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Kara class

Large anti-submarine warfare destroyer

Kara class destroyer

The Kara class large ASW destroyer carries a heavy and versatile weapons mix

Country of origin Soviet Union
Entered service 1973
Crew 525 men
Sea endurance ?
Dimensions and displacement
Length 173 m
Beam 18.6 m
Draught 6.7 m
Displacement, standard 8 200 tons
Displacement, full load 9 700 tons
Propulsion and speed
Speed 34 knots
Range 14 500 km
Propulsion COGAG gas turbine arrangement delivering 120 000 shp to two shafts
Helicopters 1 x Ka-27 Helix
Artillery 2 x twin 76 mm DP guns, 4 x 30 mm AK-630 six-barrel CIWS
Missiles 2 x quadruple Rastrub (SS-N-14 Silex) ASW launchers with eight missiles, 2 x twin Shtorm (SA-N-3 Goblet) SAM launchers with 72 missiles, 2 x twin Osa-M (SA-N-4 Gecko) SAM launchers with 40 missiles
Other 2 x 12-barrel RBU 6000 ASW rocket launchers, 2 x RBU 1000 ASW rocket launchers


   Built at the 61 Kommuna, Nikolayev North Shipyard between 1971 and 1977, the seven units of the Nikolayev class (known as the Kara class by NATO) were intended to boost the Soviet fleet's blue-water anti-submarine capability. Cruiser-sized ships, they were rated as BPKs (Bolshoy Protivolodochnyy Korabl, or large anti-submarine ship) by the Soviets, and were considered as destroyers by function.

   The Kara is an enlarged gas turbine-powered refinement of the steam-powered Kresta II design, with improved anti-aircraft and anti-submarine capability. The class was commissioned between 1973 and 1980 for service primarily in the Black Sea, as well as in the Mediterranean and the Pacific. Extensive command and control facilities meant that the Karas often acted as hunter-killer task group leaders.

   A single gas-turbine exhaust funnel dominated the large superstructure. On the ship's stern was a helicopter landing pad with a hangar partially recessed below the flight deck. To stow the ASW helicopter the hanger roof hatch and doors had to be opened; the helicopter was pushed in and then lowered to the deck via an elevator.

   The ship's Shtorm (SA-N-3 Goblet) and Rastrub (SS-N-14 Silex) ASW missiles have secondary anti-ship capabilities, the former having a 25-kiloton nuclear warhead available in place of the normal 150-kg HE type. At the height of the Cold War it is believed that all Soviet ships with dual-capable weapon systems had at least 25 per cent of their missiles equipped with nuclear warheads while at sea.

   Nikolayev was transferred to the Ukraine after the fall of the USSR, and was scrapped in India in 1994. Petropavlovsk, Tashkent and Vladivostok were sold for scrap between 1994 - 1996. Ochakov went into reserve in the Pacific in the late 1990s. Kerch went into refit in the late 1990s, and is the only member of the class still nominally in commission, serving as flagship of the Black Sea Fleet.

   Azov was the trials ship for the new generation SA-N-6 vertical-launch SAM and its associated 'Top Dome' fire control radar. She remained in the Black Sea after one Shtorm and 'Headlight' fire control radar combination had been replaced by the new systems.



Kara class destroyer

Kara class destroyer

Kara class destroyer

Kara class destroyer


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