Kirov class battlecruiser

Kirov class battlecruiser

The "Kirov" class battlecruisers are the largest and most powerful surface combatant warships in the Russian Navy and among the largest in the world. Originally built for the Soviet Navy, in Russia they are usually known by the designation "Project 1144 Orlan" (meaning Sea eagle).

They are among the largest warships in the world, second only to aircraft carriers, and are similar in size to a World War I battleship. Because of this, the ships are sometimes known as battlecruisers in the West. It is more appropriate to consider "Kirov" an oversized guided missile cruiser, analogous to the U.S. Navy "Alaska"-class large cruiser, which had the displacement and armament of a battlecruiser but otherwise was closer to a heavy cruiser in mission and construction. Soviet and Russian naval analysts always referred to it as a "large missile cruiser." The appearance of the "Kirov" class played a large role in the recommissioning of the "Iowa" class battleships.

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


This class is equipped with missiles and guns as well as electronics. Its largest radar antenna is mounted on its foremast, and called "Top Pair" by NATO. The "Kirov" class's main weapons are 20 × P-700 Granit (SS-N-19) Shipwreck missiles mounted on deck, designed to engage large surface targets, and air defense is provided by 12 × 8 S-300F launchers with 96 missiles and 2 × 20 Osa-MA with 40 missiles. The ships had some differences in sensor and weapons suites; the lead ship "Kirov" came with SS-N-14 ASW missiles; on subsequent ships these were replaced with 4 × 9K331 Tor SAM systems. "Kirov" and "Frunze" had eight 30 mm AK-630 close-in weapon systems, which were supplanted with the Kashtan (CADS-N-1) air-defence missile/gun system on later ships.

Other weapons are the automatic 130 mm AK-130 gun system (except on "Kirov" which had two single 100 mm guns instead), 10 × torpedo/missile tubes (capable of firing SS-N-15 missiles on later ships), Udav-1 with 40 anti-submarine rockets and the 2 × RBU-1000 six-tube launchers.


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 26, 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. She may have been cannibalized as a spare parts cache for the other ships in her class.

"Frunze", the second vessel in the class, was completed in 1984. She was assigned to the Pacific Fleet. In 1991, she was renamed "Admiral Lazarev". The ship became inactive in 1994 and was decommissioned four years later.

"Kalinin" was the third ship to enter service, in 1988. She was also assigned to the Northern Fleet. Renamed to "Admiral Nakhimov", the ship was mothballed in 1999 and reactivated in 2005.

Construction of the fourth ship, "Yuri Andropov" encountered many delays; her construction was started in 1986 but was not completed until 1996, when she was christened "Pyotr Velikiy" (Peter the Great). The ship currently serves as the flagship of the Russian Northern Fleet.

On March 23, 2004, the Russian Northern Fleet Chief Commander, Admiral Vladimir Kuroedov said that "Pyotr Velikiy"'s reactor was in an extremely bad condition and could explode "at any moment". This statement was later withdrawn and may have been the result of internal politics within the Russian Navy, as Admiral Igor Kasatonov (the uncle of "Pyotr Velikiy" commander Vladimir Kasatanov) was testifying in the court hearings on the loss of the K-159 and the "Kursk" disaster.

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.

The fifth ship, to be known as "Dzerzhinsky", also ran into delays. Her name was changed to "Oktybrskaya Revolutsiya" (October Revolution), [ [ Ship list] .] and then "Kuznetsov", [ [ Project 1144.2 Orlan] .] and later scrapped while incomplete.

Fire control

* 2 × Top Dome for SA-N-6 fire control (the forward Top Dome is replaced with Tomb Stone in "Pyotr Velikiy")
* 4 × Bass Tilt for AK-360 CIWS System fire control (not in "Nakhimov" or "Pyotr Velikiy")
* 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)



External links

* [ page on "Kirov" class]
* [ "Kirov" class photos from Mark Meredith]
* [ article in Russian from Encyclopedia of ships]
* [ article in Russian from the Military Reform Support Fund]
* [ article in Russian discussing the ships' armament]
* [ article in English from FAS]

See also

* "Kirov" class cruiser for World War II-era ships

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