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Kirov-class battlecruiser
Soviet battlecruiser Kirov
Kirov-class battlecruiser Frunze
Class overview
Builders: Baltic Shipyard, Leningrad
Operators:  Soviet Navy
 Russian Navy
Built: 1974–1998
In service: From 1980
Planned: 5
Completed: 4
Cancelled: 1
Active: 1 (1 undergoing modernization, 2 in reserve)
Retired: 0
General characteristics
Type: Heavy nuclear-powered missile cruiser
Displacement: 24,300 tons standard, 28,000 (full load)
Length: 252 m (827 ft)
Beam: 28.5 m (94 ft)
Draft: 9.1 m (30 ft)
Propulsion: 2-shaft CONAS, 2× KN-3 nuclear propulsion with 2× GT3A-688 steam turbines
140,000 shp[1]
Speed: 32 knots (59 km/h)
Range: 1,000 nautical miles (2,000 km) at 30 knots (56 km/h) (combined propulsion),
unlimited at 20 knots (37 km/h) on nuclear power
Complement: 710
Sensors and
processing systems:

Radars: (NATO reporting name):
Voskhod MR-800 (Top Pair) 3D search radar, foremast
Fregat MR-710 (Top Steer) 3D search radar, main mast
2 × Palm Frond navigation radar, foremast
Sonar: Horse Jaw LF hull sonar

Horse Tail VDS (Variable Depth Sonar)
Electronic warfare
& decoys:
2 x PK-2 Decoy dispensers (400 rockets)

• 20 × P-700 Granit (SS-N-19 Shipwreck) AShM
• 14 × SS-N-14 Silex ASW cruise missiles (Ushakov only)
• 96 S-300F Fort SA-N-6 Grumble surface-to-air missiles (Ushakov, Lazarev, Nakhimov)[citation needed]
• 48 S-300F Fort and 46 S-300FM Fort-M (SA-N-20 Gargoyle) long-range SAM (Pyotr Velikhy)[2]
• 128 9K95 Tor (SA-N-9 Gauntlet) point defense SAM[2]
• 44 OSA-MA (SA-N-4 Gecko) PD SAM
• 1 × twin AK-130 130 mm/L70 dual purpose gun (2 × AK-100 100 mm/L60 DP guns in Ushakov)
• 8 ×AK-630 six-barreled Gatling 30 mm/L60 PD guns (Ushakov, Lazarev)
• 6 × CADS-N-1 Kashtan gun/missile system (Nakhimov, Pyotr Velikiy[2])
Torpedoes and others:
• 1 × 10 RBU-1000 305 mm ASW rocket launchers
• 2 × 6 RBU-12000 (Udav-1) 254 mm ASW rocket launchers

• 10 × 533 mm ASW/ASuW torpedo tubes, Type 53 torpedo or RPK-2 Viyuga (SS-N-15) ASW missile
Armour: 76 mm plating around reactor compartment, light splinter protection
Aircraft carried: 3 helicopters
Aviation facilities: Below-deck hangar

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) currently in active operation in the world. Among modern warships, they are second in size only to large aircraft carriers, and of similar size to a World WarI-era battleship. The official designation of the ship-type is "heavy nuclear-powered guided missile cruiser", but because of their size and general appearance, the ships are sometimes referred to as battlecruisers in western media.[3]

Originally built for the Soviet Navy, the class is named for the first of a series of 4 ships to be constructed, the Kirov, which was renamed Admiral Ushakov in 1992. Original plans called for the construction of 5 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 Velikiy is still operational, but Russia plans to reactivate the remaining three vessels by 2020.[2][4]

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.[5][6][7]

The Kirov hull design also was used for the nuclear-powered SSV-33 command ship Ural.



Admiral Ushakov (ex-Kirov), lead ship of the class.

