Surface Forces: Karakurt-Class Corvettes



November 21, 2023: A Russian shipyard in Crimea was attacked by Ukrainian missiles, which heavily damaged the nearly completed Karakurt-Class Corvette Askold. It appears that Askold was so heavily damaged that it will never enter service unless it goes back to a shipyard for extensive repairs.

The Russian Navy was planning on putting 16 Karakurts into service for use in the Black Sea and the Baltic as well as the landlocked Caspian Sea. The Caspian is accessible for small ships via canals. Several Russian shipyards are built along these inland waterways that have access to the ocean without being on or near the coast. This provides these facilities with protection from attack by ocean-based warships. With one Karakurt heavily damaged in a Crimea shipyard that’s one less able to enter service in 2024. So far only four Karakurts are in service with another eight in various states of readiness to enter service in 2024. All 16 Karakurts could be in service by 2026. The first one entered service in 2018 but various shortages and losses because of the war in Ukraine slowed the introduction of the Karakurts, especially in the Black Sea, which is an active war zone.

Karakurts are 860-ton corvettes that are 67 meters (220 feet) long and armed with eight VLS cells for cruise or anti-ship missiles. There is a 76.2mm gun and an air defense system armed with anti-aircraft missiles with a range of 20 kilometers. There is a CIWS (Close-In Weapons System) for protection from cruise missiles. There are no torpedoes and no anti-submarine capability. The Karakurts can attack land targets or ships at sea. Karakurts have a crew of 60 and a top speed of 55 kilometers an hour. An Orlan UAV is carried for surveillance and reconnaissance. Endurance is 15 days at sea before needing resupply of fuel and other necessities.


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