Russia is close to completing its first naval ship fully equipped with stealth technology to make it hard to detect by enemy vessels, Russian media reported on Tuesday.
The Mercury naval corvette has been mired in delays but two sources in the shipbuilding industry told Russian-state-owned news agency RIA Novosti that the vessel, dubbed Project 20386, is expected to be delivered to the navy as soon as next year. The hull of the corvette has already been built.
Russia has in the past decade invested heavily in a sweeping rearmament programme, designed to replace the army and navy’s Soviet-era weaponry.
But some efforts to revamp the military have been affected by Western sanctions imposed on Russia for annexing Crimea in 2014 and throwing its weight behind separatists in eastern Ukraine, as the US banned exports of dual-use technology to Russia.
The country’s shipbuilders previously used stealth technology, such as a radar-absorbing coating, in some of other naval ships but Mercury is expected to be Russia’s fully stealth vessel, having a special shape minimising protrusions and crevices on its surface, according to RIA Novosti.
The warship will be armed with cruise missiles, anti-aircraft missiles and artillery. It will also have equipment for hunting and destroying submarines.
Before the annexation of Crimea, the Russian navy was going to ditch the idea of building a full-stealth military ship altogether.—AP