Surface Forces: Krivak Forever

October 7, 2011: Russia has ordered another three Krivak IVs frigates. These 4,000 ton ships are 125 meters (386 feet) long, carry 24 anti-aircraft and eight anti-ship missiles, four torpedo tubes, as well as a 100mm gun, close in anti-missile autocannon systems, a helicopter, and anti-submarine weapons (depth charges and missiles). The ship has a very complete set of electronics gear and a crew of 180. Krivak IVs cost over $600 million each. The first three were ordered last year, for delivery to the Black Sea fleet. The second three are to be delivered by 2016. The Basic Krivak (Burevestnik) design appeared first in the 1950s and has evolved since then.

These six new frigates are part of a program to rebuild the Russian navy. For over a century, Russia had four fleets (Northern, Pacific, Baltic and Black Sea). The latter two were virtually destroyed by the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. But now Russia is having political problems (largely caused by Russia) with Georgia and Ukraine, and could really use some additional (and modern) naval power. To a lesser extent, the same situation applies in the Baltic (where Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania harbored, and often built, many of the Soviet ships of the Baltic fleet.) Poland, while not part of the Soviet Union, was a major naval ally, as was East Germany. Thus the Baltic fleet is a fraction of what it once was, and needs rebuilding. That is expected to take a decade, at which point the new ships will have to be in place, because all the current ones will be dead of old age. For the last decade, most new ships were sent to the Northern or Pacific fleets.

 

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