Russian Pacific Fleet About to Get a Whole Lot Deadlier With Three New Corvettes
14:41 21.05.2017(updated 21:55 21.05.2017)
On Sunday, amid celebrations of the Russian Navy's Pacific Fleet Day, the Ministry of Defense confirmed that the Russian Navy's Far Eastern fleet would be taking delivery of three brand new Steregushchiy-class corvettes in the near future.
"The corvette Sovershennyy ('Unbeatable') is undergoing final testing at the Primorye Factory. In the near future, after it, the corvettes Gromky ('The Booming') and the Hero of the Russian Federation Aldar Tsydenzhapov will enter the Fleet," the Defense Ministry said in a press statement on Sunday.
The Ministry boasted that in recent years, the Pacific Fleet has undergone significant modernization, having been equipped with the new Borei-class Alexander Nevsky and Vladimir Monomakh nuclear ballistic missile submarines, a Dyugon-class Ivan Kartsov landing craft, the sea-going support tug Alexander Piskunov, two Grachonok-class anti-saboteur ships, and several auxiliary vessels, including the Igor Belousov search and rescue ship.
The Defense Ministry also confirmed that exploration for new bases for use by the Pacific Fleet is currently underway. "Currently, preparation is almost complete for a second research expedition by the Defense Ministry and the Russian Geographical Society to the Kuril Islands' island of Matua, which will take place between June and September 2017."
The Pacific Fleet has been busy shoring up regional coastal defense systems as well, recently deploying the new Bal coastal defense missile system. Area air defenses have also been upgraded from S-300s to the S-400 Triumf long-range SAM systems. Naval aviation in the Primorye and Kamchatka regions has received modernized Il-38N anti-submarine warfare aircraft and Ka-29 shipborne helicopters.
Finally, the Defense Ministry noted that "the summer training period, beginning June 1, will be no less intense. Personnel will have to show their skills in dozens of large-scale drills, including international drills, and will also continue to carry out active service in the world's oceans."
As for the Sovershennyy, the Gromky and the Aldar Tsydenzhapov, the three ships belong to the Project 2038.1 or Steregushchiy ('Unbeatable') class of corvettes, the Navy's latest corvette design.
Developed by the Almaz Central Marine Design Bureau, the 104.5-meter long, diesel engine-powered vessels displacing 2,200 metric tons are actually designated by NATO as frigates.
Crewed by between 90 and 100 officers and able sailors, the ships are classified by the Navy as multi-purpose heavy corvettes designed for coastal defense. Armed with Russia's latest anti-ship and anti-sub guided missile systems, Steregushchiy-class corvettes also have the capability to provide shore bombardment support for amphibious assaults. The ships' targeting computers can track multiple targets simultaneously. They also utilize advanced electronic warfare and stealth systems to reduce the ships' radar signature.
The ships' weapons include the 3M24 Uran anti-ship missile system, the Redut anti-aircraft system, two twin-tube launchers for 533mm heavy anti-sub and anti-torpedo torpedoes, and the Arsenal A-190 100mm forward gun. For close-in defense, the ships are equipped with large-caliber machine guns and grenade launchers, including the AK630M close-in weapon system. They also carry four PK10 decoy launchers. The stern of the ship is fitted with a helipad for a Ka-27 anti-submarine warfare helicopter.
With a range of 4,000 nautical miles and a top speed of 26 knots, Steregushchiy-class corvettes can remain at sea for up to 15 days before requiring replenishment and refueling.
The first Steregushchiy-class Project 2038.0 ship, the Steregushchiy, was commissioned into the Baltic Fleet in 2007. Since then, the ships have been upgraded and redesignated as Project 2038.1. The Sovershennyy will be the first Steregushchiy-class corvette to be introduced into the Pacific Navy, with the Gromky following shortly thereafter. In all, five Project 2038.0 and 2038.1 heavy corvettes have been completed; another four are under construction. The Russian Navy hopes to stock up on a total of 30 of the vessels, which are meant to replace the Soviet-era Grisha-class corvettes delivered into the Soviet Navy between 1970 and 1990.
Two Steregushchiy-class corvettes equipped with P-800 Oniks supersonic anti-ship missiles are under construction for the Algerian Navy, with up to four more planned.
Founded in 1731, the Russian Pacific, headquartered in Vladivostok, has about 50 warships, 23 attack and missile submarines, and an array of support ships. In addition to Vladivostok, the Fleet has four other bases in the region, at Fokino, Sovetskaya Gavan, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and Vilyuchinsk.
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