The strengths and weaknesses of underwater duelists before we reach the initial positions are already known to us (“In the first dive”). Knowing the arsenal of means and conditions of combat, let us analyze how various boats can operate in a one-on-one duel.
The tactics of action of submarines are determined by the governing documents that are available in each navy. They are usually secret. However, based on the logic of the likely development of events, the capabilities of weapons and technical means of submarines, the nature of their actions is predicted with sufficient accuracy for a qualitative assessment.
Take the most numerous submarine of the third generation - the American "Los Angeles". It has the most advanced hydroacoustics among the "contemporaries", the tools of the gap and the torpedo armament - the latest two-purpose Mk-48. The detection range of Los Angeles is the best submarine of the third generation of another country, and this can only be the Russian 971 project (NATO designation - Akula), estimated depending on the depth and speed of movement in 60 – 100 kilometers in the infrasonic range, and in the sound - in 30 – 40. This is under favorable conditions, and in other distances are reduced to 50 – 80 and 20 – 25 kilometers, respectively. If the submarine and its target are on opposite sides of the “jump layer”, the detection range in the sound range will be three to eight kilometers.
In total, there are three possible options for the battle of a conventional "Los Angeles" with the alleged "Shark". The first is when a target is detected in the infrasonic range at a distance that requires approaching to reach the contact in the sound range and then occupying a position for using the torpedo weapons. The second is the detection of the enemy in the sound range outside the zone of effective use of torpedo weapons, which involves maneuvering to take a salvo position. The third option - a sudden meeting of submarines at close range.
In the first version, “Los Angeles” will converge with the goal of the SJC, according to the infrasound channel, to the distance it is detected by the sound path. When moving with the lowest possible noise of the 10 – 12 nodes, it will take from one to five hours. The probability of finding "Los Angeles" by our submarine by the same infrasound path is very high. With the release of sonar contact in the audio range after the classification of the target and the determination of the elements of its movement, Los-Angeles will start maneuvering to take a salvo position. Since the risk of being detected is great, the “American” will seek to use anti-submarine weapons from the maximum distance. This is not more than the range of remote control torpedo Mk-48, that is, 18 – 20 kilometers. With the detection range of our submarine 30 – 40 kilometers, it can take 10 – 30 minutes or more to reach the attack position for kilometers. During this period, there is a high probability that our submarine will also detect Los Angeles and begin to take retaliatory measures, in particular, it will use the GAP tools to divert the enemy to a false target. Attack "American" is likely to be dvuhtorpednaya. If it is impossible to reliably classify the simulator and the submarine, each will be aimed at its target. The volley and movement of torpedoes are guaranteed to be detected by the attacker, who will use the means of the active HAP and will try to respond to Los Angeles with his anti-submarine weapon. Since the time of movement of torpedoes to the target will be 12 – 16 minutes, it will be enough for an effective response. The likelihood of a successful attack in such conditions while maintaining “American” combat capability should be assessed in 0,4 – 0,7. 10 – 20 minutes will be needed to identify the impact. During this time, torpedo tubes can be reloaded. In case of failure, the attack will be repeated.
The second variant of the battle is essentially the same as that considered, with the exception of the approach stage for contacting the target with the SAC sound path. In the third variant, when two submarines were actually on the “pistol shot” distance, each of them will try to use a weapon as soon as possible. The travel time of torpedoes will not exceed three to five minutes, and the total duration of the battle will be five to ten.
The Chinese do not shine. U.S. too
In a battle with a second-generation submarine or equivalent to it, for example, the Chinese 093 Shan project or our SSBN of the 667БДР project, Los Angeles will have an undeniable superiority in the detection range of the enemy. It is calculated at a distance from which shooting torpedoes is useless. Under favorable hydroacoustic conditions, these are 120 – 200 kilometers and more in the infrasonic range and 60 – 70 kilometers in sound. The worst-case scenario is 80 – 100 and 40 – 50 kilometers, respectively. Only under the condition that the submarine and its target were on opposite sides of the “jump layer”, can the detection range be reduced to seven to ten kilometers.
The scenarios are the same. In the first and second "Los Angeles" moves closer to the distance of the most effective use of torpedo weapons, without fear of being detected even at relatively small distances from the target. "American" need to reach the position of a volley so that the enemy did not have time to respond effectively. That is, the attack time should not exceed a few minutes, which corresponds to a distance of 10 – 12 kilometers. The probability of hitting even a single torpedo from such a distance is very high - 0,6 – 0,8. In a two-torpedo salvo, the target will be destroyed by 90 – 95 percent. The most effective response of the attacked can be a multi-torpedo salvo on the bearing for the shot and the noise of torpedoes. Only in the third variant - at the minimum distance - the chances of a submarine of the second generation and “Los Angeles” are to some extent equalized.
