Kara-class cruisers

USSR Project 1134B Nikolayev 1972 Berkut B Kara class Cruiser

USSR Project 1134BF Berkut B Azov Kara-class Cruiser

Being the Cold War opponent of the United States, the Soviets continued to construct cruisers that could function as antiaircraft, ASW, and as surface combatants to destroy NATO aircraft carriers. Between 1970 and 1978, 10 Kresta II-class cruisers, essentially a variant of the preceding class that emphasized ASW, were completed. Another seven vessels of the Kara-class were completed between 1973 and 1980, also designed primarily for ASW.

The Karas are enlarged gas-turbine powered versions of the Kresta IIs. The extra size has been used to mount two retractable SA-N-4 SAM twin launchers, and the heavy anti-aircraft armament has been increased in calibre. The Karas could be distinguished from the Kresta IIs by their longer hull and the large separate funnel necessitated by the use of gas turbines. Compared with their contemporary American cruisers, the Soviet ships are much more heavily-armed, but the long-range American ships have large and very seaworthy hulls.

The Kara measured 570 feet by 60 feet, displaced 8,200 tons, and could achieve a maximum speed of 34 knots through the use of its gasoline-fueled turbine engines. The Kara and the other ships of the class were the first cruisers in the world to use this type of propulsion. The need for boilers to produce steam is obviated, as engines consume gasoline that was fed directly into the engine. In addition to this propulsion, radar, sonar, and missile systems were much improved. The Kresta II- and Kara-classes owed their existence to the extreme threat that the Soviets attached to Western ballistic missile submarines, which could launch nuclear weapons into the heartland of the Soviet Union. The Kresta II Class, Soviet Designation Project 1134A, Berkut A (golden eagle) were Soviet guided missile cruisers of the Cold War. The ships entered service in the late 1960s and were rapidly decommissioned after the end of the Cold War

Kerch was laid down in the Soviet Union on 30 April 1971, launched on 21 July 1972 and was commissioned in the Soviet Black Sea Fleet on 25 December 1974. The ship was constructed in the 61 Kommunar Shipyard at Nikolayev (Mykolaiv) on the Black Sea. She was in service with the Soviet Fleet until 1991, and then joined its successor, Russian Navy. As of 2011 she is the last active Kara-class cruiser. The ship is slated to remain in service till 2019

Units: Nikolayev, Ochakov, Kerch, Azov, Petropavlovsk, Tashkent, Tallin

Type and Significance: Large Anti-Submarine Ships. These were some of the more successful cruisers of the Soviet Navy.

Dates of Construction: The units were laid down between 1969 and 1976, with the last one being completed in 1980.

Hull Dimensions: 570′ x 60′ x 20′ 4″

Displacement: 8,200 tons

Armor: None

Armament: Two SS-N-14 ASW launchers, two SA-N-3 SAM launchers, two SA-N-4 SAM launchers, four 3-inch guns, four 30mm Gatling guns, 10 20.8-inch torpedo tubes, two RBU-6000 ASW systems, two RBU-1000 ASW systems, and one helicopter.

Machinery: Four gas turbines that generated 12,000 horsepower.

Speed: 34 knots

Complement: 520

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