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Kirov class

Large guided-missile cruiser

Kirov class

The Kirov class cruisers were intended to destroy US Navy carrier battle groups

 
 
Country of origin Soviet Union
Entered service 1980
Crew 727 men
Sea endurance Limited only by supplies
Dimensions and displacement
Length 252 m
Beam 28.5 m
Draught 10 m
Displacement, standard 24 300 tons
Displacement, full load 26 500 tons
Propulsion and speed
Speed 30 knots
Range unlimited
Propulsion 2 x KN-3 pressurized water reactors and two steam boilers providing 140 000 shp to two shafts
Aircraft
Helicopters 3 - 5 Ka-27 Helix
Armament
Artillery 2 x 130-mm DP guns, 6 x Kashtan combined 30-mm AK-630/SA-N-11 Grison gun/missile CIWS
Missiles 20 x Granit (SS-N-19 Shipwreck) surface-to-surface missiles, one Rastrub (SS-N-14 Silex) twin ASW launcher with 16 missiles, 10 x Vodopad (SS-N-16 Stallion) torpedo-carrying missiles, 12 x eight-round rotary launchers for Fort (SA-N-6 Grumble) surface-to-air missiles, 2 x Kinshal (SA-N-9 Gauntlet) octuple launchers with 128 missiles, 2 x twin Osa-M (SA-N-4 Gecko) with 40 air-to-air missiles
Torpedoes 2 x quintuple 533-mm torpedo tubes, firing torpedoes or Viyuga (SS-N-15 Starfish) ASW missiles
Other 1 x 12-barrel RBU 6000 ASW rocket launcher, 2 x six-barrel RBU 1000 ASW rocket launchers

 

   In December 1977 the Baltic Shipyard in Leningrad launched the largest warship other than aircraft carriers built by any nation since World War II. Commissioned into Soviet fleet service in 1980s Kirov was assigned the Raketnyy Kreyser, or missile cruiser designation by the Soviets and a CGN designation by the Americans. Planned initially to find and engage enemy missile submarines, it became a much more capable warship when it was equipped with the long-range P-700 Granit anti-ship missile. In appearance and firepower Kirov is more like a battlecruiser than a normal missile cruiser.

   Its powerplant is unique in being a combined nuclear and steam system. Two reactors are coupled to oil-fired boilers that superheat the steam produced in the reactor plant to increase the power output available during high-speed running.

   Most of the weapons systems are located forward of the massive superstructure. The stern is used to house machinery and a below-deck helicopter hangar, which accesses the flight deck via a lift. Up to five Ka-27 Helix helicopters can be accommodated in the hangar, though a normal complement is three.

   The helicopters are a mix of ASW and missile-guidance/ELINT variants. The latter provide target data for the main battery of 20 Granit (SS-N-19 Shipwreck) Mach-2.5 anti-ship cruise missiles, located below decks forward in 45 angled launch tubes.

   Other weapons and systems vary from ship to ship. Area air defense is provided by vertical launch Fort (SA-N-6) missiles, housed in 12 eight-round rotary launchers forward of the SS-N-19 bins. Close-in air defense is handled by a mix of Osa-M (SA-N-4 Gecko) missiles 30-mm CIWS mountings and 130-mm DP guns. The main ASW armament is a reloadable twin Rastrub (SS-N-14 Silex) ASW missile-launcher with associated variable-depth low-frequency sonar aft and a low-frequency bow sonar. Later ships carry 10 Vodopad (SS-N-16 'Stallion') torpedo-carrying missiles. The Kirov class battlecruisers have the world's largest missile battery, at 352 missiles.

   The sheer size of the ships mean that they have plenty of space for a command, control and communications (C) outfit, and could serve as effective fleet flagships. One of their intended missions was to act as a task group command escort to the aircraft carriers being planned by the Soviet navy.

   Five vessels were laid down between 1974 and 1989, but only four were completed. The first ships were named after heroes of the Bolshevik revolution, but with the end of the Communist state all have been renamed. Admiral Ushakov (ex-Kirov) was inactive since the early 1990s following a reactor accident, and has been cannibalized to provide parts. Admiral Lazarev (ex-Frunze) has been out of service for a decade, and is destined to be scrapped. The Admiral Nakhimov (ex-Kalinin) was refitted in 1994, but did not go to sea from 1997. Since 2004 it is completely refitted and is expected to return to active service in 2018. Petr Veliky was launched in 1989, but was not completed until 1998. Lack of funds also meant that the fifth ship, the Kuznetsov, was cancelled in 1990 and scrapped before launch, the name being assigned to an aircraft carrier.

   Currently only the Petr Veliky is in active service. Another ship, the Admiral Nakhimov, is undergoing repairs and refit since 1999. It should join the fleet in 2018-2019. Two other ships are inactive and laid up. It is unlikely that their modernization will occur due to funding problems and poor state of these ships. It looks like the Russian Navy struggles to maintain the two remaining ships.

 

Name Laid down Launched Commissioned Status
Admiral Ushakov (ex-Kirov) 1974 1977 1980

laid up

Admiral Lazarev (ex-Frunze) 1978 1981 1984

laid up

Admiral Nakhimov (ex-Kalinin) 1983 1986 1988

undergoing repairs since 1999

Petr Veliky (ex-Yuri Andropov) 1986 1996 1998

active, in service

Kuznetsov (ex-Dzerzhinsky) - ? -

planned, but never completed

 

 

Video of the Kirov class battlecruiser

 

 

 

 

 
Kirov class

Kirov class

Kirov class

Kirov class

Kirov class


 
Kirov class

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