Unique Kalibr Missile Icebreaker: Ivan Papanin Project 23550

On October 7, 2022, Russia launched the third Kalibr missile-carrying patrol boat of Project 23550 Ivan Papanin class.

At the height of the conflict in the Ukraine war, on October 7, 2022, Russia launched the third Kalibr missile-carrying patrol boat of Project 23550 Ivan Papanin class. This class is said to help Russia fully master the Arctic region. It will take on the task of protecting the Northern Sea Route and ensuring Moscow’s interests in this icy sea.

Project 23550 patrol ships is a class of armed icebreaking patrol ships under construction for the Russian Navy at Admiralty Shipyard in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The ships have a planned displacement of 6,800 tons, a length of 114 metres and a draught of 6 metres. They are designed to break through ice up to 1.5 metres thick.

The Ivan Papanin-class polar icebreakers will be built with a strengthened and reinforced hull to enable them to move through sea ice. A flight deck and hangar will be fitted on the main deck towards the stern to support the operations of a single Ka-27PS anti-submarine helicopter, a Ka-27PL search-and-rescue helicopter or an unmanned aerial vehicle.

The vessel will house two high-speed patrol boats of type Raptor -class of the Russian Navy. Located on the starboard side of the ship, the boats can be used to conduct a variety of tasks such as search-and-rescue, anti-terrorism, patrolling and anti-sabotage. The bridge section will be situated amidships, providing operators with an unobstructed view of the sea. A fire control system and range of radars and communication antennae will be placed on top of the bridge structure to provide safe navigation of the vessel.

Armament will include a 100mm gun Mounted on the bow, provide defence against sea, air and shore-based targets at a distance of up to 15.7km. It has a rate of fire between 120 and 131 rounds a minute. There are also four Kalibr-NK subsonic cruise missiles, which will be launched from two quadruple canister missile launch systems located at the stern of the ship.

Each vessel will be powered by two electric motors rated at 4,080hp each. It will also be equipped with two bow thrusters and azipods to perform safe manoeuvres at sea. It will have a speed of up to 16knots and range of up to 6,000 miles. It will be able to operate in the Arctic zone for up to 60 days.

The new class of Russian patrol icebreakers is designed to protect Russia’s resources in the Arctic. Boris Leikis – the chief designer called the Project 23550 patrol boat “unique”, asserting that no country in the world has developed or manufactured a ship that fully combines the features of combat ships and icebreakers as above.

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