The Kirov class's main weapons are 20 P-700 Granit (SS-N-19 Shipwreck) missiles mounted in deck, designed to engage large surface targets. Air defense is provided by twelve octuple S-300F launchers with 96 missiles and a pair of Osa-MA batteries with 20 missiles each. Pyotr Velikiy carries some S-300FM missiles and is the only ship in the Russian Navy capable of ballistic missile defence.[2] The ships had some differences in sensor and weapons suites: Kirov came with SS-N-14 ASW missiles, while on subsequent ships these were replaced with 9K331 Tor SAM systems. The Tor installation is in fact mounted further forward of the old SS-N-14 mounting, in the structure directly behind the blast shield for the bow mounted RBU ASW rocket launcher. Kirov and Frunze had eight 30 mm (1.2 in) AK-630 close-in weapon systems, which were supplanted with the Kashtan air-defence system on later ships.

Other weapons are the automatic 130 mm (5.1 in) AK-130 gun system (except in Kirov which had two single 100 mm (3.9 in) guns instead), 10 21-inch (533-mm) torpedo/missile tubes (capable of firing SS-N-15 ASW missiles on later ships) and Udav-1 with 40 anti-submarine rockets and two sextuple RBU-1000 launchers.

Fire control

Aerial starboard view of the foredeck of Kirov.

  4 single 30mm Gatling guns
  2 pop-up (lowered) SA-N-4 SAM launchers
  20 SS-N-19 cruise missile launchers
  12 SA-N-6 SAM launchers
  1 twin SS-N-14 antisubmarine warfare/surface-to-surface missile launcher

Aerial port view of the foredeck of Kalinin illustrating the differences from the lead ship of the class.

  2 Kashtan point defense gun/missile system
  2 SA-N-9 vertical SAM launchers

  • 2 × Top Dome for SA-N-6 fire control (the forward Top Dome is replaced with Tomb Stone in Pyotr Veliky)
  • 4 × Bass Tilt for AK-360 CIWS System fire control (not in Nakhimov or Pyotr Veliky)
  • 2 × Eye Bowl for SA-N-4 fire control (Also for SS-N-14 in Ushakov)
  • 2 × Hot Flash/Hot Spot for SA-N-11 Grisom (CADS-N-1 units only)
  • 1 × Kite Screech for AK-100 or AK-130
  • 2 × Cross Sword for SA-N-9 (Gauntlet-equipped units only)


The lead ship, Kirov (renamed Admiral Ushakov in 1992 after the dissolution of the Soviet Union) was laid down in June 1973 at Leningrad's Baltiysky Naval Shipyard, launched on December 27, 1977 and commissioned on December 30, 1980. When she appeared for the first time in 1981, NATO observers called her BALCOM I (Baltic Combatant I).

Kirov suffered a reactor accident in 1990 while serving in the Mediterranean Sea. Repairs were never carried out, due to lack of funds and the changing political situation in the Soviet Union. In 1983, a command and control ship, the SSV-33 command ship Ural was launched, although the ship would not be officially commissioned until 1989. It utilized the basic hull design of the Kirov-class vessels, but with a modified superstructure, different armament, and was intended for a different role within the Soviet Navy. The Ural was decommissioned and laid up in 2001, due to high operating costs.

Frunze, the second vessel in the class, was commissioned in 1984. She was assigned to the Pacific Fleet. In 1992, she was renamed Admiral Lazarev. The ship became inactive in 1994 and was decommissioned four years later. The ship is currently held in reserve. On 19 September 2009, General Popovkin, Deputy MOD for Armaments, said that the MOD is looking into bringing Lazarev back into service.[8]

Kalinin, now Admiral Nakhimov, was the third ship to enter service, in 1988. She was also assigned to the Northern Fleet. Renamed Admiral Nakhimov, she was mothballed in 1999 and reactivated in 2005. She is in overhaul at Severodvinsk Shipyard.

Construction of the fourth ship, Yuriy Andropov, encountered many delays; her construction was started in 1986 but was not commissioned until 1998. She was renamed Pyotr Veliky (Peter the Great) in 1992.[9] The ship currently serves as the flagship of the Russian Northern Fleet.