Looking forward to flying torpedoes
Now it is interesting to consider the likely tactics of the actions of the third-generation submarine, which has anti-submarine missiles in its set of weapons. This, of course, our project 971. "Shark" - the only submarine of the third generation with such a weapon. She has eight torpedo tubes. Of these, four caliber 650 millimeters and four - 533 millimeter. To solve the problems under consideration, one must assume that the loading of torpedo tubes will be primarily anti-submarine weapons. Therefore, we take this option: two PLUR “Wind” 86Р caliber 650 millimeters, the three most common, although the old torpedoes SET-65 in 533-mm TA and one self-propelled submarine simulator. Suppose that in addition to the submarine ammunition there are four PLUR “Wind” 86Р, four PLUR “Waterfall” 83Р and eight - ten SET-65.
Let's start with the possible nature of the actions of our submarine against the "Los Angeles". The range of target detection by the Shark is likely to be smaller, since we are still inferior to the American fleet in the knowledge of noise portraits of submarines of foreign countries - our experience in this area is significantly less. Americans fixed noise portraits of our submarines from the mid 60-x. Therefore, in favorable hydroacoustic conditions, the detection range of “Los Angeles” in the infrasonic range can be estimated in 45 – 70 kilometers, and in the sound range - in 25 – 30. With adverse - 40 – 50 kilometers and 15 – 20, with the position of the submarines on different sides of the “jump layer” - three - eight kilometers.
The most favorable option for the 971 project is to detect the enemy at a distance that exceeds the effective range of the Mk-48 torpedoes. At the same time, the target will be within the PLUR defeat area, which will allow the Shark to preempt the enemy in a strike. It will take from one to four hours for a target to reach a target by the sound path with the lowest possible noise, according to the infrasound channel. During this period, Los Angeles is likely to be able to “catch” our boat with the same infrasound path. When making contact with a target in the sound range, the Shark will use a PLUR. A launch from the 25 – 30 distance of kilometers will deliver an anti-submarine torpedo to the target area in less than a minute, which excludes the possibility of the target leaving the search zone for the PLUR warhead. But if it splashes out with an error that requires maneuvering to seize the target, Los Angeles will be able to effectively use its GAP tools. Otherwise, time will be very limited and the enemy will not have time to react. In this scenario, the probability of the defeat of “Los Angeles” by one PLUR is estimated at 0,2 – 0,5. A two-rocket salvo can be carried out to cover a large area of uncertainty in the location of the enemy submarine. Further, with a high probability, contact with the target will be lost due to the use of GAP and intensive maneuvering by the enemy. Therefore, the "Shark" will take action to identify the results of the strike and search for a target, if it is not destroyed. Then a Los Angeles strike back and repeated launches of PLUR and torpedoes by our submarine are possible. The predicted outcome is the death of one of the "duelists" or the complete loss of contact with both. Two attacks with the use of PLUR provide the destruction of "Los Angeles" with the probability 0,6 – 0,7 while maintaining the combat capability of our submarine.
It should be noted that the Mk-48 torpedoes didn’t cancel the retaliatory strike: having detected the moment of their launch and the fact of movement, the commander can use the active mode of the SAC, since the enemy has detected and watches us, the secrecy is lost. According to the data obtained, the shooting parameters are corrected and a salvo is executed. In this case, the combat units of our PLUR will be in the target area earlier than the American torpedoes reach the "Shark". In any case, the first strike will be ours, and the enemy's submarine will have to take measures to evade. And this is likely to lead to a loss of contact with the target and the disruption of the telecontrol of the launched torpedoes. The result - a significant reduction in the probability of hitting our submarine.
The third option - a sudden mutual detection at the minimum distance - is the most unfavorable for us, since the enemy is likely to be within the dead zone of the PLUR and shooting will be carried out by ordinary torpedoes. Moreover, "Los Angeles", apparently, preempts our submarine in a volley and she will have to answer in the extreme shortage of time - the bill will go on for minutes. The three response set-65, taking into account the intensive maneuvering of the enemy’s submarine in evasion of our torpedoes and its use of effective HAP tools, can be used to estimate the likelihood of the destruction of Los Angeles at 0,15 – 0,2.
In the melee chances of little
In a battle with a submarine of the second generation or equivalent to it, for example, the English "Trafalgar" or the French "Rubis", our 971 project will have a noticeable superiority in the detection range of the enemy. The analysis shows that the targets identified at the predicted distances will be in the firing range of our PLUR.
In the first version, the Shark approaches the enemy at a distance of contact with the sound path GAK. Upon readiness of the source data, one or two PLURs are fired. The probability of hitting a target in case of a surprise strike and a short time to use GAP tools will amount to 0,4 – 0,7. Next, the submarines maneuver to restore (obtain) contact, identify the results of the attack and take positions for repeated volleys. During the battle, conditions may arise for the exchange of torpedo attacks.
The second option differs only in the fact that the primary detection occurs in the audio channel. The analysis shows: in a battle with a second-generation submarine, our 971 project has an undeniable superiority. Only in the case of simultaneous mutual detection at a short distance, the chances of the “Shark” are lower than those of the enemy — most likely, it will not be possible to use the PLUR. And here the superiority of the “Englishwoman” or “Frenchwoman” in the GAP facilities and the quality of the underwater weapon can affect. The probability of destroying a target with a salvo of two or three torpedoes can be estimated at 0,2 – 0,4.
The tactics of second-generation submarines and the final evaluation of duels will be the subject of the following article.