MOSCOW. (RIA Novosti military commentator Ilya Kramnik) - On June 19, the escort ship (frigate) Yaroslav Mudry, a long-awaited addition to the Russian Navy, began its maiden cruise on the Baltic Sea. Shortly it is to become an exhibit at the International Naval Show in St. Petersburg.
The Project 11540 ship was laid down in 1990, at the same time as the prototype ship of the series, the frigate Neustrashimy, known for its journey to the Gulf of Aden. However, in 1994 work on the Yaroslav Mudry was halted, even though the ship was 75% complete. Construction was not resumed until 2002. In the process of outfitting, the ship had to be practically re-built to meet the latest technological advances.
Like the Neustrashimy, the Yaroslav Mudry is a multi-purpose sea- and ocean-going ship intended to engage surface and sub-surface targets, and is equipped with powerful air defenses and is capable of rendering artillery support to ground troops.
The ship has a full displacement of 4,250 tons, against a standard displacement of 3,590 tons. It has a length of 130 meters, a beam of 15.6 meters and a draft of 8.35 meters. Its sailing range is 2,900 miles and it is manned by a crew of 210, including 35 officers.
The frigate is equipped with Uran anti-ship missiles, a Kinzhal surface-to-air missile system, a Vodopad anti-submarine missile system, rocket-assisted bomb throwers, one 100mm all-purpose artillery gun, two Kortik anti-aircraft rocket artillery systems, and two AK-630 six-barreled Gatling guns.
The 11540 Project, embodied in The Yaroslav Mudry, is a further development of the Soviet 1135 Project, which spawned a large number of escort ships for the Navy and the KGB's coast guard. Under a program adopted in the late 1980s, the Soviet Navy and coast guard service were to have received over 70 ships from the project over a 20 year period, but the collapse of the Soviet Union put an end to these plans.
In the 2000s, all previous military programs had to be revised. Construction of a navy claiming first place in the world for numbers and combat strength, a navy equipped with more than 70 escort ships and a dozen first-line battleships, became impossible, and under the new conditions, senseless.
The current status of escort ships in the Russian Navy is changed. As in other countries, they have developed into fighting vessels capable of fulfilling missions both independently and within a formation. This philosophical change means an increase in combat power for escort ships (frigates), which has been achieved by installing anti-ship missiles on new and upgraded ships.
The Yaroslav Mudry and other escort ships making up the Russian Navy are now testing technological decisions which will be used on new vessels of the same class - Project 22350 frigates.
The prototype ship of this new series - The Admiral Gorshkov - was laid down at the Baltiisky Shipyard in 2006. It was expected to hit the water in 2009, but the date is likely to be pushed back. During the next five years it is planned to start building a series of ships of this type. All in all, the Navy expects to take delivery of up to 20 frigates in the next 15-20 years. The fulfillment of this program will enable Russia to commission a sufficient number of sea- and ocean-going vessels capable of performing various kinds of missions - ranging from protecting its own coasts to escorting large warships, above all aircraft carriers, whose construction is also contemplated in the near future.
The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.