The Black Sea Fleet today has only three relatively modern ships. These are frigates of project 11356. The missile cruiser “Moscow” would be a serious danger to the US Navy, but it is not operational and it is not known when it will be repaired. The remaining surface ships are either missile boats or small ships capable of operating only off their coast, under the powerful aviation cover. There are three more museum exhibits in fact: “Inquisitive”, “Shrewd”, “Okay”, but their value in the war with the USA is zero. There are also several combat-ready diesel-electric submarines, two of which are located in the Mediterranean Sea. All these ships and submarines are capable of releasing about thirty Caliber-NK anti-ship missiles. This is enough to destroy a single ship of the U.S. Navy, this is enough to partially destroy, partially damage an order from a pair of ships, but this is no longer enough for anything. Aircraft from the Khmeimim air base can only be armed with X-35 missiles. Very good missiles, but with a relatively short launch range, which will make the aircraft "substitute" under the fire of American naval anti-aircraft missile systems. Of course, a coordinated attack by submarines (not necessarily missiles), aircraft and surface ships could lead to the defeat of the forces that the Americans had at sea at the time of the Syrian attack, even if the US Navy ships gathered in a single warrant. With losses, of course. But the deployment of more or less substantial aviation forces at NATO airbases will make such an attack difficult to implement, and when the aircraft carrier attack group with the Harry Truman aircraft carrier enters the Mediterranean in early May, you will have to forget about any attacks on cruise missile carriers: “ Truman ”may be twice as many planes as Russia has at the Khmeimim airbase, but in general this connection is comparable in strength to the entire Russian Navy.
Begin a full-scale war in Syria, the VKS and Russian Navy could attack American forces only once, and with an unpredictable result. It is possible that to no avail. Then both the airplanes and the missiles in the launchers of the ships will end, and after the Truman wing of the wing following the events of the military departure - and the ships themselves. Knowing the Americans, it is easy to predict that they will continue to put pressure further, and clashing with them in the near future is absolutely inevitable, and it is good if they arrange a fight over Syria, and not over Kamchatka. Where our ability to fight them is not much better.
At the same time, until we bleed them, they will not stop.
Is there a solution to the American problem that Russia could “pull” economically?
There is. But to understand it, you need to look back and look at our recent past.
During the Cold War, American aircraft carrier groups posed a serious danger to the USSR. At the same time, the Soviet Union for economic reasons could not get comparable in strength fleet, and the irrational expenditure of funds for naval construction limited the possibilities for creating an effective military response to the AUG.
Nevertheless, such an answer was given. They became the naval rocket-carrying aircraft (MRA) of the USSR Navy, the armament of which consisted of long-range bombers armed with anti-ship cruise missiles (ASM).
Even during the tests of the very first Soviet serial cruise missile, the KS-1, launched from Tu-4 piston bombers (a copy of the American Boeing B-29 "Superfortress", the same one from which the atomic bombs were dropped on Japan), it became clear that Aircraft cruise missiles pose a great danger to surface ships.
And after a series of training attacks by Tu-16 bombers on American AUG in the mid-sixties, it became clear that with the help of a bunch of aircraft + a cruise missile, a carrier-based attack group could also be crushed. Not without a loss from the Soviet side, of course, with large ones, but they would not be comparable with the American losses. Several hundred pilots against thousands of sailors.
The race has begun. The Americans appeared incredibly perfect carrier-based fighter-interceptor F-14 "Tomcat", grew the order of duty forces in the air (up to a stable eight interceptors in the air in the early eighties), improved air defense systems, airborne early warning aircraft, tactics of defense of the compound. In the USSR, the subsonic Tu-16 came first with the Tu-22, and then the Tu-22M (a completely different aircraft, despite the index). Changed and rocket. Subsonic DACs with different numbers changed to X-22 - a very high-speed (3,5 “sound”) and survivable rocket with a huge range at that time - 350 kilometers. Tactical schemes became more and more difficult, the attack by large bomber forces turned into an attack of the entire fleet — surface ships, submarines, and MRA airplanes, and the MRA’s launch start-up turn into an incredibly sophisticated, complex and dangerous maneuver, so much so that one description would require an article . But the surprise attack was provided. There were missiles, false targets, supersonic jammers.
