Russia's Kirov-class battlecruisers are getting a lot more deadly
The US Navy's aircraft carriers are the envy of navies across the globe. But nearly as desired are Russia's rare Kirov-class battlecruisers. They're nearly as long as an Iowa-class battleship, but where America's ancient monsters relied on nine 16-inch guns to hit targets 23 miles away, the Kirov-class' main armament is 20 P-700 Granit anti-ship cruise missiles. These weapons have a range of nearly 400 miles, making them very worthy of NATO's nickname, the Shipwreck.
Despite being a tremendous threat to any surface ship across the globe, Russia only fields one of its four Kirovs, the Pyotr Veliky (Russian for Peter the Great, shown above). That's going to change, though, according to Foxtrot Alpha. While the Peter the Great is serving as the flagship of the Russian Northern Fleet, its sistership, the Admiral Nakhimov, is undergoing an exhaustive refit. She should be ready to set sail by 2019, at which point the Pytor Veliky will receive the same set of upgrades. And yes, both ships are going to be far more deadly.
The 20 P-700 launchers will be replaced with ten, far more versatile vertical launchers. These tubes will, eventually, be able to launch several members of the deadly Kalibr cruise missile family – there will be 80 anti-ship missiles on board. On top of that, the surface-to-air defenses will get an extensive update, with the new S-400 Triumf missile as the centerpiece. According to Foxtrot Alpha, the two ships might even get the Zircon missile, a hypersonic SAM that's allegedly in development. Simply put, Russia's two Kirovs will be utterly deadly to anything on the air or on the sea.
If you want to know more, Foxtrot Alpha has a far deeper dive into the Kirov refit than we can deliver here (it also has a truly must-read primer on Russia's battlecruisers). Head over and check it out.
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