Kirov class Battlecruisers (1977-90)

Kirov class Battlecruisers (1977-90)

Kirov, Frunze, Kalinin, Yuri Andropov

The Kirov class missile cruisers are a group of nuclear-powered warships that were built by the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s. They are also known as the Project 1144 Orlan class cruisers.
There were four ships built in this class, each named after a famous Russian leader. They are the Kirov (now Admiral Ushakov), Frunze (now Admiral Lazarev), Kalinin (now Pyotr Velikiy), and Yuri Andropov (now Orlan).
These cruisers were designed to be multi-purpose warships, capable of performing a variety of tasks including anti-ship and anti-aircraft warfare, as well as providing support for amphibious landings. They were heavily armed with a combination of guns, missiles, and torpedoes, and were protected by advanced armor and electronic countermeasures.
The Kirov class cruisers were also equipped with powerful nuclear reactors, which allowed them to operate for long periods of time without needing to be refueled. They were considered to be some of the most advanced and powerful warships of their time, and their design influenced many other naval vessels that came after them.

⚠ Note: This post is in writing. Completion expected in late 2023.

Russian perceptions of the cruisers

Heavy nuclear missile cruisers of project 1144 “Orlan” – a series of Soviet and Russian multi-purpose nuclear missile cruisers with guided missile weapons of the far sea and ocean zone, built at the Baltic Shipyard from 1973 to 1996: Kirov, Admiral Lazarev, Admiral Nakhimov and Peter the Great. The chief designer of the ship project is B. I. Kupensky. These are the largest and most powerful non-aircraft combat surface ships with a nuclear power plant in the world in terms of armament as part of the Russian Navy. According to NATO classification, the project is designated as English. Kirov-class battlecruiser, that is, a “battle cruiser”, due to its huge size and powerful weapons. As of 2020, only one of the four built cruisers, the Peter the Great TARKR, is in combat formation. TARKR “Admiral Nakhimov” is under repair and modernization.

The Kirov class perception on the US/NATO side

The Kirovs like the Kiev class are among the originals of the Soviet navy. Unmatched anywhere in the world, these four units are currently the most powerful surface units ever built. We can obviously oppose the air strike force of aircraft carriers, but even in this case, a Kirov was designed for massive shooting, saturation. Unlike the battleships of Jadis, missile cruisers have no active protection, except for subdivision below the waterline. Worse still, their delicate electronic equipment would succumb to even small-caliber impact. But the protection of a Kirov is above all active: Spotting, missiles for vector carriers, with two circles of protection on long and medium range, then missiles, ECM and powerful instruments of short-range jamming, for launched vectors against him.

The Kirov has all the current panoply of a missile cruiser, but on a gargantuan scale. NATO, on the fait accompli, had to note the existence of these ships for which the term “cruiser” seemed inappropriate: Immediately, most experts agreed on that of “battlecruiser”, “battle cruiser”, a category that was thought extinct since the Battle of Jutland in 1916… Indeed, the commonalities are obvious: Endowed with a very great firepower, “ship of the line”, a missing category, they have no protection, no armor, and rely on the range and variety of their arsenal to deal with all threats. Many experts have emphasized the de facto “invulnerable” nature of this naval superiority vessel.

Battlecruiser Frunze

When the second ship, Frunze, was accepted into service in 1984, the US navy, under the Reagan administration, had given up building equivalent units: She found a rather surprising compromise solution: the return to service of the four veterans of the second world war, in reserve at that moment, the class battleships Iowa. These were completely rebuilt and modernized, armed with cruise missiles and state-of-the-art equipment. This choice may seem surprising, but was considered very rational: updated to date, the Iowa have almost the panoply of a modern missile cruiser. In addition, they are fast, with armor-specific armor that is invulnerable to missiles, and above all a 40-mm 406-mm 9-piece battery, which does not fear interferences, lures, missile missiles, or even fragmentation shots. In short, the Kirov, which will ultimately be four units (with Kalinin -1988, and Yuri Andropov -1990), found their most serious antagonists…

Kalinin 1991

The Kirovs, in addition to their impressive battery of missiles, most of them silos in the front, used a mixed propulsion NVC (Nuclear and steam combined), with two nuclear reactors, a solution that the US Navy had studied a time and rejected because of its complexity. On single reactors, the Kirovs run 24 knots, 30 by combining their energy with that of the high pressure turbines. The idea of ​​nuclear-powered cruisers dates back to 1968.