For strikes on ships far in the world ocean, a strategic missile carrier Tu-95K-22 with the same missile appeared. Being able to detect the included shipborne radar from a distance of 1300 kilometers or more, this aircraft posed a serious danger to any single warship.
At a certain moment, the USSR won this race, but soon the first ships with universal vertical missile launch systems Mk.41, powerful radars, and, most importantly, the combat management information system of collective defense AEGIS, which allowed a group of ships to fight as a single combat, entered the sea. the car, with dozens of radar antennas, and hundreds of anti-aircraft missiles, launched with 1 rocket fire performance in 2 seconds, from each of the ships.
Now the USSR has already lost. At the first stage, it was decided to “jam” the enemy’s radar with nuclear strikes, not at the ships themselves, but at a safe distance from them, but close enough to prevent interference from using radars. At the same time, the requirements for a new generation of anti-ship missiles, which appeared after the collapse of the USSR, were clarified. The solution, apparently, would have been found, but ...
In 1991, it's over. Russia has at its disposal hundreds of bombers. In 1992, subsonic Tu-16 were removed from service. A little later, the withdrawal from the combat units and the further utilization of the Tu-95K-22 began. However, in the nineties, naval missile-carrying aircraft still represented a significant force. If in the Air Force in 1993, there were about a hundred Tu-22M bombers, then there were one hundred and sixty-five of them in the naval missile launcher.
But the blow that the country received was too strong. The number of bombers was rapidly declining every year, and the industry devastated by liberal reforms simply could not produce components to repair them, even when there was money for it.
By the year 2010 in Russia there are only a few dozen Tu-22М3 bombers capable of taking off. In such conditions, the Ministry of Defense eliminated the MRA as a class, and transferred all airplanes and crews into the Aerospace Forces created from several branches of troops. According to the VKS plans, up to thirty modernized aircraft of this type can remain in service by the 2030 year. Less than in 1985, the year would have flown to a single attack by a US carrier strike group ...
Thus, there is a solution to the problem of American naval groups - it is necessary to recreate naval rocket-carrying aircraft, powerful enough to defeat a pair of aircraft-carrier strike formations of the US Navy without nuclear weapons. That was the answer given at the time to the aggressiveness of the US Navy, and there is no reason to believe that it was bad. As well as there is no reason to think that we will not succeed now.
Sea-launched missile aviation is a cheaper response than building a fleet of surface ships capable of handling the US Navy, and, most importantly, a quicker response. Because Russia has all the necessary components for success.
Firstly, there is already a carrier aircraft. It's about Su-30. This aircraft has a higher bomb load than the Tu-16 long-range bomber. The Indians have already tested their Su-30MKI with the anti-ship missile "Bramos", which was developed on the basis of the Russian anti-ship missile complex "Onyx". Both the Su-30 in the CM and M2 versions, and the Onyx rocket are already being mass-produced.
The photo shows the launch of the Brahmos anti-ship missiles from the Su-30MKI aircraft of the Indian Air Force
Thus, the reconstruction of the MRA at the first stage becomes only an organizational issue.
Secondly, in Russia there is a mass of abandoned or almost abandoned airfields, on which new aviation connections can be based.
Thirdly, the Su-30 is more than good in aerial combat, and he does not need a fighter escort; airplanes can take off, having air-to-air missiles under their wings.
Fourthly, their cost of operation is incomparable with heavy bombers, and they are much more versatile, they can be used both as strike aircraft and as interceptors.
Fifth, the Navy already has such planes, is able to exploit them, and the unification of the already existing aircraft fleet with new machines will also reduce the cost of new aircraft connections.
At the first stage it is necessary to do the following.
1. Upgrade the Su-30 in service with the Navy so that they can use Onyx missiles. For starters one by one on the plane.
2. Start the process of deploying the assault air regiments of the Northern and Pacific fleets in the division. At the first stage, the Su-24 bombers (now they are being changed to Su-30) are not to be withdrawn from service, but to create new aviation units at the expense of existing and new aircraft. Su-24 needs to be repaired and modernized for the use of X-35 missiles, and personnel must be trained on them. Bringing the number of aircraft divisions to the state, begin replacing the Su-24 on the aircraft of the Su-30 family. In the future, Su-24, those who will have a significant resource, must be converted into machines of auxiliary classes - jammers, air tankers with the unit UPAZ, etc.
