Commander Barton was right about the capabilities of his ship. He was able to shoot down missiles released by packs and undermine the Soviet submarines at depth. But with fire contact with an American plane, the life expectancy of a LEAHY class cruiser did not exceed one minute.
In 04: 00, two explosions flashed in the sky, responding with a chain of flashes along the mast and the superstructure: the broken cables laid out in open places were short-circuited. An instant later, the safety protection worked, and the Warden plunged into darkness. The wounded and one killed remained lying inside the shattered bridge and the combat information center.
Who shot? Who hit?
In the morning, collecting the wreckage, the sailors were surprised to find fragments of anti-radar missiles of American production. Interspersed with aluminum fragments of its own superstructure, crushed by the force of the explosion.
Results of the investigation: both missiles were fired by a ground attack aircraft, mistakenly mistaken for the radiation of the Warden radar for the North Vietnamese radar. The exact name of the perpetrator of the incident could not be established.
At dawn, the crew of the cruiser managed to restore power supply and control of the ship. Weapon still inactive: “Warden” lost most of the radar. The Shrike's shards pierced the upper deck and entered the ASROK anti-submarine missile cellar. It is still unknown if there were special W44 ammunition with 10 kiloton capacity in it. Commander Barton believed that the combat functionality of the ship had decreased by 60%.
The damaged cruiser went to the ersatz-repair in Subic Bey (a naval base in the Philippines), where repair crews patched holes, repaired cable line breaks and put the equipment in combat posts in order. The Parsons destroyer “shared” the SPS-48 surveillance radar antenna with the cruiser.
After 10 days, “Warden” returned to the position in the Gulf of Tonkin.
New technical task
The first experiments with the restructuring of artillery cruisers into rocket ships demonstrated the exceptional compactness of the new weapons. With all the archaic electronics and rocket weapons 1950-60. rocket complexes had a smaller mass, occupied a smaller volume and required less effort to maintain them. Compared with the artillery weapons, under which these ships were originally designed.
New weapons removed the requirements for high speed. Dramatically reduced the parameters and sizes of power plants.
In the era of self-guided missiles capable of hitting a target at a distance of tens of kilometers from the first volley, the speed of the ship was no longer critical, as was the case in artillery duels. Games with speed were expensive: for example, while reducing the required maximum speed from 38 to 30 nodes, the required power of the GEM was halved!
At the same time, the need for any constructive protection disappeared. The main reason, in my opinion, was a sharp increase in reactive capabilities. aviation: a single Phantom could drop as many large-caliber bombs as a whole group of WWII dive bombers. Covering them with the entire cruiser, from tank to stern.
What seemed to make senseless attempts to eliminate the consequences of hits. In the event of a breakthrough to the target, the plane in two accounts will burn and sink the ship. Especially given the high vulnerability of antenna devices.
However, the planes would have broken anyway, given the general primitiveness of the air defense system of that time. So, during the demonstration shooting in 1962, in the presence of Kennedy, the cruiser “Long Beach” failed three times to get into the target aircraft. What then is the general sense to build a cruiser, if he is guaranteed to die in the first minutes of the battle? This question was left out of the discussion.
Returning to the trend to the limit to facilitate new ships: in addition to jet bombers, there was a fear of "sizzling" nuclear fire. Despite the results of the Bikini explosions, which showed low effectiveness of nuclear weapons against ships, the overall assessment of the fighting was reduced to a third world war. In which the survivors envy the dead.
The end result: the nuclear-missile era lowered the design requirements. Speed, security, bulky weapons and crews of thousands of people - everything is in the past.
The first series of missile cruisers, designed in the conditions of the new time, differed unexpectedly small size, lightweight superstructure of aluminum alloys and the rate of rocket weapons.
When creating the RNR of the 58 (Grozny) project, the Soviet shipbuilders took as their basis the hull ... destroyer of the 56 ave. (“Calm”) with a total displacement of 5570 tons. Nowadays, ships of this size belong to the class of frigates.
