Military Review

The present and future of Russian anti-submarine aircraft

Important element aviation naval fleet are anti-submarine patrol aircraft. Different types of vehicles carrying special search equipment and weapons must patrol, search for enemy submarines and, if necessary, attack them. The existing group of anti-submarine aircraft as part of Russian naval aviation no longer fully meets the requirements, and therefore, the existing equipment is being modernized. In addition, the aviation industry is creating new designs.

According to known data, at present the Russian Navy has several subdivisions in service of which anti-submarine aircraft of a number of types are made up. Thus, the directory The Military Balance from the organization International Institute for Strategic Studies over the past year indicates the existence of three squadrons manned by IL-38. Two more squadrons are operating Tu-142 type vehicles. Also, one of the divisions continues to operate several anti-submarine amphibious aircraft model Be-12.

Upgraded IL-38H at the Naval Aviation Air Base

The same handbook gave the following data on the number of Russian anti-submarine aircraft. It was indicated that the X-NUMX of the Il-16 and the 38 aircraft of the modernized Il-6H served in the fleet. The number of aircraft of the Tu-38 family of various modifications was determined in 142 units. The presence of three Be-22 is also mentioned. In total, according to foreign estimates, at the beginning of last year, Russian anti-submarine aviation had less than fifty aircraft with special equipment and weapons. It should be noted that data from domestic sources indicate a greater number of aircraft - at least 12 units.

Novel about IL-38

According to other sources, the Russian fleet has a large number of IL-38 aircraft. Until recently, maritime aviation had about 50-55 of such machines in the base configuration. A significant part of these machines continues to serve, but a certain proportion of the aircraft has undergone modernization and now shows higher performance, and also has a higher potential in the context of solving combat missions.

It should be noted that the development of the IL-38 aircraft modernization project started back in the eighties of the last century. As part of the project with the cipher "Novella", some works were performed, but soon the new anti-submarine complex was left without a future. Due to economic problems, the Russian fleet could not order the construction of new aircraft or the modernization of existing equipment for a promising project.

However, another customer was soon found. The modernization of the IL-38 interested in the Indian Navy. A contract was signed, according to which six Indian aircraft were upgraded to the IL-38SD version (Sea Dragon - the name of the updated on-board equipment).

Only at the end of the two thousandths did the Russian military leadership become interested in the new modernization project for anti-submarine aircraft. The result was the appearance of an order for the serial modernization of existing aircraft to the state of IL-38H ("Novella"). By the year 2015, we were able to repair and upgrade the 5 of the existing machines, and the work continues. Upgraded aircraft are delivered annually.

Earlier it was claimed that in the framework of the existing order, by the end of the decade, naval aviation would have to receive 28 upgraded IL-38Н. In recent years, plans have been changed. Now it is assumed that there will be about 30 of existing aircraft, however, work on such an order will last until 2025 of the year. Anyway, in the foreseeable future a significant proportion of Il-38 in service will undergo repairs with the restoration of technical readiness, as well as receive new equipment.

The essence of the modernization of IL-38 aircraft under the project with the letter “H” consists in replacing the search and sighting system “Bercut-38” with the new system “Novela-P-38”. The structure of the latter includes only modern components, which leads to understandable results. According to the developers of the IL-38H project, the new search and sighting system allows four times to increase the performance of the aircraft when searching for submarines. In addition, the main characteristics of the onboard equipment that affect the solution of basic tasks are enhanced.

IL-38 to repair and upgrade

A characteristic feature of the Il-38H is the preservation of anti-submarine capabilities when other functions appear or are improved. Thus, the presence of a radar with a phased antenna array allows you to search and accompany surface or air targets. Large surface ships can be seen at a distance of up to 320 km, airplanes - up to 90 km. Automation is capable of tracking up to 32 targets simultaneously. It should be noted that the radar complex "Novella P-38" is the most notable innovation of the upgraded aircraft. Its antennas are placed in a polygonal housing located on the roof of the fuselage.

After modernization, the aircraft retains the possibility of using sonar buoys of various classes and types. Depending on the task, the IL-38H is capable of carrying various torpedoes and anti-submarine bombs, both free-falling and adjustable. The total mass of the combat load is up to 5 tons.

