Russia’s first Karakurt-corvette enters service in the Baltic Fleet

On Monday 17 December the first Karakurt-class corvette was commissioned to Russia’s Baltic Fleet. That reports bmpd. Before long we can expect to see it on active duty in the Baltic area.

In a somewhat surprising move the ship received the name Mytishchi. During construction and sea trials, it has carried the name Uragan. The government has decided to change the naming theme for the class from “unpleasant weather phenomenons” to “small Russian cities”. “Uragan” literally means “hurricane”, and admittedly it would be strange to name a ship after something that the crew passionately dislikes. “Mytishchi” is a suburb outside Moscow. The second ship in the class will receive the name Sovetsk instead of the original name Taifun.

Karakurt-class corvette “Mytishchi” with the old name written on the side. Photo: Pella Shipyard

The Karakurt-class is Russia’s new standard design for smaller corvettes, and they have ordered 18 of these ships so far. It aims to fix the shortcomings of the Buyan-M class, which turned out to be less seaworthy than hoped. I have earlier taken a closer look at the Karakurt-class, which is an impressive ship. Despite the small size, it carries a potent weapons package that includes Kalibr precision strike missiles, Oniks anti-ship missiles, and Pantsir-M air defense.

The construction of the series has progressed slower than planned due to a shortage of diesel engines. Since the introduction of foreign sanctions there is only one supplier of such engines, namely the Zvezda PAO factory in Saint Petersburg. But they have been unable to meet demand because of raw material shortages and a generally slow production process. The latest chapter in that saga is that Zvezda may face a period without power because they haven’t paid their electricity bills.

Russia has looked into other possibilities like using gas turbines or buying diesel engines from China, but so far they have rejected these ideas. Gas turbines are not really an option because they are supply constrained as well, and Russia needs them more for the Admiral Grigorovich class frigates. And the Chinese diesel engines require too many changes to the construction of the ships, and Russia is unsatisfied with the performance of the engines.

So it appears that Russia is happy about their corvette design and willing to accept a lower pace of production in order not to compromise. It will be interesting to see how quickly they can get the remaining Karakurt corvettes into service.




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