Russian battlecruiser Pyotr Velikiy

Pyotr Velikiy (Russian: Пётр Великий) is the fourth Kirov-class battlecruiser of the Russian Navy. It was initially named Yuri Andropov (Russian: Юрий Андропов) after the former General Secretary of the Communist Party, but the ship's name was changed after the fall of the Soviet Union. The Russian designation for the type is "heavy nuclear missile cruiser", but Western defense commentators have resurrected the term "battlecruiser" to describe them, as they are the largest surface "line of battle" warships in the world. Pyotr Velikiy is the flagship of the Northern Fleet.

Russian Battle Cruiser Pyotr Velikiy.jpg
NamePyotr Velikiy
NamesakePeter the Great
BuilderBaltic Shipyard, designer Severnoe PKB
Laid down1986
Commissioned18 April 1998
Statusin active service
NotesFlagship of the Russian Northern Fleet
General characteristics
Class and typeKirov-class battlecruiser
  • 24,300 tons (standard)
  • 28,000 tons (full load)
  • 252 m (827 ft)
  • 230 m (750 ft) (waterline)
Beam28.5 m (94 ft)
Draft9.1 m (30 ft)
Installed power140,000 shp (100,000 kW)
Propulsion2-shaft, nuclear propulsion with steam turbine boost
Speed32 knots (59 km/h)
  • 1,000 nautical miles (1,850 km) at 30 knots (56 km/h) (combined propulsion),
  • Essentially unlimited with nuclear power at 20 knots (37 km/h)
  • 727
  • Aircrew: 18
  • Flag staff: 15
Sensors and
processing systems
  • Voskhod MR-800 (Top Pair) 3D search radar on foremast
  • Fregat MR-710 (Top Plate) 3D search radar on main mast
  • 2 × MR-320M Topaz-V/Strut Pair air/surface search radar on main mast
  • 3 × Palm Frond navigation radar on foremast
  • 1 × aft Top Dome for SA-N-6 fire control
  • 1 × forward Tomb Stone (Passive electronically scanned array)
  • 1 × MR-360 Podkat/Cross Sword SA-N-9 SAM control
  • 6 × 3P37/Hot Flash SA-N-11 SAM control
  • 1 × MR-184/Kite Screech for 130mm guns
  • Horse Jaw LF hull sonar
  • Horse Tail VDS (Variable Depth Sonar)
Armour76 mm plating around reactor compartment, light splinter protection
Aircraft carried3 × Kamov Ka-27 "Helix" or Ka-25 "Hormone" helicopters
Aviation facilitiesBelow-deck hangar

Construction of the ship was delayed by lack of funding due to the national economic problems before and after the fall of the Soviet Union. It was not completed and commissioned until 1998, twelve years after work had started. By then it had been renamed Pyotr Velikiy, Russian for Peter the Great. Pyotr Velikiy has been known to carry two pennant numbers during its service: "183" and currently "099".

Service historyEdit

After completing its acceptance trials in November 1996, the vessel was transferred to the Northern Fleet at Severomorsk and was designated as the flagship of the Northern Fleet.

In August 2000 Pyotr Velikiy was in the Barents Sea to oversee the largest naval training exercise in a decade, since the fall of the Soviet Union. The ship was to be the designated target of the Oscar-II class submarine K-141 Kursk, and was conducting evasive maneuvers when communication with Kursk was lost. The submarine was later found to have suffered catastrophic torpedo detonations, resulting in the loss of all 118 crew members. Pyotr Velikiy guarded the area where the submarine sank during the subsequent salvage operation in 2001.

In March 2004, Russian Navy Chief Admiral Vladimir Kuroyedov declared Pyotr Velikiy unfit for service due to problems with the ship's engineering maintenance.[1] On 19 April 2004, the cruiser was docked in the floating drydock PD-50 for painting of the underside of the hull, repairs, and examination of the steering system. The repairs were completed later that year, and it was carrying out missions again by August.

From September 21 to October 22, 2004 she sailed on her first long voyage. Accompanying the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, the destroyers Admiral Chabanenko and Admiral Ushakov, as well as several auxiliary ships, she went into the north-western Atlantic in what was the largest Russian naval exercise after the end of the Cold War.[2][3][circular reference]


On 8 September 2008, it was announced that Pyotr Velikiy would sail to the Caribbean Sea to participate in naval exercises with the Venezuelan Navy, along with the destroyer Admiral Chabanenko and other support ships. This action would represent the first major Russian show of force in the Caribbean since the end of the Cold War.[4] On 22 September Pyotr Velikiy and Admiral Chabanenko left their homeport of Severomorsk.[5]

