110421-G-6458F-007-Bertholf and Vorovsky
KODIAK, Alaska – The crews of the ships Bertholf and Vorovsky sail west to the Bering Sea on a joint exchange April 21, 2011. The Vorovsky is a Krivak-class frigate commissioned in 1990 for the Russian Federal Security Service and the Bertholf is the first of the Coast Guard’s National Security Cutters, Legend-class, commissioned in 2008. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Sara Francis
This photo was taken during an exchange visit by the Russian Federal Security Service ship Vorovsky to Kodiak. This is the latest in a regular series of bi-annual port visits between the Coast Guard and the Russian Security Service, alternating visits between Alaskan and Siberian ports. The Seventeenth District Commander and the Chief of the Northeast Border Directorate of the Federal Security Service of Russia and some of their staff members used the opportunity to meet.
As the Russian equivalent of our National Security Cutter or Maritime Security, Large (WMSL), I find it interesting to compare the Russian vessel with the Bertholf. The Vorovsky, almost 20 years older, is the newest of seven “Krivak III” (NATO designation) class frigate, derived from the Soviet Navy’s “Krivak” class, but with modifications for “coast guard” tasks, primarily the addition a helicopter deck and hanger.
The Russian ship is sightly smaller (3,670 tons fl; 408 ft loa vice 4,500 tons and 418 feet), four knots faster (32 knots), with less than a third the range (3900 nmi @14 knots) (largely due to the choice of thirsty gas turbines as cruise engines), and half or less the endurance (30 days), a much bigger crew (198 including aviation detachment), and its boat handling and helicopter facilities are not as extensive.
The main difference in the “philosophy” of design (other than the much greater endurance of the USCG ship) is that the Russian vessel is much more heavily armed. Its one 100 mm gun and twin 30 mm Close In Weapon System (CIWS) are comparable to the Bertholf’s 57 mm and 20 mm Phalanx CIWS, but in addition the Vorovsky also carries both a hull mounted and variable depth sonar, an anti-aircraft missile system (SA-N-4), eight 533 mm (21″) torpedo tubes for heavy weight torpedoes usable against either submarines or surface vessels, and an RBU-6000 multiple ASW rocket launcher (now considered largely obsolete for ASW but still usable as a torpedo countermeasure).