A year and four months ago, we completed the publication of the series “Shipbuilding Program of the Navy of the Russian Federation, or Very Bad Premonition”, where we examined the prospects of our naval construction. Without a doubt, it was already clear then that the program for updating the Russian Navy had failed and would not be carried out on ships of all classes, with the possible exception of strategic missile submarines and "mosquito" forces. We also examined the most serious system errors that were made when trying to revive the domestic fleet in the framework of the GPV 2011-2020. In the current series of articles, we will recall them again and see what has been done and what is being done to eradicate them.
Unfortunately, there is no complete information about what will be included in the new HPV 2018-2025, so far there are only thoughts of experts and an interview with the commander-in-chief of the Russian Navy, Admiral Vladimir Korolev, in which he said:
"Also within the framework of the state armament program, new and modernized ships of the distant sea and ocean zones will continue to enter the Navy. The most modern ship in this segment will be a modernized frigate of the 22350M project, equipped with high-precision weapons".
In addition, the admiral announced the supply of ships and boats near the marine zone with improved efficiency and combat capabilities, equipped with precision weapons.
As a matter of fact, a little less than a little has been said. But still, in combination with the information announced in other sources about the construction of our submarine fleet, the repair of ships, etc., the words of the commander-in-chief quite clearly describe the immediate prospects of the Russian Navy.
Let's start with the least problematic part of our shipbuilding program: the submarine nuclear missile fleet.
Until now, six submarines, strategic missile submarine cruisers (SSBN) of the Delphin project 667BDRM, form the basis of our naval component of nuclear forces.
Ships of this project were commissioned by the Soviet Navy during the 1984 - 1990 period, and today their age is 27-33. This is not so much as it may seem: the leading American SSBN “Ohio” was transferred to the fleet in the 1981 year, and its withdrawal from the US Navy is scheduled for the 2027 year. Thus, the life of the Ohio is calculated in 46 over the years. The next generation of American "city killers" for the project will have a lifespan of 40 years.
Probably, the “wild nineties” to some extent affected the SSBN of the 667BDRM project, but now the boats of this type are consistently undergoing repair and modernization. In 2012, the director of the “CS Zvezdochka” Nikitin talked about extending the life of the “Dolphins” to 35 years, that is, up to 2019-2025, but most likely they will be exploited further. It is likely that ships of this type will be able to remain in service at least until 2025-2030. Of course, the "Dolphins" are no longer the top of technical excellence and these are not the most silent submarines in the world. Nevertheless, they became the first, truly “invisible” SSBNs in the USSR. According to some data, the range of detection of the “Dolphin” by means of an American submarine of the type “Superior Los Angeles” does not exceed 30 km in ideal conditions, which are almost never observed in the Barents Sea. Under normal conditions, the northern hydrology of the SSBN of the 667BDRM project may be undetected for 15 km, which, of course, greatly increases the survival rate of boats of this type.
"Dolphins" are armed with very advanced weapons: ballistic missiles R-29RMU2 "Sineva" and R-29RMU2.1 "Liner" (development completed in 2011g). The “liner”, being a modification of the “Sinevy”, is the apex of the domestic liquid “underwater” rocket production. This rocket has impressive combat power and is capable of carrying up to 10 combat units of individual guidance in 100 CT, (or 4 500 CT unit) to a range of 8300 – 11500 km., While the radius of deviation does not exceed 250 m. And Liner and The Dolphin SSBMs themselves are very reliable weapons, such Kalashnikovs of the sea depths. In 1991, during the operation “Begemot”, K-407 “Novomoskovsk” SSBN from a submerged position launched a full load of P-29РМ missiles (of which Sineva and Liner were modified) with an interval of 14 seconds. The operation ended in complete success, and this was the first time in the world storieswhen a submarine in one salvo spent 16 missiles. Prior to this record belonged to the boat project 667A "Navaga": she carried out launches in two series of four missiles with a small interval between them. The American "Ohio" never fired more than 4 rockets.
On the whole, the “Dolphin” project 667BDRM today, although not the most modern, but reliable and formidable weapon, can ensure the security of the country until the next generation of submarine missile carriers are commissioned.
