The icebreaker is intended for the border guard service (Coast Guard) of the Federal Security Service (FSB) of the Russian Federation.
Vyborg Shipyard press release – Translated by Naval News
The ceremony was attended by: Head of the Border Service of the Federal Security Service of Russia – Vladimir Kulishov, Deputy Chairman of the Leningrad Region Government – Dmitry Yalov, Chairman of the Board of Directors of United Shipbuilding Corporation – Georgy Poltavchenko, representatives of contractors and employees of the company (Vyborg Shipyard).
“Each launch of a warship is a historic event. Today’s launch marks the beginning of a new era of border protection on the borders of the Russian Federation. We are launching the first large-tonnage ice-class vessel built specifically for the Coast Guard.”
Georgy Poltavchenko, Chairman of the Board of Directors of United Shipbuilding Corporation
The Chairman of the USC Board of Directors pointed out the importance of such ships in the current situation: “As the recent act of international terrorism on the Nord Stream gas pipelines has shown, the West has exceeded the limits of reason and is trying with all its might to deprive our country of strategic advantages. Therefore, such border vessels as the Purga will be very necessary for our fleet to protect and preserve Russian borders.“
“Just over two years ago, we celebrated the launch of a border protection ship, and today we are launching it. In that time, a lot has happened at the plant, a lot has changed in the outside world. The threats that used to exist for our country still exist, and we, the shipbuilders, are ready to tell the motherland that the ship will be ready in time, the borders will be safely protected and the enemy will not pass, thanks in part to our work,” said Alexander Solovyov, General Director of VZZ.
Vladimir Kulishov, head of the Border Service of Russia’s FSB intelligence agency, spoke about the history of the ship’s name and expressed confidence that it will provide worthy service, saying, “Today is a significant day for both shipbuilders and employees of the Border Service of the FSB of Russia – the launch of a patrol ship. The Navy has strong traditions, and one of them is continuity in the choice of names. The Purga’s predecessor, the Coast Guard’s flagship, was an ice-class vessel that served for more than thirty-three years in the northern latitudes and the Far East. Of course, the modern Purga is a better-equipped ship, but I am confident that, like its legendary namesake, it too will adequately perform border security duties.“
The keel of the Purga was laid at the Vyborg shipyard on July 25, 2020, and it is being built in accordance with the design of the Almaz Central Design Bureau. The vessel is designed to ensure the security of the Russian Federation’s borders in the Arctic, and can overcome ice up to one and a half meters thick. She will be armed with modern weapons, electronic equipment, and navigation devices. The Purga will have a high level of automation and crew comfort and can operate in Russia’s Arctic waters all year round.
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Naval News Comments on Project 23550 vessels
Two project 23550 ships are being built for the Russian Navy, and two for the Border Service of Russia (Coast Guard). The Ivan Papanin lead ship for the Russian Navy was laid by Admiralty Shipyard on April 19, 2017, and floated on October 25, 2019. The Nikolai Zubov was laid on November 27, 2019. The ships have to become operational in 2023 and 2024. The third hull, Purga, is currently being built for the Russian Border Guards (keel laid in July 2020, launched yesterday).
For the record, Project 23550 is a multirole icebreaker combining the functionalities of a tugboat, patrol ship, and an icebreaker capable of breaking ice up to 1.7 meters thick. Project 23550 ships are designed to protect and monitor Arctic water resources; escort and tow other vessels; act as a support vessels; participate in rescue operations; transport various cargo in the Arctic.
The vessel has a total displacement of about 9,000 tons; a length of about 114 meters; a width of about 20 meters and a draft of about 6.0 meters. Its maximum speed is 18 knots; economic speed of 10 knots; crew / additional crew of about 60/50 people. The endurance is 70 days at sea.
In terms of weapon systems and equipment, Project 23550 vessels are fitted with a 76-mm AK-176MA main gun; portable air defense systems; helipad and helicopter hangar able to accommodate a Ka-27 class helicopter and unmanned aerial vehicles; two Raptor high-speed assault boats of the Raptor type and one Project 23321 hovercraft. Last but certainly not least, the vessel can be fitted with a containerized version of the Kalibr-NK missile system.