Frigates to Become Backbone of Russian Navy
Andrei AKULOV 17.05.2017 09:45

Addressing a session of the Defense Ministry board on April 21, 2017, Russian Defense Minister Army General Sergei Shoigu said that multipurpose frigates such as Admiral Gorshkov are to be the backbone of the Russian Navy and «raise its combat potential by 30 %».

Admiral Gorshkov (Project 22350) – the lead ship of the class – is to complete final trials in July. Equipped with long-range surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles, which can attack multiple targets simultaneously, it is designed to operate in multi-threat environment. Admiral Kasatonov – the second project 22350 ship – was launched in St. Petersburg in 2014. Sergei Shoigu told Russian media on March 7, that the Russian Navy plans to have two Admiral Gorshkov-class guided missile frigates commissioned by the end of 2020. The Northern Shipyard in St. Petersburg has thus far announced having received orders for six units. The Navy plans to ultimately have 20 ships of the class in its inventory.

With a displacement of 4,500 tons, Admiral Gorshkov has the following specifications: top speed: 29 knots, range: 4,000 nautical miles at 14 knots, and endurance: 30 days. The frigate has an overall length of 130m, a beam of 16m and a draft of 16m.The stealth features are derived from its superstructure which is made from composite materials and can absorb or reflect radio waves to make the vessel invisible.

The warship has a crew of 210 and a variety of weaponry, including a 130mm A-192 gun, 16-cells vertical launch system with the Kalibr and Oniks missiles, the Poliment-Redut shipborne air defense system and a 30mm close-in weapon system (CIWS) gun. It can also be fitted with 533mm torpedo tubes.

Admiral Gorshkov features an aft flight deck and hangar to carry advanced Ka-27 helicopter for ASW missions. The chopper is driven through two counter-rotating, three-bladed main rotors, one seated atop the other – this action counteracts the torque generated by one rotor assembly over the other. The latest modification of the helicopter is equipped with the following systems: acoustic, magnetometric, signals intelligence and radar with active phased array antenna FH-A. Radar mounted under the fuselage provides all round visibility in the search and detection of surface, air and ground targets.

The Ka-27M performance includes a maximum speed of 170 miles per hour, a cruising speed in the 130 mph range, a service range of 610 miles, and a service ceiling of up to 16,400 feet. Typical armament is 1 x torpedo. The aircraft can also carry depth charges and sonobouys. The first batch of eight Ka-27M went into service in December 2016.

The Kalibr is a supersonic cruise missile available in land-attack, anti-ship, and anti-submarine variants. There are well over a dozen different variants in the Kalibr missile family, varying in launch platform, length from six to nine meters, range, target profile and speed. The anti-ship variants have a range between 270 and 410 miles, and are designed to skim low over the sea to avoid detection, performing evasive maneuvers instead of making a straight-line approach. Getting close to the target, missiles accelerate from their cruising speed of Mach 0.8 to Mach 3, and descend to just 4.6 meters, making it extremely difficult to shoot down.

The land attack inertia-guided variants – the 3M14T and 3M14K – have a range of between one thousand and 1,500 miles. A third class of Kalibr missiles—the 91RT and 91RE – are used to deploy anti-submarine torpedoes to ranges of around thirty miles. All variants pack a 990-pound warhead or a nuclear payload.

The P-800 Oniks is over-the-horizon supersonic anti-ship missile with an approximate maximum range of 600 kilometers. The speed is Mach 2, 5. Guidance system: midcourse inertial guidance, active radar homing-passive radar seeker head. 

The Poliment Redut air defense missile system is comparable to the US AEGIS. With four phased array antennas, it is able to track 16 targets simultaneously. The Poliment Redut comprises four or eight vertical launch systems that launch three types of missiles. The 9M100 is the short-range missile, with a range of up to 15km. The 9M96M is the medium-range missile, with a range of 40-50km. Finally, the 9M96 long-range missile is supposed to have a range of up to 150km.

For the anti-submarine warfare (ASW) mission, the frigate is equipped with Kalibr 91RE2 ASW missiles as well as Russia’s latest Paket-NK small ASW system. The Paket is a point defense system reportedly capable of engaging both enemy submarines and incoming torpedoes.

The ship is fitted with 3D air search radars, Puma fire control radars and sonar suites with hull-mounted LF sonar and LF VDS sonar. The equipment also includes Garpun-BAL SSM targeting and SAM control systems.

The frigate is moved by combined gas turbine and gas turbine (COGAG) propulsion systems. The two cruise gas turbines and two boost gas turbines are connected through two shafts. The COGAG propulsion is more efficient than combined diesel and gas (CODAG) and combined diesel or gas (CODOG) propulsion systems. The COGAG system delivers more economical transit at cruise speeds.

According to Defense-Aerospace, the Russian Navy’s new approach to force development has contributed to the superiority of Russia’s latest ships over their foreign counterparts. For instance, the comparison of the Project 22350 frigates’ performance and especially design combat capabilities with those of the adversary’s latest analogs demonstrates the obvious superiority of the Admiral Gorshkov class.

The program is an illustration of a major achievement of Russian shipbuilding industry capable of providing the Navy with cutting edge multi-purpose warships.