SSBN project 955 "Borey". These are the boats of the next, fourth generation going to replace the "Dolphins". Unfortunately, the data about them is not as much as we would like.
The first thing to note is that when designing the fourth generation SSBNs, a lot of work was done to reduce the noise of the boat and its physical fields. The director of the Rubin Design Bureau stated that the noise of the Borey SSBN is 5 times lower than that of the multi-purpose Shushka-B submarine and 2 times lower than that of the newest American Virginia. Probably, such an impressive success was achieved, among other reasons, because the jet propulsion complex was used for the first time in domestic practice on the boat.
Also, the 955 project ships received modern hydroacoustic armament: the Irtysh-Amfora-B-600 MGC-055B, which is a universal complex that performs not only the standard SAC functions (noise and echo-directionalization, target classification, hydroacoustic communication), but also the measurement ice thicknesses, search for polynyas and streaks, torpedo detection. Unfortunately, the characteristics of this SAC are unknown, the open press shows the ability to detect targets at a distance of 220-230 km (in other sources - 320 km) and accompany 30 targets simultaneously. But for analysis, these data are useless, since they cannot be compared with the latest American sonar systems. There is an opinion that the Irtysh-Amphora is not inferior in its capabilities to the SAC "Virginia" of the US Navy, but it is hardly possible to say something here for sure.
During the Cold War, American submarines were superior to the Soviet in the quality of their sonar complexes, despite the fact that our boats still made more noise, and this put the USSR submariners in a very disadvantageous position. But towards the end of the twentieth century, in the issues of noise, the Soviet multi-purpose Shushka-B submarines not only reached the level of "Improved Los Angeles", but also probably surpassed it. According to some reports, the noise of the “Schuk-B” is intermediate between the “Improved Los Angeles” and the “Virginia”. It is also known that during the creation of the “Boreev” their noise was significantly reduced relative to the “Shchuk-B”, so it cannot be excluded that, according to this parameter, the Russian Federation achieved parity with the United States, and perhaps even took the lead.
As for the SJC, here it is necessary to consider the following. The USSR had a very numerous submarine fleet, including submarine rocket carriers - carriers of heavy anti-ship missiles, which became the "calling card" of the Soviet Navy. But, of course, for firing PKR over long distances, submarines needed external target designation.
In the USSR, the Legend system of space reconnaissance and target designation was created for this, but, unfortunately, for a number of reasons, it did not become an effective tool for issuing DDs to missile submarines. At the same time, aircraft carriers with radar detection aircraft based on them, which the USSR could have solved this issue, also did not have. The TU-95РЦ target designators built in the 1962 year were outdated by the 80 years and did not guarantee the lighting of the surface situation.
In the current situation, the idea arose of creating an “underwater early warning system” - a specialized submersible watch and illumination submarine boat (with the beautiful abbreviation GAD OPO), the main weapon of which would be an ultra-powerful hydroacoustic complex capable of covering the underwater environment many times better than the GAK of our serial rocket and multipurpose submarines. In the USSR, the boat GAD OPO was created in the framework of the 958 project "Afalina".
Unfortunately, the Russian Navy never received this boat, although there were rumors that work on this topic was continued in the Russian Federation, and for the GAD OPO boat the task was to confidently control the underwater situation at a distance of 600 km. Of course, if such performance characteristics are possible, then the boats of GAD OPO will revolutionize naval armaments. In this case, the same carrier strike groups will be the "legitimate loot" of submarine detachments, including the GAD OPO boat and a pair of anti-ship missile carriers. But it should be understood that the creation of such powerful GAK is hardly possible yet, especially since their range very much depends on hydrological conditions: for example, GAK submarines capable of detecting the enemy at 200 km in ideal conditions somewhere in the same The Barents Sea may not notice the same enemy on 30 km.
Well, in the case of the project “Afalina” 958, only one thing can be said: its sonar complex was conceived as much more sophisticated and powerful than the GAK of our submarines of the Antey and Pike-B types. But it was on the basis of this complex that the Irtysh-Amphora State Joint-Stock Company was created, which is now being installed on nuclear submarines of the 4 generation Borey and Ash Tree!