The design of the Kirov was finally approved in 1971, and the first was started in 1974, followed by the other three, in the same form of the Baltic shipyards in Leningrad. The team led by Admiral Gorshkov sank on a ship design (Russian name Orlan) of 8000 tons at the most. These studies eventually led to new, more realistic standards of 20,000 tons. The Kirov and his ilk were conceived, thanks in particular to their non-standard dimensions like command buildings of the fleets, with the ad hoc equipments. One of them was to be assigned to the Baltic, another to the Northern Fleet, another to the Black Sea and the last to the Pacific Fleet.

Piotr Velikiy
Piotr Velikiy

Although not armored, these ships had a light shielding: 100 mm above the reactors, and 35 to 75 mm elsewhere. They differed between each other regarding their electronic equipment, and superstructure details. A fifth unit, the Dzerzhinsky was planned for 1995, and started in 1989, but the order was canceled and its structure started disassembled. Currently these four units are still on the lists of the Russian Navy. They are undeniably the flagship. With the fall of the USSR, these ships were renamed Admiral Ushakov, Lazarev, Nakhimov, and Petr Velikiy (Peter the Great). But their situation is hardly brilliant: The first two were temporarily removed from service for lack of fuel and maintenance. Nakhimov suffered from a reactor accident in the Mediterranean in 1990, its turbines filed, and repairs since drags.

Author’s Illustration of the Kirov class

Development history

The development of the project was entrusted to the team of the Northern Design Bureau in Leningrad, B. I. Kupensky, who had previously been the chief designer of the first domestic gas turbine EM (BOD), was appointed chief designer and head of the design team. From the Navy, the main supervisor of the design and construction of the ship from the very beginning to the final transfer to the fleet was Captain 1st Rank A. A. Savin.
From 1977 to 1996, according to project 1144, four out of seven planned heavy nuclear missile cruisers were built at the Baltic Shipyard. These ships were armed with almost all types of combat and technical equipment designed for military surface ships.

On March 26, 1973, the Baltic Shipyard began construction of the first lead ship of Project 1144, the heavy nuclear missile cruiser (TARKR) Kirov (from 1992 to 2004 – Admiral Ushakov). The launch took place on December 27, 1977, and on December 30, 1980, the cruiser was transferred to the fleet.
On October 31, 1984, the second ship of the series, the Frunze TARKR (since 1992, the Admiral Lazarev), was commissioned.
On December 30, 1988, the Baltic Shipyard handed over the Kalinin TARKR fleet (since 1992 – Admiral Nakhimov) to the fleet.

In 1986, the plant began construction of the last ship of the series – TARKR “Kuibyshev” (subsequently renamed “Yuri Andropov”, then-“Pyotr Veliky”). The transfer to the fleet was planned for 1992, but its construction was completed only in 1996, after which the cruiser went on sea trials, which, in accordance with the plan, were carried out in the harsh conditions of the Arctic. In April 1998, the nuclear cruiser was handed over to the fleet. At the moment, the Peter the Great TARKR is, according to some military experts, one of the most powerful strike ships in the world.

In total, the program for the construction of nuclear cruisers involved 7 units. Of the planned cruisers on December 30, 1988, the fifth Dzerzhinsky corps was added to the lists of the Navy, then, at the request of the sailors, it was renamed Admiral Kuznetsov. On May 9, 1989, it was laid down under serial number 804, but on October 4, 1990, along with others, it was removed from construction. The sixth was supposed to be called “Russia” (listed on December 30, 1988), the seventh “Varyag”, there is no information about other ships of project 1144.2.

