The Project 23560 Leader-class destroyer will replace several warship types at once in the Russian Navy’s inventory, including guided missile cruisers and large antisubmarine warfare (ASW) ships. The Severnoye Design Bureau has started working on her engineering design, according to the Izvestia daily.
The ship will displace about 17,500 tons, which will make her close enough to Project 1144 Orlan-class (NATO reporting name: Kirov-class) heavy missile cruisers in terms of dimensions. According to former Russian Navy Deputy Commander-in-Chief Admiral Igor Kasatonov, the development of a ship like that implies certain geopolitical interests of Russia’s leadership. Metal will be cut for the new warship after 2018, according to the United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC). In all, a series of eight destroyers is planned.
Nuclear-powered cruisers have the self-sustained operating capability and formidable weaponry and can operate anywhere in the world. The Russian Navy has not ordered ships like that since 1989. Hence, the development means that the country has regained geopolitical interests in remote corners of the world now, Kasatonov noted.
Valery Polovinkin, advisor to the director general of the Krylov State Research Center that worked out the destroyer’s preliminary design, says the sophisticated ship will combine the best of several types of surface combatants at once. She will have antimissile and space defense capabilities and serve as a kind of strong point in the ocean.
The Leader will be a versatile ship triple-hatted as destroyer, large ASW ship and guided missile cruiser while being smaller than Project 1144 ships and carrying far more weaponry. The self-contained operation capability of similar ships is usually based on their stock of provisions, and their nuclear propulsion plants can do without refueling for years.
The advanced destroyer will be equipped with the RITM-200 nuclear power plant fitting the future Project 22220 icebreaker, which lead ship, the Arktika, was launched in June. The Leader’s power plant will propel her to 30 knots.