Therefore, it can be assumed that the characteristics of the Irtysh-Amphora are significantly higher than those of the Soviet 3-generation boats. At the same time, the newest American "Virginia" in the part of the SJC began, if I may say so, "step on the spot" - having created the magnificent (but insanely expensive) "Sea Wolfe" atomic ships, the Americans later wanted a cheaper, even if somewhat less sophisticated weapon. As a result of this, Virginia received the same AN / BQQ-10 HSC, which was on the “Sea Wolf”, while using lightweight side acoustic antennas on the “Virginia”. In general, of course, there is no doubt that Americans are improving their SJC, but they haven’t yet got anything fundamentally new.
According to the statements of our shipbuilders, the Irtysh-Amphora is not inferior in its capabilities to the SAC of the American Virginia. It is difficult to say whether this is true or not, but it is very similar to the fact that Borey-type SSBNs are quite comparable with the latest American nuclear-powered icebreakers in terms of noise and detection ranges.
It should also be borne in mind that SSBN of this type is constantly being improved. The first three boats built into 1996, 2004 and 2006 were built according to the 955 project, but the next five hulls are being created using the new, modernized Borey-A project. This is absolutely not surprising, because the 955 project was created in the last century and today we can create more sophisticated boats. But, besides this, information appeared in the press about the development of the Borey-B and it is possible that the next (and last) two boats of this series will be built on an even more advanced project.
It can be assumed (although this is not a fact) that the first boats of the 955 project did not show in full what the sailors expected to see from them, due to their construction during the time of the 90's timelessness and the beginning of the 2000's. For example, it is known that when building the Yuri Dolgoruky, Alexander Nevsky and Vladimir Monomakh, hull structures from unfinished boats such as Schuka-B and Antey were used, it can be assumed that some of the equipment was not that laid on the project. But in any case, one should expect that the boats of this type will be much more perfect than their predecessors, the 667BDRM Dolphin SSBN, and the subsequent Borei-A and Borei-B will fully reveal the potential of the project.
However, no matter how good the submarine is, by itself it is just a platform for the weapons placed on it. The 955 SSBNs received a fundamentally new weapon for our fleet, solid-propellant ballistic missiles R-30 "Mace". Before the Boreev, all the SSBNs of the USSR were carried by liquid-fuel-fired rockets.
In fact, it is impossible to talk about a global advantage of solid-propellant missiles over "liquid-fuel" ones. It would be more correct to say that both of them have their own advantages and disadvantages. For example, liquid-propellant rockets have a large impulse and allow you to provide a longer range or throw weight. But at the same time, a number of advantages of solid-propellant rockets make them preferable for placing on submarines.
Firstly, solid-propellant rockets have smaller dimensions than liquid ones, and this is certainly very important for a submarine ship. Secondly, rockets with solid fuel are significantly safer during storage. Liquid rocket fuel is extremely toxic, and in case of physical damage to the hull of the rocket threatens the crew of the submarine. No matter how sad it is, anything happens at sea, including collisions of ships and vessels, so it is impossible to guarantee the absence of such damage. Thirdly, the acceleration section of a solid-fuel rocket is smaller than that of a liquid rocket, and this makes it difficult to defeat a flying ballistic missile - it is difficult to imagine, of course, that the American destroyer will be in the launch area of our ICBMs, but ... And finally, fourth, that solid-propellant rockets are launched from SSBNs by the so-called “dry start”, when the powder gases simply throw the ICBMs to the surface, and the rocket engines are already activated. At the same time, liquid rockets, due to the lower strength of the structure, cannot be launched in this way, they are provided with a “wet start”, when the mine of the rocket is filled with sea water and only then is the launch started. The problem is that filling the rocket mines with water is accompanied by strong noise, respectively, SSBNs with liquid-propellant rockets unmask themselves directly in front of the volley, which, of course, should be avoided by all means.
Therefore, the strategic idea of switching to solid-fuel missiles for our fleet should be considered correct. The only question is how successful such a transition has been in practice.
The Bulava missiles have probably become the most criticized weapon system in the entire post-Soviet period. By and large, there were two main complaints against them, but what about them!
1. The Bulava missiles in their performance characteristics are much inferior to the Trident II ballistic missile in service with the US Navy.
