During the 1970s Soviet designers came to the conclusion that it would be too expensive to build large multirole warships, so the future units should be smaller specialized warships. Two projects for destroyers were developed: one specialized in antisubmarine warfare (Udaloy class) and other specialized in antiaircraft warfare (Sovremennyy class), with both types having the mandatory antiship capability. In 2016, the Udaloy and Sovremennyy classes still represent the most modern destroyers in service with the Russian Navy, in expectancy of the stealth types that could be introduced towards 2025.

Udaloy class

Thirteen units of the Udaloy class were completed since 1980 and eight or nine of them remain in service in 2016. True is that these ships are quite large for being destroyers and they are sometimes referred as cruisers. In the last decades of the 20th century, the differences between destroyers and cruisers became less and less obvious, acquiring a merely political criterion, as we can clearly see in the Ticonderoga and Arleigh Burke classes of the United States Navy.

The ships of the Udaloy class have an overall length of 163 meters, a beam of 19.3 meters and a draught of 6.2 meters, with a standard displacement of 6930 tonnes that reaches 7570 tonnes at full load. The propulsion plant comprises four gas turbines actuating on two shafts with a COGAG arrangement, developing a total output of 120000 shaft horsepower, which would allow these ships to navigate at a maximum speed of 35 knots. Operational range reaches 5000 nautical miles (9260 kilometers) cruising at 20 knots and about half that range if sustaining such a high speed as 32 knots. The complement is around 300, comparatively reduced in respect of other Soviet warships.

The antisubmarine armament includes eight missiles SS-N-14 "Silex" stored in two large quadruple containers, two RBU-6000 rocket launchers and two quadruple 533-millimeter torpedo launchers. These weapon systems operate in conjunction with a hull-mounted sonar and a variable-depth sonar, and are "crowned" by two Kamov Ka-27 antisubmarine helicopters.

The antiaircraft and general-purpose armament includes the point-defense missile SA-N-9 "Gauntlet", stored in eight octuple vertical launchers, two AK-100 100-millimeter dual-purpose cannons in single mountings and four AK-630 CIWS 30-millimeter cannons. Close-in weapon systems are abundant and show the zeal put into the survivability of these antisubmarine units.

Udaloy I class antisubmarine destroyer Admiral Levchenko
Udaloy I class antisubmarine destroyer
Udaloy I class antisubmarine destroyer
Udaloy I class antisubmarine destroyer Admiral Vinogradov
Udaloy I class antisubmarine destroyer
The original Udaloy class had limited capabilities against ships and aircraft and, over time, it was clear that a more balanced design in the armament would be recommendable. The new design was named Udaloy II and it not only balanced the armament but also upgraded it considerably. The following photographs show the Admiral Chabanenko, the only ship of the Udaloy II class which was completed.

The new class had the following modifications in the armament: the SS-N-14 "Silex" was replaced by the SS-N-22 "Sunburn", able to fly thrice faster; the RBU-6000 was replaced by the RBU-Udav, a system that deploys a decoy to confuse enemy torpedoes; the two AK-100 mountings were replaced by one AK-130 130-millimeter twin mounting; the four AK-630 CIWS were replaced by two Kashtan CIWS, which comprise a twin 30-millimeter cannon and eight surface-to-air missiles SA-N-11; and in addition to 533-millimeter torpedoes the Udaloy II can launch as well the special antisubmarine missile SS-N-15.

Udaloy II class antisubmarine destroyer Admiral Chabanenko
Udaloy II class antisubmarine destroyer Admiral Chabanenko

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