Soviet battlecruiser Kirov

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BCGN Kirov 1983.JPG
Kirov c.1983
Career (Soviet Union)
Name: Kirov
Namesake: Sergey Kirov
Fyodor Fyodorovich Ushakov
Builder: Baltiysky Naval Shipyard, Leningrad
Laid down: March 27, 1974
Launched: December 26, 1977
Commissioned: December 30, 1980
Out of service: In reserve, 1990
Renamed: Admiral Ushakov, 1992
Status: Laid-up, to be scrapped
General characteristics
Class and type: Kirov-class battlecruiser
Displacement: 24,300 tons Standard, 28,000 (Full load)
Length: 252 m (827 ft)
230 m (750 ft) (Waterline)
Beam: 28.5 m (94 ft)
Draft: 9.1 m (30 ft)
Propulsion: 2-shaft CONAS, Nuclear propulsion with steam turbine boost
140,000 shp
Speed: 32 knots (59 km/h)
Range: 1,000 nautical miles (2,000 km) at 30 knots (56 km/h) (combined propulsion),
Essentially unlimited with nuclear power at 20 knots (37 km/h)
Complement: 727
Aircrew: 18
Flag staff: 15
Sensors and
processing systems:
·Voskhod MR-800 (Top Pair) 3D search radar on foremast
·Fregat MR-710 (Top Steer) 3D search radar on main mast
·2 × Palm Frond navigation radar on foremast
·2 × Top Dome for SA-N-6 fire control
·4 × Bass Tilt for AK-360 CIWS System fire control
·2 × Eye Bowl for SA-N-4 fire control
·Horse Jaw LF hull sonar
·Horse Tail VDS (Variable Depth Sonar)
Armament: 20 P-700 Granit (SS-N-19 Shipwreck) AShM
14 SS-N-14 Silex ASW cruise missiles
12x8 (96) S-300PMU Favorit SA-N-6 Grumble surface-to-air missiles
44 OSA-MA (SA-N-4 Gecko) PD SAM
2x RBU-1000 305 mm ASW rocket launchers
2x RBU-12000 (Udav-1) 254 mm ASW rocket launchers
2x AK-100 100 mm/L60 DP guns
10 533 mm ASW/ASuW torpedo tubes, Type 53 torpedo or SS-N-15 ASW missile
8x AK-630 hex gatling 30 mm/L60 PD guns
Armour: 76 mm plating around reactor compartment, light splinter protection
Aircraft carried: 3 Kamov Ka-27 "Helix" or Ka-25 "Hormone"
Aviation facilities: Below-deck hangar

Kirov is the lead ship of the Kirov-class battlecruiser of nuclear-powered missile cruisers. Originally built for the Soviet Navy, it is one of the biggest and most important surface warships of the Russian Navy. It is similar in displacement to a World War I battleship. Although commissioned as a missile cruiser, Kirov‍ '​s size and weapons complement have given her the unofficial designation of a battlecruiser throughout much of the world. The appearance of the Kirov class was a significant factor in the U.S. Navy recommissioning the Iowa class.[1] She was named after Sergey Kirov, a Bolshevik hero.


She was laid down on March 27, 1974, at the Baltiysky Naval Shipyard in Leningrad, launched on December 26, 1977, and commissioned on December 30, 1980, part of Soviet Northern Fleet. When she appeared for the first time in 1981, NATO observers called her BALCOM I (Baltic Combatant I). She was placed in reserve in 1990 following a reactor accident.[2] For political reasons, Kirov was renamed Admiral Ushakov after the 18th-century admiral Fyodor Fyodorovich Ushakov in 1992, but subsequent photos suggest that it has since reverted to its original name. An overhaul was started in 1999, but the ship was written off in 2001 and was slated to be dismantled in 2003.[2][3]

In 2010, the Russian navy again announced new plans for an overhaul of the cruiser. At the time, the plan was to modify and reactivate all of the Kirov battlecruisers by 2020.[4][5] However in 2012 it was reported that Admiral Ushakov and Admiral Lazarev would not be overhauled due to being in a state of "beyond repair".[6]


This ship had an armament of missiles and guns as well as electronics. Its largest radar antenna is mounted on its foremast and called "Top Pair" by NATO. Kirov's main weapons are 20 × P-700 Granit (SS-N-19 Shipwreck) missiles mounted on deck, designed to engage large surface targets, and air defense is provided for with 12 × S-300F (SA-N-6) launchers with 96 missiles, two Osa-M (SA-N-4 Gecko) with 40 missiles and the Kashtan CIWS air-defence missile/gun system.

Other weapons are the automatic 130 mm AK-130 gun system, 30 mm AK-630, 10 × torpedo/missile tubes, Udav-1 (SS-N-14 Silex) with 40 anti-submarine missiles and the two RBU-1000 six-tube launchers.


Admiral Ushakov at Severomorsk in 1992

Kirov suffered a reactor accident in 1990 while serving in the Mediterranean Sea. Repairs were never carried out, due to lack of funds and the changing political situation in the Soviet Union. She may have been cannibalized as a spare-parts cache for the other ships in her class.

In June 2004, the name Admiral Ushakov was transferred to the Sovremenny-class destroyer Besstrashny. In September 2004, it was revealed that the Severodvinsk-based Design Bureau Onega had been tasked with developing the dismantlement project for the cruiser, currently moored at the Severodvinsk Zvezdochka plant. According to the Zvezdochka plant, dismantlement of the former Admiral Ushakov would cost $40 million, all of which was allocated by Norway.[7] This plan was halted when the Russian navy planned to bring her back to service.[4] This now seems unlikely and Zvezdochka shipyard CEO Vladimir Nikitin foresees dangers removing the spent nuclear fuel from the vessel's two reactors, it having never been moved or changed in 34 years.[8][9]

See also[edit]