Ships / Cruisers / Kirov class

Kirov class

General Facts

  • TYPE


    Project 1144 Orlan

    Early 1970’s


    1973 - 1998

    Russia - Baltic Yard 189
    USSR - Baltic Yard 189

    4: 1 in service, 1 in refit, 2 scrapped


    Well armed
    Good speed and range
    Enormous size
    Very costly


The Kirov class is a cruiser of Soviet origin. The name Kirov is a Western designation for the Project 1144 Orlan (Sea Eagle). The Kirov class is the largest missile cruiser ever developed. In Russia this type of ship is referred to as a heavy nuclear powered missile cruiser. Due to its size and displacement the Kirov class is sometimes referred to as a battlecruiser.


The Kirov class was the first Russian nuclear power surface warship. The size and displacement are enormous. Unlike World War 2 era cruisers large guns do not make up the main armament. The Kirov class is a cruiser riddled with various kinds of missiles. The majority of the missiles are mounted at the front deck. The forward superstructure houses the bridge, funnel, main mast and many sensors and systems. The rear superstructure has a smaller mast and various other sensors. The hangar and helicopter deck are at the rear.


The main armament of the Kirov class are the 20 P-700 Granit (SS-N-19) long range supersonic anti-ship missiles. Additionally a single 130mm AK-130 twin gun turret can be used against surface targets. The capable air defense systems include 12 vertical launchers for the long range Fort (SA-N-6) surface to air missiles. Short range air defense comprises of both Osa (SA-N-4) and Kinzhal (SA-N-11) SAM systems. Six CADS-N-1 CIWS systems are fitted. The various anti-submarine systems include a long range RBU-12000 and two smaller RBU-1000 mortar systems and two quintuple 533mm torpedo tubes capable of launching various Type 53 torpedoes and SS-N-15 torpedo carrying missiles. The three Ka-27 helicopters can also be used for anti-submarine warfare.


The main mast houses the huge Top Pair long range 3D air search radar system with a range up to 200 nm. The rear mast houses the large Top Plate 3D air and surface search radar. Additionally a wide variety of fire control radars and optronic systems are fitted for the various SAM systems and guns. Countermeasures include two chaff launchers, a towed torpedo decoy and various ESM and ECM systems.


The Kirov class uses a combined nuclear and steam propulsion to power two shafts. The main power supply are two KN-3 nuclear reactors. Additionally there are two oil fired boilers and two gas turbines. This combination of propulsion systems provides a superheat capability with increased power. The maximum speed is 30 knots and its range is 14.000 nm at 30 knots.


A total of 5 Kirov class cruisers were to serve with the Soviet fleet. Three were commissioned from 1980 to 1988. The first of those three suffered a reactor incident in 1990 and has been decommissioned. The fourth of the class was finished in Russia after the breakup of the USSR and currently is only one Kirov class cruiser that serves with the Russian navy. There are plans for overhauling one of the two inactive ships, but funding may not be available. Construction of the fifth ship never started.


Kirov class

The Kirov class is a large nuclear powered missile cruiser. It is larger and heavier than any other type of modern cruiser. Of the four that were constructed a single vessel remains in service today. The remaining vessels differs from the earlier ones in having the improved Fort-M SAM system with longer range missiles.

Crew726 incl 82 officers, plus 18 aircrew
Displacement19.000 t standard, 24.300 full load
Length252 m overall, 230 m at waterline
Width28.5 m
Draught9.1 m
Machinery2x KN-3 PWR, 300 MW combined
2x oil-fired boilers, 2x GT3A-688 gas turbines, 140.000 hp
Propulsion2 shafts
Speed30 kt
Range14.000 nm at 30 kt
SensorsSurface search: Top Plate
Air search: Top Pair: IFF Salt Pot
Sonar: Horse Jaw hull mounted
Horse Tail VDS
SystemsFire control: Cross Sword for SA-N-9, Top Dome or Tomb Stone for SA-N-6/SA-N-9, 2x Pop Group for SA-N-4, Kit Screech for AK-130, 6x Hot Flash for CADS-N-1
Data: Lesorub-44 combat data system, Bell Push datalinks,
Countermeasures2x PK-2 chaff, towed torpedo decoy
Aircraft3x Ka-27
WeaponsGUN: 1x 130mm AK-130 twin
SSM: 20 x SS-N-19
SAM: 12x8 SA-N-6 or SA-N-20
SAM: 2x2 SA-N-4
SAM: 2x8 SA-N-9
TP: 2x5 533mm with SS-N-15
ASW: 1x RBU-12000
ASW: 2x RBU-1000
CIWS: 6x CADS-N-1 with SA-N-11
Weapon1130mm AK-130 twin gun
Single turret at rear deck
Weapon2SS-N-19 anti-ship missile
20 round launcher at forward deck
20 missiles, all ready to fire
Weapon3SA-N-6 or SA-N-20 surface to air missiles
12x 8-round VLS at forward deck
Weapon4SA-N-4 surface to air missle
Twin launcher on each side of bridge
40 missiles, 4 ready to fire
Weapon5SA-N-9 surface to air missile
Two octuple launchers at forward deck
16 missiles ready to fire
Weapon6533mm torpedo tubes
Quintuple launcher in hull at each side
Mix of Type 53 torpedoes and SS-N-15 missiles
Weapon7RBU-1000 and RBU-12000 ASW mortars
Single RBU-12000 on forward deck, two RBU-1000 at the rear
Weapon8CADS-N-1 CIWS with SA-N-11 missiles
Six mounts on superstructure

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