Vasily Bykov, the first project 22160 corvette, started sea trials in April to join service this year. The Black Sea Fleet is to receive six patrol ships of the class by 2022, with two vessels already under construction. Tyler Rogoway, the highly respected military correspondent of the prestigious Drive (War Zone), believes that Project 22160 patrol ships’ “concept is innovative enough that it should be studied by western navies as a source of inspiration for their own future multi-role combat vessels.” He says the ship has “a pretty genius design” with its relatively small frame providing great strike power.
The vessel is 94m-long, 14-m-wide, and 3.4m-high. Patrol speed: 16 knots. Maximum speed: 30 knots. Displacement:1,700-1,800 tons (according to different sources). Endurance: 60 days. Range: 6,000 miles at patrol speeds. Complement: up to 80. The sailors will be quite at home in special design cabins. They’ll have a gym with basketball nets, a library and a sauna at their disposal when off duty.
The armament is really strong to include 57mm А-220М automatic duel-purpose deck gun with a rate of fire of 300rpm installed on the bow of the main deck. Two 2 × 14.5 mm MTPU machine guns and two DP-65 grenade launchers add more punch. Container modules include 324 mm Paket-NK torpedoes.
The 22160 class ships will be armed with the Kalibr-NK land attack cruise missiles that can carry conventional or nuclear warheads. The use of this weapon by Russia in 2015 against terrorist targets in Syria caused jitters in the West. The missile has a second stage that performs a supersonic maneuver at the terminal phase of trajectory to reduce the time for air defense systems to react.
It can deliver a 450 kg (990 lb) warhead to a land target located at a distance of 1,500–2,500 km (930–1,550 mi). The US Navy needs destroyers or cruisers to do it but Russia can use much smaller surface platforms to carry out such a mission. With this corvette in service, the Russian Navy will employ the concept of distributed lethality – something the US Navy littoral combat ships (LCS) have failed to achieve. The Drive article notes that the US Freedom class “don't pack anywhere near this must punch “though they have over double the displacement”.
The new state-of-the-art can fire up to 12 Igla surface-to-air interceptors.The vessel can be equipped with the Shtil-1 vertical launch system to fire 9M317ME missiles. It can simultaneously engage up to 12 targets flying at altitudes between 5 to 15,000m at ranges between 3,500m and 50km and at speeds below 3,000km/h.
The ship has a hangar and a deck at the aft to operate a multipurpose helicopter of Kamov Ka-27/28/29/30/31 series. Modernized Kamov Ka-27M multipurpose rotary wing aircraft started to enter service a year ago.
An inflatable boat can be used by commando teams if the mission is to liberate a civilian vessel with hostages aboard from pirates.The boat can carry 10 commandos plus two crew members. It is protected from small arms fire and is fast enough to catch up with the ship on the move after the mission is accomplished.
The Pozitiv-ME1 3D active surface and air search radar can detect air targets at a range of 110km at flight altitude of 1km. It can engage incoming anti-ship missiles at a range of 15km at an altitude of 15m and surface targets at a range of 250km. The data is fed to missile fire control and jamming systems. A Pal-N navigation radar installed atop of the bridge is also used to detect and track air or surface targets to prevent incidents and ensure safe passing and maneuvering.
A Vinyetka-EM active/passive sonar system detects the surface ships, submarines and torpedoes. The sonar has a flexible trailing antenna and a towed emitter. The ship is also fitted with aMGK-335EM-03 hull-mounted mid-frequency sonar and a flexible extended towed array sonar.Subversive actions are countered by Pallada underwater scanning system used to detect and track divers.
The patrol ship features a PK-10 close-range decoy dispenser to protect against electro-optical guided threats and radars. A TK-25 ship-based electronic countermeasure system is used to deceive sonar, radar and lasers.The station can detect up to 256 targets simultaneously and carry out interference on four of them.
The ship features a CODAG (combined diesel and gas) type propulsion system with a total output power of 25,000kW. Electrical systems include four 300kW generators and one 100kW emergency and harbor diesel generator.
Stealth technology is used to reduce the visibility of the hull. The ship modular design makes it a real multi-mission vessel capable of blue water and brown water operations. It can protect the nation’s maritime borders and also act as an element of power projection task force with the capability to strike enemy at great distances from home base.
The Black Sea has become a region where tensions are running high as NATO boosts war preparations. There are numerous examples to illustrate this fact. It makes Russia take steps to ensure its security. The Black Sea Fleet today is not the force it was just a few years ago. Ships homeported in Sevastopol or Novorossiysk can sail on the Volga or Don rivers and in the Caspian Sea. Armed with Kalibr missiles installed on rather small platforms – something no other navy has – the Black Sea Fleet units can strike enemy in most of Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and parts of Central Asia. If need be, the ships can deploy far beyond the Black Sea basin to the Mediterranean, the Atlantic and any place they need to go demonstrating the Russian flag in remote maritime areas. The 22160-class ships will become a credible deterrent to make anyone who harbors aggressive plans against Russia think twice before implementing them.