The Sovremenny class are a class of large anti-surface destroyers with some anti-air and anti-sub capability. They were built by the Soviet, and later Russian, navies during the late 1980s through the early 2000s and are currently operated by Russia and China. They are a bit over five hundred feet in length and displace roughly 7500 tons when fully loaded, making them similar in size to the United States' Spruance class.

They are powered by pressure-fired steam turbines, similar to those used on the earlier Kresta II-class antisubmarine cruisers, and their overall hull form is very similar. The armament, however, differs significantly. Their main battery consists of two quad launchers that fire SS-N-22 Sunburn (3M80 Moskit) missiles, possibly the most dangerous anti-ship missile in service with any navy. Backing this up are two AK-130 twin-mounted 130mm cannon, two RBU-6000 ASW rocket launchers and two twin 533mm torpedo tubes (which are able to fire the SS-N-15 Starfish ASW missile, though it is not normally carried). Air defenses consist of the AK-130 guns, two single-arm launchers for the SA-N-7 Gadfly and the later SA-N-12 Grizzly (Yezh) missile and either the AK-630 point defense gatling gun or the CADS-N-1 Kashtan combined gun/missile air defense system. Both Chinese units, and all but a few Russian units have AK-630, but the more recent builds use CADS-N-1. It is also equipped with a flight deck and hangar for a Ka-27 Helix helicopter, typically of the missile targeting variety, though the ASW model can be embarked as well.

Other than the RBU-6000 rocket launchers, nearly every weapon mounted on the Sovremenny-class is optimized for or capable of anti-surface warfare. The torpedo tubes fire large, heavy homing torpedoes - the same type fired from Russian attack submarines - which can attack surface and sub targets alike. The 130mm guns can fire laser-guided shells, which are lethal against small boats and can deal heavy damage to all but the largest of ships. Even the air defenses have anti-shipping roles: SA-N-7 has a credible anti-surface attack profile similar to the American SM-1MR Standard Missile 1, flying high before diving down onto its target at over Mach 2.8, and both AK-630 and CADS-N-1 can engage boats and small ships at close range. The SA-N-11 missiles on the CADS-N-1 turrets are anti-surface capable, too.

While the class' anti-sub capabilities are decidedly second-rate, her medium-range missiles and guns make it a credible backup air defense unit, providing mid-range anti-air and anti-missile cover in conjunction with a more capable air-defense unit like a Slava-class or Kirov-class cruiser. In addition to their offensive anti-ship role, they are capable of acting as anti-air escorts for commercial ships and as naval gunfire support ships for an amphibious invasion, using their four medium guns. In this role, they are considered one of the most effective of any ship. By comparison, the most heavily gun-armed ship in the US Navy is the Ticonderoga class cruiser, armed with two single-mounted 127mm guns. *

Some seventeen units were constructed, of which about seven remain in service with the Russian navy. Four more are active in the People's Liberation Army Navy of China, with two more nearly complete. The two new Chinese units are expected to carry the faster and more capable Grizzly missile, which uses the same launcher as Gadfly, and the CADS-N-1 CIWS. Altogether, this is one of the most successful Russian warship designs, providing considerable firepower in a compact and relatively inexpensive hull.

General characteristics, Sovremenny class large destroyer (Project 956 Sarych)

  • Hull designator: DDG - missile destroyer (US/NATO). BRK - Large Rocket Ship (Большой ракетный корабль. Russia/USSR)
  • Number, Russian hulls: 7 in service, 3 in refit, 7 decommissioned
  • Number, Chinese hulls: 4 in service, 2 building
  • Displacement: 8250 tons
  • Length: 156 m (511 ft)
  • Beam: 17.3 m (56.7 ft)
  • Draft: 6.5 m (21.3ft)
  • Propulsion: 4 pressure-fired conventional boilers, geared steam turbines, 100000 shp. 2 shafts, controllable pitch propellers.
  • Speed: 32 knots
  • Range: 14,000 nmi at 14 knots
  • Anti-ship missiles: 8x (2 quad) Raduga SS-N-22 Sunburn (3M80 Moskit). 3M82 Moskit-I (improved) carried in newer Chinese hulls and possibly newer Russian hulls.
  • ASW missiles: unknown number of SS-N-15 Starfish, not generally carried.
  • Anti-air missiles: 2x SA-N-7 Gadfly (50+ rounds). 2x SA-N-11 (16 rounds ready, 64 rounds reserve) as part of CADS-N-1 in later units. 2x SA-N-12 Grizzly in lieu of Gadfly in some units.
  • Torpedoes: 4x (2 twin) 533mm torpedo tubes. Type 53 nuclear or conventional torpedoes, ASW or ASuW.
  • ASW rocket launchers: 2x RBU-6000
  • Guns: 2x twin AK-130 130mm/70 ASuW/AAW/NGFS guns. 4x AK-630 30mm Gatling. 4x GSh-6-30 30mm gatling (2 twin) as part of CADS-N-1 in newer units.
  • Aircraft: 1x Ka-27 Helix.
  • Crew: 350

* - this does, however, disregard the Tico's very large missile capacity, a total of 136 rounds of AAW, ASuW, land-attack and ASW rounds, in nearly any combination. Equally, the Tico is 40% more expensive than a fully-loaded Sovremenny...