The Russian nuclear powered battlecruiser Pyotr Velikiy (Peter the Great) will this afternoon dock in Table Bay harbour on its way from Venezuela to India, where it is scheduled to carry out exercises with that country’s navy.
defenceWeb Cape Town correspondent Dean Wingrin reports the ship has been given permission by the National Nuclear Regulator to enter harbour. It was reported last week that such permission had been refused.
The task group is scheduled to sail on Wednesday. A navy spokesman says no joint exercises with the ships are currently scheduled.
The Pyotr Velikiy, flagship of the Russian Northern Fleet, based in the Arctic Circle, deployed to the Caribbean to conduct manoeuvres with the Venezuelan Navy in September, in what has been described as the first major Russian show of force in that sea since the end of the Cold War.
Moscow announced last week that six Russian ships will later this month exercise with the Indian Navy.
The US Federation of American Scientists fact file on the ship, commissioned in 1998, notes the class of four were originally designed as large antisubmarine warships “to search for and engage enemy ballistic missile submarines.”
Their role was subsequently expanded to engage large surface targets and provide air and antisubmarine protection to naval forces after the introduction of the 3M45/P700 Granit antiship missile system, known to NATO as the SS-N-19 Shipwreck.
The FAS says twenty Granit antiship missiles are installed under the upper deck, mounted at a 60 degree elevation. “The long-range missiles cannot be controlled once launched, but do have a multivariant target engagement program. When ripple-fired the missiles share information while in-flight. The lead missile assumes a high-level flight trajectory enabling it to increase its target acquisition capacity, while the other missiles follow at a lower level. If the lead missile is destroyed, one of the other missiles will automatically assume the lead role.”
Also aboard is a S-300F air defence missile complex with 12 launchers and 96 vertical launch air defence missiles. “The S-300F is capable of engaging both air and surface targets”.
The ship has two Osa-Ma double launchers and 40 air defence missiles.
Guns include a single turret with two AK-130 130mm multipurpose guns and eight AK-630 six-barrelled 30mm Gatling to engage airborne targets including sea skimming anti-ship missiles, small sea vessels, floating mines and light armoured land based targets.
The class also carries three Kamov Ka-27PL or Ka-25RT antisubmarine helicopters.
The ship’s propulsion system is based on a combination of nuclear power and steam turbine, with two [four according to some sources] nuclear reactors and two auxiliary boilers, the FAS says.
The propulsion system provides a full speed of 31 knots.
The visit of the Pyotr Velikiy follows that of the US Teddy Roosevelt battle group in October.