Twelve anti-ship missiles, three short-range air defense systems, a sonar system with RBU and helicopter anti-aircraft guns - all this resembles a description of either a destroyer or a missile defense system, if we do not mention the airborne group based on the ship from five to six different types of aircraft. And this is the Admiral’s heavy aircraft carrier, ready for modernization. Fleet Soviet Union Kuznetsov ”project 1143.5, affectionately referred to by the people as“ Kuzey ”and has long been unofficially re-qualified as an aircraft carrier.
According to the initial concept of its use, the TAVKR is a means of waging a global nuclear war, providing in the first phase of a nuclear conflict the Russian APRKSN cover from the submarine and anti-submarine aviation NATO, and in the second phase - conducting a missile duel with NATO ships in the conditions of multiple nuclear explosions near the ships. The past 35 years since the laying of the ship in the Soviet Union in 1982 and 26 years of operation in the Arctic conditions in the Russian Federation objectively require a radical modernization, taking into account the realities of our time and perspective until 2040. The further use of a warship with fifty years of experience for its intended purpose looks indecent for Russia.
The very notion of modernization, which we will not confuse with repairs, even major ones, implies the replacement or addition (rarely withdrawal) of individual elements of the structure as a whole with the aim of adding additional possibilities and improving the existing ones. The need to repair and upgrade the power plant of the ship became apparent not only to specialists, but also to the world community after the Syrian campaign. On this occasion, as they say, there can be no two opinions, and there is practically no discussion. The ship must have unconditional opportunities to use all modes of the course, providing for the performance of combat missions. Escorting a squad of warships with a tug should be the exception, not the rule.
But with the modernization of the weapons of the ship and its air group is not so simple.
Unity and struggle of opposites
At the apogee of the Cold War, the Kuznetsov TAVKR would have fully corresponded to its first task, namely to cover the combat duty areas of Soviet SSBNs from submarines and NATO anti-submarine aircraft. The task of the country's defense was solved in the complex. Indeed, in the North Atlantic and the Barents Sea, not only ballistic-missile submarines were on duty all year round, they also flew round the corner and subsonic strategic bombers without escort fighters. And being the fifth ship of the 1143 project, in addition to the existing and most powerful and modern ones, the Kuznetsov inspired optimism in the fight against underwater danger. The coastal "Orions" and deck "Vikings" could no longer be disregarded with the air threat emanating from the then-new Su-27K and MIG-29K. At the same time, anti-submarine helicopters of the ship’s search and strike group would clean square by square from the underwater threat. Everything is logical, harmonious and efficient. But time inexorably makes adjustments.
The heavy aircraft carrier cruiser remained alone, thinning the ranks of the BOD and destroyers. But now aboard the peers of the strategic missile submarines of the 667 BDRM Dolphin project are the P-29 PMU2 Sineva missiles with a maximum range of the protocol from 8300 to 11500 kilometers. As it is now fashionable to boast: you can shoot through the adversary without departing from the pier. Indeed, the computer gives the distance from Murmansk to New York 6457 kilometers, and to Los Angeles only 8319. In other words, it makes no sense to go beyond the border of the polar possessions of the Russian Federation, the meridian of Murmansk, and you can be on duty at least off the coast of Novaya Zemlya. The Barents Sea with an average depth of 220 meters and a maximum of 513 is quite comfortable for low-speed and low-noise submarine strategists. As a non-specialist, I’ll add a quote from an article on a VO resource five years ago: “Performing combat patrols in the Arctic seas, which are adjacent directly to the Russian coast of the submarine, even under the most favorable hydrological conditions for the enemy (complete calm, which occurs in the Barents Sea only in 8% “Natural situations”), can be detected by the newest atomic multi-purpose submarines of the type “Improved Los Angeles” of the US Navy at distances of no more than 30 km. But in conditions that are typical for the remaining 92% of the time of year, when there is wind at a speed of 10-15 m / s and waves, nuclear submarines with ballistic missiles of the project 667 BDRM are not detected by the enemy at all or can be fixed with a hydroacoustic system like BQQ-5 distance to 10 km. In addition, there are vast shallow areas in the polar seas of the north, in which the detection range of boats of the 667 BDRM project even to complete calm decreases to less than 10 thousand meters (that is, absolute submarine survival is ensured). It should be borne in mind that the Russian missile submarines carry their combat duty practically in the internal waters, which are quite well covered by the fleet anti-submarine weapons. "
Taking the "Geographical Atlas of the Officer", we find the area of the Barents Sea in 1410 thousand km2, conditionally considering it round we get the diameter (or the distance from edge to edge) not exceeding 1500 km. There is no doubt that modern coast-based aviation is capable of covering from the existing airfields and existing personnel the area of combat duty of submarine-launched missile carriers. Surface ships and multi-purpose submarines will undoubtedly help her in this. Moreover, rotation and continuity of patrols in such a matter look more logical and less costly compared to the fleet’s ability at least once every three months to bring the aircraft carrier group to the specified area for the same purpose. Especially, it is necessary to take into account, all the same, that the weather conditions in the polar regions will not allow the deck aviation to adhere to a more or less stable flight schedule from a small aircraft carrier without an ejection launch. Even in the context of real combat operations in the Falkland area, flights stopped due to weather, and full-sized American aircraft carriers practically do not cross the northern (and southern) Arctic Circle.
