The classification of the Gepard ships as frigates means that these ships belongs to the same class as other frigates of the Russian Navy
Currently, the Russian Navy is operating two Gepard 3.9 warships, respectively Tatarstan 691 and Dagestan 693. According to Western documents, the Gepard 3.9 class is classified as a frigate.
The classification of the Gepard ships as frigates means that these ships belongs to the same class as other frigates of the Russian Navy, such as the Gorshkov, Grigorovich or Neustrashimyy class. The irony is that if Russia’s Gepard 3.9 ships are classified as frigates, its maximum displacement – which is only 1,930 tons – is much inferior to other ships of the same type.
Specifically, the Russian Navy’s Gorshkov-class frigates have a maximum displacement of up to 5,400 tons, while the “oldest” frigates, the Krivak-class, were born in the 1980s of the last century, has a displacement of 3,575 tons. So, if you put the Gepard warship in the frigate class by Western standards, it is clear that this warship is a bit “underweight” compared to its sisters.
However, in terms of armament – especially in the Gepard 3.9 version equipped with vertical launchers, the combat power of the Gepard ships is on par with a few small destroyers. Specifically, with up to 16 vertical launch cells in some special versions, the Gepard ships have almost the same combat power as the Admiral Grigorovich frigate – which is only equipped with 8 cells.
In addition, the Gepard 3.9 warships of the Russian Navy are also equipped with Kh-35 anti-ship missile launchers, Osa-M surface-to-air missiles, 76.2mm gunboats, AK-630M CIWSs, RBU-6000 anti-submarine rocket launcher and 533mm torpedoes. This armament provides firepower equivalent to a small frigate today.
However, due to their relatively small size, the Gepard 3.9 vessels have less ammunition and cruise reserves, making it difficult to perform long-term missions at sea. Therefore, the Russian Navy, along with Vietnam, classifies Gepard 3.9 as corvettes. Not to mention, Russia is the country that designed this warship class, so of course, Moscow has the right to classify it as a frigate or corvette, depending on its naval doctrine.