Navy eyes dozen new stealth destroyers

The Russian Navy is to deploy 14 to 16 new destroyer-class multipurpose warships over the next two decades. The desired vessel will be a natural naval killer of all sorts of targets from submarines to enemy missiles.

Production of the first ship of the new series may begin as early as in 2012, a source in the defense industry told Izvestia newspaper. The military want a versatile tool capable to engage surface fleets, submarines and aerial targets, including missiles.

“It will be a universal warship, which will be able to replace three classes of vessels. Thanks to modern weapons it will surpass the Large ASW destroyers in anti-submarine warfare and modern surface combat destroyers and guided-missile ships in terms of surface firepower and air defense capabilities, with the exception of the [nuclear-powered battlecruiser] Peter the Great and other ships of that class,” the source said.

Key to such versatility will be rocket launch systems, which will be able to fire different types of missiles depending on the task. The destroyers will carry anti-ship guided missiles, anti-submarine rocket-propelled torpedoes, surface-to-surface cruise missiles and medium-to-long-range surface-to-air missiles. It will also have two to four twin artillery guns.

“At the moment different versions of the warship are being evaluated and the propulsion system is being chosen. Depending on the Navy’s needs and budget restrictions they will have nuclear or gas turbine propulsion,” the source added.

Earlier media reports said the new vessel, which has been in development since at least 2009, will have displacement of 9-10,000 tonnes or 12-14,000 tonnes, depending on the choice of propulsion system. It will carry two or three combat helicopters. Its hull will use stealth technology to lower the ships radar cross-section.

The destroyer will be equipped with modern tactical information and weapons control system similar in capabilities to the American AEGIS.

With deployment of new ships, the navy will have additional flexibility in forming small yet powerful naval task forces consisting of one destroyer and tree to four escorts, the military say. The new ships will partially replace older destroyers and will partially strengthen the Russian fleets.

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