Sovremenny-class destroyer

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Bezuprechny in August 1986
Class overview
NameSovremenny class
BuildersZhdanov Shipyard
Preceded by
Succeeded by
In commission1980–present
Active7 (2 undergoing overhaul)
General characteristics
TypeGuided missile destroyer
Displacement6,600 tons standard, 8,000 tons full load
Length156 m (511 ft 10 in)
Beam17.3 m (56 ft 9 in)
Draught6.5 m (21 ft 4 in)
Propulsion2 shaft steam turbines, 4 boilers, 75,000 kW (100,000 hp), 2 fixed propellers, 2 turbo generators, and 2 diesel generators
Speed32.7 knots (60.6 km/h; 37.6 mph)
  • 3,920 nmi (7,260 km; 4,510 mi) at 18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph)
  • 1,345 nmi (2,491 km; 1,548 mi) at 33 knots (61 km/h; 38 mph)
Sensors and
processing systems
  • Radar: Air target acquisition radar, 3 × navigation radars, 130 mm gun fire-control radars, 30 mm air-defence gun fire control radar
  • Sonar: Active and passive under-keel sonar
  • ES: Tactical situation plotting board, anti-ship missile fire control system, air defence, missile fire-control system, and torpedo fire control system
Electronic warfare
& decoys
2 PK-2 decoy dispensers (200 rockets)
  • Guns:
  • 4 (2 × 2) AK-130 130 mm naval guns
  • 4 × 30 mm AK-630 CIWS
  • Missiles
  • 8 (2 × 4) (SS-N-22 'Sunburn') anti-ship missiles
  • 48 (2 × 24) SA-N-7 'Gadfly' surface-to-air missiles
  • Anti-submarine:
  • 2 × 2 533 mm torpedo tubes
  • 2 × 6 RBU-1000 300 mm anti-submarine rocket launchers
Aircraft carriedKa-27 series helicopter
Aviation facilitiesHelipad

The Sovremenny class, Soviet designation Project 956 Sarych (buzzard), is a class of anti-ship and anti-aircraft guided missile destroyers of the Soviet and later Russian Navy. The ships are named after qualities, with "Sovremenny" translating as "modern" or "contemporary". Most of the ships have been retired from active service and one converted into a museum ship in 2018; as of 2021 three remain in commission with the Russian Navy with several in overhaul. Four modified ships were delivered to the People's Liberation Army Navy, and remain in service.

The Sovremenny class are guided missile destroyers, primarily tasked with anti-ship warfare, while also providing sea and air defense for warships and transports under escort. The class was designed to complement the Udaloy-class destroyers, which were fitted primarily for anti-submarine operations.


Sovremenny-class destroyer Osmotritelny

The project began in the late 1960s when it was becoming obvious in the Soviet Navy that naval guns still had an important role particularly in support of amphibious landings, but existing gun cruisers and destroyers were showing their age. A new design was started, employing a new 130 mm automatic gun turret. Single and twin mounts were developed, and the twin mount chosen for its superior rate of fire. In 1971 a go-ahead was given for the Severnaya design bureau to design "a ship capable of supporting amphibious landings".[1] At the same time, the United States Navy was constructing new large Spruance-class multi-role destroyers. To respond to this new threat, Project 956 was updated with new air defence suite and new, powerful 3M80 anti-ship missiles. Although the Soviet Navy had largely moved to gas turbine propulsion for its new warships, steam turbines were selected instead for Project 956: partly because production of naval gas turbines would have been insufficient for entire program. Lead ship of the class, Sovremenny was laid down in 1976 and commissioned in 1980. A total of 17 were built for the Russian Navy, but currently only six remain in service due to lack of funds and trained personnel. Additionally two ships are ongoing modernization and overhaul and two are laid-up in reserve (the table lists three in service, two in reserve, one being overhauled, and 11 decommissioned + four Chinese). All the ships were built by Severnaya Verf 190 in St. Petersburg.

These ships have a maximum displacement of 7,940 tons. The ships are 156 metres (511 ft 10 in) in length, with a beam of 17.3 metres (56 ft 9 in) and a draught of 6.5 metres (21 ft 4 in). They are armed with an anti-submarine helicopter, 48 air defence missiles, eight anti-ship missiles, torpedoes, mines, long-range guns and a sophisticated electronic warfare system.

