Kirov class cruiser
The Kirov class cruiser is the largest non-carrier surface combat vessel to be laid down and completed by any nation since World War II. The ships of this class were first built for the Soviet navy. Its official designation is “missile cruiser”, although its size and speed qualifies it as a battlecruiser. It was also the first Russian surface ship to use a nuclear powerplant. Five ships were planned, but only four were built. The first, the Kirov (later renamed the Admiral Ushakov), was laid down in 1973 and commissioned in 1980. It was followed by the Admiral Lazarev in 1984, the Admiral Nakhimkov in 1988, and the Pyotr Velikiy (Peter the Great) in 1998. Only the last two are still in service, due mainly to Russia's lack of funds.
The cruiser's main armament consists of 20 vertical launch tubes for SS-N-19 Shipwreck missiles. It also carries 2 twin 5-inch guns, 2 quintuple torpedo tubes, and various short- and long-range SAMs and 30 mm guns for air defence. Each ship also carries three Kamov Ka-27 Helix helicopters for anti-submarine work.
The Kirov in Fiction
- The Vital Guide to Modern Warships, by Leo Marriott, Airlife Publishing, 2001
- The World's Great Battleships, by Robert Jackson, Amber Books, 2000
- Russian navy arrives in Venezuela to 21-gun salute