Kirov-class battlecruiser

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Kirov-class battlecruiser.jpg
Kirov-class battlecruiser Frunze
Class overview
NameKirov class
BuildersBaltic Shipyard, Leningrad
Preceded by
In service1980–present
Active1 (1 undergoing refit)
General characteristics
TypeHeavy guided-missile cruiser/battlecruiser
  • 24,300 tons standard
  • 28,000 tons full load
Length252 m (827 ft)
Beam28.5 m (94 ft)
Draft9.1 m (30 ft)
Speed32 knots (59 km/h; 37 mph)
  • 1,000 nmi (1,900 km; 1,200 mi) at 30 kn (56 km/h; 35 mph) (combined propulsion)
  • unlimited at 20 kn (37 km/h; 23 mph) on nuclear power
Sensors and
processing systems
  • Radars: (NATO reporting name):
    • Voskhod MR-800 (Top Pair) search 3D radar, foremast
    • Fregat MR-710 (Top Plate) 3D search radar, main mast
    • 2 × Palm Frond navigation radar, foremast
  • Sonar:
    • Horse Jaw LF hull sonar
    • Horse Tail VDS (Variable Depth Sonar)
Electronic warfare
& decoys
2 × PK-2 Decoy dispensers (400 rockets)
Armour76 mm plating around reactor compartment, light splinter protection
Aircraft carried3 helicopters
Aviation facilitiesBelow-deck hangar

The Kirov class, Soviet designation Project 1144 Orlan (sea eagle), is a class of nuclear-powered guided-missile battlecruisers of the Soviet Navy and Russian Navy, the largest and heaviest surface combatant warships (i.e. not an aircraft carrier or amphibious assault ship) in operation in the world. Among modern warships, they are second in size only to large aircraft carriers, and of similar size to a World War I-era battleship. The ships are often referred to as battlecruisers by Western defence commentators due to their size and general appearance.[3] The Soviet classification of the ship-type is "heavy nuclear-powered guided-missile cruiser" (Russian: тяжёлый атомный ракетный крейсер).

The appearance of the Kirov class played a key role in the recommissioning of the Iowa-class battleships by the United States Navy in the 1980s.[4][5][6]

The Kirov class hull design was also used for the Soviet nuclear-powered command and control ship SSV-33 Ural.


Originally built for the Soviet Navy, the class is named after the first of a series of four ships constructed, Admiral Ushakov, named Kirov until 1992. Original plans called for construction of five ships. The fifth vessel was planned to be named Fleet Admiral of the Soviet Union Kuznetsov, also referred as Dzerzhinsky.[7] The name was later changed to Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya (October Revolution),[8] and then just Kuznetsov;[9] but on 4 October 1990, plans for construction of a fifth vessel were abandoned.[7]

The lead ship of the class, Kirov, was laid down in June 1973 at Leningrad's Baltiysky Naval Shipyard, launched on 27 December 1977 and commissioned on 30 December 1980. When she appeared for the first time in 1981, NATO observers called her BALCOM I (Baltic Combatant I). Kirov suffered a reactor accident in 1990 during her second deployment, which was in the Mediterranean Sea. Repairs were never carried out due to lack of funds and the changing political situation in the Soviet Union, and she was placed in reserve where she was renamed Admiral Ushakov in 1992.[10] She is presently laid up and was slated to be scrapped in 2021.

Frunze, the second vessel in the class, was commissioned in 1984. She was assigned to the Pacific Fleet. In 1992, she was renamed Admiral Lazarev. The ship became inactive in 1994 and was decommissioned four years later. On 21 February 2021, the Russian Armed Forces and the Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation Rosatom, signed a contract to dismantle and scrap the nuclear powered heavy cruiser. Admiral Lazarev set sail 30 April 2021 for 30th Shipyard. Dismantlement should be completed by 30 November 2025.[11]

Kalinin, now Admiral Nakhimov, was the third ship to enter service, in 1988. She was also assigned to the Northern Fleet. Renamed Admiral Nakhimov in 1992, she was mothballed in 1999 and reactivated in 2005. She is undergoing overhaul and modernization at Severodvinsk Shipyard.

