|Gorizont Air S-100 unmanned aerial vehicle on display at Interpolitekh-2013 - October 2013|
(Image courtesy of dokwar.ru)
[Translation of TASS news article]
NEW GENERATION CORVETTE WITH MODULAR WEAPONRY AND SHIPBORNE UAVS TO BE LAID DOWN IN 2015
Date: October 15, 2014
The keel-laying of a Project 20386 new generation corvette, which will bring together a modular principle for weaponry and the capability of basing unmanned aerial vehicles, is planned for next year year. Igor Zakharov, deputy general designer of Almaz Central Naval Design Bureau, told our TASS reporter this during an interview.
A number of media outlets, citing the Almaz design bureau and United Shipbuilding Corporation, earlier reported about the impending construction of corvettes under the improved Project 20386, which has evolved from the Project 20380 and Project 20385.
"The technical design phase is currently underway; therefore, I cannot describe the new corvette's characteristics. It will be a multipurpose ship of a principally new project. The keel-laying is planned for 2015," Zakharov said.
According to him, most likely the ship will be laid down at Severnaya Verf in St. Petersburg, but the decision rests with the customer.
Zakharov noted that the future corvette will have permanent, basic weaponry and removable combat modules, which will expand the number of missions the ship can perform. Designers are also interested in the introduction of an unmanned aerial vehicle on the corvette, "but everything related to this issue is not moving forward as fast as we would like," the Almaz deputy general designer admitted. He explained that the problem is linked to operating unmanned aerial vehicles in the common airspace of Russia and relevant regulatory issues with air safety.
The Gorizont helicopter-type unmanned aerial vehicle is being looked at as a possible option for equipping the corvette. "This is the only Russian unmanned vehicle that we know of that can land on a ship," Zakharov explained.
Beyond the translation...
Indeed, Almaz Central Naval Design Bureau is still performing research and development into the Project 20386. On September 30 of this year, the design bureau announced that it had signed a contract with the Krylov State Scientific Center for "Component of Scientific Research Work: Determination of the Seagoing and Maneuvering Qualities of the Project 20386 Ship (Project 82)." The contract, which is based on Technical Specification 20386.360030.010TZ, is effective through November 2015. The work is broken down into two stages for which Almaz will pay RUB 6,097,000 (Stage 1) and RUB 3,450,000 (Stage 2).
If realized, Project 20386 would represent the third variant in the Steregushchiy line of frigates. Four units have been built, and two more are still being built (Amur Shipyard) as Project 20380 (Steregushchiy I). Two units of the Project 20385 (Steregushchiy II) have been laid down, with at least two more reported to have been contracted for construction at Amur Shipyard.