The final unit of a class of 19 degaussing tenders ordered for the Soviet Navy, the SR-253 was left incomplete at Poland's Northern Shipyard, Gdansk, after the collapse of the U.S.S.R. As part of its contribution to NATO, new member Poland has had the ship reconfigured as a multipurpose auxiliary. Work began on 16 August 2000, and the renamed Kontradmiral X. Czernicki was commissioned on 1 September 2001. The 2,390-ton, 242foot ship can be employed as an intelligence collector (using a modular intercept system carried in a 20-foot container on the helicopter deck), as a transport for 140 fully equipped troops and 150 tons of containerized cargo and vehicles, and as a deployable support tender for small combatants or mine countermeasures units. During the extensive reconfiguration, a bow bulb was added to the hull, and an armament of one twin 23-mm antiaircraft gun mounting and two quadruple point-defense missile launchers was added.
By A.D. Baker III, Editor, Combat Fleets of the World