There are a total of three versions of this class: the original Project 956 armed with the 3M80 version of the Moskit anti-ship missile, and its successor, the Project 956A, which is armed with the improved 3M80M version of the Moskit with longer range. The main difference between the two is that the missile launching tubes on Project 956A are longer than that of Project 956 to accommodate the increased size of the newer missile, and these launching tubes can be used to fire / store the original 3M80 as well. A third version, Project 956EM, later developed for the People's Liberation Army Navy Surface Force was the latest development of this class. Chinese media called the ship "carrier killer".


Command and control[edit]

The ship's combat systems can use target designation data from the ship's active and passive sensors, from other ships in the fleet, from surveillance aircraft or via a communications link from the ship's helicopter. The multi-channel defence suite is capable of striking several targets simultaneously.


Midships view.

The ship is outfitted with the Raduga Moskit anti-ship missile system with two four-cell launchers installed port and starboard of the forward island and set at an angle about 15°. The ship carries a total of eight Moskit 3M80E missiles, NATO designation SS-N-22 Sunburn. The missile is sea-skimming with a velocity of Mach 2.5, armed with a 300-kilogram (660 lb) high-explosive or a nuclear 200 kt warhead. The range is from 10 to 120 kilometres (6.2 to 74.6 mi). The launch weight is 4,000 kg (8,800 lb).

Two Shtil surface-to-air missile systems are installed, each on the raised deck behind the twin-barrelled 130 mm guns. Shtil is the export name of the SA-N-7, NATO reporting name Gadfly. (From the 9th ship onwards, same launcher is used for SA-17 Grizzly/SA-N-12 Yezh.) The system uses the ship's three-dimensional circular scan radar for target tracking. Up to three missiles can be aimed simultaneously. The range is up to 25 km (16 mi) against targets with speeds up to 830 metres per second (2,700 ft/s). The ship carries 48 Shtil missiles.


Bow view.

The ship's 130-millimetre (5.1 in) guns are the AK-130-MR-184.[2] The system includes a computer control system with electronic and television sighting. The gun can be operated in fully automatic mode from the radar control system, under autonomous control using the turret mounted Kondensor optical sighting system and can also be laid manually. Rate of fire is disputed, but various Russian sources credit the weapon with a cyclic rate of 30–40 rounds per minute per barrel, in line with the French Creusot-Loire 100 mm or the Italian OTO Melara 127 mm/54, but faster than the US Mark 45.

The ship has four six-barreled 30 mm AK-630 auto-cannon systems. The maximum rate of fire is 5,000 rounds/min. Range is up to 4,000 m for low flying anti-ship missiles and 5,000 m for light surface targets. The gun is outfitted with radar and television detection and tracking. The latest Sovremennys carry the Kashtan CIWS system instead of AK-630.

Anti-submarine systems[edit]

Helicopter pad.

The destroyers have two double 533 mm (21 in) torpedo tubes and two six-barrel RBU-1000 anti-submarine rocket launchers, with 48 rockets.[2] Range is 1,000 metres (1,100 yd). The rocket is armed with a 55 kg (121 lb) warhead.


The ship's helicopter pad and telescopic hangar accommodates one Kamov Ka-27 anti-submarine warfare helicopter, NATO codename Helix. The helicopter can operate in conditions up to Sea State 5 and up to 200 km (120 mi) from the host ship.


The Project 956 destroyer is fitted with an electronic countermeasures system and carries a store of 200 rockets for the two decoy dispensers, model PK-2.



Sovremenny-class destroyer Bezuderzhny underway.

The complete sensor suite and ECM comprises: 3D radar 'Top Steer', replaced later with 'Top Plate' (MR-760), 230 km range vs fighters and 50 km vs missiles and a total of 40 targets can be simultaneously tracked; Mineral system ('Band Stand') to allow the SS-N 22 guidance; 3 navigation and surface control radar MR-201 e 212; 2 'Bass Tilt' (MR-123) for CIWS; 6 'Front Dome'(MR-90) radar for SA-N-7 guidance (a very large arrangement to assure an effective defense against saturation attacks), linked with 3D radar and two SAM launcher (5 missile min each); 1 'Kite Screech' radar for 130 mm (MR-184 Lev). ECM and ESM are many: 2 ESM MR-410 or MP-405; 2 ECM MRP-11M or 12M ('Bell Shroud'), 2 'Bell Squat', 4 'Football B' and one MR-407; 2 PK-2M rocket launchers (140 mm), and 8 PK-10 (120 mm), 2–8 laser warning receiver systems Spektr-F, one Squeeze Box (TV, laser and IR system).


