January 17, 2016

Project 141 (Kashtan-class) Mooring Tenders of the Russian Navy Pacific Fleet

Project 141 (Kashtan-class silhouette)
Credit: Ian Sturton
Ships and their equipment, their capabilities, are interesting to me because a buoy/mooring tender could be (and reportedly is) used for transporting cargo, or as a salvage ship.  These ships are huge, powerful, and multi-purpose.

I started looking at the KIL-168 specifically, but soon figured out the Russian Navy Pacific Fleet had two more such vessels - the KIL-498 and the KIL-927. (In Russian they would be КИЛ-168, КИЛ-498 and КИЛ-927 respectively)

Warfare.be states the KIL-168 is part of the "79 EMERGENCY RESCUE PLATOON" while KIL-498 and KIL-927 are part of "697 SQUAD OF SUPPORT SHIPS".  All three part of the Pacific Fleet, but it's unclear where they are normally located.  Interestingly, the Igor Belousov will join the 79th Unit of the Pacific Fleet’s Emergency Response and Rescue Force based in Vladivostok in the spring (http://mil.today/2015/Industry2/), suggesting that the KIL-168 is also based in Vladivostok.

Jane's/IHS classifies the Kashtan-Class as Buoy Tender, but also as a:
ABU: Boom defense vessel
AGL: Mooring/buoy tender
ARS: Rescue/Salvage Ship (NB: Not an ASR - Submarine Rescue Ship)
As Kashtan-Class vessels have been modified and repurposed, I suspect these classifications are somewhat fluid.  Jane's also states he ship has "one 130 ton lifting frame, one 100 ton derrick, one 12.5 ton crane and one 10 ton derrick.", and therefore the ability to lift 130 tons off the ocean bottom.  That's some serious salvage, or would allow them to lift a really big cable on the ocean's bottom.

I find it a little surprising, or maybe it's just disappointing, that none of the Pacific Fleet Kashtan-Class ships seems to show up on AIS. (here, here or here)  The ships may broadcast their location by HF using morse code, but I don't have the equipment necessary to pick that up, yet.  The ship's call sign may be UHJR.  The Shipspotting community is clearly keeping a keen eye out for these vessels, so they come up with some current pictures of KIL-168, and KIL-498, but none of KIL-925... with some Google-Fu I found a few pictures of all of them.


KIL-168 (КИЛ-168) extending the rear gantry, presumably preparing for operations
Photo Credit: Andre Burmenskiy / 2008.06.08

KIL-168 (КИЛ-168) extending the rear gantry, presumably preparing for operations
Photo Credit: Andre Burmenskiy / 2008.06.08

KIL-927 (КИЛ-927) carrying AS-28
Photo Credit and Date unknown; thought to be ~2012 in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky (Петропа́вловск-Камча́тский)
http://forums.airbase.ru/1970/01/tpc53198,15--kilektory-stranitsa-15.html

KIL-927 (КИЛ-927) carrying AS-28
Photo Credit and Date unknown; thought to be ~2012 in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky (Петропа́вловск-Камча́тский)
http://forums.airbase.ru/1970/01/tpc53198,15--kilektory-stranitsa-15.html

Early photo of the Soviet Navy KIL-168
Photo Credit: 08-10-1990 Wolfgang Kramer

Early photo of the Soviet Navy KIL-168
Photo Credit: 08-10-1990 Wolfgang Kramer
More recent video of the KIL-168, part of the Russian Pacific Fleet:


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