Russian AEGIS warship burned down along with stealth technology
MOSCOW, ($1=74.36 Russian Rubles) – A fire broke out at the Severnaya Verf shipyard in St. Petersburg on the Gremyashchy corvette project 20385 “Provornuy” under construction, learned BulgarianMilitary.com, citing Defense24.
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The fire was very violent, as the ship was built on stealth technology, and was also largely equipped with combat systems. According to preliminary data, the ship was to be put to the test very soon, after which it will be transferred to the service of the Russian Pacific Fleet at the end of next year.
Videos and photos published by Russian Internet users show that the fire on the Provornuy corvette broke out on December 17, 2021, around 19:00. There are fears of a possible explosion, as welding work was carried out inside the corvette and due to it had a lot of gas cylinders.
The ship’s mast was probably completely destroyed, as were the superstructures. This will significantly increase losses, as all radar antenna and electronic warfare [including permanently mounted flat gratings] are integrated into this mast. The situation must have gotten out of hand if, on December 17, 2021, at 21:05 the Interfax reporting agency reported that the area covered by the fire had increased tenfold [initially it was 80 m2]. It was officially announced that “the fire spread over 800 square meters and affected almost the entire ship.” The fire was contained after 23:00 on December 17, 2021.
It is possible that everything above the main deck was destroyed. Most likely, the combat information center [where information from ship radars is processed], which is located under the base of the mast, and the server room with emergency power equipment located below, were burned. The ship’s main command post was probably located in the hull itself and may have survived for that reason.
The situation is exacerbated by the fact that the corvettes under project 20385 are designed and built on stealth technology, which should ensure in the first place to reduce the effective area of radar reflection. This was achieved through the appropriate shape of the ship and the construction of its superstructures, and the mast, mainly using multilayer composite materials. Perhaps in the Severnaya Verf shipyard, the composite used by the Russians is more flammable. However, observers say there was no major fire damage inside the steel hull.
The causes of the fire are unknown. 168 people and 42 fire engines took part in the extinguishing. Four firefighters and shipbuilders were injured, including one in critical condition.
What did the Russian fleet lose?
The loss to the Russian fleet was enormous, as the Provornuy was to be the second Gremyashchy corvette to join the Russian Pacific Fleet.
The Russian Defense Ministry’s plans called for the introduction of six such ships in the Far East, but work on the other four corvettes by Amur’s shipyards has been difficult.
Before the fire, construction costs rose dramatically after the decision to install the AEGIS mini system on these relatively small vessels. The anti-aircraft system was to be responsible for protecting Gremyashchy corvettes from air attacks. The initial source of information is the Radiment radar station with a rotating antenna on the long wall, located at the top of the mast under a spherical coating made of composites. According to the Russians, this system should allow to fight up to 16 targets simultaneously with a range of up to 400 km.
The ship was additionally equipped with the Zavesa radar complex, which uses several stationary long-wall antennas located in the mast structure. This provides one-way monitoring and allows for more frequent updating of situational information compared to rotating antennas. The system allows the detection of standard aircraft at a distance of up to 300 km and aircraft made by stealth technology in a range of 75 km.
Corvettes under project 20385 had to be prepared not only for combat against air and surface targets but also for attacks on ground targets [so they were equipped with vertical launchers for caliber missiles “Kalibr-NK” and hypersonic missiles “Zircon” and cannon with caliber 100 mm] and anti-submarine combat [thanks to the Paket complex and space onboard for one helicopter].
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