Russian navy was almost completely ruined during the 1990’s and only a few ships and submarines of once powerful navy were still operational in the early 2000’s. The lack of funds meant there will be no new ships and the dominance over the world seas came completely to the hands of the US.
As the years passed and NATO started coming to the very borders of Russia the navy once again became of the utmost importance and the Russian state is currently experiencing the real boom in ship building.
The first and the most important reinforcement to the Black Sea fleet will be 5 Admiral Grigorovich class frigates. This will increase the firepower and defense capabilities of this fleet exponentially as each of these ships is a formidable force even when it stands alone.
Admiral Grigorovich class Development
Admiral Grigorovich class frigates (also known as Project 11356M) are based on a joint Indian-Russian endeavor. Namely, six very similar frigates were made for the Indian Navy (Talwar class) and they are amongst the best ships India has. Of course, the Russian version is upgraded on several levels and can be considered as more potent than its Indian counterpart.
The development of the Indian Talwar class became with signing a contract back in 1997 and first three units were delivered by 2005. The Russian navy started building their ships in December 2010. The initial order was made for 6 ships and an option for 4 more, but later on one was cancelled as the Russia decided to replace it with a stronger Admiral Gorshkov class frigate. At the peak of the Crimea crisis in February 214 the firs ship named Admiral Grigorovich was commissioned to the Black Sea fleet. The completion of other 4 ships will be also finished at a very quick pace and by the end of 2015 the Black Sea Fleet should have all 5 ships deployed.
Is Admiral Grigorovich class Dangerous?
Admiral Grigorovich class frigates are very modern guided missile ships and they implement all the best Russia has in this class. The hull is constructed in such a way that the RCS is quite low for the ship of that size and that provides an upper hand when facing similar ships of the NATO countries.
The main armament consists of 8 cells for 3M54E Klub and 3M55 Oniks missiles. These missiles are rightfully feared by the fleets of the world as they are capable of multi-vector attacks at supersonic speeds and the potential aggressors have virtually nothing to intercept them due to high speed and very low flight attitude. Suffice to say that one single hit of such missile is enough to sink a destroyer or to take out the aircraft carrier from battle. Admiral Grigorovich class frigates also have on 100 mm A-190 gun for close combat with lesser targets.
Also, these frigates are able to take on enemy submarines with their 533 mm torpedoes and each ship has 4 launching tubes. Additionally, it possesses one RBU-6000 rocket launcher that is used for anti-submarine warfare as well as for the coastal bombardment.
When it comes to air defense, the Admiral Grigorovich class has the protection on 3 levels. The first and most potent defense is three VLS with 12 missiles each named Shtil 1. It is the nasalized version of the famous Buk M air defense system and with the Russian missiles (not available for export) it can intercept the targets at the distances up to 100 km. This system is extremely efficient and proven in 2008 Georgian war when it managed to shoot down several Russian planes until it got destroyed by the SU-34.
The second level of defense consists of 8 Igla-1E short range SAMs (SA-16 Grouse) and the third, final ring of defense consists of 2 Kashtan-M systems. All in all, the protection from the aerial attacks is huge with this ship even when it is outside of the battle group. When it is combined with S-300 systems on heavy cruisers of Black Sea Fleet, it becomes almost impervious to aerial attacks.
Finally, each Admiral Grigorovich class frigate carries one Ka-28 or Ka-31 helicopter which gives it an opportunity to tackle enemy submarines from the distance.
The entire ship is powered by two DS-71 gas turbines plus two DT-59 boost turbines which provide the power enough for it to go at the maximum speed of 32 knots.
The maximum mass of the fully loaded ship is 4035 tons; it is 124.8 meters long and has a crew of 190 men. It is also equipped with various electronic warfare kits and decoys.
The final judgment of this ship is that it is potent enough to dominate the Black Sea once all five ships are commissioned and that will make Russia again the supreme naval force in the region.