The Russian Navy will send a new task force from the Baltic Fleet to fight piracy off the Horn of Africa as part of international efforts to defeat piracy in the region.

A Russian Navy spokesman said the Neustrashimy frigate-led task force will replace the Admiral Chabanenko destroyer from Russia’s Northern Fleet, according to RIA Novosti.

“Regular patrols near the Horn of Africa and the Gulf of Aden will be continued by Russian warships in 2010,” the spokesman said.

“This is due to continued pirate attacks on peaceful civilian vessels.”

In February 2009 the Neustrashimy completed an anti-piracy mission in the region and the present deployment will be its second tour.

Armaments aboard the frigate include SS-N-25 Switchblade anti-ship missiles, SA-N-9 Gauntlet SAM, a 100mm gun, torpedoes and depth charges and a Ka-27 anti-submarine warfare helicopter.

The current task force in the Gulf of Aden, composed of the Admiral Chabanenko and a support ship, arrived in late November for Russia’s anti-piracy mission.

In October 2008 Russia joined international anti-piracy efforts off the Somali coast and has been maintaining a constant presence off the Horn of Africa, with each fleet dispatching warships on a rotational basis.