The Kirov-class battlecruiser is a class of nuclear-powered warship of the Russian Navy, the largest and heaviest surface combatant warships (i.e. not an aircraft carrier or amphibious assault ship) in operation in the world (28,000 tons fully loaded).
Among modern warships, they are second in size only to large aircraft carriers, and of similar size to a World War I era battleship. The official designation of the ship-type is “heavy nuclear-powered guided missile cruiser” (Russian: тяжёлый атомный ракетный крейсер). The ships are often referred to as battlecruisers by western defense commentators due to their size and general appearance.
Originally built for the Soviet Navy, the class is named for the first of a series of four ships to be constructed, Kirov, which was renamed Admiral Ushakov in 1992. Original plans called for the construction of five ships, however the last was cancelled. In Russia this class of ship is usually referred to by the designation Project 1144 Orlan (sea eagle).
Only the Pyotr Veliky is currently operational. Admiral Nakhimov is projected to re-enter the Russian Navy in 2018.
Russia planned to reactivate the remaining two vessels by 2020, but recent reporting suggests that the reactors in Admiral Ushakov and Admiral Lazarev are in a poor condition, and these ships cannot be safely reactivated.
The appearance of the Kirov class played a key role in the recommissioning of the Iowa-class battleships by the United States Navy in the 1980s.
This week, the Pyotr Veliky has been involved in battle-drills in the Arctic Ocean.
The Russian Ministry of Defense released a video of the Granit missile launch:
The SS-N-19 with its booster attached is about the size and weight of a combat loaded MiG-21 and carries a 1,650 high explosive charge or a 500kt thermonuclear warhead.
In the case of the latter, a near miss is still a certain kill, although it’s very unlikely that the Russians still deploy these missiles loaded with nuclear warheads.
The Russian Navy initially planned to return both Admiral Ushakov and Admiral Lazarev to service after several years of disuse. It was later indicated that the condition of the reactor cores of both ships was such that it would prove difficult, expensive and potentially dangerous to remove the spent nuclear fuel and repair the cores.
As a consequence, it is likely that both ships will be scrapped. The modernization of Admiral Ushakov seems unlikely due to an alleged nuclear incident which may have left one of its reactors damaged with scrapping to start in 2016 or later.
Other sources disagree, stating that all four ships will be modernized and returned to service. In 2014 some maintenance work was performed on Admiral Lazarev (the only cruiser located in the Pacific). Skepticism was expressed regarding the ability of Sevmash shipyard to simultaneously modernize two Kirov-class battlecruisers.
Modernization of Admiral Nakhimov is ongoing (to be completed by 2018) with the modernization of Pyotr Velikiy to last from 2018 until 2021.
The Northern Fleet’s surface action group led by the Pyotr Veliky (Peter the Great) heavy nuclear-powered guided-missile cruiser has carried out firing drills with sea and shore targets, the fleet’s press service reported.
“The firing was carried out as part of the exercises for the Northern Fleet all-arms forces in the Barents Sea,” the report says.
According to the plot, the ship artillery helped support seashore defense and repel “enemy” amphibious assault.
After receiving information on the movement of the “enemy” troops, the surface action group led by the Pyotr Veliky and the Admiral Ushakov destroyer advanced to the intended intervention area in order to strike the aggressor’s ship group and forces.
The combat units of the AK-130 naval guns opened verification fire on the sea target position and then on the shore targets, with unmanned aerial vehicles adjusting the fire. All targets were reported to have been hit.
A group of Chinese warships has arrived in Russia’s Far Eastern port of Vladivostok to participate in the second stage of the joint naval drills dubbed Maritime Cooperation-2017, Spokesman for Russia’s Pacific Fleet Captain First Rank Vladimir Matveyev said. According to him, Russian and Chinese crews greeted each other with an international salute.
Upon entering the port of Vladivostok, the group of ships of the Chinese Naval Forces greeted the Russian Navy with an international salute,” Matveyev said. “The Shijiazhuang destroyer, which leads the group, fired a 21-gun salute. In response, mariners of the Pacific Fleet welcomed the Chinese with an artillery salute,” he added.
The second stage of the Russian-Chinese naval drills will take place on September 18-26 at the Russian Pacific Fleet’s base. The coastal stage, scheduled to be held in Vladivostok on September 18-21, will involve Russian and Chinese marines.
