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Project 20381 Steregushchy Corvette - Design

The new ship received the name "Steregushchy" [Steregushchiy] or "Guarding". The name "Steregushchy" commemorates the heroic exploit of two sailors from the torpedo boat "Steregushchy" during the Russian-Japanese War. Surrounded by the enemy navy, the sailors preffered death to captivity: they went down to the hold and scuttled the ship.

It seems that the Project 2038.0 nomenclature was applied to the design competition, while the term Project 20381 references the winner of that competition. This class should not be confused with the Project 3151.1 Steregushchy Borderguard Corvette design concept unveiled in 1999. Although with a gross tonnage of 2,000 tons this ship meets the classification criteria for that class of vessel, it far exceeds it in terms of firepower. Eight anti-ship missiles, a deck-based helicopter, a wide array of sonar and anti-submarine equipment, a 100mm gun, and an impressive complement of close-range air-defense systems all led experts to consider it more of a frigate, the next stage up in naval classification. There are good grounds for elevating the Soobrazitelny and its successors to that status. Instead of the Kortik air defense gun and missile system these ships will carry an integrated weapons complex with eight loading bays, each of which can hold 1-4 missiles depending on their type.

The new warships are also equipped with the Sigma combat information and control system, which simultaneously tracks and engages targets on land, on water, under water, and in the air. Much like the U.S. Aegis system, this allows a coordinated defense including clear communications, shared target information and real time control over the combat force's firepower.

The new corvette of 2000 tons displacement and 100 meters long boasts high speed and autonomous navigation. Its firing power makes it possible to strike at surface and underwater targets, coastal facilities and targets in the air. Along with standard equipment the corvette will carry cruise missiles and KA-27 multi-purpose shipborne helicopter. Five such vessels will join the Russian Navy by 2010. The new "stealth" corvette was designed by the "Almaz" naval design bureau. The bureau is the author of several thousand warships, including the "Zubr" hovercraft landing cutter.

The corvette reveals new concepts of the hull's design. A distinctive feature is the use of "Stealth" technology, which makes the corvette invisible for radars, acoustics, infra-red equipment and control of infra-red radiation. The basic set of invisibility paraphernalia, such as, the smooth, corner-free hull, a special type of paint and carbonaceous coating, is an original Russian design, which is classified at the moment. Corvettes of this type will also be built for coastal guard units.

The multi-purpose patrol ship is called the "ship of the 21st century". Experts believe that with the appearance of state-of-the-art weapons, compact and more effective, there is a growing demand for this kind of small "stealth" ships. According to the military, the new corvette will become a significant event in ship-building across the world. The creation of the ship gave a powerful push to the revival of Russian industry in the field of the development of high technologies. 21 patents are introduced in the project and 14 certificates about registration of programmes for EC were given out. In building of the lead ship of corvette series for navy of RF took part more than 70 Russian research, planning and industrial enterprises, including Avrora, Altair, Kolomensky plant, Sredne-Nevsky shipbuilding plant, Tulamash plant,CRI name Krylov, CRI TC and others.

The corvette reveals new concepts of the hull's design. A distinctive feature is the use of the stealth technology, which makes the corvette less detectable by radars, acoustics, infra-red equipment and control of infra-red radiation. The basic set of invisibility paraphernalia, such as the smooth, corner-free hull, and a special type of paint and carbonaceous coating, is an original Russian design, which is classified at the moment. Almaz says it used various design techniques to "seriously decrease" the ship's radar cross-section. The superstructure, for example, is made of composite materials with surfaces angled more than 7 deg. from the vertical; antennas are located within integrated masts, and the steel hull has a special shape that reduces bow waves and wake while increasing surface speed. Earlier Russian ships, including the Kirov-class nuclear-powered cruiser, were designed with canted surfaces to reduce radar cross-section, but did not use such features as integrated masts.

The new corvette of 2000 tons displacement and 100 meters long boasts high speed and autonomous navigation. Despite its use of stealth technology, the main objective of the program, according to Almaz, was to design a ship that can carry a large number of weapons on a relatively small hull. Its firing power makes it possible to strike at surface and underwater targets, coastal facilities and targets in the air. Along with standard equipment the corvette will carry cruise missiles and KA-27 multi-purpose shipborne helicopter. The project 2038.0 has a low upper hull super structure without a protrusion to the rear. It has a large enclosed radome on top of the bridge and a low main mast with a large rectangular radar dish on top of it.

Steregushchy is envisaged to replace Nanuchkas, Grishas and Parchims. The Project 20380 is oversized -- it grew from 1500 tons to 2000 tons in the design process, and replaces ships with a displacement of less than 1,000 tons. For a ship of this size, it has inadequate offensive capacity, but for a warship intended for closed theatres it has superfluous anti-submarine components. Project 2038.0 was designed as a less complex and economically efficient alternative to the Project 1244.1 Novik class ship, and is actually closer to the small European frigate of the 1980s. In line with the aim of cutting costs, the Project 20380 is equipped with a diesel power plant, has a moderate running speed and is armed with older, familiar systems like the Uran anti-ship missiles (SS-N-25). Unfortunately, as a result, the Project 20380 had limited air-defense capability. Officials have said subsequent ships in the series will be equipped with new anti-ship and anti-aircraft missile systems, including universal vertical launching systems.



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