30 December 2023






1 min

The Kirov Class nuclear-powered battlecruiser RFS PYOTR VELIKY of the Russian Navy will not undergo the anticipated refurbishment, but will head for decommissioning, leaving only one active Kirov Class vessel in the Russian fleet.

The move marks a significant reduction in Russia’s ocean-going surface fleet, with the remaining cruiser RFS ADMIRAL NAKHIMOV set to complete refurbishment by 2024-2025. The Kirov Class ships, known for their colossal size comparable to Japan’s Izumo Class aircraft carriers, are the largest surface combatants globally, boasting a weight exceeding triple that of the U.S. Navy’s Arleigh Burke Class destroyers.

The decision reflects a broader trend in Russia’s naval strategy, emphasizing smaller frigates and corvettes over larger destroyer or cruiser-sized ships since the Soviet era. Her retirement  underscores the evolving priorities in Russia’s geopolitical landscape since 2022.

The move aligns with advancements in missile capabilities, particularly the Zircon hypersonic cruise missile and the Kalibr missile’s surface-to-surface variants, enabling Russian ships to engage targets effectively from coastal waters.

The remaining Kirov Class battlecruiser is expected to serve under the Northern Fleet, reflecting Russia’s heightened focus on the Arctic region as a key trade route and geopolitical battleground.

As the sole nuclear-powered surface combatants, Kirov Class ships offer superior endurance, capable of extended sea deployments when resupplied by air.

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