Design of the class

Hull and general design

Hull and superstructure design: There are about 1600 rooms on the ship, including 140 single, double and quadruple cabins for officers and midshipmen, more than 32 cabins for sailors and foremen (for 8-34 people each), corridors, ladders and a vestibule with a total length of almost 20 kilometers, more than 30 showers, two baths, one sauna with a 4 × 3 m pool, a two-story medical block with infirmaries-isolations, a pharmacy, an X-ray room, an outpatient clinic, a dentist’s office and an operating room. The power plant of the project 1144 cruiser could theoretically provide electricity and heat to a city with a population of more than 150 thousand inhabitants.
The main tactical and technical elements
Standard: 23,750 t
Full: 25 860 t
Overall length: 250.1 m
Width overall: 28.5 m
Maximum draft: 10.3 m
travel speed
Full – 32 knots (59 km / h)
Operational and economic cruising – 18 knots (33 km / h)
Endurance: 60 days
744 people (including 101 officers, 130 warrant officers, 513 sailors), +18 flight personnel.

Armour protection layout

(To come)


Nuclear power plant with KN-3 reactors (eng.)rus. (core type VM-16), although it was created on the basis of icebreaking reactors of the OK-900 type (English) Russian, has significant differences. The most important thing is that fuel assemblies (manufactured by a machine-building plant in the city of Elektrostal) contain uranium with a high degree of enrichment (about 70%). The term of operation of such a zone until the next recharge is 10-11 years. Reactors are double-circuit, water-cooled, on thermal neutrons. High-purity water (bidistillate) is used as a moderator and coolant, which circulates under high pressure (about 200 atmospheres) through the reactor core, providing boiling water in the secondary circuit, which goes to the turbines in the form of steam.

Particular attention was paid to working out the scheme for using the ship’s power plant, the shaft power of which reached 70 thousand liters. With. The complex-automated nuclear power plant is located in three compartments and includes two nuclear reactors with a total thermal power of 342 MW [5], two turbo-gear units (located forward and aft of the reactor compartment) and two backup automated boilers KVG-2 installed in the turbine compartments . The steam supply system allows steam to be supplied to any installation on any board. The main parameters of the boiler unit are: superheated steam temperature at a pressure of 66 kg/cm² – 470 degrees Celsius, boiler efficiency up to 84%, dry boiler weight 50 tons. Steam capacity of 115 t/h.

The cruiser’s power plant includes four 3 MW steam turbine generators and four 1.5 MW gas turbine generators manufactured by the Proletarian Plant, located in four autonomous compartments. The motor resource of each of them is up to 50 thousand hours [6].


Aerial photograph of the bow of the Kirov: 4 AK-630 30-mm air defense ship mounts 2 Osa-M surface-to-air anti-aircraft missile launchers 20 wing launchers. Granit missiles 12 S-300F missile launchers Metel anti-submarine missile launcher

All four built cruisers differ quite significantly from each other in the composition of auxiliary weapons, which improved over time. In this regard, “Kirov” refers to the project 1144, and the remaining three cruisers – to the project 1144.2 [7]. At the same time, the ships of project 1144.2 are also not completely identical.
On the first cruiser Kirov, a separate launcher was used to launch the Metel PLUR. On the rest – PLUR “Waterfall” were launched from torpedo tubes.
Also, 2 AK-100 guns were installed on the Kirov, and 1 AK-130 on the next three.
Self-defense air defense systems: on the first three cruisers – 2 × 2 “Osa-M” (40 missiles), on “Peter the Great” – 8 × 8 “Dagger” (64 missiles).
On “Kirov” and “Frunze” (“Admiral Lazarev”), the bow RBU was RBU-6000 “Smerch-2”, on “Kalinin” (“Admiral Nakhimov”) and “Peter the Great” – RBU-12000 “Boa”.
On the “Kirov” and “Frunze” (“Admiral Lazarev”), the functions of anti-aircraft artillery were performed by 8 ZU AK-630, on the “Kalinin” (“Admiral Nakhimov”) and “Peter the Great” – 6 ZRAK “Kortik”.

Main: Anti-ship Missiles

RCC “Granit P-700”

P-700 Granit – anti-ship supersonic cruise missiles of the third generation with a reduced flight path profile to the target. The length of the rocket is 10 m, the diameter is 0.85 m. With a launch weight of 7 tons, the rocket develops a speed of 2.5 M and can deliver a high-explosive warhead weighing 750 kg or a nuclear charge with a capacity of up to 500 kt at a distance of up to 625 km. The warhead is a monoblock in a nuclear, conventional (750 kg of explosives) equipment or a fuel-air warhead (volumetric explosion). An inertial guidance system with a radio command system for adjusting the flight path and a warhead with an active radar homing system in the final section (with a distance of 37 km from the target). Propulsion system: an annular solid propellant booster and a mid-flight turbofan engine KR-93.

