Moskva (Project 1164 Atlant)
Guided-Missile Cruiser Warship
The Russian Navy still relies on the Cold War-era Moskva guided missile cruiser as of September 2013.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited:
The Slava-class (Project 1164 Atlant) was a Soviet Cold War-era initiative intended to field some 10 guided missile cruisers for the Soviet Navy during the 1970s. Design work began in the 1960s and the types were scheduled to be outfitted with conventional propulsion, an array of sensors and processing systems and a plethora of missile armament to contend with the threat posed by Western aircraft and waterborne threats against Soviet territory and interests. In the end, only three of the planned vessels were ever completed due to the end of the Soviet Empire in 1991, leaving one incomplete hulk and six vessels to cancellation. The Moskva - originally commissioned as the Slava (meaning "Glory") - became the lead ship of the class and her keel was laid down in 1976 by 61 Kommunara Shipbuilding Plant. She was launched in 1979 and officially commissioned for Soviet Navy service on January 30th, 1983. Her name was changed in 1995 to honor the Russian capital city of Moscow and her primary station is as part of the Black Sea Fleet. "Project 1164 Atlant" is the Soviet Navy designation for the Slava-class.
The Moskva missile cruiser exhibits a wholly conventional design profile made up by an upward-sloping bow, centralized superstructure and stern helicopter landing deck. The Moskva features a singular deck gun along the forecastle, large missile launchers along the port and starboard sides and an enclosed forward mast containing radar, communications and sensitive processing systems. The bridge is fitted high atop the superstructure for a commanding view of the field ahead. An aft superstructure contains the aft mast and a pair of low-profile, enclosed smoke funnels. A small helicopter landing deck can manage a single twin-rotor Kamov Ka-25 or Ka-27 navalized helicopter or similar - anti-submarine warfare helicopters designed to specifically search, track and engage enemy submarines. The full crew complement consists of 480 personnel including the small air detachment. The vessel displaces at 11,500 tons and armor consists of splinter plating protection.
The Moskva is a conventionally-powered "blue water" vessel designed for operations far from shore, either independent or as part of the main Russian fleet. Propulsion is provided for by 4 x gas turbines arranged in a COGOG (COmbined Gas Or Gas) configuration developed for ultimate efficiency. COGOG allows for both low and high engine output for both general cruising and high-speed darting respectively. The configuration allows for better management of limited fuel stores and more flexibility in travel modes over older engine arrangements. A clutch system manages each turbines and total output produced is approximately 121,000 shaft horsepower delivering to 2 x shafts. Range is listed at 10,000 miles when maintaining a cruising speed of 16 knots.
The Moskva is outfitted with an array of sensors and processing systems led by its powerful Voskhod/Top Pair MR-800 series 3D long-range search radar providing a modern "all-seeing" digital suite. This is coupled with a Fregat MR-710 3D air search radar to counter incoming aerial threats. Navigation is assisted by the "Palm Frond" suite and fire control consists of several radar installations and applicable systems - the Bass Tilt AK-360 series handling short-ranged aerial threats (including cruise missiles), the MPZ-301 Baza SAM (Surface-to-Air Missile) control, the Door-C SSM (Surface-to-Surface Missile) control, the MG-332 Tigan-2T sonar array integrated into the bow and a Platina "Horse Tail" MF VDS (Variable Depth Sonar) fitted aft. Intercept and jamming antennas (the "Kol'cho" suite) help manage the onboard electronic warfare suite and 2 x 140mm PK-2 DL series chaff-flare dispensers are fitted to thwart incoming radar and missile threats.
At the heart of the Moskva, and her class, is a battery of missile-launching systems intended to counter both aerial and surface threats while additional measures are enacted against undersea threats as required. The primary weapon system is 16 x P-500 "Bazalt" (SS-N-12 "Sandbox") anti-ship missiles fitted (as pairs) in two banks of four launchers each - four paired launchers to a superstructure hull side. The launchers can be easily identified and sit angled upwards in a ready-to-fire posture. This arrangement is supplemented by 8 x 8 S-300PMU "Fort" (SA-N-6 "Grumble") surface-to-air missile launchers totaling 64 missiles in all and additional anti-aircraft support is through 2 x 20 OSA-MA (SA-N-4 "Gecko") short-range surface-to-air missile launchers numbering 40 missiles total. Conventional short-range work is managed through a network of digitally-controlled 6 x 30mm AK-630 Close-In Weapon Systems (CIWSs). Another conventional weapon fitted is the 130mm/L70 AK-130 series "dual-purpose" deck gun fitted to a double-barreled turret at the forecastle. Anti-submarine measures include 10 x 533mm torpedo tubes and 2 x RBU-6000 series anti-submarine mortars.
Born as the Slava in 1983, the vessel underwent its first major (and rather lengthy) overhaul between 1991 and 1998 and did not reenter fleet service until 2000. By this time, her name had been changed to "Moskva" to coincide with the new emerging Russia born from the ashes of the old Soviet Union. The Moskva was given flagship status of the Black Sea Fleet, replacing the Admiral Golovko in the same role. In 2003, the Moskva took part in joint exercises with the Indian Navy in the Indian Ocean, India a growing military export customer for the Asian global power. When tensions erupted to full war with neighboring Georgia in 2008, the Moskva operated in the Black Sea in support of Abkhazian independence during the 2008 South Ossetia War. She returned to Russia for an overhaul in late 2009 and was set upon a floating dock while her work was completed. In April of 2010, the vessel undertook another exercise in Indian waters and then participated in the Vostok military drills on the Sea of Okhotsk. August of 2013 saw her undertake a goodwill stop in Cuba, a long-time communist ally miles from American shores.
Due to growing tensions between Russia and the West centered around the years-long Syrian Civil War - Syria a long-time military and political partner to the Soviet Union, and recently accused of using chemical weapons on rebel forces - the Russian Navy has dispatched its Moskva missile cruiser in late August 2013 from Atlantic waters to the Mediterranean Sea in response to a growing Western threat of military intervention, primarily directed by the United States and supported by European powers. For the moment, the Moskva will serve as a deterrent to Western involvement and (it is said) will assist in evacuating Russian citizens from Syria proper. Russia remains the Syrian government's most powerful ally in the region (as well as Syria's largest military supplier). An anti-submarine vessel has also been dispatched by the Russian Navy to the theater. The Russian government has stated that the show of force is intended to protect its "interests" in the region and not to raise already heightened tensions between world powers. Russia (as well as communist ally China) publically has opposed any western military intervention in the civil war.
Russia maintains over a dozen vessels in the Mediterranean Sea.