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Russia resumes construction of project 20380, 20385 corvettes.

| 2020

Russia is resuming the construction of project 20380 and 20385 corvettes. The warships will be upgraded according to previous experience and will operate in regions with complicated hydrographic and weather conditions. It has not been planned to resume the construction of the corvettes before. The Izvestia daily writes why the Navy has changed its mind and why project 20380 corvettes will be in the biggest numbers in the fleet.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001

Stoikiy Steregushchiy-class corvette Russian designation Project 20380. (Picture source: Twitter account Jimmie Chan)

Acting CEO of Amur Shipyard Mikhail Borovsky said his enterprise is the number one in the list of shipyards to build new corvettes. The contract was signed at Army-2020 forum. Ten corvettes were ordered and the share of Amur Shipyard is being decided. The necessity to renew the Russian Navy emerged in early 21st century. It was decided to build corvettes followed by frigates and destroyers.

Project 20380 has to operate in brown waters. It is armed with modern weapons and electronic equipment. However, the production in the country collapsed more in 1990s than expected. The construction of the first four warships of the series dragged, as a result.

Four project 20380 and four project 20385 corvettes had to be built followed by a series of project 20386. Project 20385 is better armed and bigger than 20380. Instead of antiship Uran missiles, it carries universal UKSK system which can fire various missiles, including Kalibr and Onix. Project 20386 is even more innovative.

However, the plans had to be revised. The Amur Shipyard build the Sovershenny corvette 11 years. The government had to interfere and the Gromky second corvette was built in six years and the Aldar Tsydenzhapov third corvette in five years. It is to join the Pacific fleet this year. The Rezky corvette is to operate in the Pacific fleet in 2021. The warships will ensure security of SSBN in Kamchatka and provide for operations in the North Pacific without engaging Primorye flotilla from Vladivostok.

The sanctions against military hardware also played a role. Project 20385 was limited to two corvettes — the Gremyashchy and the Provorny. The project used a lot of imported components. Therefore, two 20380 corvettes replaced two 20385 warships.

Project 20380 has been refined and the corvettes have properly performed in various sorties. Two Pacific fleet corvettes sailed to the South Pacific and then to the Bering and Chukotka Seas in 2020. The navymen praise the warships. It is no wonder that the Navy had decided to continue the construction and signed a contract for eight project 20380 and two 20385 corvettes at Army-2020 forum.

There is no news about continued construction of project 20386 which is to be the backbone of Russian brown-water fleet. The Navy is likely waiting for the construction and trials of the Mercury only corvette to decide its fate.

The Retivy is to become the first project 20380 corvette in the Black Sea fleet in 2021. The Navy has not yet tested a single 20380 corvette in the Barents Sea. Only the Gremyashchy lead corvette of project 20385 test fired Kalibr missiles there. Therefore, it is unclear which corvettes will operate in the Northern fleet and when, the Izvestia said.

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