:: KIROV CLASS (1977-1989) ::

Pyotr Velikiy battlecruiser (1989) High resolution picture

Kirov class battlecruiser High resolution picture

The first unit of the missile cruisers of the Kirov class entered service in 1980. Three decades later, these warships still are, with the exception of aircraft carriers, the largest warships built since the Second World War and the most powerful ones in existance. Since the 1960s the Soviet naval construction showed a trend towards larger ships with more powerful armament and higher endurance for distant or sustained operations. The apparition of the Kirov class as the last exponent of this trend caused alarm in the western navies and caused the recommisioning in the United States Navy of the four battleships of the Iowa class fitted with a deeply modernized armament.

The Kirov class is considered a descendant of the traditional battlecruiser that crossed the seas during the first half of the century, however being this definition controversial. But these ships are indeed large, very powerfully armed and fast, albeit practically unarmored, and they are capable to operate with full autonomy in any role. The complete set of weapons carried onboard should make these ships able to destroy any kind of threat, be it a large warship or a fast boat, be it an aircraft or an incoming missile, be it a submarine submerged in the ocean or a place located hundreds of kilometers inland. The ships of the Kirov class were made to defend other ships but they are also capable to defend themselves alone better than any other warship.

Large surface-to-surface long-range cruise missiles allow to destroy enemy capital ships or land emplacements hundreds of kilometers away. Air and antimissile defense is entrusted to a large reserve of surface-to-air missiles of multiple types and to the most powerful close-in weapon systems in service. Submarines hiding in the depths would feel far from safe thanks to a range of depth charges and antisubmarine missiles supported by some of the best antisubmarine helicopters in service, while small fast boats could be destroyed by the onboard artillery which includes the close-in weapon systems and is directed by very modern fire control systems.

As to be expected there is a wide range of very shophisticated electronic equipment, crowned by the large three-dimensional air surveillance radar which scans the ether 50 meters above the sea level. Other important equipment includes a sonar installed in the prow, a variable depth sonar in the stern, a secondary surveillance radar in the rear mast, optronic devices, navigational radars, satellite communication antennas and the diverse fire control devices for the multiple missile systems and artillery points.

Finally, the propulsion is entrusted to a set of turbines moved by the energy generated by two nuclear reactors, which would allow these ships to travel several times around the Earth without refueling, but there is also a pair of conventional boilers which allow to operate the ships without the need of atomic energy. As it is easy to figure, the operation and maintenance of ships like these means a considerable burden even for the wealthiest nations, and because of this in 2016 only one of the ships (Pyotr Velikiy) remains in active service, with another one in process of modernization (Admiral Nakhimov), while the two older ships remain in the reserve.

Kirov class: 4 units - Admiral Lazarev (ex Frunze), Admiral Nakhimov (ex Kalinin), Admiral Ushakov (ex Kirov), Pyotr Velikiy (ex Yuriy Andropov)

Type: Missile cruiser/Battlecruiser

Length: 248 meters

Beam: 28 meters

Draught: 8.8 meters

Displacement (standard): 24000 tonnes

Propulsion: 2 x shaft, 2 x steam turbine GT3A-688, 2 x nuclear reactor KN-3 300 megawatt, 2 x boiler, 150000 horsepower

Speed: 33 knots (61.1 kilometers/hour)

Range: 3000 nautical miles (5556 kilometers) at 33 knots with conventional boilers; 150000 nautical miles (277800 kilometers) at 25 knots with nuclear power

Complement: 900

Armament (Kirov): 20 x SS-N-19 surface-to-surface missile launcher, 1 x twin SS-N-14 antisubmarine missile launcher, 2 x twin SA-N-4 surface-to-air missile launcher, 12 x SA-N-6 surface-to-air missile launcher, 2 x AK-100 100-millimeter 60-caliber dual-purpose cannon, 8 x AK-630 close-in weapon system 30-millimeter cannon, 1 x RBU-6000 antisubmarine mortar, 2 x RBU-1000 antisubmarine mortar, 2 x pentuple 533-millimeter torpedo/antisubmarine missile launcher, 3 x Ka-25/27 antisubmarine helicopter

Armament (Frunze): 20 x SS-N-19 SSM launcher, 2 x twin SA-N-4 SAM launcher, 12 x SA-N-6 SAM launcher, 4 x quadruple SA-N-8/SA-N-9 SAM launcher, 1 x AK-130 twin 130-millimeter 70-caliber DP cannon, 4 x AK-630 CIWS 30-millimeter cannon, 1 x RBU-6000 ASW mortar, 2 x RBU-1000 ASW mortar, 2 x pentuple 533-millimeter ASW torpedo launcher, 3 x Ka-25/27 ASW helicopter

Armament (Kalinin/Pyotr Velikiy): 20 x SS-N-19 SSM launcher, 2 x twin SA-N-4 SAM launcher, 12 x SA-N-6/SA-N-20 SAM launcher, 4 x quadruple SA-N-8/SA-N-9 SAM launcher, 1 x AK-130 twin 130-millimeter 70-caliber DP cannon, 4 x AK-630 CIWS 30-millimeter cannon (later CADS-N-1 Kashtan twin 30-millimeter cannon/octuple SA-19 SAM launcher), 1 x RBU-12000 ASW mortar, 2 x RBU-1000 ASW mortar, 2 x pentuple 533-millimeter ASW torpedo launcher, 3 x Ka-25/27 ASW helicopter

Armor: 76 millimeters in reactor compartment

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