So, the pride of the domestic nuclear submarine fleet - SSGN project 885 "Ash". History This ship began in 1977, when it was decided in the USSR to start work on the next, 4 generation of non-strategic nuclear submarines. The assignment was given to all three Soviet design bureaus engaged in atomicarines, while Rubin worked on the specialized aircraft carrier killer, continuing the traditions of the SSGN of the 949A (Antey) project, and Lazurit on the ship, whose specialization was to be the anti-submarine warfare, and "Malachite" - above the multipurpose submarine. In the future, it was decided to abandon the specialization and create a universal submarine. Work on it concentrated in the "Malachite."
It can be assumed that this was the right decision, since it was Malakhit that became the developer of the most successful and accomplished MAPL of the USSR “Schuka” and “Schuka-B”. Usually they write that the design work on the 4 generation boats has been somewhat delayed, but this is probably not the case. After all, the start of work on them almost coincided with the beginning of the design of the Pike-B - in other words, our designers were able not only to translate their ideas into the most popular series of 3-generation boats, but also to check how they work (the main “Pike B ”was commissioned in 1984 d). And to design a new generation taking into account the operating experience of the most advanced boats of the previous generation. Domestic shipbuilders had to solve an even more difficult task than the Americans to create their “Sivulf”, because the latter had a fairly clear anti-submarine orientation, but was never designed as an “aircraft carrier killer”, and the Soviet submarine had to be able to do that.
Works were completed in the early nineties. 21 December 1993 in a solemn ceremony laid the first boat of the 885 project - the Severodvinsk. What happened next ...
Approximately in 3 year after the start of construction, in 1996, the work on the boat completely stopped. At the beginning of the two thousandth, they were supposed to resume, but it turned out that for almost ten years already, which the ship had spent on the stocks, the project was to some extent outdated, and no one could already produce some of the equipment due to the collapse of the USSR cooperative chain near abroad, and in his native homeland. As a result, the project was reworked, work at Severodvinsk was resumed in 2004, but only in 2011, Severodvinsk went to sea for factory testing and in 2014, the Russian Navy entered service.
What ship got the fleet? A number of publications indicate that Severodvinsk did not meet the expectations placed on it in terms of low noise and some other characteristics. Interestingly, V. Dorofeev, General Director of the St. Petersburg Marine Bureau of Mechanical Engineering "Malachite", not only did not refute the shortcomings of Severodvinsk, but, in fact, acknowledged the existence of problems:
"Rumors about the failures of" Ash "let them remain rumors. “Malachite” as the creator of such a complex modern ship as a multi-purpose nuclear submarine certainly knows all its “childhood diseases” and “sores”. Those design solutions that require improvement will be implemented during the construction of a series of ships. This is normal practice. ”
Oddly enough, all this does not give grounds to consider the 885 project unsuccessful. The fact is that “Severodvinsk” by definition could not make the designers' dreams come true: it was built, as they say, “on the last gasp”: with might and main, backlogs were used from other unfinished submarines for both metal and equipment. And it would be okay if this concerned any internal bulkheads or buttons on the consoles, but Severdovinsk didn’t even get its power plant design! Instead of the newest water-water steam generating plant KTP-6-85 with KTP-6-185SP reactor (sometimes erroneous name of the PMC is sometimes encountered), “Severodvinsk” received only OK-650В with the previous generation VM-11 reactor.
What does this mean in terms of the same low noise? The newest installation implied the installation of the reactor and its primary cooling circuit in a single package, while large pipelines were removed from the design of the steam generating plant, their width was reduced from 675 to 40 mm. This was to facilitate the natural circulation so much that there was no need for constant operation of the circulation pumps, and in fact they are one of the main sources of the noise of a nuclear submarine. But, unfortunately, instead, “Severodvinsk” received a power plant similar to the boats of the previous, third generation, and, of course, this could not but affect its noise performance.
Is it worth making tragedy out of it? According to the author of this article, no, and here's why: already on the boats “Vepr” and “Cheetah” (“Akula II” and “Akula III”, according to NATO terminology), noise levels comparable to those of American 4 submarines were achieved. generation, and “Severodvinsk”, with all its “inborn” deficiencies, was a great step forward even in comparison with the latest and best representatives of the 971 “Pike-B” project. That is, the failure to achieve the design characteristics does not make the Severodvinsk a failed or vulnerable ship for the US submarines. He is worse than he could be, but this does not mean that he is bad.