The sea stage will take place in the Sea of Japan and the southern part of the Sea of Okhotsk on September 22-26.
The first stage of the joint naval exercises was held in the Baltic Sea in July.
Corvettes of the Baltic Fleet destroyed aerial, naval and coastal targets during the Russian-Belorussian Zapad-2017 military exercise, fleet spokesman Roman Martov said.
“As part of the joint West-2017 strategic exercise in waters of the Baltic Sea, crews of the Soobrazitelny, Stoikiy, Steregushchiy and Boikiy have successfully trained tasks to repel an aerial attack of a simulated enemy and hit naval and coastal targets,” he said.
He said the ships’ crews fired at simulated targets representing a group of warships and a simulated enemy’s coastal artillery.
In addition, the corvettes repelled an aerial attack, simulated by Su-24 attack aircraft and Ka-27 anti-submarine warfare helicopters.
A large-scale exercise, Zapad-2017, began on Thursday at three training grounds in Russia and six in Belarus. It involved 12,700 troops (7,200 Belarussian and 5,500 Russian servicemen taking part), as well as about 70 planes and helicopters, 680 pieces of military hardware, including about 250 tanks, 200 artillery pieces, multiple rocket launchers and mortars. Ten warships are also taking part.
The exercise will continue until September 20. The second stage begins on Sunday.
About 20 ships and support vessels of Russia’s Baltic Fleet went to sea to perform tactical tasks of the Zapad-2017 strategic exercise, head of the Western Military District’s press service on the Baltic Fleet Captain 1st rank Roman Martov said on Saturday.
“Corvettes, small missile and anti-submarine ships, minesweepers and missile boats, and various vessels of the auxiliary fleet have formed a few tactical groupings,” he said. “They are ready to fulfil task as assigned – in anti-submarine and air defense, to carry out test artillery firing on different types of targets, simulating sea and air targets.”
A large-scale exercise Zapad-2017 began in Russia and Belarus on Thursday at three proving grounds in Russia and six in Belarus with 12,700 troops (7,200 Belarussian and 5,500 Russian ones taking part). Also involved in the exercise are about 70 planes and helicopters, 680 ground vehicles, including about 250 tanks, 200 artillery pieces, multiple rocket launchers and mortars and ten ships.
The main purpose of the exercise is to improve the compatibility of command and control centers, test new documentation and let commanders of all levels practice planning and control of operations on the basis of experience gained in the latest military conflicts.
KALININGRAD, August 30. /TASS/. Around 2,000 troops, over 70 warships and support vessels, as well as around 200 pieces of military and special equipment, are involved in a routine combat readiness check of Russia’s Baltic Fleet, the fleet’s spokesman Roman Martov said on Wednesday.
“The check, involving more than 70 warships and support vessels, is aimed at assessing the possibility to put the navy on full alert, as well as the alert forces’ capability to implement their tasks,” Martov said.
Russia’s Baltic fleet was stablished on May 18, 1703. Baltic fleet is the oldest Russian Navy formation. The Imperial Russian Baltic Fleet was created during the Great Northern War at the initiative of Czar Peter the Great, who ordered the first ships for the Baltic Fleet to be constructed in 1702 and 1703.
The fleet is based in Baltiysk and Kronshtadt, with its headquarters in the city of Kaliningrad. The fleet includes two submarines and 56 surface ships. See the best ships of Russia’s Baltic fleet.
The Russian Navy’s final two diesel-electric submarines have reached the Mediterranean Sea en route to their permanent homeport in the Black Sea, Russian defense ministry announced on August 28.
Project 636.3 (NATO reporting name: improved Kilo-class) submarines Kolpino and Veliky Novgorod got underway this month from Saint Petersburg on the Baltic Sea where they were built by Admiralty Shipyards.
On August 16, the submarines were escorted by NATO vessels as they traveled through the North Sea while surfaced.
They are accompanied by Baltic Fleet tug SB-921 on their way to the Black Sea fleet where they will round off the Russian Navy’s goal of operating six improved Kilo-class submarines in the Black Sea.
Prior to entering the Black Sea, the submarines are likely to spend some time in the Mediterranean taking part in Russian operations in Syria, similarly to what their predecessor Krasnodar did a month ago before docking in Sevastopol.
