Moskva Class Helicopter Carrier

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Moskva Class Helicopter Carrier

The Moskva class helicopter carriers were the first operational Soviet Navy aircraft carriers. The Soviet designation was Project 1123 Kondor.

These ships were laid down at Nikolayev South (Shipyard No.444). The lead vessel was launched in 1965 and named Moskva; she entered commission two years later. Moskva was followed by Leningrad, which was commissioned in late 1968; there were no further vessels built, reportedly due to the poor handling of the ships in rough seas. Both were conventionally-powered.

The Moskvas were not true "aircraft carriers" in that they did not carry any fixed-wing aircraft; the air wing was composed entirely of helicopters. They were designed primarily as anti-submarine warfare (ASW) vessels, and her weapons and sensor suite was optimized against the nuclear submarine threat. Their strategic role was to defend the Soviet ballistic missile submarine bastions against incursions by Western attack submarines, forming the flagships of an ASW task force.

Moskva Class Helicopter Carrier
Name: Moskva
Operators: Soviet Navy
Russian Navy
Succeeded by: Kiev aircraft carriers
Planned: 3
Completed: 2
Cancelled: 1
Retired: 2
General characteristics
Type: helicopter carrier
Displacement: 14,950 tons standard
17,500 tons full load
Length: 189 m (620 ft)
Beam: 23 m (75 ft)
Draught: 13 m (43 ft)
Propulsion: 2 shaft steam turbines, 4 pressure fire boilers, 100,000 hp
Speed: 31 knots (57 km/h)
Range: 14,000 nm at 12 knots (22 km/h)
Complement: 850
Armament:

2× twin SA-N-3 'Goblet' SAM launchers
2 × twin 57 mm guns
1 × SUW-N-1 launcher for FRAS-1 anti submarine missiles
2 × RBU-6000 ASW rockets

10× 553 mm torpedo tubes (2 × 5)
Aircraft carried: 18× Kamov Ka-25 'Hormone' or Mi-8 helicopters
Notes: Ships in class include: Moskva, Leningrad

The operational requirement was issued by Admiral Sergey Gorshkov in 1959. The aim of the ships was to counter NATO Polaris submarines and act as a flagship for anti-submarine warfare. Initially it was hoped to operate 10 helicopters from an 8000 ton ship. The design evolved into a larger vessel capable of operating up to 14 helicopters with self defence armament.

Armament

Shipboard ASW armament included a twin SUW-N-1 launcher capable of delivering a FRAS-1 projectile carrying a 450 mm torpedo (or a 5 kiloton nuclear warhead); a pair of RBU-6000 ASW mortars; and a set of torpedo tubes. For self-defence, the Moskvas had two twin SA-N-3 SAM launchers with reloads for a total of 48 surface-to-air missiles, along with two twin 57 mm/80 guns.

Sensors

Radar
  • Top Sail (air warning)
  • Head Net
  • 2 x Head Light (SAM guidance)
  • 2 x Muff Comb (gun fire control)
  • 2 x Don 2 (navigation)
Sonar
  • Moose Jaw (low frequency bow mounted)
  • Mare Tail VDS

Propulsion

Gas turbines were considered but were as yet untried in such a large vessel. Instead a high pressure steam plant similar to that used by the Kynda-class cruisers was used. The machinery of the Moskva had severe problems and had to be rebuilt in 1973 following a fire. Operational performance was disappointing with a practical maximum speed of 30 knots and 24 knot maximum sustainable speed. Sea keeping was also disappointing.

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