The Project 23900 versatile amphibious assault ships (LHD) Ivan Rogov and Mitrofan Moskalenko currently being built by the Zaliv Shipyard in Kerch in Crimea will be adapted to carry strike and reconnaissance drones (unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs), a source in Russia’s shipbuilding industry told TASS.
TASS Russian news agency
“The Project 23900 versatile amphibious assault ships will carry and control a certain number of strike and reconnaissance unmanned helicopters, in addition to naval rotorcraft,” the source said.
According to him, the rotary-wing drones will significantly enhance the helicopter carriers’ combat capabilities.
“Drones will be able to effectively provide fire support for amphibious assault forces, reconnoiter the tactical situation in the landing zone, detect and, if necessary, eliminate low-signature floating craft during special operations,”
TASS has no official confirmation of the information provided by the source.
TASS reported in February 2021 that the Zaliv Shipyard had started to build the hulls of two versatile amphibious assault ships. It was reported in October that the helicopter carrier Mitrofan Moskalenko would become the flagship of the Black Sea Fleet after its construction was completed. Infrastructural facilities are being prepared in Sevastopol to accommodate it.
The versatile amphibious assault ship can carry a group of heavy helicopters, armored vehicles and transport up to 1,000 Marines or even more. It has a dock for landing boats. The first two ships of the type, namely, the Ivan Rogov and the Mitrofan Moskalenko, were laid down by the Zaliv Shipyard on July 20, 2020. The Project 23900 ship was developed by the Zelenodolsk Design Bureau.
About Project 23900 LHD
Zaliv Shipyard in Kerch laid the Ivan Rogov (factory # 01901) and the Mitrofan Moskalenko (01902) universal amphibious assault ships designed by Zelenodolsk Bureau of AK BARS Corporation.
The displacement is over 20000 tons. The ship is 204 meters long and the draft is over 7 meters. It can carry a thousand marines and 75 hardware units, and up to 16 helicopters. The dock of the ship can keep six landing boats.
Sources told TASS in November 2019 that the new amphibious assault ship can carry over 20 helicopters and two reinforced marine battalions of 900 men. They said the displacement will be 25000 tons and the length close to 220 meters.
The Russian amphibious assault ships resemble French Mistral. They have a through flight deck for helicopters and an island superstructure in the starboard. It carries two masts for radars and two funnels.
Mistral uses rudder-propeller units. The Russian ships have a traditional rudder-propeller group, according to the poster displayed in January 2020 at a show in Sevastopol.
Images published by Business Online show Ka-27 and Ka-52K helicopters on the deck of project 23900 ships. It is highly likely that the ships will be armed with Pantsir-M air defense guns and rotating Paket-NK SM-588 launchers with 324mm antitorpedoes.
Sources told TASS in April 2020 the two universal amphibious assault ships of project 23900 will cost close to 100 bln rubles. The lead ship is to be handed over to the Navy in 2026 and the second one on 2027.