The Russian Navy Fleet Analysis 2021

  • The Admiral Nakhimov submarine is the first one to be equipped with the Zircon hypersonic missile.
  • These ships are extremely valuable to Russia as they are capable of operating in the Arctic.
  • The electronics will be upgraded to the new Russian made systems, which will allow better tracking and awareness capabilities.

The big changes of the Russian Navy fleet have been announced. In the 2022, the heavy nuclear-powered missile cruiser Admiral Nakhimov will replace Peter the Great as the flagship. The Admiral Nakhimov is part of the Russian project 1144 Orlan.

The Russian submarine Peter the Great.

The project 114 Orlan entails the largest warships, which  started during the Soviet Era.

The Admiral Nakhimov includes 20 launchers of the anti ship missiles  (Granit),  the anti-aircraft missile systems (OSA-M), long-range S-300F “Fort”, anti-submarine missile torpedoes “Metel” and “Waterfall”, jet bombs and an automatic double-barreled gun AK-130. It is undergoing the final steps of the modernization.

Currently, the upgrades are delayed for 3 years, as the original time frame included Admiral Nakhimov entering service in the 2018.  These ships are extremely valuable to Russia as they are capable of operating in the Arctic. Russia has grandiose plans, when it comes to the Arctic region. Unfortunately, it would be terrible for the environment.

Russia has two ship of such magnitude, the Admiral Nakhimov and the  Peter the Great which is part of the Northern Fleet, which will immediately go for the  planned modernization, once the Admiral Nakhimov enters service.

The Admiral Nakhimov submarine is the first one to be equipped with the Zircon hypersonic missile. Zircon’s predecessor was the X-90-GAEL, which was designed during the Soviet Era. The first time Russia publicly acknowledged Zircon for the first time in 2016.

Zircon is supposed to be superior to the US subsonic anti-ship missiles Harpoon. Nevertheless, there are certain challenges with the hypersonic weapons technology, including the need to slow down to the 3x the speed of sound when missile is released, as the plasma cloud presents challenges for the precise target shot.

Russia claims that the challenge has been solved with the classified proprietary technology. Prior to the modernization, Admiral Nakhimov had a long-range S-300F air defense system. At present, it is being equipped with the  naval version of the more advanced S-400.

Zircon’s characteristics:

Project 210, Project 10831 or AS-31, nicknamed Losharik, is a Russian deep-diving nuclear powered submarine. On 1 July 2019, a fire broke out on the vessel while it was taking underwater measurements of the sea floor in Russian territorial waters.

-The range of the rocket is 1500 km.

-Speed of about Mach 6.

-The warhead of the ZK-22 weighs at least 200 kg.

-500 km is the radius of destruction.

Additionally, the short-range air defense system “Dirk “will be replaced with the  Pantsir-ME”. The  anti-aircraft missiles “Osa-M”- to the new system “Redoubt”.

The Admiral Nakhimov will be also armed with the anti-ship missiles P-800 “Onyx” and cruise missiles “Caliber” with a range of up to 2500 kilometers. They are expected to be launched from the vertical launchers ZS14 80 cells.

Moreover, the electronics will be upgraded to the new Russian made systems, which will allow better tracking and awareness capabilities. The electronic warfare system will also control the Ka-27M helicopters.

Furthermore, Russian Navy has been a weakest link in the Russian defense arsenal since the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1991.  However, the Russian president Vladimir Putin is allocating a lot of funding order to strengthen the Russian Navy fleet.

One of the weaknesses also included lack of the experience needed by the personnel. In the recent years, Russia suffered large losses, including the Losharik tragedy that occurred in the 2019.

Overall, it is clear Russia will continue with the modernization and the new weapons development.

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Christina Kitova

I spent most of my professional life in finance, insurance risk management litigation.

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