On March 23, 2004, English language press reported that the Russian Navy Commander-in-Chief, Fleet Admiral Vladimir Kuroedov said Pyotr Veliky's reactor was in an extremely bad condition and could explode "at any moment". Russian language reporting actually said that the condition of the propulsion plant was such that it could get worse at any moment. This statement was later withdrawn and Russian sensationalist press speculated it may have been the result of internal politics within the Russian Navy, alleging that Admiral Igor Kasatonov was the uncle of Pyotr Veliky's commanding officer, Vladimir Kasatonov), who was testifying in the court hearings on the losses of K-159 and Kursk.[10]

The ship was sent to port for a month, and the crew lost one-third of their pay. Examinations found no problems with the ship's reactor.[citation needed]

A fifth Kirov-class cruiser was planned; originally named Fleet Admiral of the Soviet Union Kuznetsov or alternatively reported as Dzerzhinsky, the ship was never laid down.[9] The name was later changed to Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya (October Revolution),[11] and then just Kuznetsov;[12] finally, on 4 October 1990, the project for a fifth ship was scrapped.[9]


Original Ship Name Renamed Laid down Launched Commissioned Status
Kirov Admiral Ushakov March 26, 1974 December 27, 1977 December 30, 1980 In Autumn 2012, Dmitry Rogozin, vice-premier of Russian Government in charge of defense industry, replied to an inquiry about the fate of the ship. "Cruiser Kirov, now Admiral Ushakov, is returned to the Navy. Modernization project for the ship is in planning stages.[13] It is planned to overhaul and refit all ships of this class. Modernization will begin soon.[14][15]
Frunze Admiral Lazarev July 26, 1978 May 26, 1981 October 31, 1984 Modernization of this ship will start soon. Scheduled to be back in service by 2020.[15]
Kalinin Admiral Nakhimov July 21, 1983 March 4, 1986 December 30, 1988 Undergoing modernization at Sevmash shipyard, Severodvinsk, on the White Sea. Scheduled to be back in service at 2018 and rejoin in the Northern Fleet or Pacific Fleet.[4]
Yuri Andropov Pyotr Velikiy March 11, 1986 April 29, 1989 April 9, 1998 Active.[16] Flagship of the Northern Fleet.
Admiral Flota Sovetskogo Soyuza Kuznetsov or Dzerzhinsky Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya later Kuznetsov Never laid down N/A N/A Cancelled October 4, 1990

The flight deck of Kalinin showing the hangar doors open and a Ka-25 and a Ka-27.

See also


  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 "Russian Warship Tests Missile Defense Capability". RIA Novosti. 20 September 2012. 
  3. Armi da guerra, De Agostini, Novara, 1985.
  4. 4.0 4.1
  5. Middleton, Drew (1981-03-13). "Pentagon likes budget proposal, but questions specifics". The New York Times. p. A14. 
  6. Bishop, p. 80.
  7. Miller and Miller, p. 114.
  8. Agentsvo Natsionalnykh Novostey (Russian) 19 September 2009
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Ударные корабли, Том 11, часть 1, Ю.В. Апалков, Галея Принт, Санкт-Петербург, 2003
  10. "Kuroyedov declares 'Peter the Great' could explode 'at any moment'". Bellona. Retrieved 2011-12-28. 
  11. Ship list.
  12. Project 1144.2 Orlan.
  13. Ответы на письма
  15. 15.0 15.1
  16. "1144 (.2) Kirov class | Russian Military Analysis". Retrieved 2011-12-28. 
  • Bishop, Chris (1988). The Encyclopedia of World Sea Power. New York: Crescent Books. ISBN 0-517-65342-7. OCLC 18199237. 
  • Miller, David; Chris Miller (1986). Modern Naval Combat. London: Salamander Books. ISBN 0-86101-231-3. OCLC 17397400. 

External links

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