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Rarely seen Russian intelligence-gathering vessel Tchusovoy spotted in Baltic

Opening in stern for large towed array on Russian Navy Project 1454 Mod Sorum-class research/intelligence-gathering ship Tchusovoy GS 31, seen here on a rare voyage to the Baltic on 13 May 2024. (Michael Nitz)

On 13 May the sole member of the Mod Sorum-class ( Tchusovoy ) transited the Great Belt and entered the central Baltic Sea on its way to Kronstadt, Russia. This ship is on a very rare visit to the Baltic as Tchusovoy spends most of its time in the cold waters of the Barents Sea and Norwegian Sea. Why it has made the trip to Kronstadt is unclear, but it is most likely so that the ship can receive new equipment or take part in a trials programme with Russian submarines.

Tchusovoy is a very heavily modified Sorum-class tug and was built in Yaroslavl, Russia, entering service in 1987. While officially classed as a research ship, it is in fact an intelligence-gathering platform and specialises in collecting acoustic signatures of Western submarines. This is primarily achieved via the large towed array, which occupies the aft half of the superstructure and which is deployed and recovered via the large opening in the stern.

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