Russian Project 12701 Alexandrite-E-class minesweeper gets new mine clearing system

Russia’s newest Project 12701 Alexandrite-E-class mine countermeasures vessel (MCMV; an export-oriented variant of the Russian Navy’s Project 12700 Alexandrite-class MCMV) will receive an indigenous system to clear sea mines, the United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC) told the TASS news agency on November 26.
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Project 12700 Aleksandrit class minesweeper, of which Project 12701 Alexandrite-E-class is the new export version, hence the "E" in the project designation (Picture source : Twitter account of Naval War College)

«We are ready to offer the Alexandrite-ISPUM-E integrated mine clearance system for the Project 12701 MCMV. This Russian-designed unit confirmed its declared specifications during operations of Project 12700 ships,» said the corporation. According to USC, the Project 12701 MCMV is also fitted with both innovative counter-mine robots and traditional contact/influence sweeps.

Moreover, the Project 12701 MCMV can be fitted with counter-mine systems designed by other manufacturers. «At the same time, foreign counter-mine systems can be installed at the customer’s request,» said the USC.

The Project 12700/12701 MCMVs also carry new net-centric units to control counter-mine assets. «The ship has received an automated control system that allows integration of various counter-mine systems. It supports information sharing between both [counter-mine] systems and ships,» said the corporation.

According to USC, the Project 12701 Alexandrite-E MCMV has a displacement of 890 t and is 61.60 m long and 10.30 m wide. The naval platform is intended for counter-mine protection of naval bases, offshore areas, exclusive economic zones, and maritime mineral deposits; detection and destruction of all types of sea mines; counter-mine protection of blue force ships during sea cruises; counter-mine reconnaissance; and deployment of sea mines.

*The Project 12701 vessel is believed to have a decent export potential. In March, Director of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSVTS) Dmitry Shugayev told Russian media that Russia would enter an Indian competition for a new MCMV with the Alexandrite-E ship.*

The MCMV features a draught of some 3.10 m. The platform is powered by two diesel engines with a power output of 2,500 hp each, producing a speed of 16 knots, a cruise range of 1,500 nautical miles, and an endurance of 10 days. The vessel is manned by a 44-strong crew.

The Alexandrite-E’s sensor suite integrates the Diez-12700E control system, Livadiya-ME mine detection sonar, two Alister 9 counter-mine unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs), two K-Ster I UUVs, 10 K-Ster C disposable remotely operated vehicles, an Inspector-Mk.2 unmanned surface vehicle, a GKT-2 or GOKT-1 contact mine sweep system, and a ShAT-U sonar mine sweep system. The Project 12701 MCMV also carries some armaments, including an AK-306 30 mm close-in weapon system, eight short-range surface-to-air missiles, and an MTPU naval gun mount with a 14.5 mm heavy machinegun (this weapon system can be replaced by two 6P59 12.7 mm heavy machineguns).

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