The IL-38 modernization program continues and is bearing fruit. So, in July last year, the Chief of Naval Aviation of the Russian Navy, Major General Igor Kozhin, said that by that time 60% of the existing Il-38 fleet had passed the process of deep modernization.

Anti-submarine "Bears"

An important element of anti-submarine aviation of the Navy of Russia are airplanes of various modifications of the Tu-142 family. In operation, less than three dozen cars of modifications Tu-142МР and Tu-142М3 remain. Aircraft of these types are equipped with a significant amount of special equipment used in the search for submarines. For these purposes, airborne devices and sonar buoys are used. A characteristic feature of the Tu-142MR aircraft, capable of communicating with its submarines, is a super-long-wave radio station with a cable antenna of length 8600 m.

In the spring of 2015, it was announced that the Ministry of Defense was intent on repairing and modernizing the existing Tu-142 aircraft. It was reported that the new modernization project will have to affect mainly onboard electronic equipment. It was planned to replace the search and sighting system, modify navigation equipment and install new weapons control devices.

According to reports from the recent past, the airplanes of both modifications, which remain in operation, had to be upgraded. The updated technique was suggested to be marked with an additional letter “M” in the title. Thus, after upgrading the Tu-142MR aircraft were to be called Tu-142МРМ, and Tu-142М3 were turned into Tu-142М3М.

Tu-142 at the airport

In the middle of 2016, some details of the Tu-142МРМ project became known. Thus, in accordance with the order of the command of the Navy, the upgraded aircraft had to retain the ability to communicate with the submarines, as well as get new functions. With the help of advanced equipment, it was proposed to ensure the possibility of transferring data to the ballistic missiles of the Bulava submarines, as well as to products of the Caliber family. First of all, these functions were planned to be used for issuing target designation to a flying rocket.

It was planned to spend about 4-5 years to carry out work on the repair and upgrading of existing equipment. In this case, it was about the modernization of the entire fleet. Thus, by the beginning of the next decade, about Tu-30 aircraft with extended life and new equipment could have been operated by naval aviation. The development of the modernization project was entrusted to several enterprises of the Russian aviation industry. Works with equipment were assigned to the TANTK them. Gm Beriev.

Anti-submarine aircraft of the future

In the middle of last year, Major-General I. Kozhin, Chief of Naval Aviation of the Fleet, spoke about the plans of the military department for the development of anti-submarine aircraft groups. According to existing plans, in the future the fleet will have to receive not only upgraded vehicles, but also new types of equipment. Moreover, the development of a promising anti-submarine patrol aircraft has already begun.

Earlier it was claimed that the command of the Navy wants to get not just a plane with anti-submarine equipment and weapons, but a unified platform. On the basis of such a universal aircraft, it will be possible to build machines of one purpose or another with a certain specialization. The emergence of such a multi-purpose aircraft will allow the replacement of all existing technology of several types. According to General Kozhin, in many matters, a promising domestic aircraft will be superior to foreign equipment of its class.

It is curious that as early as July 2017, I. Kozhin spoke not only about the very fact of the development of a new project. The chief of naval aviation also noted that work on the creation of the next generation patrol aircraft was already nearing completion. However, no technical features of such a project, of particular interest to specialists and the public, were specified.

The last time the development of a promising anti-submarine patrol aircraft was mentioned by official sources a few weeks ago. Not long ago, the United Aircraft Corporation released the next issue of the corporate magazine Horizons. It was published a new article "Snoops" submarines "on the current work on the renewal of the IL-38 and the further development of anti-submarine aircraft.

In the context of updating the fleet of vehicles, the magazine again quoted the statements of Major General I. Kozhin, made back in July last year. Quoting the commander, the publication Horizon did not provide any new information about the project under development. It reminded of the desire of the command to create a unified platform and the expected completion of the design work. New information, as well as technical details of the project have not been published. However, only a reminder of a promising aircraft caused a certain revival in the relevant circles.

