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Ukraine reportedly hits Russia Project 18280 spy ship Yuriy Ivanov.

| Naval News Navy 2024

According to information published by Obozrevatel on March 25, 2024, following a missile strike in Crimea, in addition to two amphibious ships, a third vessel of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, the Yuriy Ivanov class (Project 18280) intelligence ship Yuriy Ivanov, may have been damaged.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Russian Yury Ivanov-class intelligence ship Yury Ivanov. (Picture source: Kchf)

The Russian intelligence ship Yury Ivanov, and its involvement in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, offers a significant case study in the utility and vulnerabilities of modern naval intelligence assets. Intelligence ships like the Yury Ivanov are designed for signals intelligence (SIGINT) collection, a crucial capability that includes the interception and analysis of electronic communications and signals for military intelligence purposes.

The operational activities of such vessels are central to a nation's ability to gather strategic and operational intelligence on adversaries, contributing to situational awareness, threat assessment, and decision-making processes at the highest levels of military command.

Beyond traditional SIGINT, intelligence ships like the Yury Ivanov are likely involved in broader electronic warfare and cyber operations. These operations can disrupt or deceive enemy communications and radar systems, further contributing to the strategic advantage of Russian military forces.

Intelligence ships can act as floating command centers, providing real-time data and communication links between the Russian mainland, naval vessels, and airborne assets. This capability ensures that command and control remain robust, even if terrestrial communications are compromised or destroyed in the conflict.

However, these ships also face significant risks. As highlighted by the reported attacks on Russian intelligence vessels by Ukrainian drones, these high-value assets are targets for enemy forces.

Technical data

Yury Ivanov has a standard displacement of 2,500 tons and can reach up to 4,000 tons when fully loaded. The vessel measures 95 meters in length and 16 meters in width, with a draft of 4 meters, tailored for operational efficiency in its designated roles.

It is powered by a combination of two DRA-5DRA diesel engines and two 11D42 engines from Kolomensky, producing a total of 5,032 horsepower (3,700 kW). This propulsion system, comprising two shafts and variable-pitch propellers, enables the ship to maintain a cruising speed of 16 knots for economical operations and a maximum speed of 20 knots. The ship's design allows for a range of 8,000 nautical miles at cruising speed and supports autonomous operations for up to 45 days, facilitated by its crew of 120.

The Yury Ivanov is equipped with MR-231-3 radar systems for its primary role in intelligence gathering. For defense, it has two MTPU mounts for 14.5 mm machine guns and portable air defense systems including Igla and Verba missiles. The ship also has the capability to operate unmanned aerial vehicles, such as the Orlan-10.

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