Sverdlov-class cruiser

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Sverdlov-class cruiser Admiral Ushakov in 1981
Class overview
Name: Sverdlov class
Preceded by: Chapayev class
Succeeded by: Kynda class
Planned: 30
Completed: 14
Cancelled: 16
Retired: 12
Preserved: 1 (Mikhail Kutuzov)
General characteristics
Type: Cruiser
  • 13,600 tons standard,
  • 16,640 tons full load
  • 210 m (689 ft 0 in) overall
  • 205 m (672 ft 7 in) waterline
Beam: 22 m (72 ft 2 in)
Draught: 6.9 m (22 ft 8 in)
Installed power: 6 boilers, 118,100 hp (88,100 kW)
Propulsion: 2 shaft geared steam turbines
Speed: 32.5 knots (60.2 km/h; 37.4 mph)
Range: 9,000 nautical miles (17,000 km; 10,000 mi) at 18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph)
Complement: 1,250
  • 12 × 152 mm (6 in)/57 cal B-38 guns in four triple Mk5-bis turrets
  • 12 × 100 mm (3.9 in)/56 cal Model 1934 guns in 6 twin SM-5-1 mounts
  • 32 × 37 mm (1.5 in) anti-aircraft guns
  • 10 × 533 mm (21 in) torpedo tubes

The Sverdlov-class cruisers, Soviet designation Project 68bis, were the last conventional cruisers built for the Soviet Navy, in the 1950s. They were based on Italian pre-Second World War concepts and designs, but modified to be more seaworthy and able to run fast in the rough waters of the North Atlantic. They also carried an extensive suite of radar gear and anti-aircraft artillery in keeping with other post-war designs.

The Soviets originally planned to build 40 of the class, which would be supported by the Stalingrad-class battlecruisers and aircraft carriers. This represented a significant risk to the Royal Navy, especially in the North Atlantic. They responded by introducing the Blackburn Buccaneer, a strike aircraft that had the performance to attack the Sverdlovs with impunity. When the building program was cut back and the battlecruisers and carriers were cancelled, the Sverdlovs were left dangerously unprotected outside the cover of land-based aircraft. Operating on their own as commerce raiders they would be extremely vulnerable.

Construction was cancelled by Nikita Khrushchev in 1954 after 14 examples had been completed. Two additional hulls were scrapped on the slip and four partially complete Sverdlovs launched in 1954 but were scrapped in 1959. The remaining fleet remained in service through the 1970s when the underwent a limited modernization program, before finally leaving service in the late 1980s.

Only Mikhail Kutuzov is preserved, in Novorossiysk.


These ships were improved and slightly enlarged versions of the Chapayev class. They had the same main armament, machinery and side protection as the earlier ships, but had increased fuel capacity for greater range, an all welded hull, improved underwater protection, increased anti aircraft artillery and radar.

The ultimate radar suite was:

  • 1x 'Big Net' or 'Top Trough' air search radar
  • 1x 'High Sieve' or 'Low Sieve' air search radar
  • 1x 'Knife Rest' air search radar*
  • 1x 'Slim Net' air search radar
  • 1x 'Don-2' or 'Neptune' navigational radar
  • 2x 'Sun Visor' gun fire control radars
  • 2x 'Top Bow' 152mm gun fire control radars
  • 8x 'Egg Cup' gun fire control radars
  • 2x 'Watch Dog' ECM systems

Admiral Nakhimov had an SS-N-1 anti-ship missile launcher installed in place of "A" and "B" turrets as a trial in 1957. This installation was not successful, the ship was rapidly decommissioned and was used as a target ship in 1961.

Dzerzhinsky had a SAM launcher for the SA-2 missile, replacing the aft turrets in 1960-62. This conversion was also not successful and no further ships were converted. As the entire missile installation was above the armoured deck and the missile itself, based on the SA-2 "Guideline" was liquid-fueled (acid/kerosene), it would have represented a serious hazard to the ship in action.

Senyavin and Zhdanov were converted into command ships in 1971 by replacing the aft turrets with extra accommodation and electronics. The two command ships were fitted with a helicopter deck and hangar together with a SA-N-4 SAM missile system and 4 twin 30 mm guns.


built by Baltic Yard, Leningrad -
laid down 1949, launched 5 July 1950, completed 15 May 1952,
On 14.2.78 she was relegated to the reserve and stationed at Liepaya. On 30 May 1989 she was decommissioned, and in 1990 towed to Kronshtadt. In early 1991 she was sold to an Indian company for scrap, and in October 1993 towed to India and scrapped.[1]
built in Nikolayev,
laid down 1948, launched 31 August 1950, completed 18 August 1952,
On 19 February 1980 she was relegated to the reserve and stationed in Sevastopol; 12.10.88 decommissioned; 1988-1989 scrapped in Inkerman.[1]
built by Admiralty Yard Leningrad,
laid down 1949, launched 17 September 1950, completed 30 June 1952;
sold to the TNI-AL (Indonesian Navy) in 1962, recommissioned as KRI Irian in 1963; sold for scrap to Taiwan in 1972. British frogman Lionel Crabb disappeared in 1956 when secretly inspecting this ship for MI6 when it was docked in Portsmouth Harbour.
built by Baltic yard, Leningrad -
laid down 1950, launched 27 December 1950, completed 31 December 1951,
Converted into a command ship with X turret removed and replaced by office space and extra electronics added, Scrapped 1991
Zhdanov after conversion to a command cruiser
  • Aleksandr Nevsky (Александр Невский) - named after Alexander Nevsky
built by Admiralty yard Leningrad,
laid down 1950, launched 7 June 1951, completed 31 December 1952, Scrapped 1989
Aleksandr Nevsky.
  • Admiral Nakhimov (Адмирал Нахимов) - named after Admiral Pavel Nakhimov
built in Nikolayev, laid down 1950, launched 29 June 1951, completed 27 March 1953,
rearmed as a guided missile trials ship in late 1950s, Target ship 1961
built by Baltic yard, Leningrad -
laid down 1950, launched 29 September 1951, completed 8 September 1953,
Scrapped 1987
built by Admiralty yard Leningrad,
laid down 1951, launched 29 June 1952, completed 30 December 1952,
Scrapped 1986
  • Aleksandr Suvorov (Александр Суворов) - named after Alexander Suvorov
built by Baltic yard, Leningrad -
laid down 1951, launched 15 May 1952, completed 31 December 1953,
Scrapped 1990
  • Admiral Senyavin (Адмирал Сенявин) - named after Dmitry Senyavin
built by Baltic yard, Leningrad -
laid down 1951, launched 25 June 1953, completed 31 December 1953,
Converted into a command ship with after turrets removed and replaced by helicopter hangar and office space, Scrapped 1991
  • Dmitry Pozharsky (Дмитрий Пожарский) - named after patriot Dmitry Pozharsky
built by Baltic yard, Leningrad -
laid down 1952, launched 25 June 1953, completed 31 December 1954,
Scrapped 1987
  • Oktyabrskaya Revolyutsia (Октябрьская Революция) - named after the October Revolution
built by Severodvinsk -
laid down 1952, launched 25 May 1954, completed 30 November 1954,
Scrapped 1987
built by Severodvinsk -
laid down 1953, launched 24 April 1955, completed 22 September 1955,

Decommissioned late 1980s. She ran aground in December 1994 at Hasvik, Norway on her way to India for scrapping

The Mikhail Kutuzov
built in Nikolayev,
laid down 1951, launched 29 November 1952, Completed 1954,
Museum ship at Novorossiysk

Five more ships were scrapped incomplete.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Michael Holm, Sverdlov class, accessed May 2014.

External links[edit]