Few people now imagine what kind of fleet the Soviet Union could have by the mid-90, in particular, which aircraft carrier forces it would have.
Until "Ulyanovsk" did not live
The first Soviet group-based ships aviation became anti-submarine cruisers of project 1123 "Moscow" and "Leningrad". Both carried 14–16 Ka-25PL helicopters and had developed weapons. Air defense was provided by the Shtorm air defense system (two twin beam-type launchers) and two twin 57-millimeter anti-aircraft missiles ZAK AK-725. Anti-submarine armament: SJSC “Orion” (at the time these ships were put into operation was one of the most powerful in the world), the Vikhr complex with a two-beam launcher for launching anti-ship missiles with a special warhead, two five-tube 533-mm anti-submarine torpedo tubes (SET -65) and 2 twelve-barrel RBU-6000. The project did not have anti-ship missiles. However, within the range of firing range (about 22 km), the universal Storm air defense system could operate on surface targets with B-611 missiles. These ships became part of the USSR Navy in the mid-60s and immediately became actively involved in military service, where they proved to be the most effective anti-submarine surface ships of our fleet, mainly due to the helicopter group, which significantly increased the search capacity of the KPUG.
If it were not for perestroika, "Moscow" and "Leningrad" could remain in our fleet at least until the end of the twentieth century. After all, their combat capabilities were decisively determined by the composition of the helicopter group, which could simply be enhanced by replacing the Ka-25PL with the more modern Ka-27PL.
From the beginning to the middle of 70-s of the Navy of the USSR, it was replenished with three TAKRs: "Kiev", "Minsk", "Novorossiysk" (respectively, projects 1143.1, 1143.2, 1143.3). They already carried attack aircraft - short-takeoff and vertical landing aircraft (SKVVP) Yak-38. However, these were precisely heavy aircraft-carrying cruisers - they had such a powerful and developed shock (the Basalt missile system with eight anti-ship missiles P-500 in four paired PUs), anti-submarine weapons and air defense weapons that their air group actually played a supporting role. Supersonic anti-ship missiles P-500, having a range of about 500 kilometers, significantly exceeded the available combat radius of the ship attack aircraft (about 200 km). In 90, they would have to be upgraded like the 1164 project cruisers with re-equipment on the Vulcan anti-ship complex with a range of up to 700 – 800 kilometers. Powerful was a set of air defense systems. These are the same “Storm” air defense system with two double-beam launchers and 96 SAM-BNNXX ammunition, two Osa-M short-range SAM systems, two twin 611-mm AU ZAK-AK-76 and four AK-726-mm ZAK-AK-X batteries. 30 on sponsons board. Anti-submarine weapons remained similar to what was available on the 630 project. Aviation group ship increased to 1123 aircraft. In the standard configuration, there were usually 40 – 12 SKVVP Yak-16, 38 – 16 Ka-20PL, two or three rescue Ka-27PS. With the advent of the DRLO Ka-27 helicopters, these machines could also be included in the air group. The “airborne” part was mainly intended for the destruction of individual surface ships and their small groups, mainly from weak air defense, the fight against enemy cutter forces in the interests of missile defense, the development of the success of the main and subsequent strikes against large naval formations of the enemy, and Particularly to ensure the landing of amphibious assault forces. The capabilities of the Yak-31 due to the lack of radar were insignificant, therefore, as an important element of the air defense system of ships at sea, these aircraft were not considered. Helicopters played a key role in solving the problems of PLO.
Heavy aircraft-carrying cruiser "Baku", 1987 year.
"Kiev" served in the Northern Fleet, "Minsk" and "Novorossiysk" went to the Pacific Ocean. Just like the predecessors, they were active in our operational squadrons until the collapse of the USSR. It should be noted that the Yak-38 was considered as a temporary option - the Yak-141, also SKVVP, was being prepared for its replacement. This machine could withstand the F / A-18A Hornet US F / A-29A aircraft at that time. He had a powerful radar equivalent to that of the MiG-700. The combat radius reached 35 kilometers. Missile weapons included the latest at that time anti-ship missile X-XNUMX, a wide range of high-precision weapons short range, in particular X-29 and X-25 various modifications. The adoption of the Yak-141 was planned for the beginning of the 90-x. In this case, the composition of the air group would be somewhat reduced and would include 12 Yak-141, 12 – 14 Ka-27PL, two-three Ka-27PS and three-four Ka-31. However, with such aircraft, the operational value of the air group of the ship increased significantly - it could become a key element of the naval air defense system at sea, and also provide protection for sea-launched missile aircraft (MRA) from ground-based and deck-based fighters, which would significantly increase its combat effectiveness. The shock capabilities also increased - the range of the Yak-141 went beyond the reach of the Basalt anti-ship missiles, allowing the destruction of important ground targets in its operational depth. That is, even if it is very small in comparison with the US, our TAKR air group has already solved all the main tasks assigned to the wing of a “normal” aircraft carrier. A pair of such ships, taking into account their rocket armament, could fight with one enemy AUG.
