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SOVIET/RUSSIAN NAVY (USSR/RUSSIA)

AIRCRAFT CARRYING SHIPS

BAKU heavy aircraft carrying cruiser (project 1143.4) (1987)

Admiral Flota Sovetskogo Soyuza Gorshkov 2000

Name No Yard No Builder Laid down Launched Comm Fate
Баку [Baku], 10/1990- Адмирал Флота Советского Союза Горшков [Admiral Flota Sovetskogo Soyuza Gorshkov]   104 Black Sea Yd, Nikolayev 17/2/1978 1/4/1982 11/12/1987 to India 3/2004 (विक्रमादित्य [Vikramaditya])

 

Displacement standard, t

33440

Displacement full, t

44490

Length, m

273.1

Breadth, m

31.0 wl 51.9 fd

Draught, m

9.42

No of shafts

4

Machinery

4 sets GTZA-674 geared steam turbines, 8 KVN-98/64 boilers

Power, h. p.

180000

Max speed, kts

30.7

Fuel, t

oil

Endurance, nm(kts)

7160(18)

Armament

6 x 2 Bazalt SSM (12 P-500(4K80)), 4 x 6 Kinzhal SAM (192 9M330), 2 x 1 - 100/59 AK-100, 8 x 6 - 30/54 AK-630M, 2 x 10 RBU-12000 Udav-1M ASWRL, 34 aircraft (Yak-38M attackers, Ka-27, Ka-27PS helicopters)

Electronic equipment

Mars-Passat radar suite, MR-700M Fregat-M1, 2x MR-350 Podkat, Volga, MR-212 Vaygach-1143, Argon-1143, 4x 3R-95, MR-145 Lev-218-100, 4x MR-123 Vympel-A, Rezistor-K4, Tur, Gazon radars, MP-502 Kantata-M, MP-407 Start-2 ECM suites, MG-355 Polinom sonar, 4x PK-2 decoy RLs, MVU-410 Lesorub-434 CCS

Complement

2045

Aircraft facilities (fd - 11,000 m², ha - 2,925 m² / 19,305 m³): Flight deck: 273.1 x 51.3m. Hangar: 130.0 x 22.5 x 6.60 m. There are 2 centreline elevators (30t fwd (18.9x10m) and 20t aft (18.9x4.8m)). Aircraft fuel stowage: 1500 t of jet fuel.

Year attackers helicopters
1990 12 Yak-38M 16 Ka-27, 2 Ka-27PS, 2 Ka-25Ts

Ship project history: The TTZ for this class was approved on 16 October 1968. They were designed by TsKB-17. Chronology suggests strongly that the Kievs were associated with the Project 667B strategic submarines, which for the first time could fire from 'holding areas' which the Soviets could hope to control, such as the Norwegian Sea north of the GIUK Gap. It can be argued that the massive batteries of these ships were ideally suited to denying passage to NATO ASW forces, be they aircraft (which could be opposed by the Yak-38 fighter), surface ships (against which Kiev could release Bazalt cruise missiles), and submarines (against which she had a variety of weapons including her helicopters). As in the case of Moskva, this was hardly a traditional Western-type carrier function. Note, however, that the Yak-38 was observed primarily carrying ground-attack weapons, and appeared not to have any air intercept radar. If it was indeed intended to oppose NATO maritime patrol aircraft, especially the P-3, presumably it depended heavily on control by the ship; this would be in accord with standard Soviet fighter-control doctrine. In this context it was suggestive that the Yak-38 had an even design number, since the Soviets reportedly assigned odd numbers to fighters (eg MiG-21, -23, -25) and even ones to attack aircraft (eg Su-22).

