Publications :: Severnoye DB eyes the world

Magazine Asian Defence and Diplomacy, December, 2007

Only a select number of countries have a proven track record where it comes having a research and manufacturing capability to independently design and build warships.

In Russia, it is Severnoye Project Design Bureau (abbreviated to SPKB in Russian) that has successfully pursued this business for nearly sixty years and today, Severnoye DB is Russias leading company for designing surface combatants, such as cruisers, destroyers, frigates, corvettes and patrol boats both for the national navy and foreign customers under military-technical cooperation programs.

Over 550 ships have been built based on designs of the Bureau, with total displacement of around 1.5 million tons since Severnoye DB was established in the shipbuilding industry on 22 April 1946.

Its assigned activity was the designing of new types of destroyers and patrol ships. By the mid- 70s Severnoye DB had designed the destroyer Sovremenniy, a large Udaloi-class anti-submarine ship, Slava-class missile cruiser and Kirov-class nuclear-powered heavy missile cruiser.

A recent outstanding achievement of the Bureau was creation of a third-generation heavy missile cruiser Pyotr Velikiy and an antisubmarine ship Admiral Chabanenko both of which have won high praise from all authoritative publications in the field of military shipbuilding.

Giving focus to both the domestic and international market, the Bureau pays special attention to military-technical cooperation with foreign countries in the field of naval equipment.

The cooperation was triggered in 1975 by a contract for building Project 61ME frigates at the Soviet Unions shipyards. The lead ship of a 5-unit series (frigate Rajpur) was handed over to the Indian Navy in 1980.

Since the 80s, Severnoye DB has provided technical aid in the development of design documentation for building frigates at foreign shipyards. Relying on the successful cooperation, the Bureau today is increasing its aid in the development of technical documentation with subsequent construction of ships at other countries shipyards.

Under a military-technical cooperation agreement with China, Severnoye DB has developed a project 956E destroyer based on the Sovremenniy-class destroyer whose design was used for building 17 ships of the Russian Navy.

The destroyer has a displacement of around 7,000 tons and is armed with a Moskit-E anti-ship system fitted with two launching units and Shtil-E multi-channel air defense medium-range system. By now, two ships of this design have been built and handed over to the customer.

The successful cooperation with China in the development and hand-over of two Project 956E destroyers triggered the signing of a contract for design and construction of another two Project 956EM destroyers with improved attack weapons, collective defense systems, hydroacoustic equipment and many other types of hardware.

Constantly analyzing the developments on and demands of the naval equipment market and employing new design decisions and advanced technologies, the specialists of Bureau prepare and offer for export the latest designs of surface combatants: destroyers, frigates, corvettes, medium landing ships and patrol boats.

In the destroyer class, Severnoye DB offers Project 21956 destroyer with a displacement of around 9,000 tons. The ship is designed for fighting submarines and surface ships of an enemy, for anti-submarine and antiaircraft defense of ships and vessels operating at sea and in the oceans as part of ship formations and task forces.

For attack, it uses a Caliber- NKE integrated missile system while for air defense, it has a Klinok air defense missile and Kashtan-M gun and missile systems. Also, the ship is armed with anti-submarine (two TPU/4 transport and launch systems), anti-torpedo (Paket-E/ NK), electronic and hydroacoustic weapons. Severnoye DB has also developed and handed over to the customer (the Indian Navy) an essentially new Project 11356 frigate. These ships have a wide range of operational capabilities, superior seaworthiness and low noise level. In addition, they are easy to maintain.

The chief feature of the export frigate lies in its suite of armaments. This is the worlds first warship armed with a Club-N strike anti-ship system firing 3M-54E missiles fitted with a supersonic warhead discharged at the final stage of the flight. The firing range is up to 220 km.

The ship is equipped with the latest gun and anti-aircraft missile systems, anti-submarine systems and other defense weapons. A provision is made for a hangar accommodating a deck-based helicopter.

Further, corvette and frigate build programs have become key issues in many countries. The market demand is the highest for corvettes.

These ships can act as flagships of a task force and cooperate with other ships, command posts and flying vehicles, performing the following functions: support of active combat operations, navigation safety, maintenance of favorable operational environment, defense and protection of national borders, and patrol duties.

It would be logical to expect that advanced corvettes will be further developed for use as multirole ships employing new types of weapons, power propulsion systems, stealth reduction technologies and many other techniques.

In view of such circumstances and keeping track of market demands, Severnoye DB focuses on development of 500-2,000 ton displacement multi-role corvettes using the stealth technology.

The low signature of the type is insured by a unique architecture of the hull and superstructure and other design decisions, due to which the effective area is reduced by 4-6 times as compared to similar ships of a traditional architecture.

This, in turn, reduces the detection range by 1.4-1.6 times and increases the efficiency of active and passive electronic warfare systems. Also, this essentially improves the ships protection against antiship missiles fitted with radar homing heads.

Multi-role corvettes have a wide range of operational capabilities and can be armed with a Club- N general-purpose missile system firing anti-ship and anti-submarine missiles. To counter air threats it is planned to mount a Shtil air defense missile system with vertical launch units and the latest control system. To minimize the displacement, it is possible to install lighter weapons consuming less energy, for example the Kashtan-M air defense gun and missile system. 100 and 30 mm gun mounts are provided for engaging waterborne, shore-based and airborne targets, including low flying ones.

For fighting underwater targets the corvettes can be armed with 400mm torpedo tubes, Paket anti-torpedo defense system and Ka-28 anti-submarine helicopter. The main propulsion plant consists of two sustainer diesel-reducer units driving fixed pitch screws plus a boost unit consisting of a gas turbine system driving a booster.

The corvettes full speed can reach 30 knots, their cruising range being over 4,000 miles and endurance in terms of food provisions up to 30 days.

Light corvettes have a number of specific features. They are highly maneuverable, can operate in shallow waters and move at a speed of 35 to 40 knots using diesel-gas turbine plants and water jet propellers. Their cruising range exceeds 3,000 miles.

For armament, they can use the latest Uran-E missile system, 76 or 100 mm gun mounts, Kashtan-M air defense gun/missile system, 400 mm torpedo tubes, 12,7 mm machine guns, radio emission detection and jamming systems, dipping sonar and three-coordinate radar.

The high upgradeability of these corvettes allows to vary the composition of their armament suites during construction and to build various ships on the same platform, depending on the duties assigned to them and the demand for them on the market.

Another important activity of the Bureau is the designing of medium landing ships with a displacement of 1,400 to 1,700 tons. These ships are designed for landing assault troops and military hardware on a beach in sea state 3. The landing capacity is up to 5 tanks (weighing up to 55 tons) and up to 200 assault troops.

The ships can be equipped with Ogon launching units for neutralization and destruction of enemy manpower on the beach. The air defense is provided by 30mm gun mounts and Igla ManPads. The cruising range at an economic speed of 14 knots is around 2,500 miles.

It should be noted that corvettes of all designs presented by Severnoye DB can be equipped with weapon systems and components of both Russian and non- Russian manufacture. The vast experience of cooperation in shipbuilding with foreign companies enables the Bureau to rapidly meet all requests of customers and to provide technical support of the ships at Russias and the customers shipyards.

The high research and manufacturing potential, modern production facilities and established relations with the leading research centers and shipbuilding companies enable the Bureau to create competitive high-tech types of military hardware for the navy and to rapidly respond to requirements of both Russias and other countries navies.

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