of Defense said.
As a reminder, the Russian Black Sea Fleet has suffered a series of major attacks in recent weeks. According to British intelligence, the physical damage to the Black Sea Fleet is serious but localized. The fleet is still able to carry out its main military tasks of launching cruise missile strikes and patrolling.
Author – Anastasiya Glotova, 02/10/2023