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The Russian Ministry of Defence has signed a contract with the Amur shipbuilding plant for the construction of six corvettes from Projects 20380 and 20385.

“In compliance with the terms of the contract, the Pacific Fleet will receive two Project 20380 and four Project 20385 corvettes in 2024-2028,” the press office said in a statement quoted by TASS Russian news agency.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu announced plans to sign the contract for the new corvettes in August, although traditionally, large contracts for the construction of defence equipment are concluded at the Army forum. However, during Army-2020, which took place from 23 to 29 August, the corvettes were not ordered.

Six Project 20380 ships are already in service with four operated by the Baltic Fleet and two in the Pacific Fleet. In 2020, the corvette ALDAR TSYDENZHAPOV will be commissioned into the latter, and in 2021, the REZKY become the first combatant for the Black Sea

Project 20385 Improvements

The first GREMYASHCHY class corvette is expected to join the Russian Navy on 25 December, having completed trials in the Baltic Sea by firing the REDUT air defence missile system, AK-190 and AK-630 artillery systems against a practice targets imitating an hostile anti-ship cruise missile. Earlier, the Corvette fired KALIBR and ONIKS cruise missiles against a coastal and seaborne target in the White Sea.

The Corvette will become the lead ship of Project 20385 and will be the first surface combatant to carry the KALIBR cruise missiles in the Pacific Fleet. Project 20385 differs from its predecessor due to greater dimensions and displacement. They have a steel hull and composite superstructure, with a bulbous bow and nine watertight subdivisions. Unlike the Project 20380 corvettes, which are fitted with REDUT air defence Vertical Launch Systems (VLS) of 12 launchers on the bow, these new ships are equipped with a UKSK VLS system comprising eight launchers for either KALIBR, ONIKS or ZIRCON anti-ship/cruise missiles. The REDUT VLS system with 16 launchers has been placed on the stern.

Yury Laskin