Moskva (ex-Slava), Marshal Ustinov, Varyag (ex-Chervona Ukraina), Ukraina (ex-Komsomolets, ex-Admiral Flota Lobov), Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya (Cancelled, BU), Admiral Gorshkov, Varyag, Sevastopol, one more (all planned, cancelled)
The Slava-class missile cruisers (Project 1164, for early NATO Black Com-2, then Krasina) were anti-ship units scheduled to the four Kynda, reaching their age limit. From past experience, they were much larger at 12,500 tons vs 5,600 for the former, had their cruise missiles in fixed and independent ramps and brand new SS-N-12 bazalt (Sandbox), supersonic (mach 2.5) shared also to the four Kiev. Six were planned, but onl four completed, including two before the fall of the USSR. The ex-Russian, Ex-Ukrainian Slava and Russian again “Moskva” made healines when sunk by Ukrainian antiship missiles during the war in Ukraine on 14 april 2022. The other ships are listed as an “active status” as of 2023.
Genesis of the class
Based on the planned replacement of the Kynda class in the mid-1970s, the TTZ charged of writing down specifications for the technical project of 1972, were:
-Providing combat capabilities in the fleet in remote areas of the seas and oceans (so more range)
-The destruction of enemy surface ships, including aircraft carriers.
Later, the following tasks were added to the Project 1164 cruisers, striking large surface ships and enemy strike groups, solving the tasks of collective air defense of the formations and convoys in distant seas and combating submarines, supporting landings and shelling the coast occupied by the enemy. The Project development history officially started on April 20, 1972, when the decision of the Commission under the Council of Ministers of the USSR No. 87 was adopted. The draft design 1164 “Atlant” was issued to the Northern Design Bureau in October 1972. The director of the Northern Design Bureau A.K. Perkov and after 1979 – Mutikhin, Valentin Ivanovich, was appointed chief designer. The chief observer from the Navy was captain 2nd rank A.N. Blinov. At first they went to the conclusion of a 10,000 tons cruisers armed with Bazalt missile launcher, and eight octuple S-300F air defense systems in VLS, plus two Osa point air defense systems, two 100-mm AK-100 guns, two quintuple TTs, ZAK close-defense AK-630 CIWS. In December 1972, preliminary design was ready. The technical project was approved on August 21, 1974.
The laying of lead ship “Slava” (serial number 2008) took place on October 4, 1976 at 61 Communards Shipyard, Mykolaiv yard (Black sea). The Atlant-class cruisers first appeared in 1983, and were supposed to control the world’s oceans areas vital for the security of the USSR: North Atlantic, Black Sea, Mediterranean and read sea, Arctic, Pacific and in the event of receiving an appropriate order, they were poids to launch “saturation” strikes on strike aircraft carrier groups of the Navy US and NATO. For their their sixteen P-500 Bazalt cruise missiles with optional 1kt nuclear warheads were instrumental and they became the most powerful ships in their class precisely because of these missiles, between their speed, powerful warhead and 1000 km range. It was estimated 1-2 were sufficient to knock out an aircraft carrier, by default of sinking her. Some estimated they would be sitting ducks for Soviet SSNs and SSGNs after this.
Design of the class
Hull and general design
Thes were no doubt large and impressive ships in the line of the Kiev and Kirovs typical of the onceanic ambitions of the late 1970s:
With 9,380 tons standard and 11,490 tons full load, they had wide and parallelepipedic near-flush deck hulls, with a quite important flare at the prow, one deck tall. The hull was broken aft to the ASW equipped poop. The hull measured 186.4 m (611 ft 7 in) long for 20.8 m (68 ft 3 in) so 1/9 ratio and very important draught of 8.4 m (27 ft 7 in). They had an important crew, circa 600 and later reduced thanks to automation, with facilities to be used as flagships. The ship had no armour to speak of by the CiC and some ammo area were apparently protected by splinter-proof plating. Such modern ship is dependent of its electronic warfare panoply to deal with incoming missiles.
Since the Kara class, these were now COGOG powerplants, with a set of four GTU M21 mated on two M70 cruise gas turbines plus 4 × M90 boost gas turbines, two cruise steam turbines, two exhaust gas boilers,four M8KF gas turbines on two shafts and a total output of 130,000 shp (97,000 kW). This was enough for 32 knots (59 km/h; 37 mph) and a range of 6,800 nmi (12,600 km; 7,800 mi) at 18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph).
Greatest assets onboard, 16 (four paired ramps either side) with P-1000 Vulcan (SS-N-12 Sandbox) anti-ship missiles. They were genuinelt feares by NATO for their range and payload, including a one ton nuclear warhead. Most EW countering warfare exercizes practiced by NATO were counting on 16 of these flying to a task group at any time without warning. No reloads, this was done in port.