Theoretically, we can assume combat trips of a group of ships led by TAVKR for the duration of 45 days (what is its declared autonomy) with the same duration of stay in the base, but in the existing reality this has never been observed. It is more realistic to offer 30 days of the campaign and 60 in the base, and then after the upgrade and repair. With a full fuel filling, the economic cruise of the 14 nodes must now be 8400 miles. This is exactly 25 days. And this is without taking into account the need to ensure full speed for flight operations of deck aircraft. We add that order ships also should not lag behind the floating aerodrome, and their autonomy does not exceed 30 days. The option of including in the squadron even a high-speed tanker and transport of supplies (not to mention a tug) is not acceptable - this turns the aircraft carrier strike group into a convoy. And is a “ship of control of the sea” necessary in the Barents Sea? And if we do not need a “big Invinsible” in the course of modernization, we should try to give the ship a narrower specialization in shock functions.
Fire and sword
If, after upgrading the ship, we want to get a truly combat unit of the fleet, if we want to get a real chance of confrontation with the American aircraft carrier, if we want to get a visual tool of geopolitical pressure, then the modernization should be aimed at maximizing the basing of the strike squadron of aircraft with universal capabilities. Thus, a ship version of the Su-35С is foreseen, certainly adapted to carry a pair of Onyx anti-ship missiles. Unfortunately, the Su-33 did not grow together with the brutal anti-ship missile "Mosquito".
Why so categorical? Su-35C in air combat is really superior to F / A-18E and will be able to withstand F-35B and F-35C, and this is for the moment the most numerous and promising potential enemies over the sea. The deck version of the Su-35C with more powerful turbofan engines with the “AL-41 Ф1С” ОВТ (thrust at the forcing of 14500 kg) and supersonic cruising speed in comparison with the Su-33 on the “AL-31Ф 3 series” (12500 kg) engines will be a simulator. radius of action with a similar payload and lift a large load under the same conditions of take-off. With all due respect to the model of the Su-33, but it will still be impossible to "wear out" them on the updated ship before 2040. We are not the French with their subsonic "Super Etandart" on the atomic aircraft carrier in a large and thick NATO. But the most important thing is the on-board radar with a passive phased antenna array HO35 “Irbis”, which has a target detection range with an 3 xNUMX EPR to km / km 2! The presence of this device on board aircraft carrier aircraft somehow will compensate for the lack of a full-fledged DRLOU aircraft in cooperation with the deck Ka-400 (and maybe more modern Ka-31).
Since the emphasis of modernization is aimed at increasing the shock capabilities of the ship, this is a good time to get rid of the birthmark of Soviet undercover intrigues in the form of the Granit anti-ship missile system and add a fourth starting position similar to the third one. Of course, a volley of twelve "Granites" in the air defense system of a ship connection is not a trivial threat, but if after the first volley of twelve "Onyxes" from airplanes there is one hundred percent confidence in its repetition after a while on the connection that received damage, and maybe losses, then this as they say in Odessa, two big differences. Launching anti-ship missiles from airplanes will not require their carrier’s ship to approach the enemy’s order in an unsafe manner, snapping up on a counterstrike. As in the Syrian campaign, the carrier of a much larger number of anti-ship missiles and CDs of the “Caliber” type will be the modernized “Atlants” or “Orlans” with much more ammunition than on board the aircraft carrier. And the fourth starting position will allow almost two times faster to form a shock link, which will positively affect the increase in the reach of the object of impact. You must agree, her absence looks strange when comparing the width of standard GDP of land aerodromes, from which fighters could start with triples, and 70 meters of the width of the upper deck of a ship, where alternate start is provided from only one position.
