Russia has laid down two Admiral Gorshkov-class (Project 22350) guided missile frigates—the future Admiral Amelko and Admiral Chichagov— at the Severnaya Verf shipyard in St. Petersburg, Russia, on April 23.
The keel-laying ceremony was attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Other dignitaries in attendance included Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, and Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov.
“I expect the planned construction schedule to be maintained,” Putin said in his prepared remarks. “This is of paramount importance for the ambitious plans to strengthen the Navy, to reliably defend Russia’s maritime borders and to protect our interests in the world’s oceans, both near and far.” The new warships are expected to be commissioned in the early 2020s.
The 5,400-ton Admiral Gorshkov-class is the largest class of surface combatants to be built by Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union. The surface combatants are multi-purpose platforms designed for anti-air, anti-surface, and anti-submarine warfare operations. The principal armament of the class consists of stand-off anti-ship and land-attack cruise missiles. As I explained previously:
The ship’s primary weapon systems for anti-surface warfare missions will be the 3M-54 Kalibr, a stand-off supersonic anti-ship cruise missile with an estimated range of 270 to 410 miles, or alternatively the P-800 Oniks over-the-horizon supersonic anti-ship missile.
The Admiral Amelko and Admiral Chichagov are the fifth and sixth ships of the class and reportedly will each be armed with 24 instead of the 16 3M-54 Kalibr missiles carried aboard the preceding Admiral Gorshkov-class frigates. Putin, in his remarks, noted that the two new warships will carry “additional strike weapons.”
The Admiral Gorshkov-class is also armed with an RPK-9 anti-submarine rocket launcher, two 3M89 Palash close-in weapon systems, and an A-192 130-millimeter naval gun, in addition to the Polimut Redut air defense missile system, which may not be entirely functional. Additionally, it carries aKa-27PL helicopter for anti-submarine warfare missions. The frigate, powered by a combined diesel and gas turbine engine, can reach top speeds of up to 30 knots.
The Russian Navy commissioned the long-delayed Admiral Gorshkov, the lead ship of the class, in July 2018. The second Admiral Gorshkov-class guided missile frigate, Admiral Kasatonov, has entered its second state of sea trials this month. Two more Project 22350 frigates, laid down in 2012 and 2013 respectively, are currently under construction and are expected to be commissioned by 2020.
While the first two Admiral Gorshkov frigates are fitted with Ukraine-made gas turbine engines (in addition to Russian 10D49 diesel engines), the remaining four ships need a Russian-made propulsion system. Russia’s defense industry has been tasked with building copies of the M90FR gas turbine engine, designed and built by Zorya-Mashproekt in Ukraine, Russia’s principal surface ship-builder during the Soviet Union.
NPO Saturn, a Russian aircraft engine manufacturer, is working on the new propulsion system. The new engine is not expected to be ready before 2020, which can delay the commissioning of the third and fourth ships of the class.