Tu-142 in the air

The timeframes for the completion of development work and the start of deliveries of new-type production aircraft have not yet been specified. If in the middle of last year, the aviation industry really completed the development of a new project, the first prototype of a promising model could take to the air within the next few years - including by the end of the decade. On the tests and refinement of the project will take several years, after which it will be possible to start mass production.

A patrol aircraft of a new type will be able to go into the series not earlier than the mid-twenties. It is noteworthy that it is precisely at this time that it is supposed to complete the update of the majority of the available IL-38. Thus, for a certain time, the prospective machine and the new IL-38Н will serve together. The replacement of the IL-38Н and the upgraded Tu-142 will take place only in the distant future.

It’s too early to speak about the number of anti-submarine patrol aircraft required. At the moment, naval aviation, according to domestic data, has at least 80-85 similar machines of several modifications. For their full replacement, mass batch production of new equipment will be needed, possibly in comparable quantities. So far it remains to be wondered by what time the aviation industry will be able to transfer such a number of aircraft to the armed forces.

Dark past and bright future

Just a few years ago, the current state of the antisubmarine aviation of the Russian Navy caused fair concerns. The basis of the grouping of such equipment was the IL-38 machines, equipped with the outdated search and sighting system "Bercut-38". Modernization, planned in the eighties, was not carried out in a timely manner, which markedly worsened the potential of anti-submarine defense in general. The situation with the Tu-142 aircraft deteriorated mainly due to the gradual reduction in the number of such machines.

Fortunately, the Ministry of Defense was able to find opportunities and resources for updating the most important component of the Navy. A move was made to the project "Novella", which provided for a deep modernization of the existing IL-38. A little later, the development of renovation projects for the Tu-142 family began. Finally, the development of a new aircraft is underway, which will have to be first supplemented and then replaced with existing machines.

Currently, there is a gradual modernization of the fleet of anti-submarine aircraft, carried out through the repair and updating of available equipment. This approach will be used at least until the mid-twenties. Later construction of completely new cars will begin. It cannot be ruled out that for some time the construction of new ones and the upgrading of existing aircraft will go on in parallel. Then all the efforts of the industry will be focused only on the construction of advanced equipment.

The events of recent years and plans for the near future vividly show the attitude of the command to the development of anti-submarine aviation. A number of important projects have already been launched, and a list of further works has been defined. Thus, every year the potential of the Russian group of anti-submarine aircraft will grow. After a long period of dubious prospects, a bright future opens up before this component of naval aviation.

Based on:
"Snoops" of submarines // Horizons. United Aircraft Corporation, 2017. No.4.
Photos used:
"United Aircraft Corporation" /, Wikimedia Commons
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  1. Bongo
    Bongo 31 January 2018 07: 04
    The publication presents various, often contradictory data on the number of aircraft of patrol anti-submarine aircraft. If you can agree with this:
    in the fleet is the 16 IL-38 and 6 aircraft upgraded IL-38Н
    , that is:
    The number of aircraft of the Tu-142 family of various modifications was determined in 22 units.
    - clearly overstated.
    The surviving amphibians, the Be-12, are used exclusively as search and rescue vehicles. In general, with antisubmarine aviation, the situation is sad. I don’t know how on the North, but on CTO, the technical condition of the non-modernized IL-38 leaves much to be desired. They regularly fly from Nikolaevka airfields near Partizansky to Primorye and Vilyuchinsk in Kamchatka. But the duration of flights is usually not long. As for the Tu-142M based in Mongohto, they very rarely take to the air.
    1. g1washntwn
      g1washntwn 31 January 2018 08: 00
      Meanwhile, the Northern Sea Route and the Arctic in general promise to be very "hot" ...
      As you can see, long-range anti-submarine aviation for ocean tasks only promises to be (on the basis of the promised characteristics of the PAK-DA it would be very good), and a fairly long near sea zone remains, while search systems should be able to under-ice detection as well.
    2. avt
      avt 31 January 2018 10: 06
      Quote: Bongo
      In general, the situation with anti-submarine aircraft is sad.

