Illustration: Design picture of Project 12700 Alexandrite mine countermeasures ship. Almaz Central Design Bureau
A keel-laying ceremony of Project 12700 Alexandrite new-generation harbor mine countermeasures ship (hull number 521) will take place at Sredne-Nevsky shipyard on Sept 22.
High-ranking representatives of Russian Navy, JSC United Shipbuilding Corporation (the yard's parent company), and St. Petersburg Administration will attend the keel-laying of unique ship which hull is to be made of monolithic fiberglass. Traditional gun shot will be made at the Peter-and-Paul Fortress in honor of such event, and the shell's case will become a showpiece in the shipyard's museum.
It will be the world's biggest hull made of monolithic fiberglass and shaped by vacuum infusion. JSC Sredne-Nevsky Shipyard is the only Russia's company possessing such technology and the only world's shipyard capable to produce monolithic hulls of such size. Comparing to steel hulls, the fiberglass one has higher strength which gives advantage in minesweeping. Fiberglass hull has much longer lifetime and lighter mass than the nonmagnetic steel one.
It is planned to launch the lead ship in 2012, and then to order three such ships for Russian Navy. In the near prospect, Project 12700 minesweepers will become the core of Russian Navy's mine countermeasures fleet.
Project 12700 Alexandrite harbor minesweeper was developed by the Almaz Central Design Bureau (St. Petersburg) with regard to world's advance mine defense trends. Project 12700 implies shaping of anti-mine structure with newest high-efficiency sonars placed both onboard the ship and on remotely-controlled and autonomous submersibles, integrated bridge system, and main battle station (mine countermeasures automated control system). Alongside with that, the ship will be capable to use traditional sweep equipment as well. The project's distinguished feature is that it initially provided foundation of the system of fiberglass-hulled ships.
Sredne-Nevsky shipyard was established in 1912 as Ust-Izhorsky Shipyard with the view to build warships for Russian Navy. Presently, the ship builds warships and civil vessels both for Russian and foreign customers.
Basic design characteristics of Project 12700 Alexandrite mine countermeasures ship:
Full displacement Ц about 800 tons;
Dimensions: length - over 50 meters, beam - about 10 meters, draft Ц about 3 meters;
Speed - 15 knots;
Fuel range Ц 1,600 nm at 10 knots;
Crew - 45 men;
Endurance - 10 days;
Main propulsion plant Ц 1x2,500-shp diesel, 3 diesel generators
Armament: 1x30-mm gun mount AK-306, 1x14.5-mm ship-based pedestal machinegun MTPU, various sweeps, remotely-controlled mine-searching submersibles, sonars