Unlike the Russian RKR project, which combined the Volna air defense system with powerful offensive weapons (two 4-container launchers for anti-ship missiles P-35), the Americans built a purely escort Lehi to cover aircraft-carrier formations.
The main weapon was chosen medium-range air defense system "Terrier". The cruiser received two launchers with four radars for target illumination, which (in theory) made it possible to repel attacks from two directions simultaneously.
To combat the submarines, another innovative tool was provided - rocket-torpeda ASROK.
In accordance with the emerging trend, the first missile cruisers lost their artillery. The only reminder of the “smoke of sea battles” was a pair of paired 76 mm caliber anti-aircraft guns, the combat value of which was doubtful: insufficient rate of fire as an air defense system, insignificant power against surface and coastal targets. Subsequently, the Americans completely abandoned the artillery, replacing the useless three-inch containers with the RCC "Harpoon".
American cruisers turned out to be somewhat larger than the Soviet first-borns of the rocket era: the full displacement of the Lega was due to increased demands for autonomy (8000 miles on the operational course of the 20 nodes). Otherwise, it was the same “tin” with a full displacement of 7800 tons, the crew of 450 people and a boiler-turbine installation on fuel oil with a capacity of 85 ths. Hp
For sailors who began service on board the TKR of the war years, the seaworthiness of the missile cruiser seemed simply magnificent: the “tin” easily climbed the wave. Unlike heavy artillery ships, which were forced to cut the shaft with shafts, forming avalanches of water spray. That led to difficulties in the work of weapons in the bow of the ship.
Total for the project “Legs” in the period 1959-64. It was built 9 serial cruisers and one experimental, distinguished nuclear power plant.
Atomic modification Legey - the cruiser "Bainbridge"
The admirals themselves were embarrassed to call these “tins” cruisers, so before 1975, they were classified as “destroyers leaders with missile weapons” (DLG).
The developers of the technical specifications for the Lehi-class cruiser can be congratulated in absentia on the construction of useless ships that could not hold out for a minute under the return fire. Unable to perform any “dirty work” associated with fire support, the fight against sea and coastal targets.
At the same time, the “umbrellas” for ship connections are absolutely useless in their main incarnation.
Now, looking back at 60 for years, you can see: the Soviet RKR series of the 58 pr. At least had a realistic concept of application. Nobody forced cruisers to beat off attacks of aviation for hours, still managing to cover other ships. The task of our RRC was to shoot their ammunition anti-ship missiles and repeat the fate of the "Varyag". Mounted onboard the air defense missile system was an aid, giving (in case of success) extra minutes to launch anti-ship missiles and cause additional damage to the enemy (“thin out” the attacking air group).
The rest of the Soviet scope of “innovation” was not inferior to the American one — the cruiser “Grozny” represented a “one-time” ship, on which it was not planned to continue the battle after meeting the very first shard. Superstructures entirely of aluminum-magnesium alloys, finishing rooms with the use of synthetic materials, open launchers and torpedo tubes on the upper deck.
And the point is not that on a ship that grew out of a destroyer, with a displacement of 5500 tons, with so many weapons, there could be no load reserves to increase security and survivability. The question is - why was it at all to base the destroyer hull?
The attack using the PRR on the cruiser “Warden” once again showed that the concept of a modern “high-tech” ship created as a naval air defense platform is deeply flawed. Ship to fight aviation, which will be destroyed by aircraft in a matter of minutes. Such a scenario makes senseless the very construction of large surface ships.
The Yankees were very lucky that none of their opponents had any decent means and / or political will to organize an attack on an aircraft carrier group. Otherwise, the Lega escort cruisers would have shown even more "impressive" results.
A remarkable case with “Worden”, about which colleague Sergey recalled in a recent topic (Serg65), lies in the same plane with Sheffield, burnt from unexploded PKR, and other lesser-known incidents, in which not the smallest and powerful enough for their time, expensive ships immediately failed in an air attack. Sometimes not even having time to notice the enemy.
