Russia’s Washed Up Invasion: Mystery Objects Found On Beaches
I have written a number of articles on mystery objects found on beaches (and here is a video about different things), but none were like this.
Amid the debris of war, mysterious round objects have been washing up on Black Sea beaches. Metal spheres, with a series of horns protruding, they have been reported in local media as mines. Indeed their nature seems obvious. But it is not, these are not mines.
This is unconfirmed and usual caveats apply. Hopefully new information will come to light by posting this.
The Mystery Objects
The spherical objects look like a mine. They are quite small, about the size of the spherical warhead on a Soviet PDM-2 anti-invasion mine.
PDM-2 anti-invasion mine
But if you look closely they are quite light and they aren’t heavily corroded. They haven’t been in the sea long. And the ‘horns’ are actually facing downwards from the perspective of a mine. Their ends align in a way which suggests that they are actually fastening points.
Several of these objects, all essentially identical, have been found on different occasions, mostly on the Turkish Black Sea coast..Dates vary from March to July at least, and there are probably more reports than I have seen. With these, when you have seen one, you've seen them all? Examples HERE and HERE.
Kalibr Cruise Missile theory
As unlikely as it might at first appear, the objects are believed to be parts of Russia’s submarine-launched Kalibr cruise missiles.
Russia has been launching large numbers of Kalibr, which explains the increased number of incidents.
The Russian Navy has been bombarding Ukraine with Kalibr cruise missiles. Roughly equivalent to the U.S. Navy’s Tomahawk, most of these are launched from surface ships. But Russia's 4 available Improved-KILO class submarines have also played a role. The spheres are understood to be part of these submarine-launched versions.
To launch a Kalibr from the submarine’s torpedo tubes they are placed in a capsule. This is ejected out of the torpedo tube by an implusor. A rocket then fired from the back of the tube to propel it forward. At the same time it rises to shoot clear of the water. At this point the nose cap of the canister is ejected. The missile’s own launch booster rocket fires and the missile shoots out.
So how does it fit in? It is understood to be in the nose of the canister. It creates buoyancy which brings the capsule to the surface, nose up. This is instead of using fins like some western systems (Harpoon and Exocet come to mind). It may also be involved in ejecting the nose cone of the capsule so that the missile can shoot out.
Missile Part Theory
Update: Since originally posting this article, several good suggestions have come in. Very compelling is the suggestion that it is an air pressure bottle ('Воздушный аккумулятор давления') from a Russian missile. This would be used for the electrical systems and to power the control surfaces. The missile most suggested is the SA-8 GECKO family, although other missiles of that era also have it. These include the AS-7 KERRY and SA-4 GANEF. The air pressure bottle in both these missiles is a close visual match. GECKO:
The GECKO is plausible, although it is unclear how many have been fired over water during the conflict. And why that part specifically would wash up.
I have also found that the AS-4 KITCHEN missile, carried by the Tu-22 BACKFIRE bombers and used in the war, has similar objects. I have not been able to visually confirm the exact detail however. A nearly complete KITCHEN recently washed up on the shore near Berdyansk:
Wreckage of a Russian Kh-32 (AS-4 KITCHEN) missile on a beach in Berdyansk, Sea of Azov.
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Project 09852 Belgorod Special Mission submarine (spy sub). w/Cutaway
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Project 949A/AM OSCAR-II Class Cruise Missile Submarine. w/Cutaway