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Monday, May 14, 2018

Admiral Makarov Still Yet to Join Black Sea Fleet

Russia's Black Sea Fleet will receive a new frigate in the coming months.

RIA Novosti reported on May 14, 2018, that the Admiral Makarov frigate will be transferred to the Black Sea Fleet in the third quarter of 2018. The report referenced the commander-in-chief of the Navy, Admiral Vladimir Korolev.

The report comes several months after the vessel was reported as commissioned into service, suggesting that the frigate did not enter service with the Black Sea Fleet right after commissioning. In December 2017, TASS quoted Yantar Shipyard spokesman Sergei Mikhailov as saying, "An acceptance/delivery certificate for the frigate Admiral Makarov was signed on December 25 at the Yantar Shipyard. The certificate was signed by Yantar CEO Eduard Yefimov and Chairman of the Russian Defense Ministry’s State Acceptance Commission Captain 1st Rank Alexei Poteshkin. Thus, it has been confirmed that the third Project 11356 ship has been delivered to the customer."

The report noted that the ceremonial flag-raising would occur at the end of that month.

Admiral Makarov was laid down in February 2012 and launched over three years later, in September 2015. The following year, the vessel began state testing. It was expected to be commissioned before the end of 2016, but issues with frigate's air-defense system delayed its introduction into service. In November 2017, Russian media reported that the frigate had conducted successful testing of the Shtil-1 air-defense system, suggesting that the issue had been resolved.

Russia initially planned to procure six Project 11356 frigates, but the collapse of military cooperation with Ukraine significantly impacted the program. While Ukrainian gas turbine engines had been imported for the first three frigates before the end of cooperation, the remaining three planned vessels, two of which had already been laid down, were left without engines. Russian officials have suggested that more in the class after Admiral Makarov may still enter service with the Russian Navy, but Russia has also explored the option of exporting the vessels to India, which would be able to procure the required engines from Ukraine.

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