Construction of the fourth ship, Yuriy Andropov, encountered many delays; her construction was started in 1986 but was not commissioned until 1998. She was renamed Pyotr Veliky (after Peter the Great) in 1992.[7] She currently serves as the flagship of Russia's Northern Fleet.

In 1983, a command and control ship, SSV-33 Ural, was launched, although the ship would not be officially commissioned until 1989. She utilized the basic hull design of the Kirov-class vessels, but with a modified superstructure, different armament, and was intended for a different role within the Soviet Navy. Ural was decommissioned and laid up in 2001, due to high operating costs, and scrapped starting in 2010.

On 23 March 2004, English language press reported the Russian Navy Commander-in-Chief, Fleet Admiral Vladimir Kuroedov said Pyotr Veliky's reactor was in an extremely bad condition and could explode "at any moment", a statement which may have been the result of internal politics within the Russian Navy.[12] The ship was sent to port for a month, and the crew lost one-third of their pay.

Russia initially planned to reactivate Admiral Ushakov and Admiral Lazarev by 2020,[2][13] but it was later indicated that the condition of the reactor cores of both ships was such that it would prove difficult, expensive and potentially dangerous to remove the spent nuclear fuel and repair the cores. As a consequence, both ships were earmarked for scrapping in 2021.[14] The scrapping of Admiral Lazarev began in early 2021.[15]

As of early 2022, only Pyotr Velikiy was operational. Modernization of Admiral Nakhimov is ongoing and was reported, in 2021, to continue until "at least" 2023,[16] with the modernization of Pyotr Velikiy to immediately follow and last for about three years.[17][18] However, in early 2022, Sevmash CEO Mikhail Budnichenko stated that the ship would be delivered to the Russian Navy in 2022. The modernization of Admiral Nakhimov and her sister ship is to be extensive, with Admiral Nakhimov expected to receive 174 Vertical-launch (VLS) tubes: 80 for anti-surface and 94 for anti-air warfare, among other upgrades.[19] In early 2022, the Sevmash CEO noted that weapons systems for Admiral Nakhimov would include: the Fort-M (NATO reporting name: SA-N-6 Grumble) and Pantsyr-M (SA-22 Greyhound) air defense systems and Paket-NK and Otvet antisubmarine warfare weapons. It was also reported that the cruiser would potentially be armed with up to 60 3M22 Zircon hypersonic anti-ship missiles.[20]


The class was originally conceived to counter the U.S. navy's submarines with its large payload of SS-N-14 anti-submarine missiles, and later evolved to carry twenty P-700 Granit anti-ship missiles for countering the U.S. carrier strike groups. Ultimately the class were intended to operate alongside new nuclear-powered aircraft carriers for global power projection, however these carriers never came to fruition.[21][22]

Weapon systems[edit]

Admiral Ushakov (ex-Kirov), lead ship of the class, next to the Slava-class cruiser Marshal Ustinov.

The Kirov class's main weapons are 20 P-700 Granit (SS-N-19 Shipwreck) missiles mounted in deck, designed to engage large surface targets. Air defense is provided by twelve octuple S-300F launchers with 96 missiles and a pair of Osa-MA batteries with 20 missiles each. Pyotr Velikiy carries some S-300FM missiles and is the only ship in the Russian Navy capable of ballistic missile defence.[2] The ships had some differences in sensor and weapons suites: Kirov came with SS-N-14 anti-submarine warfare (ASW) missiles, while on subsequent ships these were replaced with 3K95 Kinzhal (Russian: Кинжал – dagger) surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems. The Kinzhal installation is in fact mounted further forward of the old SS-N-14 mounting, in the structure directly behind the blast shield for the bow mounted RBU ASW rocket launcher. Kirov and Frunze had eight 30 mm (1.18 in) AK-630 close-in weapon systems, which were supplanted with the Kortik air-defence system on later ships.

Other weapons are the automatic 130 mm (5 in) AK-130 gun system (except in Kirov which had two single 100 mm (4 in) guns instead), 10 21-inch (533 mm) torpedo/missile tubes (capable of firing SS-N-15 ASW missiles on later ships) and Udav-1 with 40 anti-submarine rockets and two sextuple RBU-1000 launchers.