In May, two articles were published: “The combat stability of the updated Admiral Kuznetsov,” Yevgeny Damantsev, with whom I fully agree on the upgrade of the air defense and missile defense systems of the ship. So that “the prestige of our aircraft-carrying cruiser did not suffer, the fighting qualities of the miniature deck aviation segment” need to resolutely get rid of all other types of aircraft on board the ship in favor of placing not the 10-14 maritime 33 Flanker, but the extremely dangerous 18-24 »Multipurpose fighter generation 4 ++. The Americans were quite comfortable with a single F / A-18E and as an air defense fighter, and as an attack aircraft for strikes on both land and sea targets, and would play the role of a rebovet with a reconnaissance aircraft. An aircraft carrier is called a multi-purpose aircraft, when various wings can be formed on board. We will plant anti-submarine helicopters - let us chorit the submarines, put on anti-tank ones - we will burn the armored vehicles of the terrorists, landing troops - they will attack the marines. But all these tasks can perform other special ships. In this matter, you must trust the experience of the leading maritime power. Paraphrasing the nationalist slogan - aircraft carrier!
One in the field is not a warrior
Placing great hopes on the modernization of the aircraft carrier, we have the right to assume that the intensity of long-range cruises of the ship’s connection with him will also increase. And who will be in the retinue of the king? Of course, this is one of the cruisers of the projects "Atlant" or "Orlan". On a cruiser carrying long-range anti-ship missiles, it is logical to place two DRLOU helicopters, which, by the way, just seems to be a pair for the entire Russian Navy. There are still two reasons for such a proposal: first, to ensure maximum basing on the aircraft carrier of universal strike fighters with the possibility of the most intensive use for solving the main task of connecting ships; secondly, ensuring the fullest possible realization of the combat capabilities of the long-range air defense missile system of the cruiser and over-the-horizon target designation to the anti-ship missile arsenal on board. During the flights of such helicopters, no one interferes with the exchange of information and in the interests of the air group.
The situation is more complicated with the antisubmarine defense of the naval compound. Currently and in the medium term, there is no alternative to participating in joint campaigns with an aircraft carrier of two or three large anti-submarine ships of the 1155 project (1155.1). But at the same time, these are all cash combat-ready forces of the first-rank PLO of the Northern Fleet. And if all PLO helicopters are removed from an aircraft carrier, then only a total of 4-6 units remain on the BOD, which is clearly not enough with an adequate threat to the ship’s connection.
Then I will express the incompetent opinion of the “sofa” expert. Unsuccessful attempts to create a "universal destroyer" in Soviet times led to the appearance of the shock destroyer pr.956 and BOD pr.1155. For the ocean fleet of the USSR, these were good ships. At the same time, Japan, fearing a real underwater threat, created the original destroyers of the Harun-type PLO and, a little later, the Sirane-type, with three Sea King helicopters (later, Sea Hawk) based on board. A ship of a similar concept can be useful both in the warrant of escorting an aircraft carrier and in combatting submarines in positional areas of the Northern and Pacific fleets. The armament of such a ship (one 130-mm artillery mount, two Pantsir-M ZRRK modules, two UKNS 3С14 for anti-submarine and anti-ship missiles, the medium-range anti-aircraft missile system Polimen-Redut SUVP) even on a frigate of the 22350 Ave. But the presence of a powerful and modern sonar complex, the condition of the basing of three helicopters of the Ka-27PL type, combined with the requirement for autonomy, range and speed to accompany the aircraft carrier on a long hike, will probably lead to an increase in displacement and size comparable to the American destroyers of the Arly Burk type. »Second series (full 9600 tons with a length of 155 meters). Sooner or later, “Sarychey” and “Deleted” will still have to be changed, and with the vertical launch settings, it is quite simple to make the ship universal.
I would like to wish the ship and the crew new combat missions and reliable hardware!
Will the karma modernization Kuznetsova?