Veliky Novgorod was launched on March 18 and commissioned into service on October 26, 2016. Kolpino was launched in May 2016 and commissioned on November 24, 2016.
Kilo-class submarines are armed with 18 torpedoes and eight surface-to-air missiles. The vessels can accommodate a crew of 52 submariners and can stay at sea for 45 days.
They displace 4,000 tonnes when submerged and 2,000 on the surface and reach speeds of over 17 knots.
MURMANSK, August 28. /TASS/. Russia’s Northern Fleet has received a new Grachonok-class counter sabotage boat, the Fleet’s press service said in a statement. According to the press service, the boat has been handed over to the counter sabotage unit deployed to the main base of the Northern Fleet’s submarine forces in Gadzhiyevo, located in the Murmansk region.
“The flag-raising ceremony on the boat was held on the sidelines of the Army-2017 International Military Forum,” the statement adds.
Now the number of the Grachonok-class counter sabotage boats assigned to the Northern Fleet has grown to three. The first one of them, named “Yunarmeyets Zapolyarya,” participated in the country’s main naval parade in the city of St. Petersburg.
The Grachonok-class counter sabotage boats have been developed by the Vympel Design Bureau and built at the Vympel shipyard in Rybinsk in the Yaroslavl Region, central Russia. They are designed to protect water areas and fight sabotage and terrorist groups in coastal waters. The Project 21980 counter sabotage boats are armed with large-caliber machine guns, depth charges and man-portable air defense missile systems.
The boat’s radio electronic equipment is capable of searching for moving underwater targets, including small ones, such as divers.
After delivering the first modernized Ka-27M multirole helicopter to the Russian Navy in December 2016, Rostec subsidiary Russian Helicopters is ready for serial delivery of the Ka-27m aircraft to the Russian Navy.
After the first modernized unit passed all tests, the Russian defense ministry in late June approved the Ka-27M helicopter for serial production. The modernization of the helicopters will be held at the Kumertau Aviation Production Enterprise.
The helicopter is equipped with a new tactical command system that includes new acoustic and magnetometric systems, a radio reconnaissance system, an information computation system and an active phased array airborne radar station.
This provides the Ka-27M with all-around visibility and the ability to detect all types of ships and submarines; detection and destruction range has grown. Modern methods of transmitting information to land and ship command posts are installed on the helicopter; connection with other helicopters is modernized.
“The modernized Ka-27M will let the Russian Naval Aviation to complete combat missions in close-in maritime zone more efficiently. In 2016, we have shipped a preproduction batch to the Russian Ministry of Defense. The machines were highly assessed by the pilots based on the exploitation results. The modernized Ka-27M helicopters possess much greater combat potential that their predecessors and will be able to fulfil a wide range of tasks for the Navy,” states Vladislav Savelyev, Deputy CEO for sales of the “Russian Helicopters” holding.
Multirole Ka-27 type helicopters of various modifications are currently the basis of the helicopter units of the Russian Naval Aviation. They provide aerial reconnaissance at sea, anti-submarine protection of naval groups, detection, tracing and destruction of submarines and ships, perform search-and-rescue operations for crews of aerial vehicles and ships who are in distress; they also implement transport tasks for ensuring successful activity of naval groups.
The Northern Fleet, the most powerful of Russia’s five fleets, is unfolding a special exercise which includes key parts of fleet capacities.
The drills will be headed directly by Russian Navy Head Commander Vladimir Korolyev and will last «for several days», the Northern Fleet informs.
Included are about 50 ships, submarines and support vessels. Also aircraft, helicopters from the Air Force and Air Defense Force will be deployed, a Naval representative reported to Interfax.
The drills will be held as several of the most powerful Northern Fleet vessels return to their home port of Severomorsk after their participation in the Navy parade outside St.Petersburg. Among them are the battle cruiser Pyotr Veliky and the typhoon-class submarine Dmitry Donskoy.
It is likely that the returning vessels will take part in the exercise.
In the course of the training exercises, anti-submarine and anti-sabotage activities will be conducted along with navigational, hydrographical, anti-mine and search and rescue operations.
According to the Navy representatives, the exercise is held as a preparatory phase to the large-scale joint Russian-Belarus drills Zapad-2017 which are scheduled for the 14thto 20th September.