Project 20380 Steregushchy corvettes are being mass-produced in Russia.
These ships received a complex of guided missile weapons developed for various purposes, thanks to which they can fight a variety of targets. At the same time, the fleet realized the need to modernize this weapon system and introduce new types of missiles into it. Izvestia news agency said that the plan to modify the weapon configuration for the Project 20380 stealth corvette has been approved by the Russian Navy and will be implemented in the near future.
Russian military officials said that experience gained in special military campaigns shows that warships carrying multi-purpose cruise missiles like Kalibr are extremely important. In the future, Russia plans to put Kalibr cruise missiles on the above corvette class, in addition, Onyx hypersonic missiles are also an option. The modernization process is still at the stage of resolving key technical issues.
The process of finding the optimal solution to deploy new weapons is underway. Several layout solutions are being considered. Kalibr and Onyx missiles can be placed in the middle part of the ship, at the current location of the Uran complex. Another proposed option is to place missiles in container launchers arranged under the helicopter flight deck with a special lifting mechanism to not greatly affect the structure but still provide outstanding combat capabilities. The final choice has not yet been made. Perhaps the decision will take into account the possibility of comprehensive development of the ship’s features.
In addition, all new warships of Project 20380 will immediately be built according to a modernized design and receive corresponding missile weapons. In contrast, corvettes that have already been built and put into service will carry new weapons during the planned upgrade. As a result, over time, the entire Project 20380 fleet will be armed with modern long-range missile systems.
According to design, Project 20380 stealth corvettes are built to operate in close waters. This class of warship is 104.5 m long with a full load displacement of 2,250 tons, equipped with a diesel-electric arrangement driving 2 shafts. The four 16D49 diesel engines provide a total of 24,000 horsepower, while generating 2,520 kiloWatt of electricity for onboard operations. The ship can reach a maximum speed of 27 knots, with a range of 4,000 nautical miles at a speed of 14 knots. The corvette’s crew, consisting of more than 100 men.
Project 20380 ships are equipped with modern electronic, hydroacoustic, missile, artillery and anti-submarine weapons. With the help of various onboard systems, air, surface and underwater conditions are illuminated, and various targets are detected and hit, incl. posing the greatest danger. There is a helicopter on board, expanding the ship’s combat capabilities.
As the main strike armament, the corvettes carry the Uran anti-ship missile system with the X-35U / 3M24 missile. The complex includes two launchers with four TPK missiles on each. They are located in the central part of the superstructure perpendicular to the axis of the ship; missiles are launched through the side.
The Uran missile is initially intended to destroy large surface targets. Also, during testing and in practice, the possibility of attacking and destroying ground targets was demonstrated. However, with all its advantages, the shipborne Kh-35U is inferior in basic characteristics to other modern types of missile weapons. This negatively affects the overall capabilities of Project 20380 corvettes in comparison with ships of newer projects.
The capabilities to combat surface and coastal targets are proposed to be improved by using the P-800/3M55 Oniks anti-ship missile, already used on other ships of a number of types. This is a missile with a launch weight of 3 tons and a 300-kg warhead, developing a speed of 2,6 m in flight. Range is 300 km for the original modification and 800 km in the updated version “Oniks-M”. In all respects, the 3M55 is superior to the 3M24 and should be a more useful impact weapon in most situations.
In general, the introduction of the Onyx and Caliber complexes will have a positive impact on the combat qualities of the Project 20380 corvettes. The range of hitting targets, the likelihood of breaking through enemy defenses, and the impact on the target will increase most seriously. However, to obtain such capabilities, it is necessary to refine the design of the ship and install the corresponding units. At the same time, several options for such changes to the corvettes are being considered.
Reportedly, the Navy command decided to re-equip the Project 20380 corvettes and introduce new missile systems. A project for such a modernization should be developed in the near future, the implementation of which will begin over the next few years. Apparently, the corvettes will be rearmed as part of scheduled repairs, and this process may take considerable time.