:: SOVIET/RUSSIAN AIRCRAFT CARRIERS (III) ::

Moskva class

The ships of the Moskva class were the first carriers operated by the Soviet Navy, albeit these were designed to operate exclusively with helicopters. They were actually antisubmarine cruisers whose helicopter wing should mark the difference between a good and an extraordinary antisubmarine ship. However only two of these ships were built, reportedly due to their poor handling in rough waters. The Moskva was commissioned in December 1967 and her twin Leningrad in June 1969.

Moskva class helicopter carrier
The up to eighteen helicopters Kamov Ka-25 carried were the backbone of the antisubmarine weapon. Other antisubmarine weapons included two RBU-6000 antisubmarine rocket launchers, two quintuple 553-millimeter torpedo launchers (firing through two openings in the hull sides amidships) and a twin launcher SUW-N-1 for the antisubmarine missile FRAS-1, nuclear weapon that was installed only in these two ships and the first three of the Kiev class. Sonar equipment included a hull-mounted unit and a variable-depth unit operated from the characteristic fully open stern.

The armament for self-defense included two twin launchers for the surface-to-air missile SA-N-3 "Goblet" (weapon installed for the first time in the Moskva) and two AK-257 57-millimeter twin cannon mountings. The tall and characteristic superstructure was crowned by the large antenna of the three-dimensional surveillance radar "Topsail", while at a lower level there were two fire-control radars watching upon the very missile launchers they directed.

Moskva class helicopter carrier
The flight deck, with an area of about 2400 square meters, had two elevators, while a third one was hidden in a small hangar inside the superstructure.

Moskva class helicopter carrier

Moskva class helicopter carrier

Moskva class helicopter carrier
The ships of the Moskva class had an overall length of 196.6 meters, a beam of 35 meters and a draft of 7.6 meters. Their standard displacement was around 15000 tonnes, reaching 17500 tonnes at full load. The propulsion plant comprised four high-pressure boilers and two steam turbines actuating in two shafts, for a total output of 100000 shaft horsepower and a maximum speed of 31 knots. The operational range was around 9000 nautical miles (16668 kilometers) at 18 knots and about half of that if navigating at 29 knots. Finally, the complement was around 850 people.

Moskva class helicopter carrier
The Moskva and the Leningrad served in the Black Sea Fleet and were decommissioned in 1996 and 1991 respectively, being scrapped in 1997 and 1995, also respectively. These ships never received an important upgrade during their service life. A third ship of the class, which however was intended to be a surface warfare vessel, had been cancelled in 1969. The name of the ship was Kiev.

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