Medium and high frequencies (M/HF) MGK-355 Platina integrated sonar system with NATO reporting name Bull Horn, including the MG-335 hull mounted array. Type 956 originally only carries the hull mounted array because the ASW gear of this class is primarily for self-defense. For Type 956A, an improved MGK-355MS Platina is carried, which include hull mounted array, VDS, and towed array, with NATO reporting names Bull Nose / Mare Tail / Steer Hide respectively. It is reported that Type 956EM equipped with the successor of MGK-355/355MS, the MGK-355TA integrated sonar system which includes both the hull mounted and towed arrays (with NATO reporting name Horse Jaw & Horse Tail respectively).


The ship's propulsion system is based on two steam turbine engines each producing 37,000 kW (50,000 hp) together with four high-pressure boilers. There are two fixed-pitch propellers. The ship's maximum speed is just under 33 knots (61 km/h; 38 mph). At a fuel-economic speed of 18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph) the range is 3,920 nautical miles (7,260 km; 4,510 mi). Several ships of this class suffered from problems regarding their propulsion system that were so severe that they had to be retired.[3]

PLAN variants[edit]

The Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy Surface Force (PLAN) had two modified Sovremenny-class destroyers delivered in December 1999 and November 2000, designated as Project 956E,[4]with improved electronic gears.[4]In 2002, the PLAN ordered two improved versions designated Project 956EM. The first vessel was launched in late 2005, while the second was launched in 2006. All four vessels were commissioned to the East Sea Fleet.

On the improved Project Project 956EM the aft AK-130 main gun was removed. The four AK-630 CIWS were replaced by two sets of Kashtan CIWS short-range air defence gun/missile systems. Each Kashtan system comprises a 3R86E1 command module and two 3R87E combat modules. Each 3R87E combat module has two 30 mm GSh-30k six-barrel automatic guns (range 0.5–4 km (0.31–2.49 mi)) and two SA-N-11 air defence missiles. The missile is armed with a 9 kg (20 lb) warhead and has a range of 1.5–8 km (0.93–4.97 mi). This improved 956EM version is also the first to be armed with the newer version of SS-N-22, which is reported to have a designation of 3-M80MBE and possibly funded by China (according to Russian sources), and the new missile differs from the older ones mainly in that the range is increased from 120 km (75 mi) to 200 km (120 mi). The air defense software is upgraded to accommodate the newer SA-N-12/SA-17 SAM system, but since China had already joined Russia in developing an even newer successor, it is not clear if SA-N-12/SA-17 has entered Chinese service in large numbers.

In 2006, the extra spheres (painted white as the mid-2006) added atop of the superstructures of the Chinese ships appearing in latest photographs of the Chinese units have shown that these Chinese ships had been upgraded with the domestic HN-900 Data link (Chinese equivalent of Link 11A/B, to be upgraded) and SATCOM (probably the SNTI-240).

From mid-2014, all four Chinese Sovremenny-class destroyers are planned to undergo a midlife upgrade program. As of 2016, Hangzhou was reported to be undergoing refit with its original components replaced with domestic systems. In addition to replacement of electronics and sensors, armament upgrades include replacing 2x4 3M80E Moskit anti-ship missiles with 2x4 YJ-12A supersonic missiles and swapping two launchers for 48 SA-N-12 SAMs with 4 sets of 8-cell vertical launch systems totaling 32 cells for HQ-16C or Yu-8 anti-submarine missiles.[5][6]

  • Project cost: 600 million US$ (mid-1990s price) was the price paid for Project 956A (two ships), and 1.4 billion US$ (early-2000s price) for Project 956EM (two ships).[7][8]


