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Russia splashes the cash on corvettes and frigates

10th September 2020 - 11:30 GMT | by Leonid Nersisyan in Yerevan

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A series of major contracts for the Russian Navy were signed in late August during the Army 2020 exhibition near Moscow.

Two diesel-electric submarines (one each in the Project 636.3 and Project 677 classes) were ordered, while there were also deals to modernise  Project 971 nuclear-powered attack submarines and the nuclear-powered guided missile cruiser Admiral Nakhimov (pictured).

Seven out of the 13 Project 636.3 boats are already in service, while six of the more modern but problematic Project 677 submarines have been ordered. Delays and technical issues with Project 677 have been overcome but the lead boat St Petersburg never entered full operational service, being used instead as a test platform.

As for surface vessels, Russian business newspaper Vedomosti and other sources noted orders for eight Project 20380 (Steregushchiy-class) and two Project 20385 (Gremyashchy-class) corvettes, as well as two Project 22350 (Admiral Gorshkov-class) ships.

No financial details were disclosed but Shephard Defence Insight describes a typical unit cost of $128.25 million per Project 20380 ship.

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Six Project 20380 corvettes will be built at the Amur Shipbuilding Plant (Komsomolsk-on-Amur), while Severnaya Verf Shipyard (Saint Petersburg) will construct the two other Project 20380 vessels and the two Project 20385 corvettes.

Project 20385 ships are a stealth design intended for patrolling coastal waters, maritime security, anti-surface warfare, ASW and anti-air warfare, whereas the less advanced Project 20380 vessels focus on littoral protection. They are armed with Kh-35U Uran anti-ship missiles, while the Project 20385 ships are equipped with Kalibr-NK cruise missiles. 

A total of six Project 20380 corvettes have been completed to date, with work on four more in progress before the latest order. As for Project 20385, the first-in-class Gremyashchy will soon be handed over to the Russian Navy; the latest order means three more corvettes are on order.

Regarding the larger Project 22350 frigates, two ships have been handed over to the Russian Navy and eight more have been ordered. 

Leonid Nersisyan

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Leonid Nersisyan


  Leonid Nersisyan is a Shephard Media contributor, based in Yerevan, Armenia.

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