The guided missile destroyer is an evolved form of the historical "destroyer" naval vessel that, itself, was an evolved form of the original "torpedo boat destroyer" developed to counter the threat of enemy torpedo boats assailing capital ships. The guided missile destroyer turned in much of her conventional armament to receive missile-minded weaponry and provide a more modern solution to more modern naval threats emerging throughout the Cold War years and beyond. The Admiral Levchenko (605) represents a Cold War-era Soviet guided missile destroyer now in continued service with the modern Russian Navy. She forms a portion of the Udaloy-class which originally was to number twelve ships (two projected vessels were cancelled and four have since been decommissioned). Eight are in active service with the Russian Navy and three other vessels once formed the modified "Udaloy II" class - only one remaining in active service as of September 2014.
Levchenko's design and configuration was consistent with the rest of the Udaloy-class. It displaces at 6,200 tons under standard load and 7,900 tons under full load. The vessel features a running length of 535 feet with a beam of 62 feet and a draught of 26 feet. Machinery includes four gas turbines outputting 120,000 horsepower to twin shafts in a COGAG (COmbined Gas And Gas) arrangement. COGAG simply implies paired turbines to a single shaft, hence the use of four turbines and only two propeller shafts. The arrangement begets a more economical vessel in terms of fuel efficiency, the pilot able to utilize the power of all four engines or just two depending on the required cruise or dash action. The propulsion system provides the Levchenko with a straight line speed of 35 knots in ideal conditions and a range out to 10,500 nautical miles.
The profile of the Levchenko sees a typical arrangement with a forward-amidships bridge placement. Deck guns are fitted over the forecastle and missile launchers are aft of them. Twin masts are used and straddle the smoke funnels at amidships. The forward superstructure is briefly divided by an aft structure that serves the stern-based flight deck. Levchenko features facilities to support two Kamov Ka-27 "Helix" class Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) naval helicopters and their respective flight crews and support personnel. The vessels standard crew complement is 300 personnel.
As a guided missile destroyer, Levchenko features a primary armament of two SS-N-14 anti-submarine missile launchers in quad-launcher mountings. Introduced in the late-1960s, the missile series is still a viable submarine threat today, sporting a length of 24 feet each, propelled by a solid fuel rocket booster and ranging out to 50 kilometers with aerial guidance support from the vessel's helicopters. The missile can reach depths down to 500 meters. The vessel also supports 553mm anti-ship/anti-submarine torpedoes ("Type 53" series) through two torpedo quadruple launchers fitted. A pair of RBU-6000 series rocket launchers are also another anti-submarine measure carried. 2 x single-barreled 100mm turreted deck guns provide conventional firepower against surface threats at range or inland targets for offshore bombardment sorties. Anti-aircraft defense is through 8 x Vertical Launch Systems (VLS) housing SA-N-9 series air defense missiles. Additional air defense (close range) is through 4 x 30mm Gatling-style emplacements as well as 2 x Altair CADS-N-1 "Kashtan" digitally-controlled Close-In Weapon Systems (CIWSs).
Levchenko saw her keel laid down on January 27th, 1982 and she was officially launched on February 21st, 1985. Commissioned on September 30th, 1988, the destroyer managed to survive the military drawdown and budget woes of post-Cold War Russia, remaining in active service into the new millennium. She has served with the Russian Northern Fleet - a group with ties dating back to the Russian Empire of 1703 - in defense of the northwest seas bordering Russia's vast coastline. She also partook of actions against Somali pirates during 2010.
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