This counted four weapons systems:
-64 (8 × 8) S-300F Fort (SA-N-6 Grumble) long-range surface-to-air missiles
-40 (2 × 20) OSA-M (SA-N-4 Gecko) SR SAM
-Twin AK-130 130 mm/L70 dual purpose guns forward, also usable against ground targets
-Six AK-630 close-in weapons systems, also capable of antiship missile fire.
-2 × 12 RBU-6000 anti-submarine mortars
-10 (2×5) 533 mm torpedo tubes, heavy ASuW torpedoes
-One Kamov Ka-25 or Kamov Ka-27 Helicopter
-MR-800 Voshkod/Top Pair 3-D long-range air search
-MR-700 Fregat/Top Steer (first two)
-MR-710 Fregat-MA/Top Plate 3-D air search (remainder)
-MG-332 Tigan-2T/Bull Nose hull mounted LF
-Platina/Horse Tail MF VDS
-3R41 Volna/Top Dome SA-N-6 SAM control
-MPZ-301 Baza/Pop Group SA-N-4 SAM control
-Argument/Front Door-C SSM control
-Kol’cho suite with Gurzhor-A&B/Side Globe intercept
-MR-404/Rum Tub jammers
-Bell Crown intercept, Bell Push intercept
-2x PK-2 decoy RL
-12x PK-10 decoy RL (last two)
Author’s illustration of the Slava
|Displacement||10,000t, 12,500t FL|
|Dimensions||187 x 20.8 x 7.5 m (611 ft 7 in x 68 ft 3 in x 27 ft 7 in)|
|Propulsion||2 shafts, 4x CODOG turbines*, 125,000 hp.|
|Speed||32 knots (59 km/h; 37 mph)|
|Range||10,000 nmi (19,000 km; 12,000 mi) at 16 knots (30 km/h; 18 mph)|
|Armament||16x SSN-12, 8×8 LM SAN-6 (64), 2x SAN-4 (40), 1×2 130mm gun, 2×5 533mm TTs, 6x 30mm CIWS, 2x ASW RBU 6000 ASWRL (144)|
|Electronics||Radar 2 Top Pair, Top Steer, 3 Palm Front, 1 Top Dome, 2 Pop Group, 1 Kite Screech, 1 Front Piece, 3 Bass Tilt. LF Sonar, 1 SPV, 8 CME Side Globes, 1 Satcom Punch Bowl.|
|Air group||1 ASW helicopter Kamov Ka-25 Hormone-B|
|Crew||600 (1990), 419+66 in 2022.|
The Slava class in service
Constructions, completions and cancellations
In total, the plan was ambitious and planned not four, but ten project 1164 cruisers, but the program was reduced to 6 units, enough for three oceans and provisions for ships in maintenance. In the end, only four were laid down and only three effectively commissioned. Construction of the last ships laid down was cancelled as USSR fell and was replaced by the Russian Federation, for budgetary reasons.
The Slava class in the end saw four ships operational, respectively in 1982, 86, 89 and 93. The first three were in service in 1990 at the time of the fall of the USSR. The other three, Admiral Lobov (started 1984, launched 1990 and planned for completion in 1993) was transferred to Ukraine and renamed Vilna Ukraina, but still lacked equipment to be operational. Ukraine then did not had any means to carry out this work. As a result, through a joint contract to sell Sovremenny-class destroyers to the Chinese, funds arrived and Ukraina was finally completed in 2001. Rossiya and Admiral Gorshkov were not even started and were soon removed from the lists. All were built in Nikolayev, on modified Kara plans.
The original names of the first three (renamed after 1990) were Slava, Marshal Ustinov and Chervonia Ukraina. Class (renamed): Moskva, Admiral Isakov, Admiral Ustinov, Varyag, Vilna Ukrayina.
They seem to be flagships in the Northern Fleet (Ustinov), and in Black Sea (Ukrayina, Moskva), and Baltic (Lobov). The Moskva (formerly Slava) was sent for modernization to Nikolayev in 1990 and remained there until 2000, as the funds for doing so were insufficient.
Laid down in 1976 in Shipyard 445, 61 Kommunara Shipbuilding Plant (Nykolaiv), she was launched in 1979, commissioned on 30 January 1983. Between 18 and 22 November 1986 she made her long shakedown cruise to Greece, visiting Piraeus. She escorted Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev to Malta Summit on 2–3 December 1989 with US President George H. W. Bush, close to her counterpart USS Belknap off Marsaxlokk. Stormy weather had it called in the press the “Seasick Summit”, the delegation later moving to the Maxim Gorkiy in Marsaxlokk Bay. She had a refit from December 1990 until late 1998 due to the fall of USSR. On 15 May 1995, she was formally renamed Moskva, after the former helicopter cruiser decommissioned, recom. herself in April 2000, and replacin the Kynda class Admiral Golovko as flagship, Russian Black Sea Fleet.
