At the International Defence Industry Fair 2019 in Turkey, Russia introduced the frigate of the Black Sea fleet called “Admiral Essen”.
During the exhibition, Russian arms manufacturers had many talks with representatives of the Turkish armed forces, as well as partners from other countries in the region. In Turkey, Admiral Essen has appeared as an advanced domestically-built warship, along with its state-of-the-art weapons and superior features.
It is common for Russia to actively participate in defense exhibitions, but bringing a true warship to showcase is rare. In recent times, Russian submarines and surface warships have been quite successful in the fight against terrorism in Syria. Admiral Essen has repeatedly launched Kalibr cruise missiles from her position in the eastern Mediterranean Sea on targets of the Islamic State terrorist organization deep in Syrian territory.
The Admiral Essen frigate is the second ship of the Admiral Grigorovich class, Russian Project 11356Р/М. She was named after Nikolai Ottovich Essen, a naval soldier who served during the Russian Empire era. Admiral Essen’s Keel was laid down on July 8, 2011 and launched on November 7, 2014. She was officially commissioned into the Russian Navy on June 7, 2016. Currently she is serving the Black Sea Fleet.
Admiral Essen is greatly appreciated, a modern frigate armed with powerful missiles. The Russian warship has a standard displacement of 3,620 tons and more than 4,000 tons under full load. Other parameters include a length of 124.8m, a beam of 15.2m and a draft of 4.2m. The crew is 200 people, the ship can operate continuously at sea for one month before requesting supplies. The topside and hull have a significantly reduced radar cross-section, while the superstructure faces are sloped and relatively clean. The main mast of the ship is quite messy and without any signature reduction features, this is where the main radars are located. The hull is characterized by flames and the tumblehome facing outwards, while the superstructure has a large fixed tumblehome angle.
The heart of the frigate is a combined gas and gas propulsion system driving 2 shaft, incorporating two DS-71 cruise gas turbines and two DT-59 boost gas turbines coming from Ukraine. The propulsion system generates a maximum capacity of 56,000 horsepower. The propulsion system ensures a maximum speed of 30 knots and cruising range of 4,850 nauticalmile at 14 knots.
Admiral Essen’s main radar is the Fregat M2M air search radar, the surface search radar are 3Ts-25 Garasta-B, MR-212 and Nucleus-2 6000A. In addition, she is also equipped with a hull-mounted sonar, SNN-137 towed active array sonar. The weapon systems are controlled by JSC 5P-10 Puma, 3R14N-11356 and MR-90 Orekh SAM fire control systems. Countermeasures are provided by ASOR-11356 Electronic Counter Measures system and PK-10 close-range decoy dispensing system, which includes four KT-216-E decoy dispenser.
The main task of the frigate is air defense, escorting other warships and anti-submarine warfare, Admiral Essen is equipped with extremely modern weapons systems. The anti-ship weapon is an 8-cell vertical launch system for the Kalibr or Zircon anti-ship cruise missiles which have a range of up to 600 km. In terms of air-to-air weapons, the ship is equipped with three 12-cell vertical launch system for Shtil-1 air defense missiles. A total of 36 missiles are available to use, the missiles are capable of destroying up to 12 targets at a time within 50km and altitude up to 15,000m. In addition, the ship is also equipped with an Igla anti-aircraft missile complex with 8 missiles.
For close-range defense, the ship is capable of defending with two AK-630 Close-In Weapon Systems. The ship also features a powerful A-190 Arsenal naval gun, the fastest firing speed in the world with 80 rounds per minute, effective combat range is 20km. Against submarines, the ship uses two twin 533 mm torpedo tubes for heavyweight torpedoes. Also there is a single 12-barrel RBU-6000 anti-submarine rocket launcher in front of the bridge, reload rockets are stored below the deck. The ship also has a flight deck and hangar for Ka-27 or Ka-31 helicopters. In general, this is a missile frigate equipped with weapons to the teeth.
In theory, Russian warships will be favored by many countries because of their good quality and price, but in reality, Russian naval equipment is rarely sold abroad and the main cause of it is not in the quality aspect of the equipment. Allies of the United States or any other country are fond of Russian weapons, but they do not dare to buy them for fear of US sanctions, typical examples are China, Turkey or India.
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Experts have said that the reason that US arms exports surpassed Russia and other countries is due to political reasons, not dependent on the quality of weapons and equipment. If Washington does not use political means, threatens to punish countries that buy Moscow’s weapons, forces them to buy their own weapons, there will probably be very few countries buying US weapons. Russian weapons will be very popular in the world market, maybe even leading the world.