The drawbacks of Severodvinsk stem from poor-quality construction, which refers to the use of various “substitutes”, and from some obsolescence of the project itself. Nevertheless, Severodvinsk was laid out in 1993 g, and although his project was finalized at the beginning of 2000's, many years have passed since then, and in any case, improvements were probably of a compromise nature, since it was a question of redesigning an already partially built ship .
As far as can be judged, all these shortcomings are corrected on further series of boats: the Kazan following the Severodvinsk and other ships are built according to the improved 885 project. More modern equipment is installed on these boats, moreover, its entire nomenclature is produced in the Russian Federation, so there will be no more problems with supplies from neighboring countries. And there is also no doubt that the submarines of the 885 project will truly unleash the potential inherent in the 885 project. What are the key differences of the "Ash" from the previous generation 3 boats?
We have already said above about the new low-noise power installation, but the list of improvements aimed at reducing the noise of the Ash trees is much higher. All the most "noisy" nodes are equipped with an active noise suppression system. Shock absorbers, vibration damping, and noise associated with it were used before, on the same "Pike-B", but now they have received a different design and have become much more efficient. In addition, in the manufacture of a number of structures, composite materials with damping properties are widely used, which made it possible to reduce noise in a number of ranges to 10-30 decibels. What does this mean? For example, the 30 decibel is the sound of a human whisper or the ticking of a wall clock.
What else? The boat has a one-and-a-half structure, which reduces the noise relative to the two-body. Of course, the body has a more perfect geometry and carries an improved coverage.
Some time ago, “Severodvinsk” “on the Internet” received a series of attacks for the lack of a propulsion unit. The argument of the "attackers" is clear, simple and logical. Americans in their ultra-quiet "Seawulf" and the subsequent "Virginia" use jet propulsion, the same we see in the British "Astyuta". And, since we do not have it and instead of “advanced” technologies, we use “primitive” screws, this means that we are again lagging behind and that the noise level of the American submarines is unattainable for us.
But how correct are such logical concepts? The author of this article, unfortunately, is not a shipbuilding engineer and can only guess at this point, but the guesses are very interesting.
The first. There is an opinion that everything with a jet propulsion unit is not as unambiguous as it seems at first glance, and that it has less noise in only a very limited range of speeds and depths, while its efficiency is lower and perhaps there are still some that are not obvious to a layman. limitations.
The second. The water jet was well known in the USSR: the 17 of May 1988 was laid by the “Alrosa” - a diesel submarine of the project 877В, which is a modification of the “Halibut” with the replacement of the propeller with a water cannon. “Alrosa” is called the quietest boat of the 877 project, but neither the subsequent 636 diesel-electric submarines of the Varshavyanka project nor the more modern Lada propulsion units received. If the water jet is so good, why didn't it happen?
Third. A new jet propulsion unit is installed on the newest SSBNs “Borey”, but not on the Yasen. Of course, you can remember that the first Borey was laid in 1996, while Severodvinsk was built in 1993 and assume that at the moment of laying the first ship of the 885 project the propulsion unit did not exist. But the fact is that the power plants of the 955 and 885 projects are very similar, in fact, the same OK-650V stands on Severodvinsk as on Borey, and even a slightly more powerful reactor is installed on the upgraded 885M. And if the only reason for the rejection of the jet propulsion on the "Ash" is the unavailability of such at the time of the laying down of Severodvinsk, then who prevented the redesign of the "Kazan", laid down in 2009 under the water cannon? However, this was not done.
"Kazan". Although the screw is hidden, we see that it is a screw, not a water cannon.
All this testifies to the fact that the abandonment of water cannons on the boats of the Yasen project is not a forced, but quite conscious decision, dictated by any advantages of the propeller for the multi-purpose submarine. Of course, it can be recalled that the boats of the 955 and 885 projects developed various design bureaus and suggest some secrecy, saying that "the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing." But if the jet propulsion really would have only advantages, then why the Defense Ministry of the Russian Federation, understanding its capabilities, did not insist on the use of water cannons on the modernized Yaseny? This is both unwise and not logical. However, one should always remember that in the native Fatherland far from all processes proceed rationally and logically.
Nevertheless, by virtue of the above, we cannot unequivocally assert that the jet propulsion unit is good and the screw propulsion unit is bad and state that we have no reason to consider the 885 and 885M ships to be somewhat flawed in terms of low noise compared to American 4-th generation submarines. Moreover, the Americans themselves are in no hurry to brag about the superiority of their submarines over Severodvinsk.
The 885 project received a fundamentally new SJSC Irtysh-Amphora, created on the basis of a hydroacoustic complex for hydroacoustic patrol boats developed under the Afalina project, as well as a number of auxiliary hydroacoustic stations. According to some data, the capabilities of the SJSC “Ash” are quite comparable with those of the American “Virginia”. Of course, submarines of this type are equipped with the latest BIUS and communication complexes, including - (sound?) Underwater: according to some data, "Ash" is capable of transmitting data under water over a distance of more than 100 km.
