Sovremenny class destroyer

Sovremenny class destroyer

The "Sovremenny "class destroyer is the principal anti-surface warship of the Russian Navy.

It is designed to be a missile-attack vessel while also providing sea and air defense for warships and transports under escort. It complements the Udaloy-Class Destroyers in Anti-Submarine operations. The Soviet designation is Project 956 Sarych (Buzzard).


The first "Sovremenny "class destroyer was commissioned in 1980. A total of 18 have been built for the Russian Navy but only twelve remain in service due to lack of funds and trained personnel. All the ships were built by Severnaya Verf 190 St. Petersburg.

These ships have a maximum displacement of 7,940 t. Dimensions are: Length 156 m, Beam 17.3 m and draught is 6.5 m. They are armed with an anti-submarine helicopter, 44 air defence missiles, eight anti-ship missiles, torpedoes, mines, long-range guns and a sophisticated electronic warfare system.

There are a total of three versions of this class: the original Project 956 armed with 3M80 version of Moskit anti-ship missile, and its successor, the Project 956A, which is armed with improved 3M80M version of Moskit anti-ship missile with longer range. The main difference between the two is that the missile launching tubes on Project 956A are longer than that of Project 956 to accommodate the increased size of the newer missile, and these launching tubes can be used to fire / store the original 3M80 as well. A third version, Project 956EM, later developed for People's Liberation Army Navy was the latest development of this class.


Command and Control

The ship's combat systems can use target designation data from the ship's active and passive sensors, from other ships in the fleet, from surveillance aircraft or via a communications link from the ship's helicopter. The multi-channel defence suite is capable of striking several targets simultaneously.


The ship is outfitted with the Raduga Moskit anti-ship missile system with two four-cell launchers installed port and starboard of the forward island and set at an angle about 15°. The ship carries a total of eight Moskit 3M80E missiles, NATO designation SS-N-22 Sunburn. The missile is a sea-skimming missile with velocity of Mach 2.5, armed with a 300 kg high-explosive or a nuclear 200 kt warhead. The range is from 10 to 120 km. The launch weight is 4,000 kg.

Two Shtil surface-to-air missile systems are installed, each on the raised deck behind the twin-barrelled 130 mm guns. Shtil is the export name of the SA-N-7, NATO reporting name Gadfly.(From the 9th ship onwards, same launcher is used for SA-17Grizzly/ SA-N-12Yezh.) The system uses the ship's three dimensional circular scan radar for target tracking. Up to three missiles can be aimed simultaneously. The range is up to 25 km against targets with speeds up to 830 m/s. The ship carries 48 Shtil missiles.


The ship's 130 mm guns are the AK-130-MR-184. The system includes a computer control system with electronic and television sighting. The gun can be operated in fully automatic mode from the radar control system, under autonomous control using the turret mounted Kondensor optical sighting system and can also be laid manually. Rate of fire is disputed, but various Russian sources credit the weapon with a cyclic rate of 30-40 rounds per minute per barrel, in line with the French Creusot-Loire 100mm or the Italian OTO-Melara 127mm/54, but faster than the US Mark 45.

The ship has four six-barreled 30 mm AK-630 artillery systems. The maximum rate of fire is 5,000 rounds/min. Range is up to 4,000 m for low flying anti-ship missiles and 5,000 m for light surface targets. The gun is outfitted with radar and television detection and tracking. The latest Sovremennys carry the CADS-N-1 Kashtan CIWS system instead of AK-630.

Anti Submarine Systems

The destroyer has two double 533 mm torpedo tubes and two six-barrel RBU-1000 anti-submarine rocket launchers, with 48 rockets. Range is 1,000 m The rocket is armed with a 55 kg warhead.


The ship's helicopter pad accommodates one Kamov Ka-27 anti-submarine warfare helicopter, NATO codename Helix. The helicopter can operate in conditions up to Sea State 5 and up to 200 km from the host ship.


The Project 956 destroyer is fitted with an electronic countermeasures system and carries a store of 200 rockets for the two decoy dispensers, model PK-2.


The ship is equipped with three navigation radars, an air target acquisition radar, and fire control radars for the 130 mm gun and the 30 mm gun. The sonar suite includes active and passive hull mounted search and attack sonar.


