July 29, 2008

Russian Black Sea Fleet Gets New Minesweeper

Excerpt from report by Russian state news agency ITAR-TASS

Moscow, 29 July: The Vitse-Admiral Zakharyin minesweeper, a fundamentally new mine defence vessel, has joined the Novorossiysk naval base of the Russian Black Sea Fleet.

ITAR-TASS has learned at the Black Sea Fleet information and public relations service that "the Vitse-Admiral Zakharyin is a new concept of a mine defence ship, whose mine sweeping methods are absolutely different from those used until now". "This project has for the first time integrated the navigating bridge with the main control post. One of the systems - automated countermine operation control system - has been designed to improve the vessel's efficiency in searching for and destroying mines and mine barriers as well as for the mine protection of ships, vessels and submarines during sea voyages."

Rear-Admiral Anatoliy Shlemov, head of the Russian Defence Ministry directorate for orders and deliveries of ships, said that "the ship will be searching for mines ahead. Previously virtually all Russian minesweepers searched for mines using minesweeping gear in the aft sectors."

The Sredne-Nevskiy shipyard has not launched a vessel of this class for over 10 years, the last being the Valentin Pikul minesweeper, which joined the Novorossiysk naval base in 1996, the information service added. Initially the Vitse-Admiral Zakharyin was to be handed over to the Northern Fleet but later it was decided to give the modern ship to the Novorossiysk base. Following instructions by the commander of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, a crew has been manned. Lt Denis Lugovskoy has been appointed its commander. [Passage omitted]

Originally published by ITAR-TASS news agency, Moscow, in Russian 0703 29 Jul 08.

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