The Buyan-M of Project 21631 is a variant of the Buyan small artillery and missile ships, the Project 21630, developed by the Russian Zelenodolsk Design Bureau for the Russian Navy.

The difficulties of the Russian shipbuilding industry in the post-Soviet era and the interruption of the supply of engines from Ukraine severely affected the speed of warships delivery to the Russian navy. Determined to modernize the navy, as of 2019, the Russian Navy has received eight Projekt 21631 Buyan-M class missile corvettes. The first three warships were commissioned in 2014, Grad Sviyazhsk, Uglich and Velikiy Ustyug, currently serving the Caspian fleet. In 2015, two ships were completed, Zelenyy Dol and Serpukhov, currently in service of the Baltic fleet. The remaining three ships, Vyshniy Volochyok, Orekhovo-Zuyevo and most recently Ingushetiya, were completed in 2018 and 2019, currently serving in the Black Sea fleet. As planned, four more Buyan-M class corvettes will be completed between 2020 and 2023, with a total of 12 ships. All of these ships were built at the Zelenodolsk Shipyard in Tatarstan.

The Buyan-M of Project 21631 is a variant of the Buyan small artillery and missile ships, the Project 21630, developed by the Russian Zelenodolsk Design Bureau for the Russian Navy. Despite its small size and displacement, Russian Buyan-М still proves to be a “sharp knife” in the country’s strategic weapons series, thanks to its powerful weapons system. The vessels are designed primarily for littoral zone operations to protect vast coastal areas of Russia. Because of their small tonnage, they can operate even in shallow areas of the ocean and Russia’s river systems. Russia also developed an export-oriented variant called Project 21632 Tornado.

Buyan-M is slightly larger in size than Buyan vessels, but it is still quite small, the full displacement is only 949 tons. Other parameters include a length of 75m, a beam of 11m and a draft of 2.5m, a crew of 29 to 36 people. Outside, the Buyan-M is angled and covered with a radar-absorbing paint that makes the ship able to stealth before enemy reconnaissance radar. The bridge is integrated into the front of the hull superstructure and the main mast has a low profile design, completely enclosed, helping the ship to increase stealth. The ship’s flexible open architecture allows for future modification as required. Buyan-M is designed to operate at up to sea-state 6 and can employ weapons at up to sea-state 4.

Buyan-M is powered by a combined diesel and diesel system, driving two shaft. The propulsion system consists of two Zvezda M520 56-cylinder diesel engines, providing a total of 14,584 horsepower. The ship can reach a maximum speed of 26 knots, a range of 2,300 nautical miles with an endurance of ten days.

Although the displacement is less than 1,000 tons, Buyan-M is equipped with powerful anti-ship weapons with 8 3M-54 Kalibr missiles placed in vertical launching system cells behind the radar tower. The missile has a range of 600 km, maximum speed up to Mach 2.9 when entering the offensive phase. It carried a 200 kg warhead capable of sinking large warships.

The ship’s gunboat is a 100 mm A-190E with a stealthy design turret, the gun has an effective range of 23 km, the maximum rate of fire reaches 80 rounds per minute.

Buyan-M anti-aircraft fire consists of 2 Igla-1M low-range air defense missile launchers with 8 missiles, which is capable of destroying flying targets at a distance of 5.2 km and an altitude of 3.5 km.

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To cope with close-range threats, Buyan-M is equipped with 2 30mm AK-630M2 fully automatic naval cannons that has a rate of fire of 10,000 rounds per minute, a range of 5 km. In addition, the ship is also equipped with a jamming-resistant naval close-in weapon system, Pantsir-M, which entered service in 2018.

The electronic system includes a Pozitiv-ME1 reconnaissance radar, MR-123 fire radar and MR-231 maritime radar. In particular, the export version can also be equipped with Anapa-ME sonar.

It has been reported that Russia will stop building Buyan-M to focus on the Karakurt class, but this information is incorrect because Project 21631 is still a very potential warship class. Zelenodolsk Shipyard recently announced that it is developing an upgraded Buyan-M version of Project 21631M2.

Initial information indicates that the Buyan-M2 will have a larger displacement than the Buyan-M, so the ship can carry more electronics and weapons.

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