The aft sections of Kirov (left) and Frunze (right) showing differences in weapons fit - Kirov has a pair of single 100 mm guns, and two pairs of AK-630 CIWS mounts either side of the flight deck, whereas Frunze has a twin 130 mm turret and eight SA-N-9 VLS in place of the CIWS mounts.

Russia is developing a new anti-ship missile to equip Kirovs called the 3M22 Tsirkon, which is capable of traveling at hypersonic speeds out to at least 620 mi (540 nmi; 1,000 km).[23][24]


Armament fit of Kirov class[citation needed]
Kirov / Admiral Ushakov Frunze / Admiral Lazarev Kalinin / Admiral Nakhimov Yuri Andropov / Pyotr Velikiy
Anti-ship missiles 20 x P-700 Granit (SS-N-19 'Shipwreck')
Anti-submarine missiles 1 x twin RPK-3 Metel (SS-N-14 'Silex')
RPK-2 Vyuga (SS-N-15 'Starfish') launched via 533 mm torpedo tube
Surface-to-air missiles 12 × 8 S-300F (SA-N-6 'Grumble') 6 × 8 SA-N-6 Grumble
2 x 20 9K33 Osa (SA-N-4 'Gecko') 6 × 8 S-300FM (SA-N-20 'Gargoyle')
Space reserved for 16 x 8. Only installed on Pyotr Veiliky (8 x 8) 3K95 Kinzhal (SA-N-9 'Gauntlet')
Guns 2 × 1 AK-100 100 mm 1 × 2 AK-130 130 mm
close-in weapon systems 8 x AK-630 6 x CADS-N-1
Anti-submarine rockets 2 x RBU-1000, 1 x RBU-12000
Torpedo tubes 10 x 533mm torpedo tubes for Type 53

Fire control[edit]

Aerial port view of the foredeck of Kalinin illustrating the differences from the lead ship of the class.
  2 Kortik point defense gun/missile system
  Empty space intended for 2 SA-N-9 vertical SAM launchers
Aerial starboard view of the foredeck of Kirov.
  4 single 30mm rotary cannons
  2 pop-up (lowered) SA-N-4 SAM launchers
  20 SS-N-19 cruise missile launchers
  12 SA-N-6 SAM launchers
  1 twin SS-N-14 antisubmarine warfare/surface-to-surface missile launcher
  • 2 × Top Dome for SA-N-6 fire control radar (the forward Top Dome is replaced with Tomb Stone (Passive electronically scanned array) in Pyotr Veliky)
  • 4 × Bass Tilt for AK-630 CIWS System fire control (not in Admiral Nakhimov or Pyotr Veliky)
  • 2 × Eye Bowl for SA-N-4 fire control (also for SS-N-14 in Admiral Ushakov)
  • 2 × Hot Flash/Hot Spot for SA-N-11 Grisom (CADS-N-1 units only)
  • 1 × Kite Screech for AK-100 or AK-130
  • 2 × Cross Sword for SA-N-9 (Gauntlet-equipped units only)


Construction data
Name Namesake Builder Laid down Launched Commissioned Status
Admiral Ushakov
Fyodor Ushakov Baltiysky Zavod, Leningrad 27 March 1974 26 December 1977 30 December 1980 Laid up, to be scrapped in 2021[14]
Admiral Lazarev
Mikhail Lazarev 27 July 1978 26 May 1981 31 October 1984 Scrapping commenced April 2021[25]
Admiral Nakhimov
Pavel Nakhimov 17 May 1983 25 April 1986 30 December 1988 Mothballed in 1999. Modernisation started 2015[26] Due to return to service 2024
Pyotr Velikiy
(ex-Yuriy Andropov)
Peter the Great 11 March 1986 29 April 1989 9 April 1998 In service with the Northern Fleet
Admiral Flota Sovetskogo
Soyuza Kuznetsov

(ex-Dzerzhinsky, ex-Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya)
Nikolay Gerasimovich Kuznetsov Cancelled, 4 October 1990

