:: KIROV CLASS BATTLECRUISERS (I) ::
~ Russian carriers ~
~ Russian cruisers ~
~ Russian destroyers ~
~ Russian frigates ~
100 mm cannon
130 mm twin cannons
30 mm Gatling gun
533 mm torpedoes
When I write these lines (2012) the Kirov class battlecruisers are the biggest and heaviest warships on the world, excepting some aircraft carriers, assault ships and submarines. It is curious how they are classified as battlecruisers, an extinguished term created during the First World War to designate those warships that were so heavily armed as battleships and so large as these, but built with a lesser armor. This concept wasn't considered satisfactory and this kind of warships weren't built anymore after the war. The last warship built of this type was the HMS Hood, that entered service in 1920. Since then, no more battlecruisers were seen until the Kirov class cruisers were given this classification. If this old term was resurrected because of them, maybe these warships have something special... since the appearance of these ships played a key role in the recommissioning of the Iowa class battleships by the US Navy in the 1980s.
The first of these warships, the Kirov, entered service in 1980; after this one, other three similar units entered service: the Frunze in 1984, the Kalinin in 1998 and the Yury Andropov in 1998, while a fifth unit was cancelled in 1990. These ships were renamed in the successive years, being named, respectively, as Admiral Ushakov, Admiral Lazarev, Admiral Nakhimov and Pyotr Velikiy. These ships, gifted with abundant armament and nuclear propulsion, were designed to give antiship, antisubmarine and antiaerial defense to the Soviet Navy. It is known that not all of them are in active duty, but the informations about this are uncertain; it is probable that at least one of them is active, or maybe two. The others should be awaiting for a modernization program, but the expensive cost of these projects could, possibly, mean the decommissioning of the ships if the works delay excessively.
The drawing above and the following photos show the Pyotr Velikiy (former Yury Andropov).
There isn't much photographic material on these ships, and the one available is of medium to generally poor quality, which is not surprising, considering the strategic importance of these ships. Let's see the main characteristics of them:
Their total lenght reach up to 252 meters, the beam is 28.5 meters and the draft is 9.1 meters. It is notorious the high altitude that the command tower reachs, being this estructure notably bulkier than the one found on the big battleships from the Second World War, as the Iowa class. The Kirov class cruisers have a standard displacement of 24300 tons and a full load displacement of 28000 tons. These ships are propelled by two nuclear reactors that move two steam turbines and their corresponding two shafts. Complementary to the nuclear reactors, there are also two conventional boilers, installed as a backup in case of reactor failure. The total power given by the engine is 140000 shp, which allows for a maximum speed of 32 knots. The operational range reaches only about 1000 nm (1850 km) at 30 knots if using conventional propulsion, while it is theorically unlimited navigating at 20 knots if using nuclear power. Finally, the Kirov class cruisers have a compliment of about 710 people and they carry three helicopters for antisubmarine tasks, in a hangar located below the deck.
Now it is time to see the main offensive and defensive elements present on these ships; the blueprint below points the diverse weapon systems and electronic elements found originally on the Kirov when it was commissioned in 1980. The text is spelled in russian, so I tried to do my best to rewrite the information...
1 - Helicopter deck :: 2 - Elevator of the hangar :: 3 - Unknown :: 4 - 30 mm Gatling guns ADMG-630 :: 5 - 100 mm cannons :: 6 - Aft command bridge :: 7 - RBU-6000 antisubmarine rocket launcher :: 8 - Main command bridge :: 9 - Pop-up SA-N-4 surface-to-air missile launchers :: 10 - SS-N-19 cruise missile vertical launchers :: 11 - SA-N-6 surface-to-air missile vertical launchers :: 12 - Twin SS-N-14 antisubmarine or surface-to-surface missile launcher :: 13 - Unknown :: 14 - Main radars
The pictures on the right bar represent many of the weapon systems found on the Kirov class cruisers. I will give a brief explanation about them in the next page...
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