Over-the-horizon target designation and guidance can be carried out by the Tu-95 RTs aircraft, the Ka-25RTs helicopter or the Legend-M space system. The missile is designed to combat aircraft carrier strike groups and is capable of operating not only against formations of ships of all classes during armed conflicts of any intensity, but also effectively hitting targets on the enemy coast with a conventional warhead. If necessary, ships with the Granit complex can serve as a reserve for solving the tasks of the Naval Strategic Nuclear Forces.

Twenty anti-ship missiles “Granit” are installed below the upper deck, with an elevation angle of 60 °. The SM-233 launchers were manufactured at the Leningrad Metal Works Production Association. Due to the fact that the Granit missiles were originally intended for submarines, the launcher is filled with outboard water before launch. The modification of the Granit anti-ship missiles, installed on the ships of the updated project 1144(2) series, is not controlled after launch. In the rapid fire mode, one missile, acting as a “gunner”, flies on a high trajectory to maximize the target acquisition area, while at the same time the other missiles fly on a low trajectory.

In flight, missiles exchange information about targets. If the “gunner” missile is intercepted, then one of the other missiles automatically takes over its functions. The missile system is resistant to enemy radio interference. According to the experience of combat and operational training of the Navy, it is almost impossible to shoot down such a missile. Even if you hit the “Granite” with an anti-missile, the rocket, due to its enormous mass and speed, can maintain its initial flight speed and, as a result, reach the target[8].

SAM “S-300F”

The S-300 Fort-M shipborne air defense system uses 48N6 missiles, which were introduced in 1990. The maximum speed of hit targets has been increased to 1800 m/s. The weight of the warhead has been increased to 150 kg. The radius of destruction was increased to 5-93 km (the 48N6 missile has a maximum range of destruction up to 150 km, but the control system that existed in 1993 allowed a range of only 93 km) [9], and the altitude range up to 25 m – 25 km [9]. The new missiles use a guidance system through the missile’s radar and can intercept short-range ballistic missiles.
Both shipborne systems may include an infrared guidance system to reduce vulnerability to interference. The missile is also allowed to destroy targets outside of radar visibility, such as warships or anti-ship missiles.

A new S-300FM Fort-M complex with a new antenna post was installed on the cruiser Pyotr Veliky. In the process of upgrading the Fort-M complex on Peter the Great, the 48N6 missiles were replaced with more modern 48N6E2 missiles with a maximum launch range of 200 km and improved ballistic target destruction characteristics (the missiles were unified with the S-300PMU2 land complex). Due to the design features of the new version, the missile ammunition load was reduced by 2 to 46. Thus, the Peter the Great cruiser is armed with one S-300F complex with 48 48N6 missiles and one S-300FM complex with 46 48N6E2 missiles [9].

SAM Missiles

SAM “S-300F”

The S-300 Fort-M shipborne air defense system uses 48N6 missiles, which were introduced in 1990. The maximum speed of hit targets has been increased to 1800 m/s. The weight of the warhead has been increased to 150 kg. The radius of destruction was increased to 5-93 km (the 48N6 missile has a maximum range of destruction up to 150 km, but the control system that existed in 1993 allowed a range of only 93 km) [9], and the altitude range up to 25 m – 25 km [9]. The new missiles use a guidance system through the missile’s radar and can intercept short-range ballistic missiles.

Both shipborne systems may include an infrared guidance system to reduce vulnerability to interference. The missile is also allowed to destroy targets outside of radar visibility, such as warships or anti-ship missiles.
A new S-300FM Fort-M complex with a new antenna post was installed on the cruiser Pyotr Veliky. In the process of upgrading the Fort-M complex on Peter the Great, the 48N6 missiles were replaced with more modern 48N6E2 missiles with a maximum launch range of 200 km and improved ballistic target destruction characteristics (the missiles were unified with the S-300PMU2 land complex). Due to the design features of the new version, the missile ammunition load was reduced by 2 to 46. Thus, the Peter the Great cruiser is armed with one S-300F complex with 48 48N6 missiles and one S-300FM complex with 46 48N6E2 missiles [9].