In the 1987 year, one more classic 1143.4 TAKR entered our fleet. It was originally named “Baku”, and after the collapse of the USSR it was renamed “Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Gorshki”. This ship was significantly different from its predecessors in the composition of weapons, in particular electronic, and architecture, especially the superstructure. "Basalt" was enhanced to 12 PU. The air defense systems Storm and Osa-M disappeared from the air defense system. Instead, the ship received four much more efficient multi-channel “Dagger” air defense systems with 192 missiles. Instead of two AU AK-726, two single-barrel 100-mm AU AK-100 were installed on the ship. Only four twin-hp 30-mm ZAK AK-630 batteries remained unchanged. The Whirlwind was excluded from the antisubmarine armament of the ship. RBU-6000 was replaced with RBU-12000, the main purpose of which was anti-torpedo protection. The ship received the newest and most powerful so far SJC "Polynom". Significantly changed electronic weapons. In particular, the ship received a radar review of the airspace with phased arrays, in connection with which the architecture of the island superstructure changed dramatically - it became basically similar to that which was later installed on the 1143.5 and 1143.6 TAKR projects now known as Admiral of the Soviet Union Fleet Kuznets "And first" Varyag ", and then" Liaoning. " The ship’s displacement slightly increased, which, however, did not affect the composition of its air group due to increased ship armament. “Baku” - “Gorshkov” went to serve in the Northern Fleet.
The fifth and sixth ships of the 1143 project are already somehow embarrassing to call TAKR, although in our fleet they belong to this class. Even outwardly, these are already full-fledged aircraft carriers. In any case, their architecture is purely aircraft carrier. With TAKR they are united by the developed ship armament. This is primarily 12 PU complex "Granit" with a firing range of about 500 kilometers. The nomenclature of air defense facilities in comparison with the 1143.4 project was supplemented with the Dirk “Dirk” (eight units in four batteries on sponsors). The number of SAM "Dagger" remains the same, but all PU transferred to the sponsons. Reduced by one battery number ZACK AK-630.
Air Group - up to 65 aircraft. A typical squadron was to have X-NUMX Su-12, 33 – 18 multi-purpose MiG-20K / KUB fighters, about 29 – 14 anti-submarine Ka-16, three-four DRLO Ka-27 helicopters and four Ka-31 in search-and-rescue option. This is a full-fledged aircraft carrier, in which strike and anti-submarine weapons are already rather auxiliary to the air group. However, both of these ships still did not have catapults - the take-off of the aircraft was carried out from a ramp in the bow of the ship, although the landing of the classic aircraft carrier was on the corner deck with the arresting cables. "Kuznetsov" went to the North, where he is today, and "Varyag" was appointed to strengthen the Pacific Fleet.
The next series should have been already atomic aircraft carriers. They were still referred to TAKR, largely due to the fact that they ensure unhindered passage through the Bosphorus (according to international agreements, the strait is closed to aircraft carriers). They were provided with two steam catapults on the corner deck with the ramp in the bow. The launch of the first of them - “Ulyanovsk” (project 1143.7) was scheduled for 1995 year. Its full displacement has increased to 75 thousand tons. Attack missile weapons should have been represented by the same "Granite", but already in the number of 16 PU. Air defense and air defense systems remained unchanged compared with 1143.5 and 1143.6 projects. The power plant had four KN-3 atomic 305 MW reactors, similar to those installed on the 1144 cruisers, but forced with a core resource extended to 12 years (the Americans changed it every five years at that time). Significantly increased airship ship. According to the standard version, it should have 24 – 32 Su-33, 12 – 24 MiG-29К / KUB, eight DRLO Yak-44, 12 – 16 Ka-27PL helicopters and two Ka-27PS.