The 885 project is universal, including the ability to perform the functions of "aircraft carrier killers", for which it has vertical launchers on the 32 of the Caliber or Onyx missiles. At the same time, “Ash” is significantly less than the SSGN of the 949 “Antey” project - 8 600 and surface displacement versus 14 and 700 tons, which also gives the ship certain advantages.
In general, the 885 project ships should be recognized as extremely successful atomars in almost all parameters, with the exception of one — the cost. The total value of the contract for the construction of 6 boats of the 885 project is usually estimated over 200 billion rubles. - 47 billion rubles. for the first "Kazan" and 32,8 billion rubles. for each subsequent boat, but these figures raise certain doubts.
The fact is that back in 2011, Kommersant wrote that after the intervention of V. V. Putin in Severomorsk, a contract was signed for the construction of Kazan with a value of 47 billion rubles. and a contract for the construction of 4 boats for the 885М project in the amount of 164 billion rubles. From the text of the note, unfortunately, it is not clear whether the construction of the head Kazan was included in the contract for the 4 boat of the 885М project, depending on this, the cost of the production boat is defined as 39-41 billion rubles. But these prices are still in those pre-crisis rubles, and it is clear that after the year 2014 they have increased quite sharply. Considering the fact that at the time of Kommersant’s publication, the dollar was worth about 31 rubles, the cost of the head Kazan could be estimated at 1,51 billion dollars, and the serial boats of the 885 project - at 1,25-1,32 billion dollars. Today, at a price dollars in 57,7 rub. we can assume that the serial "Ash M", if you lay it in 2017 g, will cost the country, if not in 72,6-76,3 billion rubles, then very close to this.
Of course, skeptics will point out that you should not recalculate the cost of MIC products in dollars at the current rate and in some ways they will be right - military pricing is a rather specific thing. But it is worth considering that, for example, prices in rubles for the “post-crisis” supply of Su-35 under the second contract (2015 g) turned out to be one and a half times higher than the first 48 machines (100 billion against 66 billion), even though that the first contract provided for the payment of not only the aircraft, but also some work on the final design of the machine. But having applied the same coefficient “one and a half”, we will already get the cost of the serial “Ash-tree M” at the level of 60 billion rubles. As of 2015 g, well, now it is naturally even higher.
It should be understood that the increase in the cost applies not only to the newly laid submarines “Arkhangelsk”, “Perm” and “Ulyanovsk”, which were laid in 2015-2017, but also for those ships that are currently being completed. It is clear that those works that were performed before the crisis were paid at the rate of contract prices. But the cost of supplies and work that remains to be done is adjusted to the corresponding inflation rates, and these, although they usually do not reflect the true rise in prices, are still very high.
In other words, we can safely say that after 2014, the RF Ministry of Defense faced an explosive increase in prices for nuclear submarines - both those under construction and those that were yet to be mortgaged, but less than planned was allocated for the state armaments program. All this calls into question even the timely completion of the ships already laid, and it hardly makes it possible to dream of laying new hulls during the 2018-2025 period: especially considering that the Russian Federation is going to implement an extremely ambitious (and costly) modernization program in this period. Atomic third generation, which we wrote in the previous article.
Strictly speaking, the words of the President of the United Shipbuilding Corporation A. Rakhmanov about the lack of funding for Prince Oleg Oleg, as a result of which the launch of the newest strategic missile carrier “left” to the right, serve as “excellent” confirmation of our sad conjecture.
It is hardly possible to deny that the completion of the pledged corps (and 5 SSBN of the Borey project and 955 SSGN of the 6М Yasen M project are in various stages of construction) during the extensive modernization of four Shchuk-B and the same number of 885 "Anteev" represent the ultimate task for both the domestic budget and industry, and with a high probability that the deadlines for the implementation of these programs will move to the "right".
In addition, we should not forget the financing of the development work on the development of the nuclear submarine of the 5 generation, known as the Husky project. What can we say about this submarine?
