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Media: Cruiser Petr Veliky Becomes Russia's Missile Defense Component

Media: Cruiser Petr Veliky Becomes Russia's Missile Defense Component 24.09.2012
Text: Vzglyad
Photo: Petr Veliky. shipspotting.com
Flagship of Northern Fleet (NF), nuclear-powered missile cruiser Petr Veliky has become an element of Russian maritime missile defense being currently shaped, an insider in defense ministry told Izvestiya.

"During the deployment to Arctic zones of the Northern Sea Route, Petr Veliky held tests of missile defense elements as maritime segment of Russian integrated missile defense system in cooperation with recently founded Aerospace Defense Force", the source said.

He emphasized that the deployment of the NF flagship was held under Russian Maritime Doctrine which provides resuming of regular presence of Russian naval ships in key regions worldwide. Numerous training tasks are being carried out during the deployment, e.g. rescue operations, ice reconnaissance, etc.

"Fr om the viewpoint of missile defense, current tactical exercise in the Arctic is very important, since that is wh ere main trajectories of American land-based ballistic missiles go", he stressed.

Air/missile defense capability of nuclear-powered cruiser Petr Veliky is provided by mid-range (200 km) SAM systems S-300F Fort (48 missiles) and S-300FM Fort-M (46 missiles). To engage air targets in close-in zone, the cruiser has 16 launchers of Kinzhal SAM system (128 missiles) and 6 antiaircraft gun/missile systems Kortik.

Naval arms expert and chief editor of the Arms Export magazine Andrei Frolov pointed out that Petr Veliky was used as a missile defense element because Russia had not other ships suitable for such missions, writes Izvestiya.

"In Russian Navy, cruiser Petr Veliky is the most appropriate ship for ballistic missile interception. But generally, a nuclear-powered missile cruiser is too much for such purposes", said the expert. Besides, Andrei Frolov pointed out that defense ministry's decision to upgrade similar cruiser Admiral Nakhimov was also connected with sea-based missile defense strategy. Moreover, capital repair of missile cruiser Admiral Lazarev is also possible, added the expert.

"Indeed, recommission of those multipurpose nuclear-powered ships will definitely increase Russia's missile defense capabilities. However, if the government and defense ministry want to have really effective sea-based missile defense, it is necessary to build new ships, and the most suitable asset for that function is a destroyer-class ship which project is only under development now", Frolov said.

Project 1144 Orlan nuclear-powered missile cruiser Petr Veliky was developed by Severnoye Design Bureau. The ship was commissioned into Russian Navy in 1998. Full displacement is 25,860 tons, life-support endurance is 60 days, complement is 635 men, full speed is 32 knots (60 kph).

Except for air/missile defenses, armament of the cruiser includes 20 antiship missiles P-700 Granit, automatic gun mount AK-130, and antisubmarine rocket torpedo system RPK-6M Vodopad. The ship accommodates two ASW helicopters Ka-27. All-weather three-dimensional search radars Fregat-MAE are capable to detect targets at altitudes up to 30 km and ranges over 300 km.

According to Vzglyad, last Thursday at 9 am the cruiser's helicopter Ka-27 landed 9-men marine unit on the Kotelny Island, and then the radio contact was lost. It was reported later that the helicopter performed distress landing on the Kotelny Island in the Laptev Sea.

Possible reasons of that rough landing were reported as well.

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