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Project 956 Sarych
Sovremenny class
Guided Missile Destroyer

The Sovremenny Class is a Russian class of destroyers designed to engage hostile ships by means of missile attack, and to provide warships and transport ships with protection against ship and air attack. Intended primarily for anti-ship operations, it was designed to compliment anti-submarine warfare (ASW) Udaloy destroyers. The ships have anti-ship, anti-aircraft, anti-submarine and coastal bombardment capability. The Soviet designation for the class was Project 956 Sarych (Buzzard).

The destroyers of Project 956 are third-generation Soviet destroyers, the construction of which lasted from 1976 to 1992. Ships of this project were the last destroyers built in the USSR. The code of the project 956 - "Sarych", in NATO they were called Sovremenny class destroyer - by the name of the first ship of this series, the destroyer "Modern". Construction of project 956 ships was carried out at the plant number 190 them. Zhdanov in Leningrad, the customer of the last ships of the series was already the Russian Navy.

By the late 1960s, the destroyers, which at that time were in service with the USSR Navy, were already considered obsolete. The ships of the projects 3 bis, 56, 68-K and 68 bis did not have rocket armament and could not withstand their foreign counterparts. Particularly vividly all of the above showed the large ocean maneuvers "Ocean", held in 1970.

The Soviet fleet needed a modern destroyer with powerful artillery and rocket armament and capable of acting both as part of ship groups and independently. The creation of such a ship was provided for in the shipbuilding program for 1971-1980, which was adopted in 1969. The military wanted the new destroyer to take part in amphibious operations, destroy small targets on the coast, suppress enemy antiamphibious defenses, and provide air defense in the landing zone. The future destroyer was called the "assault landing ship". The destroyer of the project 56 was chosen as its prototype, therefore the new project was assigned the number 956.

Work on the creation of a new destroyer started in 1971 and progressed rather slowly. The draft was approved by Admiral Gorshkov at the end of 1972. However, after that, the project continued to be amended. The steam turbine power plant has been replaced by a boiler-turbine, which is recognized by many experts as a rather unfortunate decision. Reports surfaced that 7 of the 17 Sovremenny-class destroyers built during the early 1980s suffered from poor maintenance and a structural design flaw in the high-pressure steam boiler system. The ship's propulsion system is based on two steam turbine engines, unlike the gas-turbines used on the Udaloy, each producing 50,000 horsepower together with four high pressure boilers. There are two fixed pitch propellers. The ship's maximum speed is just under 33 knots. At a fuel-economic speed of 18 knots the range is 3,920 miles. The endurance is 30 days. The hull design is derived from the predecessor Kresta II cruisers.

As the main hydroacoustic complex of the future destroyer, the Platinum State Joint-Stock Company was chosen. It was not possible to install more sophisticated “Polynom” complex on “Sarychi” due to the significant mass-dimensional characteristics of the latter. For this reason, the ships of the project 956 could not come close to the ASW capabilities of the American Spruance destroyer, but the Soviet ship was significantly superior to its opponent in the power of artillery weapons. The result of all improvements and changes was an increase in ship displacement per thousand tons.

The ships, with a maximum displacement of 8,480 tons are similar in size to the US Navy's Aegis-equipped missile cruisers, and are armed with an anti-submarine helicopter, 48 air defense missiles, 8 anti-ship missiles, torpedoes, mines, long range guns and a comprehensive electronic warfare system. The first Sovremenny Class destroyer was commissioned in 1985.

The ship is equipped with the Moskit anti-ship missile system with two quadruple launchers installed port and starboard of the forward island and set at an angle about 15 degrees to the horizontal. The ship carries a total of eight Moskit 3M80E missiles. The air defense system is the Shtil surface to air missile. Two Shtil missile systems are installed, each on the raised deck behind the two-barreled 130 mm guns fore and aft of the two islands. The ships are further equipped with AK-130-MR-184 130 mm guns and four six-barrel AK-630 artillery systems for defense. Anti-submarine defense is provided by two double 533 mm torpedo tubes installed port and starboard, and two six-barrel anti-submarine rocket launchers, RBU-1000, with 48 rockets, and a Ka-27 helicopter.

The late units of the class, designated Project 956A, are modified with the improved SA-N-17 (Grizzly) surface-to-air missile and the 3M-82 Moskit anti-ship missile. The construction continued through the export of destroyers of Project 956. In the completion of I-18 is one. Next, the nineteenth was based on the revised draft Project 956M: instead of "Mosquito" cruise missiles it had P-800 "Onyx" missiles in TOS SM-403 launchers, instead of the air defense system "Hurricane" SAM, it had "Hurricane, Tornado," with nearly three times the range, and instead of 30 -mm AK-630 2 SPAR "Dirk". It was a transition period to a better ship. This was followed by twentieth vessel, rather different from the prototype - Project 956U. It remained the only one with a bow 130 mm AK-130. Instead, at the stern was put vertical launch missiles P-800 "Onyx" UVLM AP-14.

The destroyers of Project 956 “Sarych” were created in the Cold War era, and their main opponent in the World Ocean was the American Spruance, a ship of the same class. This destroyer of the US Navy and its characteristics had a great influence on the future look of the Sarych. There was a competition between the two superpowers and the Soviet admirals demanded that theSoviet ship be no worse. The first thing that catches the eye is the difference in the power plants of the two ships. Moreover, the gas turbine power plant Spruance looks greatly preferable both in its characteristics and in its reliability. The American power plant can reach its full capacity in twelve minutes, a Soviet destroyer needs an hour and a half to do this.

Artillery weapons, of course, are more powerful in the Soviet ship (originally designed as a support ship for the assault), but the American destroyer surpasses it in anti-submarine warfare weapons. Initially, Sarych had more powerful rocket armament, but after modernization, universal launchers for Tomahawk missiles were installed on the Spruance , which gave a significant advantage to the American. However, at present, the main destroyer of the United States are ships of the Arleigh Burke type. This ship was designed in the mid-1980s and far exceeds the project 956 ships in almost all indicators. “Arleigh Burke” is a fourth-generation destroyer, so comparing it with “Sarych” is not entirely correct.

In general, one can note a decrease in the level of discipline of Russian conscripts in comparison with that of the military personnel of the USSR period. In this context, for example, the history of the service of destroyers of project 956 is indicative. In Soviet times, they were actively used in the performance of combat missions of the Navy, participated in a number of major naval exercises, made international visits to the countries of Latin America, North Africa and Southeast Asia ... However, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, most of the ships quickly went out of order - out of 17 built ships in the fleet by the end of the 2010s, there were only three. One of the main problems was the lack of specialists and the inability of the military to provide quality services to complex boiler and turbine installations. At the same time, four ships of the same project, which were transferred to China, serve regularly and do not face similar problems.

Project 956.2

An improved Sovremenny II design, fitted with the CADS-N-1 point defense system, was projected but delayed indefinitely due to a lack of funding. During the 1980s as many as 28 Sovremenny-class ships may have been planned.

In parallel with the development and modification of Project 956M and Project 956U, there was developed a turbine variant under Project 956.2 in several versions, with a displacement of 6,600-8,450 tons, with an increase in the length of the ship of 12 meters. It housed the new 130-mm single-barrel AU A-192 "Armat", 24 ASM "Onyx", 2 x 4 PU ASM" Uranus". Since gas turbines were manufactured in Nikolaev in the Ukraine, in connection with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the future work on the project was dropped.

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Page last modified: 13-09-2021 17:24:11 ZULU