The Kynda class, also known as Project 58, were the first class of guided missile cruisers built for the Soviet Navy. The class was designed and ordered in the late 1950s, and all four units were built by 1965. They were only slightly larger than the earlier Kildin class destroyers, but represented a significant advance in naval technology. Like many first attempts, they were plagued with problems, but the experience gained in building and operating this class served the Soviets well in future designs.
The Kynda class were the first attempts at the rocket cruiser concept that would dominate Soviet and Russian anti-surface doctrine. Their mission was to engage NATO carrier battle groups at long range, using their SS-N-3 Shaddock anti-ship missiles. These missiles were carried in two batteries of four, mounted fore and aft. Reloads were stored in the superstructure behind the launchers. While this would allow the ship two volleys in theory, in practice the reloads were so difficult to load, and so detrimental to stability that they were very seldom carried. Anti-air defenses consisted of one twin-arm launcher for SA-N-1 Goa missiles and two AK-276 twin 76mm guns. She also had two RBU-6000 ASW rocket launchers and two triple 533mm torpedo tubes. In the 1980s they received some minor modernizations, fitting 4 AK-630 point defense guns and newer navigation radars.
The Kyndas were very small, at just over 5000 tons displacement and had exceedingly cramped accomodations. They were often described as having the worst living conditions of any warship during their long service. Russian sailors described the 100-man open bay berthing on the Kirov class as being exceedingly spacious by comparison. In addition to their poor living conditions, the Kyndas carried nearly all their armament above the main deck, making the ships very topheavy. This caused them to roll and pitch badly in a seaway, which was not only very uncomfortable for the crew but severely hampered their usefulness as a weapon platform. Because of these flaws, only four of the initially planned ten units were built, all of them at the Zhdanov shipyards.
Although problems plagued the Kynda platform, a number of its successful design elements were re-used in later ships. In particular, its engineering plant was cloned almost wholesale in the Kresta-I class cruiser, and only slightly modified for the Kresta II and Sovremenny. Many other lessons were learned from the design, as well. Most later classes either did not carry any missile reloads, or the few that did carried them below main-deck level. Future designs were also substantially less cramped, being both better laid out, and less crew-intensive for the same systems.
Despite their flaws, however, the Kynda class remained in service until the late 1990s, thanks to their long-range missile armament. They were often sent alone, or with minimal escort, to perform scouting missions where a more powerful Kiev or Kirov would never be risked. The Sovremenny class destroyer largely displaced the Kynda in that role, but it took quite some time to build enough of them. The last unit, Admiral Golovko was decommissioned in 1991, then re-activated to serve as the flagship of the Black Sea Fleet in 1995. In 1997, the flag was transferred to the Kara class destroyer RFS Kerch, and will likely be transferred to the Admiral Lobov once she is completed. Intelligence reports suggest that during her last years in service, the Golovko generally shipped out unarmed save for her guns, partially to save on topweight. She was deactivated in 1999 and will likely be scrapped.
General Characteristics, Kynda-class missile cruiser (Project 58)
- Hull designator: CG - missile cruiser (US/NATO). RKR - rocket cruiser (ракетный крейсер. Russia/USSR)
- Number: 4 decommissioned.
- Displacement: 5000 tons
- Length: 141.7 m (464.89 ft)
- Beam: 15.8 m (51.83 ft)
- Draft: 5.3 m (17.3 ft)
- Propulsion: 2 pressure-fired boilers, 2 geared steam turbines, 2 shafts. 100000 shp
- Speed: 32 knots
- Range: 7000 nmi at 13 knots
- Anti-ship missiles: 8 (2 quad) SS-N-3 Shaddock with one reload/launcher.
- Anti-air missiles:1x (20 missiles) SA-N-1 Goa
- Torpedoes: 6x (2 triple) 533mm torpedo tubes. Type 53 nuclear or conventional torpedoes, ASW or ASuW.
- ASW rocket launchers: 2x RBU-6000.
- Guns: 2x twin 76mm AK-276 air defense guns. 4x AK-630 30mm Gatling after modernization.
- Aircraft: none
- Crew: 390