In the case described, 16 April 1972, two AGM-45 “Shrike” missiles, equipped with an 66 kg warhead. The explosion thundered at a height of 30 meters above the ship (according to other data, 30 feet) and led to dire consequences.
Death is just the beginning
In fact, the disastrous scenario of the cruiser “Warden” has a very distant relation to the modern the fleet. The severity of the situation in which the “Warden” was, was due to the following circumstances:
1. The absence of any other weapons on board, except for archaic air defense missile systems with the method of "along the beam." The ASROK launcher also, unfortunately for the Yankees, was damaged (because it had protection only against water splashes).
Therefore, it is not surprising that after the loss of part of the radar and ASROCA, the cruiser functionality decreased by 60%. Actually useless trough.
Modern destroyers have an order of magnitude wider range of weapons, which, in principle, do not require any radar. All cruise missiles (ASM, “Calibres”, “Tomahawks”) have a horizon distance of flight and use external means of targeting. Often, flight missions are loaded into the “brains” of the CD long before the ship arrives in the launch area.
With the development of technology, there was even the possibility of firing anti-aircraft missiles with ARLGSN according to data from other ships and DRLO aircraft.
Therefore, a destroyer with damaged radar is only the beginning of a battle. It will be a threat until it is completely burned. And this is a completely different problem ...
2. The general cumbersomeness of the old radars and their unfortunate location on the cruiser 1960's, which fluttered in the wind, like the sails of caravels.
Modern ships use much more compact radar, consisting of several antenna arrays. Which is impossible to “knock out” with one explosion. And modern microcircuits are extremely resistant to strong vibrations, compared with hundreds of radio tubes of the TERER air defense system.
Finally, the antennas of communication systems on the most modern ships are made retractable, which also makes it impossible for them to fail at the same time. Not to mention the 21 century technologies and pocket-sized satellite phones.
3. Frankly dubious decisions of designers "Legey", which brought the idea of "one-time ship" to the point of absurdity. From the cable routes laid in the open on the roof, to the classic AMG alloy. It is surprising that the 2 / 3 trapped inside the “Worden” fragments belonged to the ship itself.
More modern projects are already deprived of that levity peculiar to designers of the middle of the last century. Steel, only steel. An increasing number of internal armored bulkheads. Some attempts are being made to protect the ammunition - one of the most expensive and dangerous elements on board the ship. UVP lids have anti-fragmentation booking - shrapnel should not penetrate inside, as happened on the “Warden”.
How effective are such measures? Once in the situation of “Worden”, the modern “Burke” would be able to maintain the lion's share of combat capability. In all other situations, according to the apt expression of one of the readers, sailors still go into battle under the protection of a layer of paint.
Despite the playful name, the "tin cans", like any other ships, were monstrously large compared to all things we were used to.
Returning to decades in the past, we saw that the developers of the TZ on rocket ships 60-s. literally made mistakes in everything. Even in assessments of the survivability of ships, which, only by virtue of their size, can withstand SUCH, which sometimes seems like martial fiction.
30 August 1974 in the Sevastopol region tragically killed the BOD “Brave”. In the burning stern cellar were 15 anti-aircraft missiles. The first stage of each SAM had a solid propellant PRD-36 jet engine equipped with 14 cylindrical powder checkers with a total weight of 280 kg. The engine of the second stage was filled with a powder saber weighing 125 kg. The warhead of the missile is a high-explosive fragmentation weighing 60 kg, of which 32 kg is an alloy of trotyl with hexogen. Total: on board the 4500-ton ship, which had deck deck 4 mm thick and built in the best traditions of “disposable weapons”, detonated six tons of gunpowder and almost half a ton of highly blasting explosives.
According to the majority, the internal explosions of such power should not have left a trace from the ship. But “Brave” stayed afloat for another five hours.