Once the Russian emperor Alexei the 3rd said that Russia has only two real allies – its army and its fleet. During the troublesome time after disillusion of the Soviet Union both army and the fleet suffered heavy losses since the investments in defines were unable to cover even the costs of maintenance. Still, in the last few years the military budget became huge and it allows a thorough rebuilding of both army and the fleet.
The new corvettes, submarines and frigates are being built at the high pace in numerous dry-docks all over Russia and the navy should acquire a huge number of new vessels in the following years. The backbone of this new Russian Navy will be missile frigates of the Admiral Gorshkov class (also known as the Project 22350)
Development of Admiral Gorshkov Class Frigates
The entire project of building Admiral Gorshkov class frigates was approved in 2003 and the first ship of this class that gave it her name was laid down in early 2006. It was still uncertain how much of these ships will be produced as the financial situation in Russia was still pretty bad, but in the following years it became clear that at least 20 of these ships will be built. The Admiral Gorshkov was launched in 2010 and it joined the Northern Fleet in 2013 and at this moment Admiral Kasatonov, Admiral Golovko and Admiral Isakov are well under way to be finished in 2015 and 2016. All of these ships will be deployed to the Northern Fleet. Also, Admiral Yumashev and 3 more ships of this class that don’t have the designations yet are to be deployed in 2017 and 2018. It is almost certain that one of them will be assigned to the Black Sea Fleet while the others are mostly to be expected as a part of the Northern Fleet which is strategically the most important. As the further investments are made to the shipbuilding of the navy, it is certain that the pace of production and the number of units will result I severe shift of power in favor of the Russian Navy.
Is Admiral Gorshkov Class Dangerous?
The Admiral Gorshkov class frigates are designed as a successor to the Krivak class soviet era frigates, but they are far more versatile and powerful vessels. The main armament consists of one 130 mm Arsenal A-192M gun and two shafts with 8 Onyx or/and Kalibr missiles. This allows them to engage even the toughest surface targets and a single frigate has enough firepower to take out entire battle groups. When it is taken into consideration that they will be deployed in groups where each group will have at least 2 ships of this class + additional corvettes and small missile boats, it becomes clear that this is the force that can successfully defeat even the aircraft carrier groups. Still, this is far from all this magnificent ship has to offer.
It is also equipped with Paket ASW systems which allow it to engage submarines even torpedoes launched on the very ship. It increases the defense of the ship to the level that is absolutely unprecedented. The final but not the least important offensive weapon of this frigate is one Ka-27 series helicopter which can be used for submarine warfare.
Concerning the defense from the aerial attacks (both aircraft and missiles) Admiral Gorshkov posse4sses a wide variety of weapons in its arsenal. First of all, it has 4 Redut vertical launchers each equipped with 8 9M100 or 9M96 missiles (used on Buk and S-400 systems) which allows destruction of aerial targets on the distance of 120 kilometers. Additionally, it has 2 Palash CIWS equipped with 30 mm high velocity auto cannons (similar to the Avenger 30 mm cannon used on A-10 aircraft) and Tunguska missiles. Finally, there are two 14.5 mm machine guns for very close range operations. This makes the Admiral Gorshkov class frigates a very hard target to hit as it requires multiple attacks from various directions to penetrate this thick air defense. When two of these ships in a group are combined with smaller vessels and their air defense systems it becomes a real hard-to-kill target.
This frigate is also equipped with the latest electronic equipment and very powerful radars for detecting air and surface targets and the newest Russian sonar for detecting the submerged threats. All in all, this is the most potent and deadly frigate in the world nowadays and once they became fully operational and numerous within the Russian ranks they will be the force to reckon with. If the initial plans about the number of units are followed through, they will give the Russian navy the upper hand even to US.