June 1, 2012: Eight years after construction began the first of a new Russian class of amphibious ships was launched last month. It will now be fitted out and delivered in 2014, a decade after construction began. Called the Ivan Gren class, after its lead ship, these vessels each displace 6,000 tons, have a crew of one hundred, and can carry 13 tanks or 36 infantry fighting vehicles or 300 infantry. Top speed is 33 kilometers per hour and max range is 6,500 kilometers (cruising at 30 kilometers an hour). Armament consists of two 18 cell 140mm rocket launchers and two 30mm automatic cannon for missile defense
Four more Grens are to be built, if the first one performs well. The first one will cost about $160 million. The Grens appear to be updates of the Alligator class LSTs, fourteen of which were built in the 1960s and 70s. Four of these 4,700 ton ships are still in service but just barely.
The Russian government has been unhappy with the performance of Russian shipyards and is buying amphibious ships from France, in part to get some French shipbuilding technology and an opportunity to show Russian shipbuilders how it should be done.