Surface Forces: September 1, 2003


Since the end of the Cold War, Russia's naval shipyards have survived by building warships for foreign customers (mainly China) and limping along trying to finish submarine projects The Russian navy could not afford to build new ships, and had very little to pay shipyards to do repairs or upgrades on existing ships. That has changed in the past few years as the naval budget has increased, and keeps increasing. Also, new leadership has scrapped a lot of older ships and made navy operations a lot more efficient. As a result, this year a new class of corvettes has begun construction. The 2,000 ton Project 20380 corvettes will be used for coastal patrol, escort and antisubmarine warfare. Twenty of these stealthy ships will be built. They will carry a helicopter and be armed with three ton Yakhont anti-ship missiles. With a range of 300 kilometers and top speed of over 2,000 kilometers an hour, the Yakhont is a recent design with anti-jamming features. The corvettes will also have 400mm (15.75 inch) antisubmarine torpedoes, sonar and radar, as well. There will be gun armament, probably smaller caliber (30-40mm), but details have been scant as Russia has kept the design of the new corvettes classified until recently. 


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