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Kirov (Orlan) Class (Type 1144.1/1144.2) (CGN)". Jane's. 8 September 2000. Archived from the original on 15 April 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Russian Warship Tests Missile Defense Capability". RIA Novosti. 20 September 2012. Archived from the original on 22 September 2012. Retrieved 28 September 2012.
  3. ^ Armi da guerra, De Agostini, Novara, 1985.
  4. ^ Middleton, Drew (13 March 1981). "Pentagon likes budget proposal, but questions specifics". The New York Times. p. A14.
  5. ^ Bishop, p. 80.
  6. ^ Miller & Miller, p. 114.
  7. ^ a b c Апалков, Ю.В. (2003). Ударные корабли, Том II, часть I (in Russian). Санкт-Петербург: Галея Принт.
  8. ^ Pike, John (19 March 2012). "Kirov Class - Project 1144.2". Archived from the original on 22 February 2014. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  9. ^ Pike, John. "Kirov Class - Project 1144.2". Archived from the original on 22 February 2014. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  10. ^ "Russia is Trying to Restore a Giant Nuclear Battlecruiser—It's Not Working Out". Forbes.
  11. ^ White, Ryan (21 February 2021). "Russia to scrap nuclear battlecruiser Admiral Lazarev". Naval Post. Retrieved 13 October 2021.
  12. ^ Digges, Charles (23 March 2004). "Kuroyedov declares 'Peter the Great' could explode 'at any moment'". Bellona. Archived from the original on 29 September 2011. Retrieved 28 December 2011.
  13. ^ "Upgraded Nuclear Cruiser to Rejoin Russian Navy in 2018". RIA Novosti. 13 June 2013. Archived from the original on 15 June 2013. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  14. ^ a b "Russia: four submarines and two cruisers to be scrapped by 2021". April 2019. Retrieved 4 May 2021.
  15. ^ "Карточка контракта № 1770641334821000012: Утилизация тяжелого атомного ракетного крейсера "Адмирал Лазарев" проекта 1144.1 заводской № 801" [Contract card No. 1770641334821000012: Disposal of the heavy nuclear missile cruiser "Admiral Lazarev" of project 1144.1 serial number 801]. Federal Treasury (in Russian). Archived from the original on 4 May 2021. Retrieved 21 February 2021.
  16. ^ "Handover of Admiral Nakhimov battlecruiser to Russian navy postponed — source". TASS. 7 April 2021.
  17. ^ "Russia's flagship nuclear battle cruiser – the world's largest – puts in for repairs". 9 September 2015. Archived from the original on 14 March 2016. Retrieved 13 March 2016.
  18. ^ "This Deadly Russian Warship Is the Closest Thing to a Battleship Sailing Today". The National Interest. 20 February 2019. Archived from the original on 1 May 2019. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  19. ^ madeinrussia. "Admiral Nakhimov modernization. February 2020". Facebook. Retrieved 17 May 2020.
  20. ^ "Russia's Sevmash Shipyard Says it Will Deliver Admiral Nakhimov in 2022". 18 February 2022.
  21. ^ "The National Interest: Blog".
  22. ^ "Russia's navy has big plans for its Soviet-era battlecruisers". Business Insider.
  23. ^ "Ракеты "Циркон" окончательно определили технологическое превосходство России над США" [The "Zircon" missiles definitively determine Russia's technological superiority over the United States]. (in Russian). 28 October 2016. Archived from the original on 10 June 2017. Retrieved 18 June 2017.
  24. ^ "Для гиперзвуковых крылатых ракет в России создано принципиально новое топливо" [A fundamentally new fuel has been created in Russia for hypersonic cruise missiles]. (in Russian). 17 March 2016. Archived from the original on 29 May 2017. Retrieved 25 May 2017.
  25. ^ @seawaves_mag (30 April 2021). "Project 1144 Admiral Lazarev departed Strelok Bay today for the breakers" (Tweet). Retrieved 1 May 2021 – via Twitter.
  26. ^ "Russian Shipyard Sevmash Ordered New Equipment for Overhaul of Kirov Class Cruiser Nakhimov". 6 January 2015. Archived from the original on 12 February 2015. Retrieved 12 February 2015.


External links[edit]