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    The Kirov-Class Conundrum: Russia’s Naval Giant in Modern Warfare

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    The Kirov-class battlecruisers, originally hailed as the pride of the Russian Navy, have fallen short of their formidable image.

    Despite their status as some of the largest warships globally, second only to American aircraft carriers, doubts have been raised regarding their operational prowess.

    Launched in 1977, these warships were heavily armed with an assortment of long-range missiles, torpedoes, and housed three helicopters.

    These nuclear-powered behemoths were heavily armed but faced challenges in matching the enduring capabilities of their U.S. equivalents.

    With only two of the initial four vessels still in service by 2023. One undergoing repairs in drydock since 1999, the future of the Kirov-class remains uncertain amidst ongoing modernization endeavors.

    However, as noted by Peter Suciu last year, the Kirov-class vessels never fulfilled the expectations set for them.

    Today, the risks faced by such surface warships have amplified.

    With the advent of anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) systems and the looming threat of hypersonic weapons, the very survival of these behemoths is in question.

    The tragic fate of the Moskva, a smaller Russian battlecruiser sunk by Ukrainian forces, served as a stark reminder of the vulnerability of surface combatants.

    To remain viable, navies must adapt by developing countermeasures against advanced threats and creating offensive systems that can operate beyond the reach of A2/AD bubbles.

    “Investing heavily into modernizing the remaining Kirov-class battlecruisers is a waste,” an expert claims.

    There are, nevertheless, still potential modifications that Russia could implement on the Kirov-class to enhance their ability to challenge Western adversaries.

    In line with the original design objectives of the Kirov-class Battlecruiser, they could be utilized for launching devastating assaults on US aircraft carriers or other American warships.

    For instance, equipping the Kirov-class with the Russian hypersonic missile Tsirkon, rumored to reach speeds of Mach 9 and cover a range of approximately 621 miles, could significantly enhance their offensive capabilities.

    This advancement would pose a formidable threat as existing defense systems, whether within a carrier battle group or on land, struggle to counter the unpredictable agility of hypersonic weaponry.

    Relevant articles:
    Russia’s Kirov-Class Battlecruisers: A Nightmare That Isn’t Going to Stop, The National Interest
    Russia’s Kirov-Class Battlecruisers: A Nightmare That Isn’t Going to Stop, nationalinterest.org
    Russia’s Kirov-Class Battlecruiser Nightmare Is Very Real, The National Interest
    kirov class battle cruiser, DefenceTalk

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