By early April 2003 escorted by the frigates frigate Pytlivyy, Smetlivy, and a landing ship, she departed Sevastopol for exercises in the Indian Ocean and the Soviet Pacific Fleet (task group Marshal Shaposhnikov/Admiral Panteleyev) and exercizes with the Indian Navy, support from the Project 1559V tanker Ivan Bubnov and Project 712 ocean-going tug Shakhter.
She visited Malta’s Grand Harbour in October 2004 and assisted to the Mediterranean Conference in Valletta. In 2008 and 2009 she toured the Mediterranean and took part in naval drills with the Northern Fleet. By August 2008, with the invasion of Georgia, she was patrolling the Black Sea and apparently fired at by the Georgian Navy. She was posted in the Abkhazian capital Sukhumi after the war ended.
On 3 December 2009, she was drydocked in Sevastopol for an overhaul and by April 2010 was reported to join an exercize in the Indian Ocean to conduct exercises, by August 2013 she visited Havana, Cuba and by late August 2013, dispatched off the coast of Syria. From 2014 she blockaded the Ukrainian fleet in Donuzlav Lake. By July 2015 she visited Luanda, for a cooperation with Angola. By late September 2015 she was off the Syrian town of Latakia to support the air campaign in Syria. On 25 November 2015 she was sent close to the coastal Syria-Turkey border bu relieved by sister ship Varyag and was awarded the Order of Nakhimov for her service by 22 July 2016.
She ws semi-inactivated for an overhaul never completely done between January 2016 and July 2018 and by June 2019, she left Sevastopol for a serie of trials. By July 2020, her full maintenance was at last complet to keep her in service until 2040. She was seen in exercises in March 2021, firing her new Vulkan anti-ship missiles in April 2021. With the invasion of Ukraine, as flagship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, she covered the naval assault until her loss in April 2022 and was deployed for the attack on Snake Island with the patrol boat Vasily Bykov.
Famously asking the surrender by radio and being answered back something on the line of gen.McAuliffe’s at the siege of Bastogne. The small Ukrainian garrison was captured and the cruiser stayed behind other Russian warships, providing air cover off Odessa when late on 13 April 2022 the ship was reported by Ukrainian authorities “on fire”. Odessa governor Maksym Marchenko later announced she had been struck by two R-360 Neptune anti-ship missiles, 80 nautical miles south of the city around 19:00 local time. She sank before 03:00 on 14 April 2022. This is so far, the largest ship sunk in combat since the General Belgrano in April 1982, ironically exactly 40 years.
Marshal Ustinov (ex-Admiral Flota Lobov)
The Russian cruiser Marshal Ustinov is the second Project 1164 completed and in service with the Soviet Navy, laid down at 61 Kommuna #445 Yard, in Mykolaiv, on 5 October 1978, Launched on 25 February 1982 and Commissioned on 19 September 1986, Homeported for service in Severomorsk. Named after Dmitriy Ustinov, former Soviet Minister of Defence, she was assigned to the 43rd Missile Ship Division, Russian Northern Fleet. From 2012 to 2016, the cruiser she underwent a major overhaul and was back in service in 2017 but redeployed to the Mediterranean Sea.
Varyag (ex-Chervona Ukraina)
Russian cruiser Varyag was formerly Chervona Ukraina, as third ship of the Slava-class, laid down and built at 61 Kommunara Shipbuilding Plant (SY 445), Mykolaiv on 31 July 1979, launched 28 August 1983 and Commissioned 16 October 1989. Different from her two other sister ships, she is since the Flagship of the Pacific Fleet.
Ukraina (ex-Komsomolets, ex-Admiral Flota Lobov)
Ukraina was originally ordered by the Soviet Union in the early 1980s as “Admiral Flota Lobov” but after the fall of the early 1990s, she was passed on to Ukraine, and named after the country. However if she was launched in 1990, she is from there, docked unfinished in Mykolaiv to this day. The issues were that completion required many components built in Russia, and between bad will and budget constraints, she was never completed. So much so that in 2010 the Ukrainian parliament stripped the ship of her name and she remained as the unnamed “big rusty grey thing” currently moored at the Mykolayiv Shipyard (former 61 Kommunara Shipbuilding Plant) today.