AU AK-630 – ZRAK “Dagger”

On the cruiser “Peter the Great” more modern weapons were installed in the form of an anti-aircraft missile and artillery complex (ZRAK) “Kortik” (“Kashtan”, NATO code designation – “CADS-N-1”) ZRAK “Kortik” in the radar and television -optical modes provide full automation of combat control from detection to destruction. The installation has two 30-mm six-barreled AO-18 assault rifles with a total rate of fire of 10 thousand rounds per minute and two blocks of 4 two-stage 9M311 (SA-N-11) missiles with a fragmentation-rod warhead and proximity fuse.

There are 32 missiles in the turret compartment. The missile, located in the transport and launch container, is capable of hitting anti-ship missiles, guided bombs, small aircraft, and helicopters. The missiles are unified with the missile of the 2S6 Tunguska complex. The control system of the ZRAK “Kashtan” consists of radar and television systems interconnected using elements of artificial intelligence. The whole process – from the search for targets to their destruction – is fully automated.

The range of missile weapons is 1.5-8 km, it was completed by artillery – 1500-50 m. The height of the targets hit is 5-4000 m. four others are in the aft superstructure. In total, there are 6 such ZRAKs on the ships of the project.


AK-130 is a universal artillery system. Rate of fire from 20 to 86 rounds per minute. Its twin 130-mm gun mount (AU) also makes it possible to fire at sea and coastal targets, and support landing forces with fire. The ammunition has several types of unitary rounds, for example, high-explosive fragmentation with percussion, remote and radio fuses. Barrel length – 70 calibers. Projectile flight range – 25 km, initial projectile speed – 850 m / s. The mass of a high-explosive fragmentation projectile is 27 kg. Vertical guidance angles: −10…+85°, horizontal guidance angle: +180°. Target tracking range – 40 km. All available ammunition is ready for firing. The MP-184 fire control system (developed by Amethyst Design Bureau) allows simultaneous tracking and firing of two targets.

RPK-6M “Waterfall”

RPK-6M “Waterfall” – anti-submarine missile and torpedo system. Its torpedo missiles are capable of hitting enemy submarines at ranges up to 60 km. A small-sized UMGT-1 torpedo is used as a warhead (speed – 41 knots, range – 8 km, depth – up to 500 m). The missile dives into the water, takes off into the air and delivers the torpedo to the target area, after which the UMGT-1 warhead is again in the water.

RKPTZ-1 “Udav-1M”

RKPTZ-1 “Udav-1M” – anti-torpedo missile system. 10 guide tubes, automatic conveyor reloading, reaction time – 15 seconds, maximum range – 3000 m, minimum – 100 m, rocket weight – 233 kg.
RBU-1000 “Smerch-3”
“Smerch-3” – range – 1000 m, projectile weight – 196 kg. Installed in the stern on the upper deck on both sides.

Miscellaneous Weapons

Additional armament:
General ship countermeasures include two twin 150-mm PK-16 launchers (a set of fired interference), anti-electronic traps, decoys, and a towed decoy torpedo target with a powerful noise generator. The cruiser also has three navigation stations, four electronic fire control systems for airborne weapons, helicopter flight controls and a friend or foe identification system.
The flight deck at the stern of the Kalinin cruiser. You can see the open doors of the hangar and deck helicopters Ka-25 and Ka-27

Each Project 1144 cruiser is based on two Ka-27 heavy multi-purpose helicopters in the modification of RLD and PL. Helicopters are used in the anti-submarine version and as a repeater-spotter for the flight of the Granit anti-ship missiles. Helicopter crew – 3 people (pilot, navigator and hydroacoustic station operator). Maximum takeoff weight – 11 tons, flight duration – 4.5 hours, ceiling – 4300 m, maximum speed – 270 km / h, flight range – 800 km. Helicopters can have APR-2E anti-submarine missiles (diameter – 350 mm, length – 370 cm) with a solid-propellant rocket engine that provides a speed of 115 km / h underwater. Rocket weight – 575 kg, b / h – 100 kg. Under water, the rocket moves for 2 minutes, surveying the space with a radius of 1500 m and determining the bearing to the target with an accuracy of 2 °. Helicopters are armed with guided depth charges weighing 94 kg and moving at a speed of 55 km / h with an active sonar guidance system. The on-board radio-electronic complex of the Ka-27 helicopter provides flight over the sea in any weather, search and tracking of submarines at a distance of up to 200 km from the ship, automatic withdrawal of the helicopter to the point of discharge of weapons, return and landing in automatic mode.
The sonar system includes a sonar with a hull antenna (in a bulbous radome) for searching and detecting submarines at low and medium frequencies and a towed automated sonar system with an antenna of variable immersion depth (150-200 m) at medium frequencies.

