If the latest reports coming out of Russia regarding the indigenously made gas turbines are proved to be true, NPO Saturn might just save the day and shore up the completion of the remaining Admiral Gorshkov-class(Project 22350) frigates in the 2017-18 period as planned. While the Admiral Grigorovich-class is to receive its first gas turbines in mid-2018 according to President of the United Shipbuilding Corporation(OSK) Alexey Rakhmanov.
Troubles for two most ambitious blue water ships – 22350 and 11356 – undertaken since the Soviet Union’s collapse, began in 2014 as Ukrainian conflict ensued. Gas turbines and reduction gear assemblies used in Admiral Gorshkov and Admiral Grigorovich class power plants were made by the Ukrainian Zorya-Mashproekt “production complex”. Open hostilities between Moscow and Kiev, spurred Ukraine’s refusal to deliver much needed turbines to Russia.
M55R Propulsion Plant
DA91 Gas Turbine
First and second Project 22350 ships – Admiral Gorshkov and Admiral Kasatonov – feature combined diesel and gas(CODAG) M55R propulsion plants that consist of two Mashproekt made DA91(UTG15000+) gas turbines, two Russian Kolomna made 10D49 diesel engines and Mashproekt made P055 reduction gear assembly. To come up with an indigenous gear reducers alternative should not prove massively challenging for the Russians but gas turbines require much greater investment, both in terms of finances and time required for development and testing phase. Development of an indigenous gas turbine for Project 22350 frigates commenced some years before the troubles in Ukraine in 2014. Russian company NPO Saturn was bestowed with the task, and was expected to complete work on its M90FR(main image) in the 2017-18 time frame. When Ukraine refused to supply the turbines back in 2015, work on new turbine was speeded up at the Kremlin’s behest. According to latest reports, advanced testing phase of the new M90FR turbine has already began and first turbines are to be produced and installed on the third ship Admiral Golovko in 2017. Total of between 8 and 15 ships of the Admiral Gorshkov-class are planned for the Russian Navy. The fourth frigate – Admiral Isakov – has been launched in Novemebr, 2013. All the ships are to be constructed at St. Petersburg’s Severnoe shipyard, with the initial four to serve with Russia’s Northern Fleet.
10D49 Diesel Engine
Admiral Kasatonov, December, 2016. ( https://vk.com/marinist_spb )
The other blue water casualty of the Russo-Ukrainian fallout was Project 11356 Admiral Grigorovich-class frigate. Initial three frigates – Admiral Grigorovich, Admiral Essen, Admiral Makarov – feature combined gas and gas(COGAG) M7N1 propulsion plants. Those consist of two DS71(UGT6000R) and DT59(UGT16000R) gas turbines each and R058, R063 and R1063 gear reducers, all designed and made in Ukraine by Zorya-Mashproekt. Consequently, prospect of completion of the remaining two Project 11356 frigates – Admiral Butakov and Admiral Istomin respectively – was rather questionable. Thus, in October 2016 on sidelines of the BRICS Summit in Goa, Russia and India formally agreed to transfer the remaining two ships to Indian Navy. Latest rumour has it that Admiral Butakov and Admiral Istomin will, after all, be completed for the Russian Navy as first planned.
M7N1 Propulsion Plant
DT59 Gas Turbine
Admiral Essen was to join Admiral Grigorovich of the coast of Syria to supposedly test its weapon and battle systems in combat. It has been reported that on 25 Novemebr, 2016, as it was preparing to set sail for the Mediterranean, one of it’s shafts and propellers was damaged in an accident due to human error.
DS71 Gas Turbine
Admiral Makarov is still in sea trials and once commissioned is to join two other ships of the class over at the Russia’s Black Sea fleet in Crimea. Remaining two frigates, just like three before them, are being constructed at Yantar shipyard in the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad and are at various stages of completion at present.
Admiral Makarov on sea tails, December 7, 2016.
Images: Zorya-Mashproek; NPO Saturn