Marines: Gren Class Arrives And Is Forgotten

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July 26, 2018: Fourteen years after construction began the first of a new Russian class of amphibious ships that Gren class ships finally entered service. There many delays but the final one had to do with “design flaws” discovered when Gren began its sea trials in mid-2016. The main flaws where hull stability and engine reliability. It took 18 months to deal with that and sea trials resumed in late 2017. Finally, the Russian Navy declared the Gren fit for service in May 2018. However, only two of this class will be built. The second one began construction in 2014 and has had the flaws of the first one fixed before it was launched in May 2018. The second ship should be in service by 2019.

Gren was launched in 2012 and was supposed to be fitted out and delivered in 2014, a decade after construction began. But there were more delays. Called the Ivan Gren class, after its lead ship, these 120 meter (384 foot) long vessels each displace 6,500 tons, have a crew of 110, and can carry 13 tanks or 36 infantry fighting vehicles and 300 infantry. Top speed is 33 kilometers per hour and max range is 6,500 kilometers (cruising at 30 kilometers an hour) with max endurance of 30 days. Armament consists of three AK630 30mm automatic cannon for missile defense as well as against aircraft and small naval targets. Range of these weapons is 5,000 meters. One of the AK630s is the dual version (two six barrel 30mm autocannon in one turret) while the other two are single six barrel versions (similar to the American Phalanx). There are also two 14.5mm machine-guns and a helicopter pad and hanger for two KA-27/29 helicopters.

Four more Grens were to be built, if the first one performed well. It didn’t. The first one cost about $200 million (including all the extra expense of fixing the flaws). The Grens appear to be updates of the Ropucha class LSTs, 28 of which were built in the 1960s and 70s. A few of these 4,100 ton ships are still in service but just barely.

The Russian government has been unhappy with the performance of Russian shipyards and sought to buy amphibious ships from France, in part to get some French shipbuilding technology and an opportunity to show Russian shipbuilders how it should be done. These Mistral class ships were completed by 2014 but never delivered because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent (and still existing) sanctions.

 


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