Air Group

⚙ specifications

Displacement 24,000t, 28,000t
Dimensions 248 x 28 x 7,5m ( x x feets)
Propulsion 2 shafts steam turbines 2xNR 150,000 shop
Speed 32-34 kts
Armament 20x SSN-19, 1×2 SSN-14 (16), 12x SAN-6 (96), 2×2 SAN-4 (40), 2×2 100 mm, 8x 30 mm, 2×4 21-in TTs, 2×6 RBU-1000, 3 helicopters.
Protection 100 mm CO and reactors, 35-75 mm ammunition stores.
Sensors 2x Palm Front, Top Sail, Top steer, 2x Head Light, 2x Top Dome, 2x Pop group, 2x Eye bowl, 4x bass Tilt, Punch bowl. 2x Sonars Horse Tail, Horse Jaw (SPV), 8x Side Globe, 10 Bell, 4 Rum Tub, 2×2 chaff RL, see notes
Crew 800 ()

Modern fate of the Kirov class

According to the Deputy Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation Vladimir Popovkin, the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation has developed a program for the restoration of heavy nuclear missile cruisers. As of September 2009, the Russian Navy had one nuclear-powered missile cruiser, Pyotr Veliky, in service, and the possibility of restoring and modernizing the nuclear-powered cruiser Admiral Nakhimov, as well as Admiral Lazarev, was discussed. “We have several such ships left from the Soviet fleet. We have developed a program to restore them,” Popovkin said. According to him, the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation considers it expedient to have up to three such ships in the Navy, given that one of them will be in the Pacific Fleet and two in the Northern Fleet. The need to use heavy nuclear missile cruisers is dictated by the tasks of long-distance cruises and exercises, the Deputy Minister explained.

According to a high-ranking representative of the Main Staff of the Navy: “All Project 1144 nuclear missile cruisers in reserve will be returned to the combat strength of the Russian Navy by 2020”. Work will be carried out for the next five years. Then “Admiral Nakhimov” will go to the Northern Fleet.

During the ongoing repair of the heavy nuclear missile cruiser Admiral Nakhimov, instead of the previously installed P-700 Granit anti-ship missiles, the P-800 Onyx anti-ship missiles were installed. A similar modernization will also be carried out on the cruiser Pyotr Veliky.

The future according to the military:
The heavy nuclear-powered missile cruiser Pyotr Veliky will undergo repairs and deep modernization after completion of work on the Admiral Nakhimov of the same type.
Both ships will remain in the North and they will become part of the Joint Strategic Command in the Arctic. Both cruisers will change weapons, radio and electronic equipment, life support systems, internal structures, pipelines and fittings. The nuclear reactors of the ships will not be changed, but the systems that ensure their continuous operation will certainly be replaced.

Project 1144 Orlan cruisers will be upgraded with Onyx, Zircon and Caliber missile systems (the latter includes cruise missiles for high-precision strikes against ground targets), as well as the new Polyment-Redut anti-aircraft missile system “.
The cruiser “Admiral Nakhimov” since 1999 was in the sludge (officially – “under repair”). Work on the cruiser began only in the fall of 2014. The ship is to be repaired and modernized at Sevmash in Severodvinsk in 2015-2022.
The lead ship of the series (“Admiral Ushakov”, until 1992 – “Kirov”), which has been laid up since 1991 due to serious malfunctions in the power plant, was sent for disposal in 2016.


