One of the most serious problems of the Russian Navy can be called an acute shortage of ships of the 1st rank, capable of performing combat missions in the far sea and ocean zones. Nothing has been heard about the promising project of the Leader super destroyer for a long time. Plugging the holes in the Russian Navy is now due to the deep modernization of the old Soviet BOD project 1155 / 1155.1 and cruisers of project 1144 Orlan. Will we wait for modern destroyers or even cruisers as part of the Russian Navy?
A few days ago came great news. An additional six frigates of project 22350 and 22350M will be built at the Amur Shipyard. The decision to transfer part of the orders to the Far East, where the “sisterships” of the lead ship of the Admiral Gorshkov series will serve in the Pacific Fleet, can only be welcomed, since the Northern Shipyard clearly could not cope with the required pace of construction.
Currently, ten frigates of project 22350 are being built in St. Petersburg at once. The total displacement of each such ship reaches 5400 tons, the cruising range is 4500 miles, the maximum speed is 29,5 knots, autonomy is 30 days. The first four ships in this series can carry 16 Caliber-NK, Onyx or Zircon missiles, to choose from, which can hit sea and ground targets. To combat enemy submarines, Russian frigates are equipped with Paket and Otvet anti-submarine systems and Ka-27 anti-submarine helicopters.
Interestingly, from the fifth ship in the series, they will carry enhanced strike weapons - 32 missiles instead of 16, like the lead Admiral Gorshkov. The modern air defense system "Polyment-Redut" with ammunition for 32 anti-aircraft missiles with a range of 150 kilometers is responsible for air defense. The Russian frigates of project 22350 are quite serious multi-purpose URO ships of the 1st rank, capable of operating in the near and far sea zones.
Formally, the future destroyer of the Russian Navy was supposed to be project 23560 "Leader". Its total displacement is 17-19 thousand tons, the maximum speed is 32 knots, the cruising range is unlimited due to the use of a nuclear power plant. The armament of either a destroyer or a cruiser should be represented by 64 Caliber-NK, Onyx or Zircon missiles, anti-submarine - by the Package-NK complex and two Ka-27PL helicopters, anti-aircraft - by the Poliment-Redut air defense system , ZRPK "Pantsir-M" and even a promising ship version of the S-400 / S-500 air defense system.
That's just there is a "Leader" so far only in the form of a layout and, most likely, it will remain so. Due to the high complexity and cost of the project, which starts from 100 billion rubles per ship, according to the head of the USC Rakhmanov, the project of the destroyer / cruiser 23560 will not be implemented in such a chic form.
The role of a promising Russian destroyer is rightfully claimed by the project 22350M with a total displacement increased to 8500 tons. Its cruising range will increase to 7000 miles, and its maximum speed will be up to 30 knots. In addition to 64 anti-aircraft missiles, the frigate, which has grown in size by one and a half times and has actually turned into a destroyer, will carry not 32, but 48 Caliber-NK, Onyx or Zircon attack missiles, and not one, but two anti-submarine helicopters at once. Project 22350M destroyers will probably be built at the Severnaya Shipyard in the new slipway.
The exact number of ships of this type that the Russian Navy will receive is still unknown, but the Northern and Pacific Fleets, as well as the Black Sea Fleet, will need at least two of them for operations in the Mediterranean, more is better.
Interestingly, the 22350M project may well serve as a platform for the creation of a promising Russian light cruiser. Rumors circulate in the near-war press that the Super-Gorshkov can grow even more in terms of total displacement, up to 9-10 thousand tons. And it will be a very serious transformation. On the one hand, this will lead to an increase in its value from 25-35 billion rubles apiece to 35-45 billion.
On the other hand, this will move the ship from destroyers to actually light cruisers. For comparison: the flagship of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Navy, the project 1164 missile cruiser Moskva, which died last year, had a total displacement of 11 tons. The enlarged hull will make it possible to place more attack missiles on the Super-Gorshkov, but most importantly, a more powerful long-range sea-based air defense system, which was previously intended for the Leader. The foreign specialized publication Military Watch, citing its sources, reported that Project 420M ships could be equipped with 22350N40 anti-aircraft missiles, originally developed for ground-based S-6 air defense systems, or 400M9MD, intended for the S-82V300 army air defense system.
This, in fact, will turn the grown destroyers into light cruisers capable of hitting sea and land targets at a distance of up to 1000 kilometers and carrying out air interception within a radius of up to 400 kilometers. At the same time, for the price of one "Leader" it will be possible to get two multi-purpose warships of project 22350M, of the same type as destroyers and frigates, which will greatly simplify their construction and subsequent maintenance.