:: KARA CLASS (1969-1976) ::

Kara class missile cruiser (1969-1976) High resolution picture

The Soviet missile cruisers of the Kara class were launched between 1969 and 1976. These ships were enlarged versions of the Kresta II class and the first large Soviet warships propelled by gas turbines, with a combination of two different sets of turbines for either cruising or top speeds, which could operate simultaneously to achieve maximum power. A similar system would be adopted for the subsequent cruisers of the Slava class, but in those the two sets of turbines can not operate simultaneously, a measure adopted to increase the mechanical reliability of the propulsion plant.

The space gained in the enlarged hull was used to install two pop-up twin launchers for SA-N-4 surface-to-air missiles and the antiaircraft artillery increased its caliber with the adoption of two twin 76-millimeter mountings. The rest of the armament remained unchanged in respect of the precedent Kresta II class. In comparison with the American cruisers, the Soviet counterparts transported heavier armament because they not only had to provide antiaircraft and antisubmarine support, but also be fully capable of dealing with any kind of surface threat, for they lacked the support from the carrier-borne air wings that American cruisers would have.

Petropavlovsk and Tashkent were assigned to the Pacific Fleet, whereas the other five ships served in the Black Sea. The Russian Navy sold for scrap Nikolayev, Tashkent and Vladivostok in 1994, following Petropavlovsk in 1996 and Azov in 1999. Ochakov was decommissioned in 2011 and scuttled in 2014 in Donuzlav Bay in an attempt to block the Ukrainian Fleet in occassion of the dispute of Crimea. As 2016, Kerch is the only surviving ship; she served until December 2014, when a fire severely damaged the ship. It is currently uncertain if she will be repaired and returned to active service.

Kara class: 7 units - Azov, Kerch, Nikolayev, Ochakov, Petropavlovsk, Tashkent, Vladivostok (ex Tallinn)

Type: Missile cruiser

Length: 173.8 meters

Beam: 18.3 meters

Draught: 6.2 meters

Displacement (standard): 8330 tonnes

Propulsion: 2 x shaft, 2 x cruise gas turbine M-5, 4 x boost gas turbine GTU-12A, 4 x exhaust gas boiler, 120000 horsepower

Speed: 34 knots (63 kilometers/hour)

Range: 6800 nautical miles (12600 kilometers) at 18 knots

Complement: 500

Armament: 2 x quadruple SS-N-14 antisubmarine/ship missile launcher, 2 x twin SA-N-3 surface-to-air missile launcher, 2 x twin SA-N-4 surface-to-air missile launcher, 2 x twin 76-millimeter dual-purpose cannon, 4 x AK-630 close-in weapon system 30-millimeter cannon, 2 x MBU-4500A antisubmarine mortar, 2 x MBU-2500A antisubmarine mortar, 2 x pentuple 533-millimeter torpedo launcher, 1 x Ka-25/27 antisubmarine helicopter

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