Project 21631 Buyan-M small missile ships are one of the smallest carriers of Caliber cruise missiles.
The Russian Federation is actively using small missile ships of project 21631 “Buyan-M” in the Black Sea, which are used for launching “Caliber”. These ships were created in the late 2000s as the cheapest missile carrier, thanks to which nine units were riveted to them.
Four of them are assigned to the Black Sea Fleet, two to the Baltic Fleet, and three more to the Caspian Flotilla. But even in the Russian Federation itself, these ships are often criticized.
As the name implies, Buyan-M is a modernized project, and it takes its roots from the specific small artillery ships of Project 21630 Buyan, which were specially created in the 2000s for operations in the Caspian Sea and in the Volga delta. That is, they were small ships of the “river-sea” class, designed for operations near the coast.
But then the Kremlin headed for a massive “calibration” of its fleet and “inflated” this project, almost doubling the displacement and stuffing eight universal launch silos that can be used to launch cruise missiles “Caliber” and anti-ship missiles “Onyx”.
Despite the installation of sufficiently powerful missile weapons, there was no room left for adequate means of air defense. All that protects the Buyan-M ships from air attack are two Gibka complexes.
In fact, this shipborne air defense system is a launcher for portable anti-aircraft missile systems, such as Igla or Verba. That is, it is no longer possible to destroy a target flying above 3,5 km from it, as well as to “reach out” to targets at a distance of more than 5 km.
For the sake of installing Caliber missiles, they even sacrificed one rapid-fire 30-mm installation, one of the purposes of which is the destruction of anti-ship missiles. If on the original “Buyan” there are two of them, then on the “Buyan-M” there is only one, although it is a paired AK-630M-2. But simultaneously attacking with two anti-ship missiles from two angles makes this system helpless.
As for the main artillery caliber, it is represented by a 100-mm automatic gun A-190 with an ammunition capacity of 80 rounds, which, given the rate of fire of this gun, allows firing only for a minute.
“Buyan-M” borrowed from the previous project a very small draft, which is 2.6 meters. This allows him to move along the rivers, but on open water this ship, as they say even in the Russian Federation, “feels uncomfortable”, since stormy weather with such a small draft is contraindicated. Also, a very small autonomy of the course is superimposed on this – only up to 10 days.
Together with the lack of adequate air defense, this became the main factor in the criticism of Buyan-M in the Russian maritime expert community. But, despite everything, 10 ships of the series have already been launched, one of which is now being completed afloat, and two more are planned.
But the possibility of completing the construction of these ships can be considered doubtful. All because of the sanctions. In particular, from the first (institutions in 2010) to the sixth (institutions in 2013), Buyan-M was equipped with German diesel engines from MTU. Due to the sanctions after the annexation of Crimea, four more ships were equipped with Chinese diesel engines, and for the last three, the installation of Russian D49s, developed in the 60s for diesel locomotives, is envisaged.
It will also be extremely interesting to find out the extent to which Western microcircuits and components are used in all the electronics of the ship, including the Sigma combat information control system and the Buyana-M radar and optical-television systems.
“Buyan-M” – characteristics
- Full water displacement: 949 t
- Length: 74 m
- Width: 11 m
- Height: 6.6 m
- Power plant power: 3698 HP (for ships 1-6 of the series), 4254 hp (for ships 7-9 of the series), 5200 hp (for ships 10-12 of the series)
- Max speed: 25 knots
- autonomy: 10 days
- Crew: 36 (up to 52) people
- Missile weapons: “Onyx” or “Caliber” in 8 silos
- Main artillery caliber: 100 mm A-190 automatic gun