Russia lays keel for fifth Project 12700 minesweeper

Russia’s Sredne-Nevsky Shipyard held a keel-laying ceremony for the Russian Navy’s fifth Project 12700 minesweeper at its shipyard in St. Petersburg on December 26.

By order of the Russian Navy chief Admiral Vladimir Korolev, the ship was named after the Soviet Union hero Yakov Balyayev.

The vessel is scheduled to be launched and handed over to the fleet in 2019.

The lead ship in this class of minesweepers, the ‘Alexander Obukhov’, has already entered service while the three following ships ‘George Kurbatov, ‘Ivan Antonov’ and ‘Vladimir Emelyanov’ are at different stages of construction.

Project 12700 minesweepers have the largest fiberglass body in the world, according to the Russian defense ministry. A monolithic-fiberglass hull provides for greater survivability during mine countermeasure operations and weighs less than a low-magnetic steel hull.

The ships displace 620 tons and measure 61 meters in length.

Russia plans to build a total of 40 vessels in the class.

Aleksandrit-class minesweeper Alexander Obukhov at sea. Photo: Sredne-Nevsky Shipyard