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Project 18290 "Buer"

The new project 18290 "Buer" (Russian for iceboat) is of great interest because of its purpose. Its task is to create a new ship of the measuring complex - a ship with a set of special equipment designed to solve special problems. Such ships carry a set of radar stations and other electronic equipment, which allows them to track various objects. The main objective of such ships is tracking ballistic missiles in areas inaccessible to ground-based means of control, as well as monitoring the descent of spacecraft.

In Russia, new tools will be developed to control the testing by foreign countries of strategic weapons and missile defense systems. The equipment will have to be based on a carrier vessel capable of operating in the Arctic zone. A set of national technical means of monitoring the testing of elements of missile defense systems and strategic weapons of foreign countries will be designed to monitor missile defense systems during missile launches, when launching ballistic target missiles, the formation of a complex ballistic target by a target missile, and to evaluate the use of elements of missile defense systems.

The Iceberg Central Design Bureau launched the development of the Project 18290 instrumentation system vessel in 2015, according to the latest annual report by the company, published on the Corporate Information Disclosure Center‘s website. "The work on the detail design of the Project 18290 instrumentation system vessel began in October 2015," Iceberg’s annual report said. It adds that the contract for the development had been awarded in September 2014: "Twenty-two performance specifications were worked out, 22 contracts were placed in support of the detail design, and 347 documents were drawn up" at the advanced vessel’s detail design stage.

The feasibility study and economic feasibility study of the project, as well as the draft technical specifications should be ready by the end of November 2014. The customer is the Ministry of Defense represented by Rosoboronpostavki.

November 27, 2015, the Iceberg Central Design Bureau posted information on a meeting of the board of directors with the agenda: “Conclusion of an agreement between OJSC Iceberg Central Design Bureau and the Krylov State Scientific Center FSUE on the implementation of the R&D component on the subject of “Participation in the development of a draft design, carried out as part of the Buer R&D project, regarding the development of technical proposals for the creation of an electric propulsion system (EDMS) for driving propellers of the KIK project 18290.”

Previously, information about the development of a promising ship measuring complex was not published. For this reason, despite the lack of detailed information, the new project attracted the attention of specialists and the general public.

At that time, the Russian Navy only had one tracking ship — the Marshal Krylov vessel, built in 1990, which was undergoing renovations in Russia’s eastern city of Vladivostok. Missile range instrumentation ships, also known as the tracking ships, carry equipment to support the launching and tracking of missiles and rockets.

The development code is assigned the code “Buer”, and the new project is assigned the number 18290. Such a name may indicate that the new class will mainly sail in the Arctic region. In addition to Iceberg, the Krylov State Research Center is taking part in the development program. In particular, it has participated in devising "technical solutions as part of the development of an electric propulsion system to drive the propellers of the Project 18290 instrumentation system vessel."

Speaking to the independent online newspaper Svobodnaya Pressa, military analysts Konstantin Sivkov and Alexander Shirokorad commented on the new ship, its likely design, equipment and purpose in the age of advanced satellite tracking. Sivkov, the president of the Moscow-based Academy of Geopolitical Problems, began by recalling that during the Soviet period, tracking ships were widely used by both the Strategic Rocket Forces and the Soviet Navy to monitor test launches of both Soviet and foreign Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) and Submarine Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBMs), and to observe spacecraft and satellites.

"Typically, such ships patrolled areas near the trajectory of rockets or space objects. It’s not possible to place sufficiently powerful antennae on board satellites to allow for precise measurements of the rockets’ characteristics, whereas tracking ships were equipped with such powerful antennas.”

In addition, the complex will be able to control launches of ICBMs, including those launched from submarines, space launch vehicles, promising strategic weapons of foreign countries, including hypersonic aircraft, planning warheads, and cruise missiles of various types, including US-developed weapons as part of the concept of “quick global strike”. In addition, the system will be able to provide tests of domestic missile weapons. As a carrier of the equipment, a new vessel of the measuring complex with an unlimited navigation area and the possibility of operation in the Arctic seas will be developed. The vessel will have an architecture for a residential superstructure. Management will be provided by two full-rotary throttle and bow thruster. In the aft will be located a helipad and hangar.

Given the recent [2015-2018] deep modernization of the Project 1914 Marshal Krylov, the only remaining vessel of this type, the surrender to the Navy of the first Project 18290 Buer might not be expeced prior to the late 2020. Information had leaked about specialized project ships of project 18290 ("Buer"). Now there is silence. Manpower and funds were enough to modernize Marshal Krylov.

Length m 140 meters / 455 feet
Displacement, t 14,000
Crew: 30 sailors of the Russian Navy
105 people of special staff
Autonomy on stocks of provisions, days 120
Range, nautical miles not less than 10,000


Project 18290 Buer



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Page last modified: 02-12-2019 17:59:27 ZULU