On 22 October 2008 Pyotr Velikiy made a port visit to Aksaz Karagac, Turkey[6] and on 6–9 November the cruiser and Admiral Chabanenko made a port visit to Toulon, France,[7] before departing the Mediterranean on 10 November, passing through the Strait of Gibraltar.[8]

Pyotr Velikiy arrived in La Guaira, Venezuela on 25 November 2008[9] coinciding with a visit by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. A combined exercise, VENRUS-200, with the Venezuelan Navy took place on 1–2 December 2008.[10] After finishing the exercises, Admiral Chabanenko made a short visit to Panama 5–10 December, then to Bluefields, Nicaragua from 13 to 15 December[11] and sailed into Havana, Cuba on 19 December.[12]

Pyotr Velikiy continued alone to Cape Town, South Africa. On 11 January 2009, the chief of the Russian General Staff announced that Pyotr Velikiy and six other Russian warships would participate in a joint naval exercise with the Indian Navy later the same month.[13] The Kirov-class cruiser paused for three days to visit Cape Town before continuing on to India.[14]

On 31 January Pyotr Velikiy left the port of Mormugao in the Indian state of Goa. After a two-day visit that included a naval exercise with the Indian guided-missile destroyer INS Delhi the cruiser left for African waters where the vessel joined other warships from the Russian navy and conduct the INDRA-2009 exercise.[15][16]

On 12 February, the ship captured ten pirates in three boats off the coast of Somalia.[17]

On 10 March Pyotr Velikiy returned to its homeport of Severomorsk, ending a six-month deployment.[18]


Pyotr Velikiy (background) escorted by HMS Dragon (foreground) off the coast of the United Kingdom in May 2014

On 30 March 2010 Pyotr Velikiy left the Northern Fleet for a new six-month deployment. During its six-month tour of duty, the warship passed through the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea before entering the Indian Ocean via the Suez Canal. In the Indian Ocean the cruiser conducted maneuvers with other Russian warships from the Black Sea Fleet.[19]

On 14 April the missile cruiser visited the Mediterranean port of Tartus in Syria. In September 2008, Russia was reported to be in talks with Syria about turning Tartus into a permanent base for Russian warships in the Middle East.[20]

In early May 2010 Pyotr Velikiy met up with the cruiser Moskva in the South China Sea. There they conducted joint exercises and held a traditional farewell ceremony on 5 May. The two vessels were due to arrive in Russia's Far Eastern port of Vladivostok to take part in the Vostok-2010 large-scale strategic exercise.[21]

On 29 September Pyotr Velikiy returned to its home base in the Northern Fleet after six months at sea. The flagship of the Northern Fleet had covered about 28,000 nautical miles (52,000 km; 32,000 mi) since the beginning of the mission on 30 March.[22]


During early September 2013 Pyotr Velikiy led a flotilla of Russian Navy ships through the Russian portion of the Northern Sea Route in preparation for establishment of regular patrols.[23]


Pyotr Velikiy along with the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov and the tankers Sergey Osipov, Kama and Dubna; the tugboat Altay, and the Ropucha-class landing ship Minsk (122) entered the English Channel to sail north.[24] The British destroyer HMS Dragon monitored the Russian task group as it neared the United Kingdom. Once the ships spotted each other they sailed briefly close by as a standard 'meet and greet'.


In May 2016 Pyotr Velikiy put to sea for the first time in two years for drills off the coast of Northern Russia.[25] On 15 October Pyotr Velikiy left Severomorsk to escort Admiral Kuznetsov to the Mediterranean along with supply ships and two Udaloy class destroyers, Severomorsk and Vice-Admiral Kulakov. They were heading to the Eastern Mediterranean to support Syrian government forces battling rebel troops in Aleppo. Pyotr Velikiy passed through the English Channel, along with the rest of the Russian Northern Fleet on 21 October, shadowed by the British destroyer HMS Dragon.[26]


On 6 April 2019 the ship entered Barents Sea with cruiser Marshal Ustinov and several nuclear submarines.[27]

On 10 October 2019 she went into Barents Sea with some 15 other warships, submarines, and auxiliary ships to conduct large-scale drills.[28]


On 24 May 2021 Pyotr Veliky went to sea along with some 10 other warships,[29] including Marshal Ustinov.[30] On 7 June, Pyotr Veliky was still reported at sea, taking part in a 20-ship strong exercise.[31] On 1 July 2021, it went to sea again.[32]