      Yes. And some
      the future of Russian anti-submarine aircraft
      Yes, and
      Dark past and bright future
      generally it is not visible. If only because stupidly there is NO mass-produced airplane that could serve as a platform for PLO. From the word in general. The projects of Marshal Sergeyev about the Tu-204/214 have sunk along with the collapse of cooperation and the actual liquidation of production, piece-wise finishing is not such. So if we talk in the medium term about
      Dark past and bright future
      it’s just like a clear sky, free from Russian aviation PLO. Which of
      Quote: Bongo
      patrol anti-submarine aircraft.
      will definitely become a patrol.
      1. Alex_59
        Alex_59 31 January 2018 10: 26
        Quote: avt
        it’s just about a clear sky, free from Russian aviation PLO.

        IMHO, emphasis should be placed on a stationary analogue of SOSUS off its shores + drones. Aircraft PLO only as an additional means of "on call" - to defeat the already identified targets. Just shaking circles over the ocean throwing golden buoys and burning fuel is not our option.
        Accordingly, the aircraft must be fast in order to quickly arrive in the target detection area and capable of quickly destroying it, and it is possible to fend for itself alone. This is clearly not a Tu-214, and not sure if it is an MS-21. In the order of the proposal, “why not” - what if the Su-34 is equipped with containers for discharging buoys (additional reconnaissance and accurate command and control center) + avia-torpedoes and integration into receiving information directly from our SOSUS and drones? Having on board a couple of torpedoes and a dozen buoys, a pair of such aircraft can very sharply arrive where they need to, to further investigate the target, hit it, and in case of what stand up for themselves.
        1. avt
          avt 31 January 2018 10: 53
          Quote: Alex_59
          In the order of the proposal “why not” - what if the Su-34 is equipped with containers for dumping buoys

          Yeah, but ,, Kursk "is one of
          Quote: Alex_59
          "why not"
          He proposed to raise it this way - to flood two tankers on both sides, wind it up with something (probably with double-sided tape), blow the tanks with air - ,, Kursk "will pop up. And it’s kind of quick and beautiful.wassat
          1. Alex_59
            Alex_59 31 January 2018 12: 57
            Quote: avt
            offered to raise it like that - to flood two tankers on both sides, to wind it up with something (probably with double-sided tape)

            Well, in vain you are so frolic. Once upon a time about the plane as a whole, skeptics said that this "kerosene" and "rattle" has the role of a fun attraction, no more. Some 40 years passed and looking at the ruins of Dresden, the idea of ​​circus tricks on the "rattles" no longer comes.
        2. Senior manager
          Senior manager 31 January 2018 14: 04
          The conclusion follows from your post - to re-qualify anti-submariners (well, that is, turn in for metal) into high-speed bombers. So can just change the suspension units for the corresponding products in the Tu-22? It’s illogical. Or do not own the subject of discussion.
          1. Alex_59
            Alex_59 31 January 2018 15: 17
            Quote: St. Propulsion
            The conclusion follows from your post - to re-qualify anti-submariners (well, that is, turn in for metal) into high-speed bombers.

            Exactly the opposite. From a high-speed bomber, create a special “marine” modification that can work with buoys and receive an external command system from a stationary reconnaissance system (that is, it has special communication equipment). Such a plane should not look. He must conduct additional exploration and destroy. Detection must be given to a stationary system of sensors and UAVs. Because it does not require the expense of expensive buoys and long flights. And the probability of detection is higher than that of such aircraft as the Il-38. And by the way, there is almost no need to hand over anti-submariners to metal - there are literally several aircraft left for the whole country, i.e. everything has been handed over to us in metal.
            Quote: St. Propulsion
            So can just change the suspension units for the corresponding products in Tu-22?
            Suspension nodes - they are universal. Suspend the desired holder or starter and go. But this is not enough. Need a communications complex with buoys. Tu-22 is interesting of course. But it is not mass-produced and there are few of them either. And Su-34 can be released as needed - the conveyor is working. And the Tu-22 range is redundant - we would now have to cover our shore, there is no talk of finding a submarine in the Atlantic. There, and Tu-22 and Su-34 will quickly be killed. No one will give them search for NATO submarines.

