Zaliv Kerch Shipyard Launches Russian Navy's Karakurt-Class Corvette “Askold”
Zaliv Kerch Shipyard Launches Russian Navy's Karakurt-Class Corvette “Askold”

Zaliv Kerch Shipyard Launches Russian Navy’s Karakurt-Class Corvette “Askold”

The Zaliv Kerch shipyard in Crimea has floated out the Project 22800 latest missile corvette Askold built on order from Russia’s Defense Ministry. The launch ceremony was held under the direction of Russian Navy Commander-in-Chief Admiral Nikolai Yevmenov who also inspected the course of surface shipbuilding at the Shipyard and its production capacities. The Askold will be the second Project 22800 corvette built at the Zaliv Kerch Shipyard. Currently, the Russian Navy operates three Project 22800 corvettes: the Mytishchi, the Sovetsk and the Odintsovo. All of them are operating in the Russian Baltic Fleet. Overall, shipbuilders will construct 18 such warships, which will be divided equally between the Pacific, Baltic and Black Sea Fleets. The Zaliv Shipbuilding yard is located in Kerch, Crimea and specializes in the construction of tankers and container carriers, and the repair of ships of different types and tonnage.

The Karakurt class, Russian designation Project 22800 Karakurt, is Russia’s latest class of corvettes under construction for the Russian Navy. The class is intended as a more seaworthy, blue-water complement to the Buyan-M class corvettes, designed for the littoral zone and which as of 2015 serve in Russia’s Caspian Flotilla, Baltic Fleet and Black Sea Fleet. The ships are designed to be armed with Kalibr or Oniks anti-ship cruise missiles and have an endurance of 15 days. They are also to be a cheap alternative for larger Admiral Grigorovich class frigates, for which construction was delayed due to the suspended military cooperation with Ukraine, and because of Russia’s intention to continue the modernization of its navy until all necessary tasks for construction of larger vessels domestically are solved.

Zaliv Kerch Shipyard Launches Russian Navy’s Karakurt-Class Corvette “Askold” (Photo by Zaliv Kerch Shipyard)

Project 22800 derives from Project 12300 Skorpion, a proposed 1990s Almaz design for a 500-ton displacement missile boat, and was also heavily influenced by Project 21631, the Buyan-M corvettes. The primary armament consists of Kalibr cruise missiles or P-800 Oniks supersonic anti-ship missiles carried in eight UKSK VLS cells in the rear part of the superstructure, behind the bridge. The 3M-54 Kalibr is a group of Russian surface ship-, submarine-launched and airborne anti-ship and coastal anti ship (AShM), land attack cruise missiles (LACM) and anti-submarine missiles developed by the Novator Design Bureau (OKB-8). The P-800 Oniks also known in export markets as Yakhont is a Soviet / Russian supersonic anti-ship cruise missile developed by NPO Mashinostroyeniya.

The corvettes built for the Russian Navy will be equipped with a 76.2 mm AK-176MA automatic dual-purpose gun, a modernized version of the AK-176. However, at least on the first ship, the 100 mm A-190 was installed. A proposed export version may carry the Italian OTO Melara 76 mm gun. For anti-missile defense, the first two ships will only carry a pair of AK-630M gun-based CIWS. Starting from the third ship, they will be equipped with Pantsir-M, a navalized version of the Pantsir surface-to-air missile system. The third vessel of the class, Odintsovo, entered service in the Baltic Fleet with the Pantsir-M system in November 2020. Ships of the class have a stealth shaped superstructure with an integrated mast carrying four phased array radar panels.