Oniks missile was launched the Chukotka Peninsula, Russian TASS news agency reported. It’s 350 km trajectory included 200 km over land, which is an achievement for this type of missiles, military experts said.
In the statement Russian Defense Ministry announced that “for the first time in history, the crew of a Bastion coastal defense system of the Pacific Fleet launched an Oniks cruise missile from the territory of the Chukotka Autonomous Region.”
According to the ministry’s data, the missile struck a target vessel at a distance of over 200 km in the Sea.
The Oniks missile was fired in accordance with the combat training plan. About 10 warships and support vessels of the Pacific Fleet and naval aviation provided for the safe missile launch.
The P-800 Oniks supersonic missile has a maximum range of about 500 km. Therefore, Bastion coastal defense systems deployed on the Chukotka Peninsula are capable of striking targets along the entire eastern part of the Northern Sea Route, from the De Long to the Bering Straits.
“The ship dropped anchor or both anchors while disabled and drifting towards shore. Situation was very critical and absolutely unpredictable. If the crew failed to restart engines and stop drift, the ship could be pushed onto rocks, with hull breaches, water ingress and very high probability of sinking. Severe storm and high sea wouldn’t allow the use of lifeboats for evacuation. So rescuers were in very dire straits indeed, whether to launch highly dangerous airlift by helicopters, or wait and pray for lucky escape. I strongly believe, that the decision to launch evacuation by helicopters was justified, right, and responsible.” Maritime Bulletin comments.
At present the air-sea rescue continues, while 400 passengers have been already transported by helicopters to land.
The vessel has since restarted three of its four engines and is moving towards the nearest port with the assistance of tugboats.
Rescuers are working to airlift all 1,300 people stranded on a cruise ship off the west coast of Norway.
The Viking Sky lost power on March 23 and sent out a distress signal after it began drifting towards land.