The modern Russian Navy fields a destroyer force of about a dozen ships and these are broken down into three major supported classes - Kashin, Udaloy and Sovremennyy. By quantity, Udaloy leads the way and includes Vice-Admiral Kulakov (626), a 7,570 ton vessel commissioned into Soviet Navy service in 1982. She serves with the Northern Fleet as of this writing (2017).
The Udaloy-class were originally developed in the latter stages of the Cold War period (1947-1991) when the primary enemy were American submarines. As such, the class was constructed for anti-submarine functions and a dozen were completed in two standards - "Udaloy I" and "Udaloy II". Udaloy II numbered just one warship which was completed in the late-1990s to a modernized standard. Two warships of the class were later cancelled as the Russian Navy entered a period of decay and slashed budgets following the demise of the Soviet Empire.
Vice-Admiral Kulakov, named after Soviet statesman Fyodor Davydovich Kulakov, was launched in 1980 and became active in 1982. She entered an extended period of refitting that lasted from 1991 to 2010 in which some of her systems and facilities were modernized. She remains active as of this writing (2017).
Kulakov displaces 6,200 tons under standard load and up to 8,000 tons under full load. Her length measures 535 feet with a beam of 62 feet and a draught of 26 feet. Power is through a "COmbined Gas And Gas" (COGAG) arrangement which sees 4 x Gas turbines generating a combined 120,000 horsepower driving 2 x Shafts. Speeds reach 35 knots and range is out to 10,500 nautical miles. This makes Kulakov both fast and of good endurance coupled with the ability to accomplish blue water work as part of the fleet or as an individual entity sent out to hunt submarines. However, she lacks more modern design lines and any obvious "stealth-ification" as seen in Western warships - there are many protrusions and exposed spaces on the vessel which provide a larger signature than is typically wanted in modern ship design.
Aboard there are 300 personnel. A helicopter deck over the stern supports up to 2 x Kamov Ka-27 "Helix" navy submarines which are equipped to search, track and destroyer submarines and surface warships beyond the visual range of the ship itself. A hangar provides full service facilities for maintenance and repair. In addition to maritime work, these helicopters can also support amphibious assault actions close-to-shore. Of note is that the warship now can launch and retrieve the powerful Kamov Ka-52 "Alligator" dedicated attack helicopter which is also used by the Russian Navy - and this provides an excellent attack platform for when assailing shoreline and inshore positions during an amphibious assault.
Standard armament of Kulakov includes 2 x SS-N-14 anti-submarine/anti-ship missiles arranged in quad-launchers. There is a Vertical Launching System (VLS) for SA-N-9 Surface-to-Air Missiles (SAMs) to counter aerial threats to the ship (or fleet). More conventional, projectile-minded firepower comes from 2 x 100mm turreted deck guns (single-gunned mountings) and 4 x 30mm AK630 Gatling systems used in the Close-In Weapon System (CIWS) role. The warship is outfitted with 2 x 533mm (22") torpedo tubes in quadruple launcher mountings. 2 x RBU-6000 Anti-Submarine ROCket (ASROC) launchers are also carried. With all this, Kulakov can attack and defend as is necessary - be the threat from the air (aircraft / cruise missiles), on the sea or under it.
Despite all this, Kulakov is an old warship with origins seen in the Cold War years despite the attempts at modernization (which kept her from sailing for nearly two decades). A fire in January 2011 caused by a short circuit incident damaged her internals some so this delayed her sea-going ventures even more. It is only very recently that her career has become active: She was used in the convoy escort role in 2012 and arrived offshore Syria to support Russian actions in the ongoing Syrian Civil War. In 2013 she participated in World War 2 celebrations hosted by the United Kingdom. In April of 2014 she was sighted by British warships passing close to English shores which made global headlines. For 2016, she was stationed once more off the coast of Syria in support of addition Russian participation on behalf of the local government in its fight against various rebel factions.
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