    Certainly among the most spectacular Soviet ships, these large cruisers or semi-cruisers combined the Moskva weapon system with the first reloadable SSM system since Project 58, and with the Osa-M point defence missile system. More importantly, to many analysts, they operated Yak-38 VTOL fighters. It was difficult to divine the relative priorities of these systems: certainly the deep magazine for Bazalt missiles took up a lot of space and even length. Unlike other Soviet ASW ships of their period, they did not have the Metel' torpedo-carrying stand-off missile, although they did have the Vyuga nuclear ASW system, and the helicopters could drop torpedoes, and some writers suggested that the Kievs were intended to support Soviet amphibious operations. That seems unhkely; it is more probable that they were intended to support Soviet ballistic missile submarines by helping to bar NATO access to SSBN 'holding areas' in wartime. In such a role their large hulls improve sea-keeping, and their three-dimensional armament would have allowed them to oppose penetration of their patrol areas by NATO ASW aircraft, surface ships or submarines. However, it should be noted that the second ship to be completed, Minsk, went to the Pacific Fleet in mid-1979 instead of supplementing the Kiev in Northern Fleet. Moreover, only four ships were built, which hardly seemed sufficient to block the GIUK Gap.

    A recent Soviet account suggests that Kiev was conceived as a lengthened Moskva, with additional helicopters. This enlargement could not overcome the basic defects of the design, and it had to be extensively rethought. The original ship had four helicopter take-off spots, and the new one was intended to have six. However, a seventh was needed for an alert search and rescue helicopter. There was no space for sufficient spots abaft the island, so they were lined up to form the characteristic angled through deck of the Kiev class. The larger ship could accommodate the additional armament which had been desired for the Moskva class. The powerplant was simply two Moskva plants. According to this account, the ship was not conceived as a carrier. Her anti-ship missiles were added in the draft design stage, the concept design stage during which detailed trade-offs are worked out. The fixed-wing air group was only decided upon about 1968, the Yak-36 VTOL prototype having interested naval personnel after its 1967 debut. A Yak-38 flew from Moskva for the first time on 18 November 1972.

    The Novorossiysk design (Project 11433) was modified to provide for 50% more aircraft, as well as a new sonar and new electronic warfare equipment. She lacked Osa-M SAM, and instead was fitted to take the successor Kinzhal SAM (six VLS abaft the island and six forward to port), but due to lacking of that SAM in time of completion of the ship Novorossiysk came to service and served without point defence SAM. Also she would carry Yak-41 supersonic VTOL fighters, but she never received them.

    The fourth ship, Baku (later renamed Admiral Flota Sovetskogo Soyuza Gorshkov, Project 11434) was again modified. She had a new phased-array radar, a new fighter control system and more anti-ship missile launchers (twelve, to provide a larger salvo; but there were no reloads). She had Kinzhal vertically-launched point defence missiles in place of the earlier Osa, but she lacked the medium-range SAM of the earlier ships. The 76mm dual-purpose guns were replaced by 100mm weapons. The earlier RBU-6000 system was replaced by a pair of new RBU-12000 anti-torpedo systems. The forward gun sponson before the angled deck was eliminated, and the superstructure frame made 'more dignified'. In effect the fourth ship introduced the electronic suite later used in the full carrier Kuznetsov. The mass of new systems took quite some time to install, and the ship's construction was quite protracted.

By late 1991 all surviving Yak-38 Forgers were out of service, considered either too worn out or too dangerous for use. The projected successor, the supersonic Yak-41, had fallen victim to the Soviet economic collapse and seemed unlikely ever to enter production (the Yak design bureau had failed to find any foreign sponsors). One of the two flying prototypes had crashed.

Ship protection: Underwater protection consists of 3 longitudinal bulkheads (2nd bulkhead is armoured). Aviation fuel tanks and magazines have box protection.

Modernizations: None.

Naval service: In 2004 Admiral Flota Sovetskogo Soyuza Gorshkov was sold to India and in 2004-2013 was rebuilt in Severodvinsk to pure aircraft carrier armed only with point-defence SAM and CIWS.

Baku 1989

 

© Ivan Gogin, 2016