Russian Navy Ordered 3 Krivak IV Class Frigates. Is This A Set Back?

Russian Defense Ministry ordered 3 Krivak IV class frigates for the Russian Black Sea Fleet (BSF). The order came at a time where the age and the condition of the ships in BSF was creating real concerns. There has been many reports that news ships were needed for BSF. I have expressed my personal opinion of the news about the rejuvenation of the BSF previously herehereherehere and here.

The consortium of Russian shipbuilding OSK said Wednesday it has signed a contract with the Russian Ministry of Defence for the purchase of three new frigates.

The contract, signed under the control of arms in 2011, covers three Project 1135.6 frigates Krivak IV (or III Krivak Mod) to be delivered to the Russian Navy in 2016.

The shipyard Yantar (Kaliningrad) already currently building two frigates (Grigorovich Admiral, Admiral Essen) of this type on behalf of the Russian Ministry of Defense, a third(Admiral Makarov) soon to be put on hold by the end of the 2011. These three buildings, ordered in 2010 are expected to be affected by 2014 the Russian fleet in the Black Sea.

But the order for Krivak IV class (also known as Talwar class in Indian Navy) is in my opinion an important set back for the Russian Navy and Russian shipbuilding Industry.

INS Talwar, the design which Admiral Grigorovich is based on. Photo: M. Mazumdar/ Bharat-Rakshak via wikipedia.

The Krivak IV is the fourth generation of the Krivak frigate class. The first ship of this class entered into Soviet Navy in 1970. Between 1970 and 1989, 40Krivak I, II and III were build in Soviet Union. While Krivak I and II class was used by Soviet Navy KGB Border Guards were the sole operator of the Krivak III class. Today all Krivak class frigates with the exception of two still serving in BSF are decommissioned. Krivak class was the main frigate force of Soviet Union at that time. After the end of Cold War, Russian Federation started a number of frigate design programs with the intention of replacing Krivak and other light frigates such as Grisha and Koni classes.

The first result of this new generation ships was Jastreb class Neustrashimy launched in 1988 and commissioned in 1993. Jastreb class was intended for the replacement of Krivak class. Neustrashimy was followed by Gepard class, Tatarstan launched in 1993, commissioned in 2002 and Steregushchiy launched in 2006 and commissioned in 2007.

In the mean time in 1997, Indian Navy ordered three Krivak III class frigates from Russia. After the signing of the contract he Severnoye Design Bureau developed the Project 1135.6 vessel using an earlier Project 1135.1 design, which dated back to the early 1980s. The ship’s redesigned topside & hull has a considerably reduced radar cross-section. The Krivak IV class was the result of this overhauled design. The ships have modern sensors and weapons developed since the end of Cold War.

 

With out a doubt the ordered Krivak IV class ships are superior to the Krivak II class ships in service. However the ordering of Krivak IV class instead of the newer frigate designs indicates that the new designs
a)  are too complex and/or expensive to construct;
b) do not meet the operational requirements of the Russian Navy and thus are not adequate.

In either way this is not a good sign for the future of the Russian Navy and Russian shipbuilding industry.

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