Remember one of my favorite quotes I use a lot? "We need numbers", that is what legendary Arleigh Burke told Elmo Zumwalt. Numbers matter, a great deal, and so, in order to address the issue of numbers, Russian Navy decided to do a pretty obvious thing--modernize the existing fleet of Udaloy-class Large ASW Ships (BPK project 1155). The first one to be modernized is 32 years old Marshal Shaposhnikov of the Pacific Fleet. Udaloys are magnificent ships but past their prime. One of the drawbacks of these ships, which were designed to be an ASW provider for Sovremenny-class Destroyers (Project 956) which were designed to be a SuWa asset with their Moskit (SS-N-21 Sunburn) anti-shipping missiles, was the fact that Udaloys had very limited anti-surface capability. It seems that this issue will finally be addressed with the installation of new Kh-35U Uran (SS-N-25 Switchblade) anti-shipping missiles.
|Shaposhnikov In Home Base Of Vladivostok|
Yes, for some enthusiasts of the UKSK and massive Kalibr or Onyx capabilities, installation of the sub-sonic sea-skimmer may seem as a glass half-empty. The truth, however, is very simple, installation of the inertial, passive-active and GLONASS-guided 260-km range missile complex will not require any substantial work on the hull. Against the background of Shaposhnikov's massive upgrade of its electronic signal-processing suite, the price tag of 901 million rubles (roughly translates into....drum roll...13.25 million USD) is really a sweet deal. In the end, Uran is a very modern missile, highly protected against opponent's ECM. It is deadly and in this sense the use of the semi-popular term Harpoonski (based purely on similar appearances of missiles) is wrong.
It is a very good decision which will allow, on cheap, mind you, to upgrade remaining Udaloys while the issue of power plant for Gorshkov-class frigates is being resolved. Udaloys will finally get a full blown anti-surface capability, while retaining what they were always known for--robust ASW. These are ocean-going ships with superb sea-keeping ability and their elegant silhouettes graced not for once all oceans of the world.
Here is the youngest of Udaloys, Destroyer Admiral Chabanenko (of Udaloy II class--look at the launchers of Moskit missiles) visiting Norfolk Naval Base in 2011.
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