The Alexandrit-E-class (Project 12701) coastal mine countermeasures (MCM) vessels are designed by Russian Almaz Central Marine Design Bureau and developed by JSC Sredne-Nevskiy Shipyard. They are an export variant of Aleksandrit-class minesweeper (Project 12700).
The primary missions of the Alexandrit-E vessels are to protect surface ships, submarines and vessels through the detection, localisation and destruction of mines in naval bases, exclusive economic zones and coastal sea areas.
The vessel can also be used for mine reconnaissance, laying of minefields, planting of mine barriers, training of naval forces, and protection of territorial waters.
Project 12701-class was unveiled in March 2016, and a model of the vessel was demonstrated to export customers during the International Military-Technical Forum Army held in 2017.
Features of Alexandrit-E coastal MCM vessels
The hull and superstructure of the Project 12701-class coastal MCM vessels are built using fibreglass materials. With a displacement of 890t, the ship can accommodate up to 44 personnel.
The length and beams of the vessel are 61.6m and 10.3m, respectively, while the design draught is 3.1m. The wheelhouse is located amidships.
A 30mm lightweight AK-306 close-in weapon system (CIWS) is mounted in the bow to protect the vessel from air-launched weapons, aircraft and helicopters.
Equipped with OPU-1 electro-optical sight, the CIWS can also be used to engage coastal targets, floating mines, light armoured targets and enemy personnel.
Up to eight man-portable air-defence systems (MANPADS) are installed to provide protection against enemy aircraft. The vessel is also armed with one 14.5mm marine pedestal machine gun mount or two 12.7mm 6P59 machine guns for defence against surface, coast and air threats.
Mine countermeasures equipment on board Project 12701-class
The Alexandrit-E-class is equipped with MCM systems, including GKT-2 or GOKT-1 contact sweep, SHAT-U wideband acoustic sweep, hull-mounted sonar, mine destruction system and LIVADIA-ME mine-detection sonar.
The vessel will use two K-Ster I-type remotely operated underwater vehicles (ROVs) and up to 10 K-Ster C-type ROVs to search, retrieve and neutralise mines at sea.
An Inspector-MK2 unmanned surface vehicle (USV), developed by ECA GROUP, is carried on the stern of the vessel to inspect and survey underwater objects.
Two Alister 9-type autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) are also installed for the identification and destruction of underwater mines and minefield obstacles.
Control of anti-mine activities
The vessel incorporates a DIEZ-12700E computer-aided anti-mine action control system to control countermeasures operations.
Manned by eight officers, the system features navigation and radio communications to provide support for the mine warfare team during anti-mine operations, search and destruction of mines, and mine protection of other ships.
Propulsion of Alexandrit-E mine countermeasures vessels
The coastal MCM vessel’s propulsion system consists of two 2,500hp M503B-1 diesel engines, two 420hp ADGR-315/1500 0M4 auxiliary diesel generators and two 268hp DGF2A 200/1500 diesel generators.
The vessel features two PU-100F bow thrusters for better manoeuvrability at low speeds. It is also equipped with two VPK-90F/70 retractable stern azimuth thrusters, which provide increased manoeuvrability and positioning thrust required for station-keeping manoeuvers.
Two controllable pitch propellers are installed to control the ship’s movement in both forward and astern directions. The vessel’s position is controlled by the on-board dynamic positioning system.
Performance of Alexandrit-E-class
The maximum speed of the Project 12701-class countermine vessels is 16k. The vessel can travel to a range of 1,500nm and stay afloat for approximately 10 days.