Project 1144 cruisers were the first and last nuclear-powered surface missile carriers of the Soviet Navy, the first large-displacement ships built after a long break, and the largest military non-aircraft-carrying ships built by any state after World War II.
The size and cost of the Project 1144 missile cruiser are very large, while the shock functions are inferior to the cheaper submarine missile carriers of the Project 949 Granit and 949A Antey. The main function of the ship – delivering missile strikes against the US Navy aircraft carrier strike group (AUG) – is actually feasible only with a coordinated surprise attack (for example, in combination with a submarine attack on the same US Navy AUG). As a weapon of a possible retaliatory strike, the ship is significantly inferior to the Project 949 and 949A SSGNs due to greater visibility to the enemy and greater vulnerability.

The weak point of the basic design was the vulnerability to low-flying subsonic anti-ship missiles. Close air defense on the first three cruisers was represented only by the Osa-M air defense system, which had low fire performance, a relatively long reaction time and was unable to act on targets below 25-60 meters. This was partly offset by a significant battery of AK-630 guns, the effectiveness of which, however, was also not considered sufficient.
The fuzzy definition of the role of the ship in the design forced the designers to equip the system with a variety of different types of weapons, which made the ships multi-purpose, but complicated maintenance and created problems with determining the tactical and technical niche of the ship[18].

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Model Kits

General query on scalemates
It was covered of course by Trumpeter to 1:350 and 1:700. Also by Cyber Hobby and dragon at 1:700.

Soviet Navy Kirov ()

On March 26, 1973, the construction of the first lead ship of project 1144, the Kirov heavy nuclear missile cruiser, began at the Baltic Shipyard.
December 27, 1977 launched. He was a member of the 13th brigade of LenVMB ships under construction and repair.
On March 29, 1980, the crew checked in.
December 30, 1980 the cruiser was transferred to the fleet.

1984 – the first military campaign in the Mediterranean.
On May 18, 1984, during the incident with the explosion of ammunition depots in Severomorsk, he remained in the harbor – unlike the rest of the ships of the base, in order to shoot them down in the event of a missile launch from a burning warehouse towards the city or a nuclear missile submarine located at the pier. means of naval air defense.
At the entrance to the Kola Bay, the gearbox of the main turbo-gear unit (GTZA No. 1) broke down, when the commander of the KSF Gromov personally grabbed the telegraph handles on the navigation bridge and gave a full reverse. They entered GTZA No. 2, the bow was disconnected from the shaft line through a soundproof coupling. In the PD-50, the bottom was cut and a two-hundred-ton planetary gearbox was unloaded onto the slipway and sent for repair to the Kirov Plant. After the repair, the cutting in the PD-50 was repeated, the gearbox was loaded, and it was centered according to the marks and optics.
April 7, 1989, after an urgent order to go to the scene of the accident K-278 “Komsomolets”, gave the maximum possible speed of 33.5 knots (more than on tests) at 100% of the power of the APPU
In 1990, the Kirov was returned from BS2 due to a gas leakage in the primary circuit of the KN-3 bow apparatus, which was eliminated upon arrival at berth 7. The rest of the ship was serviceable, but was put into reserve of the 2nd category due to lack of funds. As a result, starting from 1991, the cruiser never again went to sea.
In 1992 it was renamed “Admiral Ushakov” in honor of F. F. Ushakov.
In 1999, the ship was put up for modernization in Severodvinsk.
In 2000-2001, a medium repair with modernization was started
In 2002, the cruiser was withdrawn from the fleet , and in 2004 the name “Admiral Ushakov” was given to the destroyer “Fearless”, the name “Kirov” was returned to the cruiser.
As of 2008, it was intended for disposal[8].
As of 2009, according to the statement of the 1st Deputy Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation Vladimir Popovkin, the decision to restore the Kirov has not been made[9].
In 2011, it was planned to completely modernize the cruiser under the Navy development program. Commissioning was planned no later than 2020[10][11].
In autumn 2012, Dmitry Rogozin, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, received an appeal to the public Internet reception:

Dear Dmitry Olegovich! You are being approached by thousands of people who at various times served on the nuclear cruiser Kirov, which is currently laid up in the city of Severodvinsk. In 2009, we turned to the President of the Russian Federation with a request to explain to us the further fate of the ship … We will not bore you with military terminology about the purpose of nuclear cruisers of this project, but let’s say in a nutshell: a nuclear cruiser is the power of the fleet and the prestige of the country! Dear Dmitry Olegovich! Help us (and the country!) save our cruiser! Chairman of the Council of Veterans of the nuclear cruiser “Kirov”, V.R., Secretary of the Council – B.P.
The cruiser “Kirov” was returned to the Navy. Currently, a project for the modernization of ships of this type is being developed.

