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Russia orders new Project 23550 Arctic corvettes

06 May 2016
Concept image issued by the Russian Ministry of Defence of the Project 23550 ice-class patrol ships for the Russian Navy. Source: Russian MoD

Russia has ordered two Project 23550 ice-class armed patrol boats, the Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has announced.

The class is described (in Russian) by the MoD as being "without analogues in the world", and combining "the qualities of tug, ice-breaker, and patrol boat".

The two vessels ordered will be built by Admiralty Shipyards in St Petersburg and are scheduled to be delivered to the Russian Navy by 2020.

The MoD specifies the Project 23550 class as being able to break ice up to 1.5 m thick. A concept image released by the MoD showed the vessel armed with a medium-calibre main gun on the foredeck (likely an A-190 100 mm naval gun), a helicopter deck and hangar, and two aft payload bays each fitted with a containerised missile launch system (akin to the Club-K system offered for export) armed with four erectable launch tubes - presumably for either Club anti-ship or Kalibr-NK land-attack missiles. Although billed as patrol boats, this level of armament makes them better armed than many corvettes.

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