Russia’s newest frigate, the Admiral Gorshkov, is on the verge of completing trials and will finally join the Russian Navy in November 2017.
Development and construction of this frigate has been extremely slow, with work on the ship starting in 2006.
This is in part because Admiral Gorshkov is the first wholly new large warship designed and built in Russia since the fall of the USSR caused Russia’s shipbuilding industry to descend into crisis. Resolving the many accumulated problems in the shipbuilding industry since then has taken very long and has required the investment of significant resources. However over the last three years the corner appears finally to have been turned, with new warships like the Admiral Gorshkov appearing in growing numbers.
Another reason for the delay in bringing the Admiral Gorshkov into service has been that the warship introduces a whole range of new technologies. In order to reduce its radar signature it makes heavy use of carbon composites in its structure, has an all-new and highly advanced electronics and radar suite, new very advanced Redut (S-350) surface to air missiles, and is capable of launching supersonic Onyx and subsonic Kalibr anti ship and land attack cruise missiles, as well as eventually the new Zircon hypersonic missile.
Part of the reason for the delay in commissioning the Admiral Gorshkov is because with so many new electronic systems working in such close physical proximity to each other care had to be taken to ensure that they were all mutually compatible and did not jam each other. Air passengers asked during flights to switch off their mobile phones and laptops or to put them on flight mode will be familiar with the problem.
It seems that these problems have now been resolved, enabling the Admiral Gorshkov finally to enter service as the new and most advanced surface warship in the Russian navy.
Though the Admiral Gorshkov is significantly smaller than the Sovremenny and Udaloy class destroyers of the 1980s which she and her sisters will eventually replace, because of the huge advances in electronics and rocket technology which has taken place since that time she is actually far more powerful and far more versatile, being able to carry out both the surface attack and the anti submarine role that the Sovremenny and Udaloy destroyers were separately designed for.
Now that the problems that slowed down the Admiral Gorshkov’s entry into service have been resolved, more ships like her will be built and will join the fleet more quickly. Her sister the Admiral Kasatonov is expected to join the fleet next year, with two more of the class already building and due to join the fleet shortly after.
Subsequent ships after the first four are expected to be dimensionally larger, as the Russians put to full use the greater power of the new gas turbine engines they have developed, which will replace those used by the Admiral Gorshkov, which were built in Ukraine.
Ultimately Admiral Gorshkov and her sisters are expected to form the backbone of the Russian surface fleet, though they may be supplemented later by larger conventional and nuclear powered destroyers and cruisers which are said to be at the state of advanced design.