|The Yuri Andropov (named after the Soviet politician Yuri Andropov) was laid down in 1986 at the Baltic Shipyard (formerly Shipyard-189) in Saint Petersburg. She was the fourth ship in the Project 1144 Orlan class (NATO: Kirov) of "heavy missile cruisers" (Raketny Kreyser). The Kirov class ships have been the largest combat surface ships in the world, except for a brief period in the 1980s and early 1990s when the American Iowa-class battleships were reactivated. The Kirov Class have been referred to as battlecruisers and indeed are the size of a WWI battleship or battlecruiser. |
Because of economic problems both before and after the fall of the Soviet Union, work on her was severely postponed. Launch did not happen until ten years after the construction started, in 1996. She had now been renamed the Pyotr Velikiy, Peter the Great (Пётр Великий in Russian).
After completing her acceptance trials in November 1996, she was laid up at the Northern Fleet headquarters at Severomorsk awaiting completion and repairs. After they were completed, the Pyotr Velikiy went on to become the flagship of the Northern Fleet.
In August of 2000 the Pyotr Velikiy was in the Bering Sea involved in the largest naval training exercise since the fall of the Soviet Union. She was to be the designated target of the Oscar-II class submarine K-141 Kursk, and was conducting evasive maneuvers when communication with the Kursk was lost, the submarine apparently having suffered a catastrophic torpedo detonation with all hands lost. The Pyotr Velikiy guarded the area where the submarine sank during the subsequent salvage operation in 2001.
On April 19, 2004, she was docked in the floating drydock PD-50 for painting of the submarine part of the ship, repairs and examination of the steering system. The repairs were completed later that year, and she was carrying out missions again by August.
The Pyotr Velikiy has been known to carry two pennant numbers during her service; "183" and "099".