A new and fundamentally important component in the air group was to be the Yak-44. Outwardly, he looked like an American "Hokai." However, its speed was to become one and a half times more - up to 700 – 740 kilometers per hour, which significantly increased combat stability. The detection range of the fighter (EPR three square meters) was 250 kilometers, and the CD and RCC - 165 – 220 kilometers. The planned duration of patrols is from 3,5 to 6,5 hours. That is, eight of these aircraft could provide continuous presence in the air of two or three cars capable of creating an all-high-level RLP at a distance of up to 500 – 700 kilometers from a warrant in the sector to 100 – 120 degrees. This means that the line of entry into the battle of fighters from the “airborne alert” position could be shifted to 400 – 500 kilometers from the aircraft carrier, and from the “duty on deck” position in readiness No.1 - to 250 – 300 kilometers.
It was planned to build such aircraft carriers at least two. And the next series, proceeding from the logic of development, would have an air group equivalent to the American one.
Thus, by the 1998 year, that is, the 20 years ago, our fleet was to have eight TAKRs, of which four were full-fledged aircraft carriers. In other words, our carrier program more than 30 years ahead of the Chinese, and today we could reanimate it, if not for the continuing "market" chaos in the domestic economy.
Naturally, the question arises: with TAKR, inferior to the American "classmates" in the composition of the air group, we could fight on equal terms with the AUS of two or three Nimitse and 14 – 18 URO-class cruiser-destroyer? You can safely answer: yes. Let's start with the fact that we are talking about the opposition of AUS, and not to a single aircraft carrier - they do not act like that. Accordingly, our TAKRs should be considered as part of the ENG - a heterogeneous shock connection. And if the United States could (and still can) set up against us in the AUS, in addition to two or three aircraft carriers, five or six UIC-type cruisers Ticonderox, 8 – 12 destroyers URO “Orly Burk” and 6 – 12 ships of other classes with Three-four Los Angeles multi-purpose PLA (main type at the end of the twentieth century in the US Navy), supported by tactical (TA) and 24 – 36 basic patrol (BPA) aviation from coastal airfields, up to 12 – 18, of our ENG, there could be two or three nuclear missile cruisers besides the four TAKR 1144 project, two or three 1164 project missile cruisers in 10 – 12 escort destroyers, large anti-submarine and patrol ships (956, 1155, 1155М, 1135 and 1135М projects), three or four missile submarines of the 949M, and four-five missile submarines of the 971M, and four-five rocket submarines of the four-four-five missile submarines of the 671, 50, 54, 22, 3, 22, XNUMX, XNUMX, XNUMX, XNUMX, XNUMX, XNUMX, XNUMX, XNUMX, XNUMX, and XNUMX and XNUMXrtm, and from the coast they would be supported by naval rocket-carrying aircraft with forces up to XNUMX – XNUMX Tu-XNUMXМXNUMX with the X-XNUMX anti-ship missile system.
US carrier-based aircraft would have only F / A-120C / D 180 – 18 strike and fighter aircraft. We could counter the enemy 24 Yak-41, 36 – 48 Su-33 and 40 – 64 MiG-29K / KUB, total 112 – 124 machines. But they would have a significant advantage in terms of capabilities to deal with surface forces - our Su-33 could (and surely it was done - experienced launches were carried out) equipped with anti-ship missiles "Mosquito" with a range of 250 kilometers and supersonic flight speed unlike American subsonic " Harpoons ", which then had a firing range of about 120 kilometers. If NATO's TA could use only missiles with a maximum range of 15 kilometers (for example, a Maverick) and 50 – 100 kilograms of warheads against our ships, then our MRA is X-22 supersonic with 350 – 380 kilometers of firing range and a 700 combat unit kilograms. The short range of "Maverick" and "Harpoons" would force the carrier aircraft to overcome the opposition not only of the fighter aviation of our RUS, but also of the shipborne air defense systems of various order groups, in particular, air defense ships pushed to the threatened direction from the main forces, and TA - also The air defense missile system, which would inevitably lead to significant losses. Whereas only AUC fighters would oppose our vehicles, largely neutralized by escort aircraft from our TAKRs.
American submarines could strike using no more than 24 – 36 subsonic Tomahawks with scattered scraps of no more than 12 RCC, with a simple homing target having a short target detection range, which causes them to perform additional search maneuver, leading to a “blurring” of the salvo with a significant increase its scope. And the Soviet submarines were able to launch supersonic 72 supersonic rockets from 96 to 24 on a very small scale.