2. The Bulava missile has extremely low technical reliability.
On the first point, I would like to note that the characteristics of the “Bulava” are still classified to this day, and the data that are from open sources may not be accurate. For example, for quite a long time it was assumed that the maximum range of the Bulava does not exceed 8 000 km, and this was a reason for criticism, because the Trident II D5 flew on 11 300 km. But then, in the course of the regular tests, the Bulava slightly refuted open sources, hitting targets more than 9 000 km from the launch point. At the same time, according to some data, the Trident II D5 has a range over 11 thousand km. only in the “minimum configuration”, and, for example, the load in 8 warheads can deliver no further 7 800 km. And we must not forget that the American rocket has far more weight - 59,1 t against 36,8 t "Bulava".
Comparing the Bulava and the Trident family missiles, we must not forget that Americans have been developing solid-fuel missiles for submarines for a very long time, but for us this is a relatively new matter. It would be strange to expect to immediately create something “which has no analogues in the world” and “superior opponents in all respects”. It is more than likely that the Trident II D5 is indeed inferior in terms of the number of parameters of the Mace. But any weapon should be evaluated not from the position of “the best in the world or completely useless”, but by the ability to accomplish the task for which it was created. The tactical and technical characteristics of the P-30 "Bulava" allow it to ensure the defeat of many targets in the United States, and the latest missile defense technology, including maneuvering warheads, make them extremely difficult for American antimissiles.
As for the technical reliability of the Bulava, it became the subject of wide public discussion as a result of a number of unsuccessful rocket launches.
The first two launches went smoothly (the very first “throwing” launch of the weight-dimensional layout is not taken into account), but after that three launches in a row in 2006 g were unsuccessful. The developers took a short timeout, after which one launch in 2007 and two launches in 2008 were successful. Everyone who was interested breathed a sigh of relief when suddenly the ninth (end of 2008) tenth and eleventh launches (2009) turned out to be abnormal.
And then it was the tsunami of criticism of the project. And, it should be noted, all the reasons for this were: out of eleven launches, six were emergency! Since then, the P-30 "Mace" in the public consciousness forever stuck the label "rocket, not flying against the wind."
But it should be understood that the tests of the Bulava did not end there. After the last series of failures, 16 launches were also carried out, only one of which was unsuccessful. Thus, 27 launches were made in total, of which 7 turned out to be unsuccessful, or almost 26%. Bulava launch statistics are even better than missile tests for our “supergiants”, the 941 “Shark” submarine cruisers. Of the first 17 rocket launches of the P-39, more than half failed (according to some sources, 9), but only two of the following 13 launches were unsuccessful. Thus, from 30 start-ups, 11 was unsuccessful, or almost 37%.
But with all this, the P-39 rocket subsequently became a reliable weapon, which was confirmed in 1998 g, when our Typhoon SSBN in a single salvo fired full ammunition - all X-NUMX P-20 missiles. The launch took place regularly, despite the fact that, according to the author, missiles with an expired shelf life were used.
It must be said that the results of the Bulava tests are not too different from those of the American Trident II D5. Of the 28 launches of the American rocket, one was recognized as “non-test”, four were emergency, one was partially successful. In total, it turns out, at least five starts were unsuccessful. Our P-30 ratio is slightly worse, but given the conditions in which the enterprises — the creators of the Bulava after the “wild 90's” and the meager funding of the state defense order before the HPO 2011-2020 — worked, one could hardly have expected more .
Based on the foregoing, it can be assumed that the Bulava nevertheless has become a formidable and reliable weapon, in line with its carriers - the 955 Borey SSBN.
In general, it should be stated that the Russian Federation was completely successful in the planned replacement of submarine missile carriers with ships of the new generation. Three SSBNs of the 955 project are already in service, and the completion of the construction of five ships laid down on the 955A project is expected in the period from 2018 to 2020. And even if we assume that these dates will in fact be greatly shifted to the right, say, to 2025, then there is still no doubt that the eight newest ships will be commissioned long before the last boats of the 667BDRM “Dolphin” project have left the current fleet. And if we assume that the remaining 2 of the ship (probably already on the project 955B) will be laid before 2020, then all ten.
If the same could be said about other ships of the Russian Navy! ..
According to the materials of the open print
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