Ukraine Destroys Russian Alligator-class Landing Ship Tank Orsk with OTR-21 Tochka Missile
Ukraine Destroys Russian Alligator-class Landing Ship Tank Orsk with OTR-21 Tochka Missile

Ukraine Destroys Russian Alligator-class Landing Ship Tank Orsk with OTR-21 Tochka Missile

Ukraine has destroyed a 70ft Russian Alligator-class landing ship tank Orsk with OTR-21 Tochka Tactical Ballistic Missilejust days after state media filmed it unloading reinforcements at a captured port of Berdyansk, in the south of Ukraine. Multiple photos and videos showed thick black smoke rising from the port as one ship sat at the harbour in flames, while another two sailed away – one of which also appeared to be damaged. The strike caused a significant explosion onboard the ship. After the explosion, the other landing ships in the port (Ropucha-II class landing ships Tsesar Kunikov and Novocherkassk), quickly left the port.

OTR-21 Tochka is a Soviet tactical ballistic missile. Its GRAU designation is 9K79; its NATO reporting name is SS-21 Scarab. It is transported in a 9P129 vehicle and raised prior to launch. It uses an inertial guidance system. The OTR-21 forward deployment to East Germany began in 1981, replacing the earlier Luna-M series of unguided artillery rockets. OTR-21 is a mobile missile launch system, designed to be deployed along with other land combat units on the battlefield. A third variant, Scarab C, range increased to 185 km (115 mi), and CEP decreased to less than 70 m (229 ft). Scarab C weighs 1,800 kg (4,000 lb).

One landing ship tank was shown consumed by fire as two other landing ship tanks fled at least one of which also appeared to be on fire though was able to escape the port

The missile itself can be used for precise strikes on enemy tactical targets, such as control posts, bridges, storage facilities, troop concentrations and airfields. The fragmentation warhead can be replaced with a nuclear, biological or chemical warhead. The solid propellant makes the missile easy to maintain and deploy. OTR-21 units are usually managed in a brigade structure. There are 18 launchers in a brigade; each launcher is provided with 2 or 3 missiles. The vehicle is completely amphibious, with a maximum road speed of 60 km/h (37 mph) and 8 km/h (5.0 mph) in water. It is NBC-protected. The system has been in development since 1968. Three variants were developed.

Project 1171 (Tapir-class) landing ship tank (NATO reporting name: Alligator) is a class of Soviet / Russian general purpose, beachable amphibious transport docks. Labelled Large Landing Ship, its displacement was 4,360-tons full load and could transport 313 troops and 20 tanks. Additional vehicles could be stored on the upper deck. A total of 14 vessels were completed between 1964 and 1975; all were retired between 1992 and 1995. As of September 2008, two vessels, currently named Orsk and Saratov, were in active service with the 197th Brigade of Landing Ships in the Russian Black Sea Fleet.