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Russian Navy

Project 1144.2 Orlan
Kirov class
Guided Missile Cruiser (Nuclear Powered)

The Russian Kirov Class Heavy Missile Cruise Ship are the world's largest 'cruisers' and might best be termed "battle cruisers". Originally designed as a large antisubmarine warship to search for and engage enemy ballistic missile submarines, the Kirovís role was expanded to engage large surface targets and provide air and antisubmarine protection to naval forces after the introduction of the Granit antiship missile system. There are substantial differences in the equipment of each unit of this class.

The ship is armed with the Granit long range anti-ship missile system, known in the West as the Shipwreck missile. Twenty Granit antiship missiles are installed under the upper deck, mounted at a 60 degree elevation. The long-range missiles cannot be controlled once launched, but do have a multivariant target engagement program. When ripple-fired the missiles share information while in-flight. The lead missile assumes a high-level flight trajectory enabling it to increase its target acquisition capacity, while the other missiles follow at a lower level. If the lead missile is destroyed, one of the other missiles will automatically assume the lead role.

An S-300F Air Defence Missile Complex is installed on the ship, with 12 launchers and 96 vertical launch air defence missiles. The S-300F is capable of engaging both air and surface targets. The ship has two Osa-Ma double launchers and 40 air defence missiles. The ship is also fitted with a 130 mm AK-130 multipurpose two barrel gun. The ship's 30 mm artillery system is the AK-630 used to engage airborne targets including sea skimming anti-ship missiles, small sea vessels, floating mines and light armoured land based targets. The ship accommodates three Kamov Ka-27PL or Ka-25RT helicopters. The ship has ten missile or torpedo tubes with 20 Vodopad-NK anti-submarine missiles or torpedoes. The ship has two anti-submarine and anti-torpedo rocket systems, the Udav-1 with 40 anti-submarine rockets and the RBU-1000. The ship has two RBU-1000 six-tube anti-submarine rocket launchers, with 102 rockets.

The ship's propulsion system is based on a combination of nuclear power and steam turbine, with two [four according to some sources] nuclear reactors and two auxiliary boilers. The propulsion system provides a full speed of 31 knots. When operating on the auxiliary boilers the ship's speed is 14 knots and the ship has an endurance of 60 days. The selection of the machinery was determined by the role of the cruiser and its assigned missions. The automated main nuclear machinery comprises two reactors (to produce steam for operation), two main geared-turbine units developing 70,000 hp each (to ensure full cruiser speed of at least 30 knots) and two stand-by steam boilers of 115 t/h capacity. The stand-by steam boilers provide for development of 17 knots with nuclear reactors shut-off and ensure an operation range of up to 1,000 miles with shipborne fuel. The main machinery is arranged in three compartments: one compartment houses two nuclear reactors, the two others house geared-turbine units and steam boilers, respectively.

Reports circulating in the West in the late 1970s that the class [known at the time as the Sovietsky Soyuz class] was intended to consist of 12 units ultimately proved incorrect.

Budget cuts at the end of the Cold War led to discontinuing the construction of a fifth unit of the Kirov class. At the end of 1997 only the Admiral Nakhimov remained operational and the Admiral Lazarev was said to be slated for disposal because of insufficient funding for needed repairs. The Admiral Ushakov, which had been inoperable since 1989-1990, was stricken in October 1998 to provide material for a refit of the other active unit of the Kirov class, the Admiral Nakhimov. However, on 14 January 1999 the Russian Duma voted the Admiral Ushakov be repaired and restored to service, using funding allocated for other construction and repair projects. The much-delayed Petr Velikiy, which arrived in the Northern Fleet in November 1996 for acceptance trials, was finally commissioned on 18 April 1998, but in the Northern Fleet rather than in the originally planned Pacific Fleet. However, she was subsequently laid up at Severomorsk awaiting completion and repairs.


Displacement (tons):
Displacement (tons): 24,300-25,860 tons standard
25,396-26,396 tons full load
Speed (kts): 32 knots
Dimensions (m): 251.2-252 meters long
28.5 meters beam
9.0-10.33 meters draft
Propulsion: 2 nuclear reactors
4 x 70,000 steam turbines
2 shafts driving 5 bladed props
turbogenerators: 4x3000 kW; GT generators:
Crew: 727 (aircrew 15)
  • 20 Granit (SS-N-19) ADGM S-300F 12 launchers, 96 missiles)
  • 2x2 SA OSA-MA   Total:40
  • ADGM  Kashtan Total: 192 missiles  (24000 cartiges)
  • 10 Vodopad-NK  (SS-N-16) (total: 20)
  • Guns:
  • 2  AK-130 DP  (130 mm; R: 28'800 m, 840 rounds)
  • 8 x 6 AK-630 gattl. AA (6x30 mm; 6'000 rds/m/mount, 48000 rounds)
  • Electronics: Combat information centre
    Radio communications system
    Satellite communications system
    Anti-ship missile firing control
    RBU-1000 and Udav fire control system
    Surveillance radar system
    Low flying and surface target acquisition radar
    2 Air defence missile system fire-control radar
    4 Fire control radar for 30 mm air defence gun
    2 Navigation radars
    Active and passive sonar system
    Electronic countermeasures system
    Decoy dispensers
    2 x PK-2 with 400 rockets
    Other: 1 x 10 RBU-1000 ASW RL (R: 6'000 m, total: 102)
    2 x 6 RBU-Udav-1 ASW RL (R: 1'200 m, total: 40)
    3 /Helicopters KA-27

    Class Listing

    #numberName Laid Down Launched Comm. Stricken
    1Admiral UshakovSY 189NOR03/27/197412/27/197712/30/1980(ex-Kirov)
    1990 nuclear accident, inactive since
    1999 started overhaul
    may return to full service
    2Admiral LazarevSY 189NOR07/27/197805/26/8110/31/1984(ex-Frunze)
    1990 laid up at Severomorsk
    inactive from mid-1990s
    to be scrapped
    3Admiral NakimovSY 189PAC05/17/198304/24/198612/30/1988(ex-Kalinin)
    1994 refitted
    Jan 1997 last time at sea
    1999 towed to Severodvinsk for refuelling
    4Peter VelikiySY 189NOR04/25/198604/25/198904/18/1998 1995 sea trials
    10/27/96 turbine explosion (5 crew killed)
    1998 sea trials
    1999 laid up at Severomorsk
    5KuznetzovSY 1891992 scrapped

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    Maintained by Robert Sherman

    Updated Thursday, September 07, 2000 7:00:00 AM