Admiral Grigorovich, the most modern frigate of the Russian Navy, has joined the Russian naval task force deployed near Syria’s shore. She arrived off the Syrian coast on November 4, adding to the Russian naval capability in the Mediterranean, including the Admiral Kuznetsov battle group. The arrival heralds a significant enhancement of the operation against terrorists.
The ship was laid down in late 2010 and put afloat in the spring of 2014. She entered service in March 2016. It is the lead ship of its Project 11356M frigate class ordered by the Russian Navy to serve as the backbone of the Black Sea Fleet. She is the first surface ocean-going vessel the Fleet has received over the past 35 years.
Two more ships of this class - Admiral Essen and Admiral Makarov - will also be commissioned by 2017. Last month, a contract was signed with the Indian Navy for four ships, two to be constructed in Russia and two in India. A number of other countries are also interested in purchasing ships of this class so it may become one of the most significant designs in coming years.
Due to the use of stealth technologies and a special hull design, Admiral Grigorovich features reduced radar cross section (RCS), as well as electromagnetic, acoustic and infrared signatures.
The ship has the following characteristics: displacement: standard: 3,620 tons; full: 4,035 tons, length: 124.8 m (409 ft), beam: 15.2 m (50 ft), draught: 4.2 m (14 ft), speed: 30 kn (56 km/h; 35 mph), range: 4,850 nmi (8,980 km; 5,580 mi) at 14 kn (26 km/h; 16 mph), endurance: 30 days, complement: 200.
The frigate is equipped to employ a diverse array of weapons. The armament suite includes the Kalibr-NK (SS-N-30A) cruise missiles, the 3S90M 'Shtil-1' (SA-N-7C) air defence system (able to engage up to 12 targets within the range of 3.5km to 32km), an A-190 100 mm naval gun (rate of fire: 80 rounds per minute for ranges more than 20km) and two 30 mm AK-630 close-in weapon systems. Project 11356P/M vessels also carry Igla-E missiles for point defense. The missiles’ range is 5km.
Admiral Grigorovich is capable of carrying up to 8 Kalibr class cruise missiles and also up to 36 Shtil-1 missiles, which are a Navy version of BUK surface-to-air missiles.
The 8-cell VLS for Kalibr (SS-N-27 Sizzler) subsonic cruise missiles capable of performing Mach 2+ terminal sprints upon approaching its target is the most distinguishable weapon of frigates of this class. These missiles can engage ships and land targets.
The same VLS can also fire Oniks (SS-N-26 Strobile) - a modern supersonic anti-ship cruise missile with a range of 600 km (370-miles) range capable of attaining speeds of up to Mach 2.5.
The Kalibr’s range is much longer than that of the Oniks – up to 2,500 km (1550 miles) against land targets. Kalibr variants exist for both land attack and anti-shipping, so the Grigorovich-class could theoretically perform anti-shipping and land-attack simultaneously.
Project 11356Р/М frigates and Buyan-M corvettes are the only surface ships in the Russian Navy that can launch Kalibr missiles. The missiles can be fired from submarines.
The ASW capability is provided by two DTA-53-11356 twin 533-mm torpedo tubes and a RBU-6000 depth charge rocket launcher firing 90R ASW rockets and RGB-60 depth rocket bombs. The ship operates a Ka-27PL ASW or Ka-31 airborne early warning helicopter.
The Trebovaniye-M combat information and control platform is a fully distributed combat management system. It controls all platforms of attack and defence weapons, independently generates combat missions based on situation analysis, determines optimal number of missile firings, displays information on the state of ship-borne weaponry and transmits data to protection systems.
The frigate features the TK-25E-5 integrated electronic warfare suite, which comprises a wideband electronic support measures system that has antenna arrays mounted in the superstructure and a multimode jammer. Four KT-216 decoy launchers, forming part of the PK-10 system, are fitted for soft-kill defence. A total of 120 120mm chaff and infrared decoy rounds are carried on board.
The radar and sensors suite comprises:
- The 3Ts-25E Garpun-B radar at I-band frequency, using both active and passive channels, provides long-range surface target designation. One MR-212/201-1 radar at I-band frequency is used for navigation and a separate Kelvin Hughes Nucleus-2 6000A radar set is used for short-range navigation and surface surveillance.
- The air search radar Fregat M2EM (NATO: Top Plate) 3D circular scan radar at E-band frequency, provides target indication to the Shtil-1 missile system. Featuring continuous electronically scanned arrays, the radar rotates at 12 or 6 rpm and has an instrumented range to 300 km.
- The fire control Ratep JSC 5P-10E Puma fire control system (FCS), consisting of a phased array and target tracking radar along with laser and TV devices. The system, fitted above the bridge deck, features in-flight course correction updates via data links, has a maximum detection range of 60 km, operates autonomously and is capable of automatically locking on to four targets and tracking them. It is also equipped with 3R14N-11356 FCS, MR-90 Orekh SAM FCS.
- The ships of this class are equipped with hull mounted sonar and the SNN-137 towed active array sonar.
The combined gas and gas (COGAG) propulsion system integrates two cruise and two boost turbines. The main propulsion plant generates a maximum power output of 56, 000hp. The frigate is also fitted with four WCM 800/5 diesel-alternators producing 3,200kW electricity for shipboard systems. The propulsion system ensures a maximum speed of 30kt and cruising range of 5,000nmi.
Armed with Kalibr cruise missiles, Admiral Grigorovich has a fearsome ground attack capability. Overall, this armament suite is quite extensive for a ship of this displacement. Smaller and less expensive to build and maintain, the ship is comparable to cruisers and destroyers’ from point of view of combat capabilities. The frigate represents a new era of modern Russian shipbuilding which focuses on packing formidable equipment and weaponry onto a relatively small platform. The new warriors will be the backbone for the Russian Black Sea Fleet for years to come.
The Russian Navy faced hard times during the two decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union. It has all changed by now with the new class of state-of-the–art frigates entering service. This is a platform to reckon with. Experts list it as one of the top ten best frigates in the world.