Upgrading Timelines for Alexandrite-Class Minesweepers Determined

Rubric: Russia

Upon completion of the first ten Alexander Obukhov-type mine countermeasures ships, the Project 12700 will undergo "a major, fundamental modernization", the Russian Navy’s deputy commander Vice Admiral Viktor Bursuk told Mil.Press Today on April 25. According to him, during the construction at the Sredne-Nevsky Shipyard, each of the minesweepers of this type will be equipped with more advanced systems.

"It is a large series, the Project 12700 mine countermeasures ships are being permanently modernized, primarily in terms of automated mine searching and countermeasures facilities", the officer said in the interview to Mil.Press Today.

Project 12701 Alexandrite-E minesweeper

Earlier on that day, at the launching ceremony of the third Alexandrite-class minesweeper, Viktor Bursuk said that for a long time ships of that type had not been built in Russia, so all fleets needed them. "Hopefully, the building rate would be at least two minesweepers per year", he stressed.

Vladimir Seredokho, director of the Sredne-Nevsky Shipyard added that the series of the Alexandrite minesweepers helped the company permanently master new technologies, with every new ship use more advanced technical solutions. Production of monolithic fiberglass hulls of such size has not been set up at any shipyard worldwide yet, he said.

The Sredne-Nevsky Shipyard is currently building three Project 12700 Alexandrite-class minesweepers: Georgy Kurbatov, Vladimir Yemelyanov and Yakov Balyaev, all are at different degree of completeness. It is planned to lay the keel for another minesweeper this year. In April 2018, an insider told the press that launching of Yakov Balyaev and Georgy Kurbatov was preliminarily scheduled in the spring 2019. The shipbuilders plan to hand over Yakov Balyaev to the Russian Navy in the falls 2019, and Georgy Kurbatov – in 2020.

For reference

The Project 12700 Alexandrite composite minesweepers are developed by the Almaz Design Bureau as the new-generation mine countermeasures ships. They are equipped with sonars, placed both onboard and on remotely controlled and stand-alone submersibles. The ships are capable to use traditional sweep armament as well. Also, the Alexandrite-class ships are equipped with drone motorboats. The project’s lead ship, Alexander Obukhov, was commissioned in the Baltic Fleet in December 2016.

The series was extended to ten ships instead of eight, and the deadline for the last minesweeper was deferred for six years, falling on 2027.