The Russian Northern Fleet’s flagship, the Pyotr Veliky, is now laid up in dry dock for planned repairs to keep her at sea for the next few years.

According to the Moscow Times:

“The flagship of Russia’s Northern Fleet, the Pyotr Veliky (Peter the Great) battle cruiser, is on its way into a Murmansk shipyard for renovations as part of a larger program to keep the massive vessel serving for several decades.

The ship, which is one of Russia’s two surviving Kirov-class battle cruisers, will be put into a dry-dock at the 82nd repair plant in the near future, after dock workers have prepared the site to receive the massive warship, Northern Fleet spokesman Vadim Serga told the RIA Novosti news agency on Monday.

The Pyotr Veliky’s pitstop in Murmansk is part of an effort to keep the Northern Fleet flagship, which was launched in 1989, sailing until 2018, when the Sevmash shipyards in Severodvinsk have space to begin an extensive modernization of the ship.”

Classified by the Russian navy as a Kirov class heavy nuclear powered rocket cruiser, the size of the vessels have earned them the label ‘battle cruiser’ in the West. They are the largest combat vessels ats ea with the exception of aircraft carriers.

The Pyotr Velikiy is also known for the tragic naval training exercise it took part in. The ship was to be the target of the submarine K-141 Kursk, and was conducting evasive manoeuvres when communication with Kursk was lost. The Pyotr Velikiy guarded the area where the submarine sank during the salvage operation.

According to Maxim Shepovalenko, a retired Russian navy officer and now an expert at a Moscow based defense industry think tank.

“Russia is currently pursuing a three-step naval rearmament program, focusing on building new nuclear submarines in the first phase, and new corvettes and frigates in the second phase. The third phase, generally slated to take place in the late 2020s, focuses on larger destroyers and cruisers.

There is nothing better to both counter a [U.S. carrier battle group] force and project power onto an Islamic State-type rogue nation for the foreseeable future,” Shepovalenko said.

In the case of the Pyotr Veliky, we have a nuclear-powered ship with theoretically unlimited endurance [that is] a sort of versatile arsenal, stuffed with a full range of guided missiles — including up to 80 cruise missiles and 216 surface-to-air missiles.”

The Pyotr Veliky’s repair work at the Roslyakovo shipyard near Murmansk are designed to keep the ship at sea until 2018, when the vessel is expected to undergo extensive modernisation.

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