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A Complete Guide To The Admiral Grigorovich-Class Frigate

May 3, 2015

Russia Admiral Grigorovich-class frigate 04

The Russian Navy is determined to resurrect its ailing Black Sea Fleet. Even before the annexation of Crimea and the war in Eastern Ukraine, plans were already afoot to turn a decrepit maritime arm into a genuine fighting force above and below the waves.

According to the US Navy’s own open source intelligence gathering, a total of 11 vessels–including two upgraded Kilo-class diesel electric submarines–are joining the Black Sea Fleet by 2020.

But just as noteworthy are six brand new Admiral Grigorovich-class frigates that are part of the same roster. A fresh spin on a legacy asset, the Admiral Grigorovich’s lineage is a colorful one.

It began with the Krivak-class, or Project 1135, that was first commissioned in 1970. Krivak-class frigates were built in significant numbers until the end of the Cold War, a lethal ocean-going flotilla escort with a battery of SS-N-14 anti-ship missiles on its bow. The Krivak was upgraded thrice and 40 ships were commissioned until the 1990s.

Ukrainian Krivak III-class frigate

The sole Krivak III inherited by the Ukrainian Navy, the flagship Hetman Sugaidachny. As the Cold War waned the Krivaks were reduced to patrolling territorial waters.

A New Clientele

The Krivak’s new lease on life began when the Indian Navy needed modern frigates to boost its blue water capabilities. Between 2000 and 2012, the Indian Navy received six Krivak III’s, which were modernized with a new suite of armaments and electronics.

Re-branded as the Talwar-class frigate, each vessel is armed with a 100mm A-190E naval gun on its bow. Behind it is a single launcher for the Shtil-1 SAM, the naval version of the deadly Buk M1-2. It also carried two RBU-6000 213mm torpedo launchers, two Kashtan close-in air defense systems, and a Ka-27 anti-submarine helicopter.

Indian Talwar-class frigate 01

An Indian Navy Talwar-class frigate.

Unlike its Russian predecessor, however, the Talwars had eight lethal BrahMos cruise missiles in vertical launchers. It’s believed the Indian Navy wants three additional Talwar-class frigates. The exact pricing and schedules for this latest transaction aren’t clear.

The main difference between the Talwar-class and the original Krivak is the layout. To properly identify either, note the square bridge supporting a less cumbersome array on the Talwar, then spot the rest of the changes. The Talwar also supports a helipad on its stern, replacing the 130mm guns of the early Krivak.

Back To The Old

By 2010, two years before the last of the Talwar’s were delivered to India, the Russian Navy initiated plans to revive the Black Sea Fleet. This required a new surface combatant. What they settled on was the Talwar, or what used to be the Krivak III-class.

It was now the Admiral Grigorovich, Project 11356. The name was fitting as it commemorated a distinguished Czarist admiral of the Black Sea Fleet. Using the Talwar was a sensible choice too, since the Krivaks were mainstays in the Black Sea Fleet and production costs weren’t exorbitant.

Russian Kashtan CIWs

The Kashtan close-in weapon system. The world’s deadliest? The Talwar and Admiral Grigorevich have a Kashtan on either side of their X-band radar dome near the stern.

Displacing at 3,850 tons, the Admiral Grigorovich was the first of six. Its siblings are the Admiral Essen, the Admiral Makarov, the Admiral Butakov, the Admiral Istomin and the Admiral Kornikov. The state-owned United Shipbuilding Corporation would fulfill the contract, with deliveries  from 2014 to 2017.

Construction of the whole batch is underway in Kaliningrad’s Yantar shipyard, Russia’s Baltic hub in the European mainland. Aside from Yantar, one trade publication reports 136 companies are involved with the Admiral Grigorovich program as subcontractors.


The Admiral Grigorovich, alternately referred to as the Krivak IV-class, is a modernized rather than a brand new design. Its primary function is air defense, escorting, and submarine hunting. Its most distinguishable characteristic are two vertical launch batteries of Kalibr SS-N-27 supersonic cruise missiles (NATO code name is “Sizzler”) located below the RBU-6000’s, which are in front of the bridge.


A Krivak III under construction in Kaliningrad.

The first Admiral Grigorovich was laid down in December, 2010. It was launched in March, 2014. It was supposed to be commissioned by November 7, 2014. Apparently this has been moved to August, 2015.

Once at sea, the Admiral Grigorovich supports a crew of 200.

A full month prior its commissioning with the Black Sea Fleet the Admiral Grigorovich is participating in the 7th International Maritime Defense Show (IMDS) from July 1-5 in St. Petersburg. It’s going to be docked alongside Admiral Gorshkov-class and Neustrashimy-class frigates near the Lenexpo exhibition hall.