            In general, the proposal is certainly extraordinary. Search engine. Maybe this is nonsense.
            1. faiver
              faiver 31 January 2018 18: 52
              what nonsense, anti-submariners should be able to "hang" for hours over the sea, and they don’t need speed - they need efficiency ..
        3. Grigory_45
          Grigory_45 1 February 2018 01: 15
          Quote: Alex_59
          IMHO, emphasis should be placed on a stationary analogue of SOSUS off its shores + drones. Aircraft PLO only as an additional means of "on call" - to defeat the already identified targets.

          The idea, of course, is interesting. However, what about the fact that the main danger is the carriers of ICBMs? They now (with the current range of missiles) to the shores to approach there is no need
          In which zone will you locate the "Russian SOSUS"? Block the Bosphorus? The Baltic? How to ensure its performance?
          And most importantly. SOSUS was less or less effective at detecting only 1st and 2nd generation boats
          Undoubtedly, I am an amateur in this matter, just thinking out loud. For me, aircraft carriers in conjunction with UAVs and underwater drones would be a more effective means of PLO.
    3. Alexander War
      Alexander War 31 January 2018 10: 39
      We need to choose on which base of aircraft to make new anti-submarine aircraft, they should not be inferior in their parameters to the American P-8 Poseidon. The United States already has 50 P-8 Poseidon and the plan is up to 120 aircraft! We need at least 12 similar aircraft
  2. Zaurbek
    Zaurbek 31 January 2018 08: 29
    New carriers are not yet visible, unfortunately. It seems to me that the potential of the Tu-204 has not been revealed to the end ... It is quite possible to make a replacement for the Tu-142. Range allows. We do not plan a 4-engine theater of operations; I’m not sure whether they will pull the Il-112/114. Only the IL-276 remains.
    1. arkadiyssk
      arkadiyssk 31 January 2018 10: 13
      Who needs this 204 - narrow body? Well, there is no way to properly lay out the equipment - you need to plan now on the basis of MS-21.
      1. Abalon
        Abalon 31 January 2018 10: 39
        So the MS-21 is also narrow-bodied !!!!
        1. Zaurbek
          Zaurbek 31 January 2018 15: 38
          MS - for such purposes, a dead end, like SSJ .... there is a lot of ours and military use (even carry generals) will affect the production of civilian products. So only Tu-204 or Il-276 ...
    2. Grigory_45
      Grigory_45 1 February 2018 01: 17
      Quote: Zaurbek
      New carriers are not yet visible, unfortunately

      IL-76 with new engines and in-flight refueling system. What is not the base? Carrying capacity and volumes are more than enough for equipment and weapons
      1. Zaurbek
        Zaurbek 1 February 2018 07: 49
        ... not the base. The range is not that ... Il96 wow
  3. Alex_59
    Alex_59 31 January 2018 08: 38
    At one time, I read A. Artemyev’s book Il-38 against missile submarines, and a couple of works on a similar topic. And I remember the main conclusion, which is clearly read between the lines there - all this technique (IL-38, Be-12 and Tu-142) is conditionally combat-ready. Establishing primary contact with a submarine with their help is possible only by chance, and they suck out a lot of money (disposable buoys are only worth it, not to mention fuel). Everything is especially bad with the Tu-142 - several of these aircraft are not able to find anything in the vast ocean of the world.
    In exercises, emnip, it was the norm to whisper to pilots where a submarine imitating the target would go, so as not to upset the authorities with a failure.
  4. Alexander War
    Alexander War 31 January 2018 10: 22
    Killer whale on IL 114
    1. Saxahorse
      Saxahorse 3 February 2018 18: 59
      Wonderful cartoon. Especially the music.

      Well, in fact, we will soon be showing the cardboard rockets at the parades like the Iranians. To lift the spirit.
  5. Valery Saitov
    Valery Saitov 31 January 2018 14: 50
    After a long period of doubtful prospects, a bright future opens up for this component of naval aviation.)))
    We will wait for a bright future.
  6. kiprei
    kiprei 31 January 2018 15: 56
    A-42 where, wrote them off or something? Why then didn’t they write off the Be-12, if they are much more obsolete?
    1. Aviator_
      Aviator_ 31 January 2018 22: 05
      Be-12 were in a large series, but A-40 was left in a single copy, thanks EBN.