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Project 1123 Kondor / Moskva class

The cruiser of Project 1123 can be attributed to the subclass of cruiser helicopter carriers. They were essentially new ships of the domestic fleet in all respects - in terms of design, composition of missile and radio-electronic weapons, tactics of use. They were intended for the search and destruction of high-speed nuclear submarines-rocket carriers in the far zones of anti-submarine defense as part of a group of ships in cooperation with the aircraft of the PLO (during the cruises on board the cruiser there was one squadron of 78 SPLVPs). The ships possessed powerful radar and hydroacoustic detection means, modern missile systems, the most advanced electronic warfare in the world and a high level of automation. According to the search performance of the cruiser pr.1123 several times higher than the BOD pr.61.

Soviet seamen had alway dreamed about aircraft-carrying ships. In the first 30 years, the political management of the Soviet Union, which did not want to hear about ships of this type, interfered with the realization of this dream. However, the Great Patriotic War confirmed the leading role of aviation in the solution of basic problems at sea. Half of the large ships sunk were destroyed by aircraft.

Therefore in 1953 studies on the light aircraft carrier were renewed, and in 1955 was born preliminary design "263" - aircraft carrier to carry 40 aircraft. Soviet ship building in those years experienced a steep increase, and it seemed that the building of the ships of this class at hand. But again the political management killed, with the unprecedented reduction of armed forces, including the fleet. Cuts included the Sverdlovsk-class cruiser "Admiral Kornilov", which had been launched and was ready for delivery. A question about the air cover of ships and escorts even on the coast (to say nothing of supremacy in air) was quieted, large ships ceased to be built, and the aircraft-carrying connections were for a long time criticized as "the instrument of aggression and robbery".

Deployment of the American Polaris strategic missile system acted as a catalyst accelerating development of aircraft carrying ships in the USSR. The approach to the tasks of the Soviet Naval fleet completely changed with the advent in the NATO alliance countries with atomic underwater missile fleet: special support was made to the strategic and attack submarines - rocket bearers, and the Soviet above-water fleet was oriented predominantly to the antisubmarine direction. At the same time the decks of ships began to acquire helicopters. To enable the country's Navy to adequately counter the new threat a concept of the first Soviet helicopter carrying antisubmarine cruiser received governmental support in late 1958.

The competitive project of "CNII VK" [not clear who this was - this acronym does not seem to be currently in use, though it could correspond to Central Scientific Research Institute for Military Construction], was the so-called Antisubmarine Defence Ship of Distant Area. Dozens of versions of the planned ship were considered during the design process. As a result, the 4,500-t displacement initially planned in the design and engineering requirements increased to 14,600 t at the construction stage.

At the beginning of the 1960's within the framework of the creation of oceanic fleet the design of the "antisubmarine defense of distant zone ship" with group basing of helicopters began. There were no such ships then in the fleet. The Nevskoye Planning and Design Bureau SKB-17 in St. Petersburg was directed to implement the aforementioned concept into the Project 1123 ship. Work was supervised by Chief Designer A.S. Savichev, and in 1967 A. Marinich succeeded him. For the association of designers under A.S. Savichev's management it was necessary to perfect from zero forms of housing with the wedge-shaped nose, the wide stern, which resembles fox wedge, to solve the problems of the arrangement of powerful hydroacoustic complex, aerodynamic problems, to place takeoff and landing strip and hangars.

The first ship of this project (construction number S -701) was laid down on December 15, 1962 [some sources report "at the beginning of 1963,"] in Nikolayev at the southern shipbuilding plant (now Black Sea). In two years it was launched ["gone down to the water"] and in May 1967 by the name "Moscow" it entered the system of Black Sea fleet. By the main builder of ships of this type was assigned I.I. Vinnik, overseen by officers V.F. Fedin and I.S. Platonov. Within two years (1967-1969) the Navy received two Project 1123 antisubmarine cruisers named Moskva and Leningrad. The two Moskva class ships were introduced in 1967 and were homeported in the Black Sea. They deployed to the Mediterranean, the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean.



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