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Guardians of the seas: Ten years of Russia's formidable multi-purpose corvettes

Currently, five Project 20380 corvettes are in operation in the Russian Navy and another five are under construction
Steregushchiy corvette Vitaliy Nevar/TASS
Steregushchiy corvette
© Vitaliy Nevar/TASS

MOSCOW, February 27. /TASS/. February 28, 2018 will mark ten years since the Project 20380 lead ship Steregushchiy was accepted for service in the Russian Navy.

Project 20380/20385 warships are a series of multi-purpose corvettes (guard ships) developed for the Russian Navy for coastal water operations.

Project’s history

As most shipbuilding projects in Russia were put on hold in the 1990s, the Navy stopped receiving not only missile cruisers, destroyers and strategic missile-carrying submarines but also 2nd and 3rd class warships - guard ships, small anti-submarine warfare ships and minesweepers.

The situation was further aggravated by the fact that officially the Navy prioritized maintaining and developing seaborne strategic nuclear forces, which enjoyed priority financing.

As a result, only six guard ships had joined the Navy by early 2008, the same amount as missile cruisers and over half of the number of strategic submarines.

The Pacific and Northern Fleets did not have any guard ships in their structure at all, although precisely these warships were designed to provide for submarines’ deployment and sustainability in coastal waters. Meanwhile, six available guard ships were of five different modifications while their average age was 28 years.

The Navy needed a new series of warships to carry out short-range escort and strike missions and coastal water patrols. In this situation, the Defense Ministry of Russia announced a tender in the late 1990s for the design of a new guard ship, in which the Almaz Central Marine Design Bureau (St. Petersburg) emerged as the winner.

Already in 2000, the Almaz Design Bureau presented eight versions of Project 20380 guard ship conceptual designs (the Corvette-1 design code), one of which was accepted by the customer.

The designers used the "modular principle" in their design work, which helped cut production costs and ensure the warship’s high upgrade potential during its entire service life (30 years).

Special attention was paid to reducing radar signature, using composite materials, the new components base, etc. Also, for the first time in the history of domestic shipbuilding, the designers managed to accommodate a hanger for a helicopter aboard the warship of such small water displacement.

Along with Project 21631 (Buyan-M) small missile ships, Project 20380/20385 corvettes are the largest series of surface ships delivered to the Russian Navy after 1991 (five warships in each series).

  • Performance characteristics of Project 20380 (Project 20385) corvettes
  • Length - 111.6 m (115.1 m);
  • Width - 14 m;
  • Draft - 7.95 m;
  • Full water displacement - 2,100 tonnes (2,300 tonnes);
  • The corvette’s main power plant is the two-shaft diesel system consisting of two DDA12000 units with a capacity of 11,600 horsepower each produced by the Kolomensky Factory;
  • The full speed - up to 27 knots (about 50 km/h);
  • The operating range - 4,000 nautical miles (about 7,400 km);
  • The sea endurance - 15 days;
  • The crew - 99 men.


The corvettes are armed with Uran or Kalibr-NK anti-ship missile launchers (depending on the warship’s modification), the Kortik-M or Redut air defense missile system, two AK-630M 30mm artillery guns, the A-190 100mm artillery system, two 14.5mm machine-guns and two DP-64 grenade launchers. As its anti-submarine and anti-torpedo defense, the corvette is armed with two Paket 300mm torpedo tubes. A Kamov Ka-27 helicopter can be based on the warship.

Currently, five Project 20380 corvettes are in operation in the Russian Navy and another five are under construction.