Russia is bringing back the world's largest surface combatant ship

Kirov class battlecruiser russia navyMITSUO SHIBATA via Wikimedia CommonsA starboard bow view of the Soviet Kirov Class nuclear-powered guided missile cruiser FRUNZE underway.

Developed in the late 1970s, Russia’s Kirov Class battle cruisers are the largest and heaviest surface combat ships in the world — and they’re coming back with advanced weaponry according to Russia’s TASS news agency.

At more than 800 feet long, with a displacement of around 25,000 tons, the Kirov dwarfs any navy ship short of an amphibious assault ship or aircraft carriers, but only one, the Pyotr Veliky, is still in service today.

Russian media says that another ageing Kirov Class hull, the Admiral Nakhimov, is being fitted with Russia’s newest anti-ship, anti-air, and surface-to-surface missiles.

Russia intends to return the Admiral Nakhimov to their fleet in 2019, at which time the Pyotr Veliky will be docked to undergo the same upgrades.

These include missiles of the Kalibr variety that recently hit targets in Syria from the Caspian Sea, Zircon hypersonic missiles which are slated to be ready by 2020, as well as a nasalized version of Russia’s S-400 missile defence system, according to FoxtrotAlpha.

To accommodate these missiles, Russia plans to overhaul ship’s vertical launch systems. That contract alone is worth 2.56 billion rubles, or $33.5 million, notes.

US NavyAerial starboard view of the foredeck of Kirov shows four single 30mm Gatling guns (in purple) 2 pop-up (lowered) SA-N-4 SAM launchers (in red) 20 SS-N-19 cruise missile launchers (in green) 12 SA-N-6 SAM launchers (in blue) and one twin SS-N-14 antisubmarine warfare/surface-to-surface missile launcher (in yellow). These weapons systems will be updated by 2020, Russia claims.

As with all Russian military expenditures, outsiders have trouble imagining how the struggling petro-state will pay for them.

Though the Russian navy has hit several setbacks before, the Kremlin seems hellbent on revitalizing their navy.

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