Kynda class cruisers (1961-63)

Groznyy, Admiral Fokin, Admiral Golovko, Varyag


The four units of the Kynda class were the first Soviet missile cruisers. They were from the outset (1956) designed to destroy American aircraft carriers by another more modern means than Stalin’s traditional attachement to conventional gun-armed ships.

Main armament
They inaugurated a system for launching a “volley” of eight P-35 (NATO SS-N-3 Shaddock) long-range (250 nautical-miles) long-range cruise missiles, with the recharge of eight other vectors stored in containers just behind, in the superstructure. However, these reloading operations were long and delicate, requiring in addition acceptable sea conditions. These SS-N-3 vectors were capable of implementing a tactical or conventional nuclear warhead, but were also dependent on guidance en route, finalized by a Tupolev Tu-95 “Bear-D” in one of the three modes available.

Note: This is an introduction on the matter, a starter article. It will be extensively rewritten soon, with the carrer of each ship detailed, and posted on Facebook.

Varyag 1989
Varyag 1989

AA Armament:
This armament was complemented by a M-1 Volna (naval version of the S-125 Neva) NATO SA-N-1 “Goa” short-range missile missile launcher, with a reduced stock (16 vectors) and relative efficiency. This set was complemented by two AA guns and four fast firing anti-missile guns.

ASW armament
The ASW defense consisted of two triple banks of acoustic torpedo tubes, and two RBU 6000 rocket launchers with 12 vectors each, plus vertical reloading. Each rocket had a HE load of 75 Kgs. Automatically adjustable and exploding by magnetic proximity, coordinate calculations were fully managed by an electronic console taking its information from the hull’s sonar. This ASW defense was complemented by a Kamov Ka-25 “Hormone” helicopter, with a stern deck spot but no hangar, which was a major problem in operations in icy and rough seas.

Admiral Fokin circa 1995
Admiral Fokin circa 1995, a ship of the Kynda class. The photo shows the huge anti-ship missile ramps and their reloading hangars whose hatches are visible behind.

The powerplant was a new system alike the Kashin-class, combining turbines powered by four supercharged boilers. Due to reduced hull size, this powerplant was able to give them a speed of 34 knots.

Active service
Despite their reduced dimensions, the four Kyndas, started at Zhdanov in 1960-61 and completed in 1962-65, were classified as missile cruisers (RKR). Class: Grozny, Admiral Fokin, Admiral Golovko, Varyag. The Varyag served in the Baltic Sea, the Golovko Black Sea, and the other two in the Pacific. In 1990, all four were active: They were removed from service in 1990, 1991, and 1993.

Author’s illustration of the Kynda


Displacement: 4400t, 5600t FL
Dimensions: 141,7 x 16,8 x 5,30m
Propulsion: 2 proppelers, 2 turbines, 4 chau HP., 100 000 hp. et 34 knots max.
Crew: 390
Electronics: Radars: 2 Don-2, 2 Head-net A/C, 2 Scoop Pair, Peel group, Owl Screech, 2 Plinth net, sonar Herkules, 3 CME Bell, 4 Top hat.
Armament: 2×4 LM SSN3 (16), 1×2 LM SAN1 (16), 4 canons de 76 mm (2×2), 6 TLT 533 mm (2×3), 2 LR ASM RBU 6000 (24).

Quebec class submarines (1950)
Moskva class Helicopter Cruisers (1965-68)

2 Replies to “Kynda class cruisers (1961-63)”

  1. A bit about P-35 missile and how it’s worked: it have two launch modes, ship-controlled one and autonomous one.

    1) In ship-controlled mode, after launch, missile climbed to pre-programmed cruise altitude, and went under control of ship’s radio-command system. The operator tracked the missile flight with the ship’s radar, and could send “right” and “left” commands to alter the missile course. For that, the missile should stay above horizon, of course.

    When the missile came near the target, the active radio seeker powered up, and started to scan the area. The radar images from the seeker were retransmitted onboard the ship. Operator saw on his scope what the missile saw, and could manually discriminate the targets and lock the missile on the chosen enemy ship. The missile then dive to 300 ft altitude, and attack target from the steep dive.

    2) In autonomous mode, the missile received no correction from the ship. It just flew a pre-set course, activated her seeker at pre-set time, and lock on the first target it noticed. Generally it was less effective mode, because those 1950s electronic brains weren’t very bright, and missile in autonomous mode could be easily fooled.

    On the other hands, in the autonomous mode, missile could cruise on much low altitude (because she didn’t need to stay above horizon for the ship).

    Also, there were only four fire control channels for the missiles on ship, so the full eight-missile salvo could not be controlled anyway.

    3) There was also anti-ground mode, in which operator used missile radar scope to seek & lock on the ground target, and then order the missile into vertical dive on this point. Worked better with nuclear warhead, of course)

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