Russian battlecruiser Pyotr Velikiy

Russian battlecruiser Pyotr Velikiy

"Pyotr Velikiy" (Пётр Великий) is the fourth "Kirov" class battlecruiser of the Russian Navy, originally named "Yuri Andropov" (Юрий Андропов).

History

"Yuri Andropov" (named after the Soviet politician Yuri Andropov) was laid down in 1986 at the Baltic Shipyard (formerly "Shipyard-189") in Leningrad. She was the fourth ship in what the Soviet Navy referred to as Project 1144 "Orlan" "heavy missile cruisers" (Raketny Kreyser). Excluding aircraft carriers, "Kirov" class ships have been the largest combat surface ships in the world, except for the period in the 1980s and early 1990s when the American "Iowa" class battleships were reactivated. The "Kirov" Class have been referred to as battlecruisers and indeed are the size of a WWI battleship or battlecruiser.

Because of economic problems both before and after the fall of the Soviet Union, work on her was severely postponed. Launch did not happen until ten years after the construction started, in 1996. She had now been renamed "Pyotr Velikiy", Russian for "Peter the Great".

After completing her acceptance trials in November 1996, she was laid up at the Northern Fleet headquarters at Severomorsk awaiting completion and repairs. After they were completed, "Pyotr Velikiy" went on to become the flagship of the Northern Fleet.

In August 2000 "Pyotr Velikiy" was in the Barents Sea involved in the largest naval training exercise since the fall of the Soviet Union. She was to be the designated target of the Oscar-II class submarine K-141 "Kursk", and was conducting evasive maneuvers when communication with "Kursk" was lost, the submarine apparently having suffered a catastrophic torpedo detonation with all hands lost. "Pyotr Velikiy" guarded the area where the submarine sank during the subsequent salvage operation in 2001.

In March, 2004, Russian Navy chief Admiral Vladimir Kuroyedov declared the Pyotr Velikiy unfit for service due to problems with the ship's engineering maintenance. [cite web|url= http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/03/23/1079939651673.html|title= Nuclear battle cruiser 'in danger of exploding'|accessdate= 2008-09-22|date= 2004-03-24|publisher= Sydney Morning-Herald] On April 19, 2004, she was docked in the floating drydock PD-50 for painting of the underside of the hull, repairs and examination of the steering system. The repairs were completed later that year, and she was carrying out missions again by August.

On September 8, 2008, it was announced that the "Pyotr Velikiy" would sail to the Caribbean Sea in order to participate in naval exercises with the Venezuelan Navy, along with the destroyer "Admiral Chabanenko" and other support ships. This action would represent the first major Russian show of force in that sea since the end of the Cold War. [cite web|url= http://news.yahoo.com/story//nm/20080908/wl_nm/russia_venezuela_navy_dc|title= Russia says to send battleship to Caribbean Sea|accessdate= 2008-09-22|author= Conor Sweeney|date= 2008-09-08|publisher= Reuters]

"Pyotr Velikiy" has been known to carry two pennant numbers during her service; "183" and "099".

References

External links

* [http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/ship/row/rus/1144.htm Federation of American Scientists - Kirov Class]
* [http://www.aeronautics.ru/archive/fleet/russian/1144.htm Aeronautics.ru - Kirov Class]


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