  1. ^ "Nuclear battle cruiser 'in danger of exploding'". The Sydney Morning Herald. Associated Press. 24 March 2004. Archived from the original on 26 September 2008. Retrieved 22 September 2008.
  2. ^ Felgenhauer, Pavel (2 November 2004). "A Foolhardy Naval Exercise". The Moscow Times. Archived from the original on 7 November 2004 – via CDI Russia Weekly.
  3. ^ ru:Маршал Устинов (ракетный крейсер)
  4. ^ Sweeney, Conor (8 September 2008). "Russia says to send battleship to Caribbean Sea". Reuters. Retrieved 6 January 2009.
  5. ^ Moscow Interfax-AVN Online, 1102 GMT 10 March 2009 (in Russian)
  6. ^ Moscow Vesti TV, 2100 GMT 22 October 2008 (in Russian)
  7. ^ Moscow Zvezda Television, 1900 GMT 6 November 2008 (in Russian)
  8. ^ St Petersburg Rosbalt-Sever, 11 November 2008 (in Russian)
  9. ^ Moscow Zvezda TV, 1304 GMT 25 November 2008 (in Russian)
  10. ^ Moscow Kommersant Daily, 3 December 2008 (in Russian)
  11. ^ Moscow Vremya Novostei, 15 December 2008 (in Russian)
  12. ^ "Russian Destroyers Pull In To Havana". CBS News. 19 December 2008. Archived from the original on 28 September 2018. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  13. ^ "Six Russian warships to take part in joint drills with India Navy". RIA Novosti. 11 January 2009. Archived from the original on 22 January 2009. Retrieved 20 January 2009.
  14. ^ "Russian warship leaves Cape Town for Indian Ocean". RIA Novosti. 15 January 2009. Archived from the original on 25 January 2009. Retrieved 20 January 2009.
  15. ^ "Russian cruiser Pyotr Veliky leaves India". RIA Novosti. 31 January 2009. Archived from the original on 4 February 2011. Retrieved 8 June 2010.
  16. ^ "Russian cruiser Pyotr Veliky in India". RIA Novosti. Archived from the original on 5 June 2011. Retrieved 8 June 2010.
  17. ^ Kilner, James (13 February 2009). "Russian warship seizes 3 pirate ships off Somalia". Reuters. Archived from the original on 16 February 2009. Retrieved 8 June 2010.
  18. ^ Moscow Vesti TV, 1436 GMT 11 March 2009
  19. ^ "Russia's Pyotr Veliky nuclear-powered cruiser crosses English Channel". RIA Novosti. Archived from the original on 2 May 2010. Retrieved 8 June 2010.
  20. ^ "Russian nuclear cruiser makes port call in Syria". RIA Novosti. 14 April 2010. Archived from the original on 29 May 2010. Retrieved 8 June 2010.
  21. ^ "Russian missile cruisers complete joint exercises". RIA Novosti. Archived from the original on 15 May 2010. Retrieved 8 June 2010.
  22. ^ "Russia's most powerful warship returns home after tour-of-duty". RIA Novosti. Archived from the original on 6 January 2012. Retrieved 31 December 2011.
  23. ^ Kramer, Andrew E. (14 September 2013). "Russia Preparing Patrols of Arctic Shipping Lanes". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 18 September 2013. Retrieved 15 September 2013.
  24. ^ "Royal Navy sails to meet Russian Task Group". Royal Navy. Archived from the original on 13 May 2014. Retrieved 9 May 2014.
  25. ^ "Russia's Northern Fleet flagship goes to sea first time in 2 years". TASS. 16 May 2016. Archived from the original on 25 August 2016. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
  26. ^ Dearden, Lizzie (21 October 2016). "Russian warships sailing through English Channel 'a smokescreen' for something else entirely". The Independent. Archived from the original on 14 April 2017. Retrieved 13 April 2017.
  27. ^ Tsygankova, Svetlana (6 April 2019). "Атомный крейсер "Петр Великий" отстреляется в Баренцевом море" [Nuclear cruiser "Peter the Great" will shoot back in the Barents Sea]. Rossiyskaya Gazeta (in Russian). Retrieved 22 March 2020.
  28. ^ "Северный флот в ходе учения отрабатывает комплексное применение сил в Баренцевом море" [During exercises, the Northern Fleet trains in the complex use of forces in the Barents Sea]. Russian Ministry of Defence (in Russian). 10 October 2019.
  29. ^ "Russian Navy heavy nuclear-powered missile cruiser holds drills in Barents Sea". TASS. 24 May 2021.
  30. ^ "Russian Navy guided missile ships deploy to Barents Sea for drills". TASS. 1 June 2021.
  31. ^ "В Баренцевом море начались учения Северного флота". ria (in Russian). 7 June 2021. Retrieved 2 July 2021.
  32. ^ "Атомный крейсер "Пётр Великий" вышел на учения в Баренцево море". militarynews (in Russian). 1 July 2021. Retrieved 1 July 2021.

External linksEdit