The Baltic Shipyard is one of the largest shipbuilding enterprises in Russia. Over 165 years that have passed since its foundation in the heart of St. Petersburg, a private plant (Baltiysky Zavod) has turned into a high-tech industrial giant, whose team is mastering the technology of building ships and vessels to advanced projects, thus forming a new look of the industry and the entire domestic fleet. For 165 years, the plant has gone from manufacturing the first coal-fired steam-powered metal boats to building high-tech nuclear-powered ships and vessels. Here, the first Russian combat submarines got their “ticket to life,” a series of battleships and torpedo boats were constructed, ironclad battleships and cruisers, passenger ships and transport ships were built.
ALWAYS THE FIRST
Since its foundation, the plant has specialized in manufacturing metal ships for the Russian Navy, as well as steam engines and other marine machinery. In 1866, 30-40 years before the whole world mastered the submarine construction techniques and tactics, the shipyard built a submersible designed by Russian engineer Ivan Aleksandrovsky, which was fit for the purpose of the submarine in many respects. The ironclad gunboat Opyt, built in 1862, became the first Russian metal ship.
In the 1870s, the shipyard built the coastal defense ship Admiral Lazarev, which laid the foundation for armored shipbuilding in Russia. In 1877, the first Russian steam engine with a capacity of 5300 hp was built here. The Baltic Shipyard was the first to start series construction of surface combatants (Pobeda-class cruisers, ironclad battleships) and the Bars- and Morzh-type submarines, which were on a par with the best foreign models. The submarine Minoga became the first Russian submarine fitted with a reversible diesel engine. The famous Rubin Central Design Bureau for Marine Engineering (1938) traces its roots to the Submersible Navigation Department established in 1900.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the Baltic Shipyard built the battleships Petropavlovsk (Marat) and Sevastopol (Paris Commune), the first Russian dreadnoughts featuring an improved armor system.
In the 1920s, the plant was one of the first in the Soviet Union to resume the construction of commercial ships (timber carriers, passenger and cargo vessels, diesel icebreakers), and then began to implement military projects. During the first decade of commercial shipbuilding, the yard built 32 vessels. In the 1930s, the Baltic Shipyard constructed the famous Dekabrist class Series I diesel-electric torpedo submarines.
During the Great Patriotic War, the Baltic Shipyard worked to meet the needs of the front. It mass-produced ammunition, repaired ships, built minesweepers, organized the production of barges and tenders for the Ladoga Road of Life. Half of its 15,000-strong personnel went to the front, only about 6,000 returned from the war.
After the end of the Great Patriotic War, the plant mastered the construction of cargo and cargo-passenger vessels for the civilian fleet: tankers, refrigerators, dry cargo ships, chemical carriers, icebreakers for the Arctic, research vessels.
In the 1950s, 19 Project 613 submarines were built at the shipyard, which brought international success to Soviet shipbuilding.
In the second half of the twentieth century, the importance of the tasks assigned to the Baltic Shipyard grows. Orders are getting bigger and more sophisticated. Large research vessels and large-capacity tankers started to slide down the shipyard slipways.
At that time, ambitious and large-scale development projects were underway in the military sphere: all the shipyard’s facilities were utilized for the construction of the Project 1144 Orlan class heavy nuclear-powered guided missile cruiser Kirov, which gave impetus to the unprecedented development of the enterprise. The four built nuclear-powered cruisers of the project were ahead of their time and became a formidable force of the Soviet, and then the Russian Navy. Four heavy cruisers slid down the shipyard’s ways: Kirov (renamed Admiral Ushakov in 1992), Frunze (Admiral Lazarev since 1992), Kalinin (Admiral Nakhimov since 1992) and Pyotr Veliky.
A series of Project 10520 and 10521 nuclear-powered icebreakers was a special order for the shipyard, which determined the vector of its development for years to come. The second decade of the 21st century has become a new chapter in its history. A strategic task was assigned to the shipyard’s personnel: the Baltic Shipyard becomes the prime contractor for the renewal of the domestic nuclear icebreaker fleet. The company was commissioned to build the world’s largest and most powerful icebreaker. Project 22220 is a modern vessel capable of performing a wide range of tasks, the main of which is to service the Northern Sea Route. Innovative domestic technologies and engineering solutions are implemented in the icebreakers. The lead universal nuclear icebreaker is named Arktika in honor of the legendary Project 10520 vessel of the same name, which had been the flagship of the Soviet nuclear icebreaker fleet for many years.
On October 3, the Arktika under the Baltic Shipyard’s flag reached the North Pole of the Earth. Hoisting the flag and handover to Rosatomflot Federal State Unitary Enterprise took place on October 21, 2020 with the participation of Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin.
Now the Baltic Shipyard is building follow-on Project 22220 ships, which are the general-purpose nuclear icebreakers Sibir, Ural, Yakutia and Chukotka. The first follow-on icebreaker Sibir is completing its mooring trials. Its delivery to the customer is scheduled for the end of the year. The Sibir lies alongside a quay next to the Ural, its younger sister. The Ural is expected to be commissioned late in 2022. The fourth and fifth vessels of Project 22220, icebreakers Yakutia and Chukotka, are on the shipyard’s building ways. Their launching is scheduled for 2022 and 2024.
Along with renewing the country’s nuclear icebreaker fleet, the company is engaged in the construction of diesel-powered icebreakers. The Project 22600 vessel Viktor Chernomyrdin has become the largest and most powerful non-nuclear icebreaker in the world. On December 30, 2016, the Baltic Shipyard launched the ship. Raising the flag and the handover of the icebreaker to Rosmorport for operation took place on November 3, 2020 with the participation of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In addition to Viktor Chernomyrdin, the Baltic Shipyard built the Akademik Lomonosov floating nuclear power unit for the world’s first floating nuclear power plant. This project, like most of the technically sophisticated orders built at the Baltic Shipyard, has no equal in the world. Today, Akademik Lomonosov has been commissioned as part of a floating nuclear thermal power plant in the town of Pevek, Chukotka Autonomous Okrug, and provides electricity to the Chukotenergo power grid and heat to the city’s heating network.
The Baltic Shipyard today is one of Russia’s most advanced shipbuilding complexes with a high production, science and technology capacity. It produces a wide range of marine power and mechanical engineering equipment. Its marine engineering products include heat exchange equipment for nuclear power plants, boiler equipment, propellers, shafts for ships and vessels of all classes, stern and steering gears, stocks. The shipyard is also equipped with full-fledged facilities for production of non-ferrous, steel and iron castings.
The enterprise implements the most sophisticated and knowledge-intensive projects. A colossal century and a half experience in building sophisticated ships and vessels, steady modernization of production facilities, ongoing work on personnel retraining and the use of the most advanced technologies rightfully make the Baltic Shipyard a flagship of the Russian shipbuilding industry.
Looking back in the history of the shipyard, it is clear that behind each unique vessel, behind each technical development, behind any innovation, there are designers, technologists, as well as the labor and professionalism of employees of all departments and divisions of the enterprise.
Over the years, valuable experience and exceptional competencies have been acquired, which, of course, will be in demand in the future when fulfilling forthcoming orders for the development of the Arctic regions and the Northern Sea Route. As a result, the shipyard will continue to evolve, will implement new interesting projects, and its employees can face the future with confidence.
Baltic Shipyard is one of the flagships of Russian and world shipbuilding