The Slava Class Cruisers are one of the very powerful surface combatants that are currently sailing the high seas, these cruisers are capable of three-dimensional warfare, may it be anti-surface, anti-submarine or anti-air. Slava Class Cruiser have a full displacement of 11,500 tons, sailing rate of 32 knots and cruising endurance of 7,400 miles. These Slava Class Cruisers of Project 1164 are armed with heavy long-range missiles.
At present, Russia has three similar cruisers in the fleet. However, there is a fourth Cruiser which is still incomplete, and that is Ukrayina. Construction of Ukrayina started as Admiral Lobov Cruiser of Project 1164, it was launched in 1984 at Nikolaev shipyard but stalled at the final stage (the 90-percent readiness) due to the sharp reduction in military expenditures for Russian Navy. After 1991, Ukraine got the ownership of this Cruiser which was 95% complete now, and renamed it to Ukrayina in 1992.
The government of Ukraine first intended to complete construction to have the Cruiser in its own Navy but later on thought to offer it to Russian Navy. Russian Navy unable to fund for the purchase by itself, in turn offered it to Indian Navy. However, as usual, lack of decision making capabilities of Indian leadership at that time wasted this opportunity.
Moskva, a Russian Slava Class Cruiser in full glory ( Image Courtesy - jeffhead.com )
Now after years, and multiple rounds of discussions, both Ukraine and Russia are serious about the future of this 95% complete warship, and are again looking out for a prospective buyer. Slava Class Cruiser can be used to build a formidable task force around it. This task force will be capable of anti-ship, anti-submarine and land-attack warfare, and can be used for blockade of enemy's sea lanes or as a deterrent to enemy naval fleet. Indian Navy does not have a large surface combatant like Slava, in its fleet. Ukraniya can be a major capability booster for Indian Navy and fits in perfectly into the naval doctrine to secure our sea lanes and deter any aggression from the enemy. Do hope that Indian leadership of present times will make some strategically wise decision, at least this time.
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