The ship's propulsion system is based on two steam turbine engines each producing 50,000 hp together with four high-pressure boilers. There are two fixed-pitch propellers. The ship's maximum speed is just under 33 knots. At a fuel-economic speed of 18 knots the range is 3,920 miles.

PLAN variants

The Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) had two modified "Sovremenniy "destroyers delivered in December 1999 and November 2000. In 2002, the PLAN ordered two improved versions designated 956-EM. The first vessel was launched in late 2005, while the second is due to launch in 2006. China's acquisition of Sovremenniy class destroyers caused widespread concern among its neighbors in the Asia-Pacific, most especially Taiwan, which has been regarded by Beijing as a renegade province.

On the improved Project 956EM the aft AK-130 main gun was removed. The four AK-630 CIWS were replaced by two sets of Kashtan short-range air defence gun/missile systems. Each Kashtan system comprises a 3R86E1 command module and two 3R87E combat modules. Each 3R87E combat module has two 30 mm GSh-30k six-barrel automatic guns (range 0.5~4 km) and two SA-N-11 air defence missiles. The missile is armed with a 9 kg warhead and has a range of 1.5~8 km. This improved 956EM version is also the first to be armed with the newer version of SS-N-22, which reported has a designation of 3-M80MBE and possibly funded by China (according to Russian sources), and the new missile differs from the older ones mainly in that the range is increased from 120 km to 200 km. The air defense software is upgraded to accommodate the newer SA-N-12/SA-17 SAM system, but since China had already joined Russia in developing an even newer successor, it is not clear if SA-N-12/SA-17 has entered Chinese service in large numbers.

In 2006, the extra spheres (painted white as the mid-2006) added atop of the superstructures of the Chinese ships appearing in latest photographs of the Chinese units have shown that these Chinese ships had been upgraded with the domestic HN-900 Data link (Chinese equivalent of Link 11A/B, to be upgraded) and SATCOM (probably the SNTI-240).

*Project cost: 600 million US$ (mid-1990's price) was the price paid by China for Project 956A (two ships), and 1.5 Billion US$ (early-2000's price) for Project 956EM (two ships). [


*"Sovremenniy" - Современный -"Modern" (1980), decommissioned in 1998, scrapped in 2003
*"Otchayanny" - Отчаянный - "Reckless" (1982), decommissioned in 1998
*"Otlichnyy" - Отличный - "Perfect" (or "Excellent") (1983), decommissioned in 1998
*"Osmotritelnyy" - Осмотрительный - "Circumspect" (1984), decommissioned in 1997
*"Bezuprechnyy" - Безупречный - "Irreproachable" (1985), decommissioned in 2003
*"Boyevoy" - Боевой - "Militant" (1986)
*"Stoykiy" - Стойкий - "Steadfast" (1986), decommissioned in 1998
*"Okrylennyy" - Окрылённый - "Inspiring" (1987), decommissioned in 1998, scrapped in 1999
*"Burnyy" - Бурный - "Fiery (or Impetuous)" (1988)
*"Gremyashchiy" - Гремящий - "Thunderous" (originally "Vedushchiy" - Ведущий - "Leading")(1988)
*"Bystryy" - Быстрый -"Quick (or Rapid)" (1989)
*"Rastoropnyy" - Расторопный -"Prompt" (1989)
*"Bezboyaznenny" - Безбоязненный -"Intrepid" (1990)
*"Bezuderzhannyy" -Безудержный - "Impetuous" (1991)
*"Bespokoynyy" - Беспокойный -"Restless" (1992)
*"Nastoychivyy" - Настойчивый "Persistent" (originally "Moskovskiy Komsomolets") (1993)
*"Besstrashnyy" - Бесстрашный "Fearless" (1994)
*"Vazhnyy" - Важный - "Eminent" ("Hangzhou" (136) - 杭州 - sold to China before completion)
*"Vdumchivyy" - Вдумчивый - "Thoughtful" ("Fuzhou" (137) - 福州 - sold to China before completion)
*"Taizhou" (138) - 泰州 - improved 956EM built for China. (2005)
*"Ningbo" (139)- 宁波 - improved 956EM built for China (2006)

China reportedly also holds the option to purchase an additional two Project 956EM in the future.


External links

* - page on these ships in Russian language
* - article in English
* - article in English from FAS

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