Today, the Steregushchiy-class corvettes of Project 20380 have replaced obsolete warships of the Russian Navy.
Naval warfare, search and destroy submarines, provide fire support for amphibious troops and ensure reliable air defense, etc. The new Russian corvettes of project 20380 can do something that not every cruiser or destroyer can do.
The destroyers can also carry out coastal protection missions against enemy’s small naval forces. However, the Russian Navy does not have many destroyers; on the other hand, building new destroyers costs a lot of money. Meanwhile, building a corvette is 2 times cheaper. During the period before and during World War II, the corvettes made up the majority of the Soviet Navy fleet. After the Soviet Union disintegrated, most shipbuilding programs were frozen. In the 1990s, the Russian Navy stopped accepting new warships.
The situation became more serious when the maintenance and development of strategic nuclear forces at sea was considered a top priority of the Navy. As a result, at the beginning of 2008, there were only 6 corvettes in the Russian Navy, equal to the number of missile cruisers and 2.5 times less than the number of strategic missile submarines. These corvettes have an average age of 28 years; Therefore, the Fleets should be equipped with a new series of ships.
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Today, Project 20380 ships have replaced obsolete warships, Steregushchiy, with the hull number 530 is the lead ship. In total, the Russian Navy have publicly announced that they expect to buy at least 20 of these ships, for all four major fleets.
The Steregushchiy corvette was developed by the Almaz Central Marine Design Bureau between the late 1990s and the 2000s. Prior to that, the Almaz Design Bureau only specialized in developing small-missile ships, amphibious ships and a number of Other types of ships. The Steregushchiy was laid down on December 21, 2001 at the Severnaya Verf Shipyard in St. Petersburg, on May 16, 2006, she was launched. After successfully completing state-run tests, on February 28, 2008, Steregushchiy officially joined the Russian Navy. The ship, named after the Steregushchiy torpedo boat, sacrificed bravely in an unequal battle with Japanese forces on February 26, 1904.
The corvette of project 20380 is a multi-purpose type, which can be operated either on a single voyage or combined in a fleet. The ship can cover the fleet from enemy submarine attacks, engage skirmishes, and, if necessary, protect and blockade the coast. The characteristic feature of the project 20380 corvette is its ability to minimize radar signatures, reduce noise and optical awareness to the fullest extent thanks to stealth construction.
Steregushchiy has a length of 104.5m, a beam of 11.1m, a draft of 3.7m with a displacement of 2,200 tons. The ship has a steel hull and a superstructure made of composite material, with a bulbous bow and nine watertight subdivisions. She has a bridge and a combined command center, hull architecture and fire-resistant radar-absorbent fiberglass applied in the design.
Another feature of this ship is that she has a low stern, a gentle bridge that leads straight to the helicopter deck and hangar. This is a privilege for ships of the destroyer class and above, but the Russian corvette is able to do this thanks to its optimal design to carry Ka-27PL helicopters. In order to save space on the ship, the designers abandoned a linear arrangement with a combination of offensive weapons that placed them horizontally-cross. Such a layout has proved reasonable on similar warships of the US, South Korea, China and Japan.
Steregushchiy’s propulsion system is a combined diesel and diesel arrangement driving 2 shaft, consisting of four 16D49 diesel engines that 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, a range of 4,000 nauticalmiles at a speed of 14 knots. The corvette’s crew, consisting of more than 100 men, officers and non-commissioned officers are allowed to stay in the cabin, while the sailors and soldiers are in the same room.
Steregushchiy’s basic offensive weapons are two large launchers with a combination of Uran missiles, each platform carries four all-weather Kh-35 anti-ship missiles. Such a missile is capable of sinking surface ships with displacement of up to 5,000 tons. The function of the Uran subsonic missile is not inferior to the famous Kalibr cruise missile in terms of operational range. The main close range weapon of the Steregushchiy is the 100mm A-190 cannon at the bow of the ship. The cannon can fire at a rate of 80 rounds per minute, effective range is 20km. The corvette is also equipped with two AK-630M close-in weapon system, installed closer to the stern. These guns fired 5,000 rounds per minute for a maximum range of 5,000m, they could deal with both surface ships and air targets at close range.
In addition, the ship is also equipped with two quadruple torpedo tubes for Paket-NK antitorpedo missile, today, it embodies the technological revolution. To counter enemy torpedoes, Russia uses controlled jet torpedoes. The Paket-NK complex reduces nearly tripled the risk of a corvette being hit by enemy torpedoes. Also for the attack of enemy submarines and surface ships, there is Malyshka torpedoes, which can accelerate to 50 knots, destroying targets at distances of up to 20 km.