The American AUS exceeded our mix with the number of ASMs: 250 – 300 “Tomahawks” and 160 – 200 “Harpoons” versus 68 – 88 “Granites”, 56 – 72 “Volcanoes” (124 – 160) and 32 – 48NXX and XNUMXNNXX XNUMX and XNUMX XNUMX and XNUMX XNUMX XNUMX However, the quality of our missiles, as already mentioned, is significantly higher than the American "Tomahawks", and the "Volcanoes" also have almost twice the range, which allows our surface forces to strike without entering the enemy’s anti-ship missile system. The Mosquito rocket, launched along a low-altitude trajectory, with approximately the same firing range as the Harpoon, is almost invulnerable to air defense systems, in contrast to the subsonic American. And when flying along a variable elevation profile, our Mosquito was twice as good as the Harpoon in firing range with significantly greater stability from the effects of air defenses.
The presence of a sufficiently powerful group of naval fighter aircraft would allow our unit to catch up with the American AUS in terms of operational and tactical intelligence capabilities. Planes aimed at this would receive adequate cover and could conduct reconnaissance to the required depth.
The battle of our ENG with US AUS would take place in several stages. On the first — the deployment of the forces of the parties — the powerful fighter aircraft of our RUS would ensure the repelling of the strikes of the TA (on the Northern ATLM) with heavy losses. The second stage would most likely consist in the exchange of preliminary volleys from submarines. Our missile submarines would have allowed to disable or damage, significantly limiting the ability to perform take-off and landing operations, one or two of three aircraft carriers and destroy up to five to seven surface escort ships. The calculated effectiveness of American missile strikes from submarines would be significantly less: one or two cores disabled or damaged while preserving the limited combat capabilities of the ship (it is not at all necessary that at least one TAKR would be among them) and a maximum of two or three sunken destroyer, sentry or BOD. The content of the third stage, probably, would be our main engagement of the RUS with MN planes using X-50 anti-aircraft missiles up to 22. American AUS would have to repel it. To escort an MPA, our ENG could allocate from 24 – 30 to 36 – 50 ship fighter aircraft that would completely neutralize the 12 – 16 attacks of TA planes from coastal airfields and 12 – 15 deck (estimated value including aircraft carriers deactivated pre-strike). The MRA would have acted when the main ship forces of the opponents were more than 900 – 1000 kilometers away — beyond the effective radius of the deck and ship aviation of the American AUS and Soviet RUS. One or two strikes, depending on the combat load of the Tu-22М3 (one or two X-22 anti-ship missiles per plane), on 45-50 anti-ship missiles X-22 would lead to the sinking of one or two aircraft carriers with the destruction of the survivors and the destruction of up to one-third ships of escort. The loss of our connection would be limited only to aircraft - several MRA aircraft and up to 10 – 15 ship fighters. In fact, the AUS would be crushed. In the future, our ENG would solve the problems of developing success - finishing off the aircraft carriers and escort escort ships that remained afloat. At this stage, first would be delivered long-range missile strikes (Vulkan, Granit) and naval aviation with Mosquitoes and X-35, and later on destroyers of the 956 project and BOD of the 1155M project.
Thus, due to the superiority in the firing range of our ship and aircraft RCC, and most importantly - the presence of a powerful group of carrier-based fighter aircraft, our Northern and Pacific fleets could successfully solve the tasks of fighting US aircraft carrier forces in large-scale war.
Could we but China can
In peacetime, our fleets in operational-important areas of the ocean could have up to two aircraft carrier groups, including one TAKR, one or two missile cruisers and six to seven surface escort ships of other classes, two to four submarines, including one two rocket. With this composition, these compounds represented a full-fledged counterweight to the American AUG. If necessary, they could be reduced to aircraft carrier compounds of two TAKRs each with the corresponding number of escort ships. With the aggravation of the international situation in conflict areas, our fleet could deploy from three to four to five to six TAKR (from different fleets) with ships and submarines totaling up to 30 units and more. Thus, he fully implemented the "projection of force" (if we use American terminology) on a global scale.
The significance of these ships for Russia was demonstrated by Syria. We still have aircraft schools, both in construction and in operation. And we can build an aircraft carrier fleet, and faster than the Chinese. But while the country's resources are barely enough to replenish the personal accounts of "the captains of our business," this can only be dreamed of.