Nastoychivy underway in the Baltic Sea off the coast of Ventspils, Latvia (2005).
Overhead view of Stoyky.
Name Namesake Laid down Launched Commissioned Fleet Status
 Russian Navy
Sovremenny Modern 3 March 1976 18 November 1978 25 December 1980 Northern Decommissioned in 1998
Otchayanny Reckless 1 March 1977 29 March 1980 30 September 1982 Decommissioned in 1998
Otlichny Excellent 22 April 1978 21 March 1981 30 September 1983 Decommissioned in 1998
Osmotritelny Circumspect 27 October 1978 24 April 1982 30 September 1984 Pacific Decommissioned in 1998
Bezuprechny Impeccable 29 January 1981 25 July 1983 6 November 1985 Northern Decommissioned in 2001
Boyevoy Militant 26 March 1982 4 August 1984 28 September 1986 Pacific Decommissioned in 2010
Stoyky Steadfast 28 September 1982 27 July 1985 31 December 1986 Decommissioned in 1998
Okrylyonny Winged 16 April 1983 31 May 1986 30 December 1987 Northern Decommissioned in 1998
Burny Impetuous 4 November 1983 30 December 1986 30 September 1988 Pacific Undergoing prolonged overhaul still underway as of 2019[9][10]
Thunderous 23 November 1984 30 May 1987 30 December 1988 Northern Decommissioned in 2006
Bystry Quick 29 October 1985 28 November 1987 30 September 1989 Pacific Decommissioned in 2022[11]
Rastoropny Prompt 15 August 1986 4 June 1988 30 December 1989 Northern Decommissioned in 2012
Bezboyaznenny Fearless 8 January 1987 18 February 1989 28 December 1990 Pacific Decommissioned in 2016
Thunderous 24 February 1987 30 September 1989 25 June 1991 Northern Decommissioned in 2013
Bespokoyny Restless 18 April 1987 9 June 1990 28 December 1991 Baltic Decommissioned in 2018, museum ship in Kronstadt[12]
(ex-Moskovsky Komsomolets)
Persistent 7 April 1988 19 January 1991 30 December 1992 Undergoing overhaul[13]
Admiral Ushakov
Fyodor Ushakov
6 May 1988 28 December 1991 30 December 1993 Northern Active[14]
 People's Liberation Army Navy
City of Hangzhou 4 November 1988 27 May 1994 25 December 1999 East Sea Active
City of Fuzhou 22 April 1989 16 April 1999 20 November 2000 Active
City of Taizhou, Jiangsu 3 July 2002 27 April 2004 28 December 2005 Active
City of Ningbo 15 November 2002 23 July 2004 27 September 2006 Active

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "956 Sovremenny class". Archived from the original on 23 April 2016. Retrieved 28 December 2011.
  2. ^ a b "Sovremenny Class - Project 956". Federation of American Scientists. Archived from the original on 23 March 2016.
  3. ^ "Sovremenny Class – Project 956". Archived from the original on 21 June 2007. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  4. ^ a b "Project 956E". Retrieved 14 December 2021.
  5. ^ "China's PLAN Upgrading its Project 956E Destroyers with VLS and YJ-12A Anti-Ship Missiles". Navy Recognition. 15 April 2016. Archived from the original on 19 April 2016. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  6. ^ Lin, Jeffrey; Singer, P.W. (29 April 2016). "China Refits Older Warships for a Bigger Punch". Popular Science. Archived from the original on 2 September 2017. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  7. ^ Novichkov, Nikolai; Chang, Yihong; Scott, Richard (8 January 2002). "China buys two more Project 956EM ships". Jane's Defence Weekly. Archived from the original on 6 February 2002.
  8. ^ "Project 956 (Sovremenny Class) Missile Destroyer". SinoDefence. Archived from the original on 22 August 2006. Retrieved 22 August 2006.
  9. ^ В Санкт-Петербурге восстановят энергетическую установку эсминца "Бурный" [The power plant of the "Burnyy" destroyer will be restored in St. Petersburg]. FlotProm (in Russian). 18 February 2013. Archived from the original on 28 September 2017. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  10. ^ Nielsen, Anders Puck (8 February 2019). "Russia has found money to repair the flagship of the Baltic Fleet". Romeo Squared.
  11. ^ "Боевые корабли основных классов ВМФ России на 01.02.2022". (in Russian). 1 February 2022.
  12. ^ В Кронштадте открыли крупнейший в России корабль-музей "Беспокойный" [Russia's largest museum ship "Bespokoynyy" was opened in Kronstadt]. RIA Novosti (in Russian). 27 July 2018. Archived from the original on 11 May 2019. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  13. ^ "Эсминец Балтийского флота "Настойчивый" в 2019 году встанет на плановый ремонт" [The destroyer of the Baltic Fleet "Nastoychivyy" scheduled for repairs in 2019]. Russian Ministry of Defence (in Russian). 5 February 2019. Archived from the original on 7 February 2019. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  14. ^ "В этом году в состав сил постоянной готовности.. | ВМФ РОССИИ - МЫ НЕСЁМ АНДРЕЕВСКИЙ ФЛАГ | VK".

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