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Upgrade of Russian Frigate Neustrashimy Nears Completion.

| 2018

The Defense Ministry and the United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC) are completing the overhaul and upgrade of the Yastreb-class Neustrashimy frigate of project 11540. Navigation and communication systems have been fully replaced and new electronic means installed. The power plant has been overhauled. Two gas turbine boosters were overhauled by Russian experts at the aircraft plant in Samara, not in Ukraine, the Izvestia daily writes.

Upgrade of Russian Frigate Neustrashimy Nears CompletionThe Russian Navy Frigate Neustrashimy during major overhaul at Yantar shipyard (in November 2017). Picture by Alexfly35

Experts believe the upgrade will develop the Neustrashimy into a modern warship which the Navy badly needs. The main Navy command said the overhaul and upgrade of the frigate are nearing completion. The warship is to be handed over to the fleet in late 2018 - early 2019. The main systems have been installed and adjustment and alignment are ongoing.

The USC confirmed the high state of frigate readiness but refused any comment.

The Neustrashimy has sailed a lot of hours in the Russian Navy. It was build in the end of the Cold War as an antisubmarine frigate and was one of the most modern warships at the time of Soviet collapse. It was handed over to the fleet in 1993 and has covered close to 120 thousand nautical miles since then which is the length of five equators. It made several foreign sorties, including to the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean. The Neustrashimy was engaged in operations against Somali sea pirates and escorted commercial vessels in the Horn of Africa.

After 20 years of intensive operations the Neustrashimy began a large-scale modernization in Kaliningrad in 2014. All the main fuel and electric systems were overhauled. Cosmetic renovation was done in corridors, combat posts and cabins. The lighting system was completely changed. Survivability water discharge and fire systems were replaced. The overhaul exposed many hidden defects which were rectified.

The frigate received modern communication and navigation systems and weapons. It is now on a par with the Yaroslav Mudry frigate which was accepted into service in 2009.

The main problem was the power plant of the frigate. It has two Ukrainian-made gas turbines. As relations with Ukraine deteriorated it became impossible to have the engines overhauled in Nikolayev. The aircraft plant in Samara had to deal with the overhaul from scratch. Russian engineers coped with the task, but the overhaul was delayed by the urgent necessity to repair an engine of the Yaroslav Mudry frigate.

The Russian Navy lacks frigates and has to overhaul and upgrade the existing ones, naval expert Prokhor Tebin told the Izvestia. Project 11540 frigates are successful warships which are actively operated and properly perform.

"Twenty-five years is not a big age for the Neustrashimy. It can operate for the same time provided proper overhaul," he said.

The Neustrashimy badly needed an upgrade. The frigates are a workhorse of the green-water fleet. It took a long time to overhaul and upgrade the warship because of major volume of work as new technologies, element base, communication systems and armaments have appeared since it became operational. The antisubmarine designation of project 11540 has become even more vital in current conditions, Tebin believes.

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