The methods used by NATO in so-called “hybrid warfare” require unconventional answers.
The most recent incident on June 23, 2021 involved the British Navy destroyer “Defender”. The warship deepened 1.5 miles into Russian territorial waters near the Russian Sevastopol naval base.
Russia responded promptly. Two boats of the FSB border guard and about 20 warplanes were sent to intercept the intruder. The Russian Black Sea Fleet corvette Pavel Derzhavin was in the immediate vicinity. One of the border patrol boats fired warning shots and a Su-24M bomber dropped four OFAB-250 high-explosive bombs along the course of HMS “Defender”, the use of which is still denied by the British Navy.
There have been several similar cases in the Sea of Okhotsk and the Baltic Sea recently. NATO warships making such provocations make full use of their reconnaissance equipment. They are accompanied by radio-electronic surveillance planes and other vessels. The main goal is to make the Russians disclose the characteristics of their radar and other facilities, coastal defense missile systems, air defense systems, command posts, warships and aircraft.
Unlike its “partners,” Russia does not engage in such provocations. It is guided by international law. But NATO is gaining unilateral advantages, which can only be considered as preparations for a sudden attack. Who can guarantee that someone will not be tempted to strike?
For some reason, many Western politicians regard russian restraint as a weakness, which is far from being true. Moscow, possessing the world’s largest nuclear arsenal, understands its responsibility for keeping the peace. It seeks to respond to provocation without starting a war. Iran or North Korea are probably in a better position, because the United States certainly will not use nuclear weapons against them if these countries detain intruders in their territorial waters.
But Russia cannot continually tolerate such systematic provocations because they threaten its security. The Russians are facing a full-fledged problem: How to stop and expel NATO sea robbers without using military hardware and not to unleash a military conflict?
We can assume that some solutions have already been found.
The problem of complete immobilization of the provocateur ship can be easily solved if fishing nets or something similar are “accidentally” wound around its propellers. Such devices can be placed in advance on a sea floor in special mobile containers on the most threatened directions.
On command from shore, they float up and head for the offending vessel. Made of nonmagnetic materials, they are virtually undetectable.
Having received such an unexpected “gift” on its propellers, the offending vessel turns into a helpless raft, dangling in Russian territorial waters. The Russians laugh as they watch it wander, deciding whether or not to rescue it.
Being small in weight and size, such devices can be dropped on the way of a marine intruder from planes or patrol boats to achieve a similar effect. Application of several such systems will allow to create a real circle around a floating provocateur in the area of an incident.
It is fantastic, you might say? But modern materials allow to create such floating barriers of long length. At the same time they will have an enormous strength. This is no more fantastic than the creation of a submarine, a missile or an airplane in its time and much cheaper. The benefits are clear.
Of course, there are still other ways to bring the intruder into complete panic. For example, mass ejection of floating mines simulators along its course. You can simply drop rubber balls with mine signatures, which will lead the command post of the offending ship into a state of mental paralysis and force it to freeze until the circumstances are clarified.
To complete the picture this “field” can be diluted with a few imitators of submarine periscopes equipped with signal emission generators that do not allow distinguishing them from real submarines of the “Varshavyanka” type. I’m afraid that in that case there would be a line for the ship’s latrines.
Finally, Russia has a large fleet of Il-76MD transport aircraft and Be-200 amphibian aircraft used for firefighting, and it can use them to stop a ship that intrudes and turn it away.
These aircraft are effectively used all over the world to fight fires.
The IL-76MD takes 42 tons of water or special fire-extinguishing fluid on board. The Be-200 carries 12 tons. It can refuel with water directly at water reservoirs. On one refueling this machine can transfer up to 720 tons of liquid. Time of full refueling of these machines with water or other liquid is just over 10 seconds.
It would be enough to charge the tanks of these giants with napalm-like liquid instead of water or a fire-extinguishing liquid, drop it two or three miles ahead of the intruder, and remotely set it on fire. The desired effect is guaranteed.
Using these planes, the Russians can make fun of brave British or American sailors. For example, filling the tanks of the planes to use ordinary water and special additives, which, when added to the liquid on discharge, will emit an inexpressibly nasty skunk smell.
Huge quantities of such smelly liquid dropped from the wind would force the entire crew to hide in ship rooms and wear gas masks.
Russia will be able to respond to naval provocations asymmetrically.
And these ways can in no way be considered an attack on an offending warship.
Robert M. Furukawa, Captain, USNR Civil Engineer Corps (Ret.)