The "Pyotr Velikiy" needs more upgrade than a simple docking like this one in the Kola Bay a few years back. Photo: Thomas Nilsen

Scrapping could be next for Russia’s nuclear-powered battle cruiser

It is likely not cost-efficient to do the highly needed upgrade of the Northern Fleet’s 25-year old flagship “Pyotr Velikiy”.
April 20, 2023


“Currently, the question about withdrawing “Pyotr Velikiy” from the Navy is under consideration. Based on the experience of repairing and modernizing the “Admiral Nakhimov” of the same class has shown that this is very costly,” a navy source said to state-owned news agency TASS.

Like in many speculations on the fate of older navy vessels, Russian state media send mixed information. Shortly after the TASS report came on Thursday, RIA Novosti quoted an unnamed source saying there are no plans to retire the huge warship.

The “Pyotr Velikiy” and “Admiral Nakhimov” are of sister ships, both of the Kirov-class, the only nuclear-powered surface warships in the Russian Navy.

The “Admiral Nakhimov” has not been in operation since the early 1990ties, and has since 1999 been at the yard in Severodvinsk undergoing repair, change of uranium fuel elements in the reactors and a refit to receive new weaponry, including modern cruise-missiles.

However, as repeatedly reported by the Barents Observer over the last decade, the re-commissioning of the warship has seen one postponement following the other. Current plans to set sail in 2024 today seem unlikely.

The “Pyotr Velikiy” was supposed to be docked in Severodvinsk as soon as “Admiral Nakhimov” joins the Northern Fleet.

The warship is armed with several types of cruise missiles, surface-to-air missiles, rocket launchers, torpedos and artillery. The hangar can house three helicopters.


April 18 marked the 25-years anniversary since “Pyotr Velikye” was commissioned. The ship has a crew of more than 700.



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