Admiral Chabanenko (DD-650) and Admiral Essen (751) are two of Russia’s most powerful warships to sail across the ocean under the modern Russian Navy in the twenty-first century.

At first glance, the obvious difference between the 1999 destroyer and the 2016 frigate warship is that the former is heavier, capable of carrying more armaments, and slightly faster than the latter.

The DD-650 vessel has an overall length of 153.1 m, a beam of 18.9 m, and a draught of 26 m, compared to the 751 warship’s dimensions of 124.7 m x 15.2 m x 14 m, respectively. Not to mention the displacement difference of around 2,580 tons, with the Admiral Chabanenko destroyer as the heaviest.

The Russian destroyer has the advantage in terms of engine power, with a combined gas and gas propulsion system feeding two shafts and four gas turbines for a total of 120,000 horsepower. Thus, the maximum speed in ideal conditions could reach up to 35 knots with a service range of over 10,500 nautical miles.

Meanwhile, the Admiral Essen warship has two shafts, a combined 2 DT-59 gas turbines, and 2 DS-71 gas turbines that can generate 22,000 hp and 8,450 hp, respectively. As a result, the frigate has a maximum speed of 30 knots with a service range of around 4,800 nautical miles. Moreover, the DD-650 can carry of a crew of up to 300, while the Admiral Essen frigate has a standard operating crew of about 200.

The sole Udaloy II-class survivor, Admiral Chabanenko (DD-650)

In the 1970s, the Soviet navy was tasked with developing a modernized solution to provide multi-role combatants with large displacement that would cut down on their spending. The initiative has also been derived from matching the American Navy’s guided missile destroyers—the Arleigh Burke (DDG 51)-class multi-mission.

Soviet engineers worked on its existing Udaloy-class fighting ship in 1982, and before the 1990s even began, the “Udaloy II-class” came into development as an improvement. Its main features include an emphasis on anti-submarine warfare added to it role as an anti-ship and anti-aircraft guided missile destroyer. Further innovations have also improved the new vessel’s local defense capabilities and fire control system (FCS).

This eventually became Admiral Chabanenko (DD-650), named after the Soviet commander of the Northern Fleet, Admiral Andrei Trofimovich Chabanenko (1909-1986), who passed away nearly three years before the keel of the vessel was laid out in February 1989. She was formally commissioned into the Russian Navy on January 28, 1999.

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Admiral Chabanenko (DD-650) (Image source: Military Factory)

The DD-650 destroyer is equipped with modern weapon systems such as the SS-N-22 anti-ship missile and the “Zvezda” M-2 series sonar system. Its weapons are listed below, including:

  • 2 x 4 SS-N-22 “Sunburn” anti-submarine missile launchers;
  • 8 x 8 SA-N-9 “Gauntlet” surface-to-air missile (SAM) launchers in Vertical Launch System (VLS) arrangement;
  • 2 x SA-N-11 “Kortik” SAM launchers;
  • 1 x 130mm AK-130 twin-gunned deck gun;
  • 4 x 6 AK-630 30mm Close-In Weapon Systems (CIWS);
  • 2 x 4 SS-N-15 553mm torpedo tubes; and
  • 2 x 10 RBU-Udav Anti-Submarine Rocket (ASROC) Launcher.

The Admiral Chabanenko was supposed to be joined by her sisterships, the Admiral Kucherov and Admiral Basisty, but they were never completed and were scrapped in 1993 and 1994, respectively.

The vessel’s most notable action occurred in 2008 when it passed through the Panama Canal as part of joint exercises with the Venezuelan Navy. This was Russia’s first warship to transit the route since World War II, and it also took part in FRUKUS 2011, a series of joint exercises between the Russian, French, British, and US navies.

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Russian navy destroyer RFS Admiral Chabanenko (DD 650) during Exercise FRUKUS 2011. (Image source: @OC_Jaguars/Twitter)

Three years later, Admiral Chabanenko docked at the 35th ship repair plant in Murmansk to undergo an overhaul of her engines, which extended further into 2017. After the repairs sometime in 2020, the Russian destroyer returned to the seas to serve its country. Some of its roles include offshore bombardment, land attack, maritime patrol, airspace deterrence, and fleet support.

Russia’s modern fleet—Admiral Essen (751)

Admiral Essen (751), Russia’s second active ship after the Admiral Grigorivich-class, is a modern guided-missile stealth frigate. She is a modern multi-tasker frigate from Russia, outfitted with stealth and various advanced sensors and weapons.

Admiral Essen (751) was laid down in July 2011 and formally commissioned for service on June 7, 2016, named after Russian naval commander Nikolai Ottovich von Essen (1860-1915), one of Russia’s most prominent admirals during World War I.

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Admiral Essen (751) (Image source: Military Factory)

Listed below are its armaments, including:

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  • 1 x 100mm A-190 Arsenal turreted deck gun;
  • 1 x 8-shot UKSK 3S14 VLS;
  • 2 x 13-shot 3S90M “Shtil-1” missile in VLS;
  • 8 x Igla-1 (SA-16) short-ranged SAM launchers;
  • 2 x 533mm twin-tubed torpedo launchers;
  • 2 x Kashtan CIWS; and
  • 1 x RBU-6000 ARSOC launcher.

The frigate vessel performs the same functions as the Admiral Chabanenko (DD-650) destroyer fleet, including maritime patrol and fleet support.

Meanwhile, its sisters include Admiral Grigorivich (745), Admiral Makarov (799), Admiral Butakov, Admiral Istomin, and Admiral Kornilov—the latter three will be supplied to India under the International Governmental Agreement signed in October 2016 between India and Russia.

The Admiral Essen fleet was reportedly attacked by Ukrainian missiles in April of this year, just weeks after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. A week after these claims, Russia’s defense ministry released a video showing the frigate allegedly destroying one of Ukraine’s Bayraktar TB2 UAVs off the coast of Crimea.

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A Bayraktar-type UAV was destroyed by the crew of a Black Sea Fleet frigate near the western coast of the Crimean peninsula. (Screenshot from Twitter)

In September 2017, Admiral Essen (751) launched its Kalibr cruise missiles during Russia’s military campaign in Syria, destroying “command and communication centers, an ammunition depot, an armored vehicle repair site, and a large group of IS fighters.”

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The US Navy will soon welcome the ships of its future fleet, including the USS Constellation (FFG-62) class frigates, “a ship type traditionally rated as a small combatant” with a displacement of over 7,000 tons—slightly smaller than the Flight I Arleigh Burke destroyer. The US Navy recognizes that having larger, more capable vessels is creating a problem for a navy that patrols sea lanes all over the world on its freedom of navigation mission. There simply aren’t enough ships to meet all the deployment requirements the navy has, resulting in longer deployments and more wear and tear on the Burkes which really doesn’t save them money in the long run.  They are also finding that fewer, but more powerful vessels can’t be in two places at once, which is often needed in today’s world of multiple threats coming from various regions and oceans of the world. Construction on these new vessels began last April and the first is expected to be completed and commissioned in 2026.

Source: Military Factory