The shipbuilding plan of the Russian Navy for this year is being carried out in accordance with the schedule. The Russian Navy is planning to commission up to 40 ships and vessels, including two Project 12700 mine countermeasures (MCM) ships.
The Russian Navy currently operates four ships of the Project. Four more MCM ships are being manufactured by the Sredne-Nevsky Shipbuilding Plant (part of the United Shipbuilding Corporation). In the end of April, the fifth Project 12700 Alexandrit mine countermeasures ship, called “Pyotr Ilyichev”, has been launched in St. Petersburg, Russian Ministry of Defense reported. This ship, as well as another one, named “Georgi Kurbatov”, will join the Russian Navy before end of 2021.
Besides, two more ships were contracted by the Russian Defense Ministry last August at ARMY-2020 forum.
Moreover, in his speech to shipbuilders at the launching ceremony this April, the Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy, Admiral Nikolai Evmenov, noted that “the ships of the project” have a large modernization potential and thus an order for series can be further extended.
Project 12700 was developed by the Almaz Central Marine Design Bureau (part of the United Shipbuilding Corporation) for the Russian Navy. These ships belong to a new generation of mine-sweeping forces and are designed to combat sea mines, which the new mine countermeasures ships can detect both in the water of sea areas and in sea soil, without entering the danger zone. To combat mines, ships can use various types of trawls, as well as remote-controlled and autonomous unmanned underwater vehicles.
When building such ships at the Sredne-Nevsky shipyard, the latest Russian technologies are used, which have no analogues in the world shipbuilding. The ships of this project have a unique, largest in the world hull made of monolithic fiberglass, formed by vacuum infusion. The advantage of such a hull is its high strength and “invisibility” for magnetic mines, which ensures the mine resistance of the ship. Such a hull offers a longer service life (over 30 years) than a hull made of low-magnetic steel and is much lighter than its counterparts.
The ship provides for mine hunting by an advanced method using remote operated vehicles (ROVs) searching for mines ahead of the ship. The ship has unique station-keeping capabilities in high sea states and can detect and neutralize silted mines in Sea State 5.
The necessary precision navigation equipment is available on board the ship for effective countermine operations. The ship uses large-diameter low-noise propellers placed in noise-reducing pods to protect against acoustic mines.
Availability of the Diez automated system of anti-mine warfare enables it to direct the activity of a group of mine countermeasures ships.
The minehunter offers high maneuverability through the use of an effective thruster system.
The Alexandrite-E MCM vessel, export version of the ship, has strong export potential. In particular, Russia has the right to count on success in a tender for 12 MCM ships for the Indian Navy. As stated by Indian magazine The Week, the Indian Navy is facing critical requirement of minesweeper vessels, as it only operates two minesweepers to protect its sea routes and ports.