The Soviet Kirov-class nuclear cruisers were, when they entered service in 1980, considered the most powerful naval surface units in existence, with the exception of aircraft carriers, and forced the US Navy to return to service. 4 Missouri-class WWII battleship, to try to balance things out. Heavily armed, nuclear powered and a crew of 800 officers and sailors, these ships had unparalleled firepower until the collapse of the Soviet Union. During the next 30 years, two of the cruisers, the Kirov renamed Admiral Ushakov, and the Frunze renamed Admiral Lazarev, were withdrawn from service in 2001 and 1999 respectively. The Piotr Velicki (Peter the Great), the last unit of the class, was meanwhile launched in 1996 and admitted to active service in 1998 in a modernized version. Since 2009 and a final repair phase, she has been the flagship of the Northern Fleet, and the only unit of the class actually in service to date.
The last of the 4 Kirov-class cruisers, Admiral Nakhimov, ex Kalinin, entered service in 1988, but was withdrawn in 1999 for repair and modernization. It remained in reserve status until 2014, when the Admiralty decided, after much hesitation, to make it a centerpiece of its naval system until the arrival of the new heavy destroyers. A huge modernization project therefore began at the Sevmash shipyards to make the cruiser the surface unit with the most impressive firepower of the moment. And according to Vladimir Korolyov, deputy CEO of United Shipbuilding Corporation for Military Shipbuilding in an interview with Tass agency, it is coming to an end, since Admiral Nakhimov is due to join the Russian fleet in 2023, with completely renewed capacities. And of capacity, the Nakhimov will not be lacking!
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