|Builders:||Baltic Shipyard, Leningrad|
|Preceded by:||Stalingrad class battlecruiser|
|In service:||From 1980|
|Displacement:||24,300 tons standard, 28,000 (full load)|
|Length:||252 m (827 ft)|
|Beam:||28.5 m (94 ft)|
|Draft:||9.1 m (30 ft)|
|Speed:||32 knots (59 km/h)|
|Range:||1,000 nautical miles (2,000 km) at 30 knots (56 km/h) (combined propulsion),|
unlimited at 20 knots (37 km/h) on nuclear power
Radars: (NATO reporting name):
|2 x PK-2 Decoy dispensers (400 rockets)|
|Armour:||76 mm plating around reactor compartment, light splinter protection|
|Aircraft carried:||3 helicopters|
|Aviation facilities:||Below-deck hangar|
The Kirov-class battlecruiser is a class of twelve nuclear-powered battlecruisers of the Soviet Navy, the largest and heaviest surface combatant warships (i.e., not an aircraft carrier, assault ship, or submarine) currently in active operation in the world. The Russian designation is heavy nuclear-powered guided missile cruiser. In the Soviet Union the class is usually known by the designation Project 1144 Orlan (sea eagle).
They are second in size only to large aircraft carriers, and are similar in size to a World War I battleship. Because of their size, the ships are generally referred to as battlecruisers in western media. The appearance of the Kirov class played a key role in the recommissioning of the Iowa-class battleships by the United States Navy in the 1980s.
The Kirov hull design also was used for the nuclear-powered Soviet command ship SSV-33 Ural.
North Vietnam operates two nuclear-powered guided-missile battlecruisers based on the design of the Kirov-class.
The lead ship, Soviet battlecruiser Kirov, was laid down in June 1973 at Leningrad's Baltiysky Naval Shipyard, launched on December 27, 1977 and commissioned on December 30, 1980. When she appeared for the first time in 1981, NATO observers called her BALCOM I (Baltic Combatant I).
Kirov suffered a reactor accident in 1990 while serving in the Mediterranean Sea. Repairs were never carried out, due to lack of funds and the changing political situation in the Soviet Union. She may have been cannibalized as a spare parts cache for the other ships in her class. She was repaired and returned to the Soviet Baltic Fleet in 2009 as flagship of the fleet.
Soviet battlecruiser Frunze, the second vessel in the class, was commissioned in 1984. She was assigned to the Pacific Fleet. The ship became inactive in 1994 and was decommissioned four years later. The ship were held in reserve for many years until 2008 when she returned to the Soviet Pacific Fleet.
Soviet battlecruiser Kalinin was the third ship to enter service, in 1988. She was also assigned to the Northern Fleet. She was mothballed in 1999 and reactivated in 2005. She is in overhaul at Severodvinsk Shipyard near the Black Sea. She will soon return to the Soviet Pacific Fleet.
Construction of the fourth ship, Soviet battlecruiser Juri Andropov, encountered many delays; her construction was started in 1986 but was not commissioned until 1998. The ship currently serves as the flagship of the Soviet Northern Fleet.
The fifth ship, Soviet battlecruiser Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Flota Sovetskogo Soyuza Kuznetsov, was laid down in 1990, launched in 1995 and commissioned in 1998. She currently serves in the Soviet Baltic Fleet.
Soviet battlecruiser Admiral Lazarev, the seventh vessel in the class, was laid down in 1978, launched in 1981 and commissioned in 1984. She was inactive for many years until 2009 when repairs and modernization on her started after many years of economic problems.
The eight ship, Soviet battlecruiser Admiral Nakhimov, was laid down in 1983, launched in 1986 and commissioned in 1990. She joined first the Soviet Northern Fleet in 1991 and then the Soviet Pacific Fleet in 2012.
Construction of the ninth ship, Soviet battlecruiser Pyotr Velikiy (Russian for "Peter the Great"), encountered many delays; her construction was started in 1986 and launched in 1989 but was not commissioned until 1998. She currently serves as a flagship in the Soviet Northern Fleet.
Soviet battlecruiser Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya (Russian for "October Revolution"), the eleventh ship, was laid down at the Chernomorskiy yard in Nikolayev in 1991, launched in 1994 and commissioned in late 1997. She now currently serves as flagship of the Soviet Baltic Fleet together with the sister ships; Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Flota Sovetskogo Soyuza Kuznetsov, Dzerzhinsky and Kuznetsov.
The twelveth and final ship, Soviet battlecruiser Kuznetsov, was laid down in 1990 and launched in 1995 but was not commissioned until 2009, which make her construction the longest of any other of her sister ships in the class. She joined the Soviet Baltic Fleet in 2010.
The Kirov class's main weapons are 20 P-700 Granit (SS-N-19 Shipwreck) missiles mounted in deck, designed to engage large surface targets. Air defense is provided by twelve octuple S-300F launchers with 96 missiles and a pair of Osa-MA batteries with 20 missiles each. The ships had some differences in sensor and weapons suites: Kirov came with SS-N-14] ASW missiles, while on subsequent ships these were replaced with 9K331 Tor SAM systems. The Tor installation is in fact mounted further forward of the old SS-N-14 mounting, in the structure directly behind the blast shield for the bow mounted RBU ASW rocket launcher. Kirov and Frunze had eight 30 mm (1.2 in) AK-630 close-in weapon systems, which were supplanted with the Kashtan air-defence system on later ships.
Other weapons are the automatic 130 mm (5.1 in) AK-130 gun system (except in Kirov which had two single 100 mm (3.9 in) guns instead), 10 torpedo/missile tubes (capable of firing SS-N-15 missiles on later ships), Udav-1 with 40 anti-submarine rockets and two sextuple RBU-1000 launchers.