The fact is that today there is only a certain basic concept for this boat, which may be approved in the near future by the Russian Navy. And if it is approved, and does not return for revision, it will be the basis for developing the basic tactical and technical requirements for the future submarine. Then the designers, having received these requirements, will assess the key parameters of the mechanisms and equipment of the new submarine, and will give inquiries to the development organizations of the corresponding units and instruments. Those conducting preliminary design work will assess the feasibility of the technical project, calculate the approximate parameters of future products and present the results of their work to the head developer. After that, he will try to make a draft design ... and find out that "the stone flower does not come out", after which he will begin to renegotiate the tactical and technical characteristics given to him with the representatives of the Navy, and then everything will start in a new way ... And only after the preliminary design will be made and approved, the time of the technical project will come, and then the working documentation. These are years, and years and years. We can only recall that the work on the 4 generation boats began in the 1977 year, and the Severodvinsk was laid only in 1993 g, i.e. later 16 years from the start of work!
On the other hand, it should be understood that the work on 5-generation boats did not begin today or yesterday, the first mentions of it appeared in the already distant 2013. Nevertheless, it will be a great optimism to believe that we can build a submarine of this type in the next five years - most likely it will be about the fact that within the boundaries of HPV 2018-2025 g we will lay the lead ship closer to 2025. It is not for nothing that the commander-in-chief of the Navy (today, already an ex-commander-in-chief) V. Chirkov spoke after 2030
So, today we can say absolutely nothing about what the new submarine will be like. But we can probably say what it will not be.
The fact is that, according to a number of sources, the Huskies will become a universal atomarina, capable of replacing both the multi-purpose Ash Trees and the strategic Boreas. This is an obvious journalistic mistake that has arisen from a misunderstanding of the words of the head of the USC, A. Rakhmanov:
"This will be a boat that will be unified - strategic and multi-purpose for a number of its key elements."
From here, apparently, the conjecture that the submarine of the same project will become both the SSBN and the SSGNC, just need to decide when building what kind of missile compartment “embed” into it - with cruise missiles, or with intercontinental ballistic missiles. However, it is obvious that nothing of the kind follows from the phrase of A. Rakhmanov. And the general director of the St. Petersburg Marine Bureau of Mechanical Engineering "Malachite" in his interview directly denied this view:
“Modern strategic and multi-purpose nuclear submarines have much in common with electronic weapons systems, communications, identical mechanical elements. The seriality and universalization of the systems facilitates both the training of personnel and the operation of ships. But, on the other hand, there are objective indicators that will not allow us to take a multi-purpose submarine and place ballistic missiles on it. A multipurpose ship implies a higher maneuverability than the strategist, lower noise at high speeds. Today there are powerful arguments that cast doubt on the possibility of the absolute universalization of submarines by type weapons».
Thus, Russian designers are tasked with maximizing the unification of strategic and multi-purpose submarines, and this approach will certainly save considerable funds at the R & D stage, since the need to develop units of the same purpose for each type of boat will be lost. Yes, and the production of the same type of units will reduce their cost due to the effect of scale, and the fleet will be much easier to service the reduced range of equipment. Incidentally, A. Rakhmanov also spoke of this.
“The USC is faced with the task of achieving maximum unification in order to“ get the best price offer for the Ministry of Defense. ”
So, the Huskies will have to become a multipurpose submarine, although, of course, it is very good that when developing it, the possibility of unification with the future SSBN is initially taken into account.
* * *
And here comes another article in the cycle. “And what’s sad about it?” Another reader will ask. “The Russian Navy will be replenished with the latest and most up-to-date submarines, so you need to rejoice! And that they are not as many as we would like, we don’t have to catch up with America ... After all, if a serious conflict happens, the question will not be in the number of submarines, because the strategic nuclear shield will go! ”
That may be so, but one should never forget that the Soviet, and now the Russian navy, is itself part of the nuclear triad. Let's count a little.
Currently, the existing fleet (that is, on the move, and not under repair, in reserve or sludge) are 11 SSBNs. In the Northern Fleet, the firstborn of the 955 “Yuri Dolgoruky” project, as well as the 5 boats of the 667BDRM “Dolphin” project, are keeping watch. In the Far East, three old SSBNs of the 667BDR Kalmar project: Podolsk, Ryazan, and St. George the Victorious, as well as two newest Boreas: Alexander Nevsky and Vladimir Monomakh .
At each of our SSBNs, 16 of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) is located, and in total, it turns out, 176 ICBMs. Considering 4 warheads for each rocket, we get 704 warheads. According to the START-3 agreement, the Russian Federation (as well as the USA) has the right to keep 1 550 combat units deployed. It is easy to calculate that the number deployed on submarines is 45,4%. Almost half of our strategic nuclear forces!