In December 2013, the specialists of the Zvyozdochka Shipbuilding Center came up with an opinion about the need for the speedy disposal of the cruiser’s core [13][14][15][16].
According to the press secretary of the Zvyozdochka Ship Repair Center, Yevgeny Gladyshev, dated June 9, 2014, the Kirov will be scrapped no earlier than 2016. The budget of the state corporation “Rosatom” for 2015 includes the amount that is planned to be spent on the development of project documentation for the disposal of “Kirov”. Spent nuclear fuel was not unloaded from it, however, Zvyozdochka specialists carried out work to seal the dangerous reactor zone [4] [17].
On April 25, 2015, the cruiser held a solemn raising ceremony of the Andreevsky flag, dedicated to the 34th anniversary of the cruiser being in the Navy[18].
In August 2015, the final decision was made to scrap the cruiser[19]. A tender for the development of a project for the disposal of the cruiser was announced by the Rosatom Corporation. According to the tender documentation, the ship dismantling project should be ready by November 30, 2016. Spent nuclear fuel (SNF) must be unloaded at Zvyozdochka CS at the expense of Italy
Alexander Sergeevich Kovalchuk (1976—08.1984)
Sergey Vladimirovich Lebedev (1984—1989)
Vladimir Ivanovich Rohatyn (1989—1991)
Leonid Viktorovich Sukhanov
Oleg Anatolyevich Shirnyn (1994—1996)
Sergey Borisovich Popov (1996—2000)
Alexander Sergeevich Fadeev (2001—2004)
Pavel Kravchenko (2004—2005)
Andrey Leonidovych Chernenko (2005—2010)

In popular culture:
The cruiser Appears in the 1982 Soviet film “Case squared 36-80”
It was mentioned in Tom Clancy’s novel Red Storm Rises. During the third world war, which took place in 1986, the cruiser went to the Atlantic to hunt for convoys and was sunk by a Norwegian submarine, which went unnoticed to the center of the warrant and shot the cruiser with torpedoes.
The nuclear-powered missile cruiser Kirov is mentioned in the 1984 television film Threads, directed by Mick Jackson for the BBC. The Kirov collided with the American destroyer Callaghan in the Strait of Hormuz during the crisis that led to nuclear war, according to the BBC.
It is the focus of the Kirov book series by John Shettler. According to them, in 2017-2021, the ship underwent a total modernization, for which three other project 1144 cruisers were dismantled for spare parts, and made the flagship of the Northern Fleet. During the first rocket firing, the Kirov, due to an unknown anomaly, falls into the past – to August 1941, where it provokes a change in history, starting its long journey through different times and alternative realities.

Soviet Navy Frunze ()

Soviet Navy Kalinin ()

Soviet Navy Yuri Andropov ()

Riga class Frigates (1952)
Kresta II class cruisers (1968-76)

2 Replies to “Kirov class Battlecruisers (1977-90)”

  1. Wait, so the Kirov didn’t have a whole lot of armor? Now that is something I didn’t know. Did they not put a whole lot on because they wanted to have more space for ammunition and to allow it to have it’s impressive speed. Apparently this thing can outrun destroyers from what i’ve heard

    1. Hello Aaron
      Armor is not that relevant if you can kill any surface ship with more precision with missiles, including some using small tactical nuclear warhreads. The main point about these ships was their “battlecruiser” nature. Fast, unprotected but armed for saturation fire against any opponent. There was a large debate in the US during the Reagan administration about the appropriate response to bring to the Kirovs. Eventually the Iowa were modernized and reactivated as a consequence as it was theorized that these ships had some chances of survival against missiles and their artillery was still able to destroy unprotected superstructure radars and FCS, making any modern vessel blind. There are still gaping holes in this strategy like fail-safe adn back-up systems, autonomous missiles and the fact the Iowa themselves depended on radars and FCS for their artillery to be efficient. There are still debates about some protection to be used around central ops rooms and AEGIS today. BTW Both the Iowa and Kirovs were capable of 32+ knots.

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