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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Russia Readying Missile System for Project 22350 Frigates

Admiral Gorshkov frigate. (c) Leo1

Speaking to Rossiya-24 on March 7, 2017, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu indicated that the air-defense system aboard the Project 22350 frigates may soon be operational.


Defense Minister Shoigu said, "We will see what progress has been achieved in testing a future air defense guided missile of a long range." Tass News Agency noted that he was referring to a missile system that will equip Russia's Project 22350 frigates.

"The Defense Ministry hopes that these weapons will be delivered to the armed forces soon," he added, without further specifying.

The system -- Defense Minister Shoigu did not name it but he appears to refer to the Redut missile system -- has seen complications during testing. The short- and medium-range missiles it can operate appear to function normally, but the long-range version of the 9M96 missile reportedly fails several seconds into taking flight. 

The continual testing has delayed the entrance date of Admiral Gorshkov, the lead frigate of Project 22350, into service. The ship began construction in 2006 and launched in 2010. Currently, Russia hopes to commission Admiral Gorshkov no later than July 2017. This, however, is likely dependent on the performance of the Redut system.

Following Admiral Gorshkov is Admiral Kasatonov, the second vessel in the class.  It was laid down in 2009 and floated out in 2014. Like Admiral Gorshkov, Admiral Kasatonov's planned commission date -- late 2017 or early 2018 -- is likely also tied to the Redut system.

Defense Minister Shoigu did not specify if the vessels would enter service this year as planned, noting only that by late 2020 the Russian Navy would be receiving two Project 22350 frigates. 

"By late 2020, the Navy will receive two most advanced Project 22350 frigates armed with the Kalibr and Oniks modern strike complexes," he said.

Besides the first two vessels in the class, two more are under construction (with eight in total planned). Admiral Gorshkov and Admiral Kasatonov are the only vessels in the class that will feature Ukrainian-made engines, delivered before relations between Russia and Ukraine soured over Crimea and the separatist outbreak in 2014. Future Project 22350 frigates will require a Russian-made alternative, which is currently under development.

The Russian Defense Ministry currently aims to deliver a Russian-made alternative to the Ukrainian gas turbine engines for the Project 22350 frigates in 2018

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