In the series of articles "Russia against NATO" we have already dealt with the sufficiency of our nuclear missile shield and came to the conclusion that for the immediate total destruction of the same US, a thousand and a half warheads will not be enough. Accordingly, we cannot afford to lose deployed warheads — our SSBNs must be reliably protected. The USSR resolved this problem by ensuring naval supremacy in the Sea of Okhotsk and the northern seas adjacent to the USSR, where the SSBNs were to be deployed. In order to break into these Soviet "bastions" the Americans developed the submarines of the 4 generation capable of operating independently in the zones of domination of the Soviet Navy.
Alas, the "Bastions" of the Soviet Union are long gone. Admiral Vladimir Komoyedov, in the past - the commander of the Black Sea Fleet, tells about how the search for submarines is being conducted today of a potential enemy:
“Imagine that you are sitting at the table. The table is a patrol area. And anti-submarine aircraft methodically scatter buoys on it. In the area may be enemy boats, and may not be. But you need to check. This patrol involves not only airplanes, but also surface forces of the ship's search and strike group, helicopters with sonars and even satellites. We have machines capable of viewing the water column to a certain depth from orbit. Thus, underwater threat opposes dissimilar forces, but under a single command. The grouping commander has his headquarters, which "conducts" searches on the map. He has a connection with ships and aircraft. Patrols take place regularly. We call this work the maintenance of a favorable operational regime in the fleet areas of responsibility. ”
It is clear that the speed of verification directly depends on the order of forces that the fleet is able to allocate for this, but where are these forces today? And sea aviation, and the surface forces of the fleet have not been in good shape for a long time, their number has decreased many times since the times of the USSR, but the threats to our SSBNs have probably only grown - as of 2017, the U.S. Navy has 18 4th-generation multipurpose nuclear submarines.
During World War II, Admiral Andrew Brown Cunningham, whom the British considered “second after Nelson,” noted that: “the correct way to fight air is in the air” (it was meant that the fleet should have fighters to protect it from bombers) absolutely right. Today V. Komoyedov says:
“Still, the main task of anti-submarine aviation is to detect the target and let others know about it. HWho will not cope with the submarine better than another submarine. This is understood in the United States. ”
During the Second World War, submarines could lead an anti-submarine warfare unless by chance the enemy was substituted. But modern atomarins are so formidable and dangerous enemy that only other such “gladiators of the depths” can fight with them really effectively. At present, multi-purpose submarines are the most important element of anti-submarine defense, which neither surface ships nor aircraft can replace. Of course, no need to rush from one extreme to another and declare PLO surface and air forces obsolete, that would be a monstrous mistake. But hope that they will replace the submarine can not.
Well ... Well, God forbid, of course - it began. The Pacific Fleet takes its SSBNs to the Sea of Okhotsk to hide there, awaiting orders for Armageddon. Aviation is raised in the air, satellites are working, a few corvettes leave the moorings, and we detect enemy submarines. And then what?
To cover the FIVE strategic missile submarine submarines and counter enemy submarines, the Pacific Fleet today has an 1 (in words - ONE) a multi-purpose nuclear submarine. We are talking about the "Kuzbass", the ship type "Shchuka-B". And, frankly, our "Improved Shark" "Virginia" is no match.
And more than the Pacific Fleet has nothing. Of course, if you are really supportive, you can try to use Antei as anti-submarine SSGMs like the 949A ... but, firstly, we have as many as two of them in the Pacific Fleet, which in no way solves the problem, and secondly, will not be as effective in anti-submarine quality as the "Pike-B". But after all, against "Sivulf" and "Virginia" and "pike" opportunities are already far from enough.
In the Northern Fleet, things are a little better - there we can have “Severodvinsk”, 3 MAPL of the “Pike-B” type, 1 MAPL of the “Pike” type (671РТМ (К)) and a pair of “Condor” can fight ASW to cover SIX RPSX we can use the whole Seven multipurpose atarin! And a couple of "Anteyev" is in reserve. It seems to be not so bad, if you just forget that of the seven ships mentioned, on an equal footing with the "Virginia" only "Severodvinsk" and, probably, the "Cheetah" can fight. And by the way, why do we consider only the "Virginia"? After all, there are also British Astyuts ...
The problem is not that our submarines are smaller than those of a likely adversary. The problem is that, having concentrated almost half of the deployed strategic nuclear potential on submarine rocket carriers, we cannot reliably cover the areas of their deployment — for this we categorically lack nuclear submarine hunters. And, no matter how good the six atomizers of the 885 project are, they will not fundamentally improve the situation, which means that in the next ten to fifteen years our SSBNs will have to rely mainly on themselves.
But maybe the non-nuclear submarines can somehow fix the situation?
To be continued ...
Previous articles of the cycle:
Russian Navy. A sad look to the future (part of 2)
Russian Navy. Sad look into the future