3. To start the production of Onyx missiles in the aviation version.
As is quite obvious, these measures alone will significantly increase the ability of the Navy to protect our shores and our allies. And as you can see, they are incomparable in complexity and price, neither with the construction of a fleet, nor with the reconstruction of an armada of bombers. Obviously, the presence of such troops, with reserves of missiles and good preparation, could cool some hotheads in Washington.
The Onyx missile has a range that allows it to be launched without entering the defeat zone of the naval defense of the US Navy. At the same time it is quite difficult to shoot down. And a large mass of rockets in the salvo will make it possible to “break through” the American defense, regardless of its density.
One aircraft division of such aircraft, which has an adequate supply of missiles, will be able to inflict unacceptably high losses on the US Navy ship group over the course of several combat missions and deprive it of the ability to conduct combat operations against the Russian Federation or its allies. And if the number of the combat group is too large, then you can connect the VKS and transfer the Su-30 from other theaters. And, of course, if these forces can cope with the US Navy, then any other fleet will be a very "easy" opponent for them.
The first stage, however, is exactly the first stage. At the next stage, it is necessary to create a new modification of the Su-30 aircraft, which would differ from the Su-30CM aircraft by the presence of the 036 Squirrel radar, similar to that installed on the Su-57 fighter, by the powerful central pylon for hanging the weapon, which would allow aircraft use a hypersonic rocket complex "Dagger". The airframe must be modified to reduce radar visibility, the aiming-navigation complex must give the ability to detect and hit small surface targets, air targets flying low over water, helicopters in hovering mode over water. The aircraft should be able to make long flights over water at ultra-low altitudes (20-50 meters). The new Su-30 will be a serious threat not only for ships, but also for fifth-generation American carrier-based fighters, and will not depend critically on the presence of long-range radar detection (DRLO) aircraft in the Navy.
Such a plane at a price comparable to the serial Su-30CM, will be at times a more dangerous enemy for enemy ships and aircraft. Such a machine in the future should be the main striking force of the fleet at a distance of 1500-1600 kilometers from the coast.
Another advantage of the powerful naval strike aircraft is that it is very powerful to quickly maneuver from one theater of war to another, thus compensating for the impossibility of quickly transferring ships from fleet to fleet.
In the future, the Navy will have to receive a certain number of DRLO planes to support the actions of the MRA, and a sufficient number of tanker aircraft for it. Moreover, since the range of the MRA will not be so long, the tankers can be made on the basis of promising twin-engine transport aircraft, and not use IL-78. This will also save on costs. Combinations of tankers and DRLO aircraft can be subordinated to the Main Marine Headquarters and attached to fleets if necessary, this will allow you to form fewer connections and buy fewer aircraft.
It is also necessary to develop new, more effective, anti-ship missiles, both hypersonic and low-profile low-altitude anti-ship missiles, preferably with the ability to independently search for targets, similar to the American LRASM rocket. It is necessary to strive to ensure that the weight of the new missiles would allow the aircraft to carry them in large quantities.
The last question: is it necessary to create such aircraft in the framework of the Navy, and not VKS?
The answer is unequivocal: yes. Fighting over the sea and against fleets has its own specifics, for example, the need for many hours of flying over an unoriented terrain, the need to search for and attack targets over it, including in adverse weather conditions, the need to attack compact and mobile targets protected by air defense and EW of such power , with which the pilot VKS is unlikely to meet somewhere. All this requires specific combat training, and she - time pilots. In addition, it is clear that the naval formations commanders will sometimes find it very difficult to solicit “their” aircraft from the VCS, especially if the VKS themselves find themselves in difficult circumstances. For these reasons, sea-launched missile aircraft should be part of the fleet, not the VKS. Of course, it will be necessary to train naval commanders in the combat use of aviation, to make them competent in its tactics, in order to rule out incompetent decisions of commanders who have left the crew. But in general, the need for naval subordination of this kind of troops is not in doubt.
We must not be deceived and complacent. The revival of Russia's military power, lost in the post-Soviet chaos, is far from over. There are catastrophic gaps in our defenses, especially in terms of repelling a strike from the sea. Unfortunately, the voices of the supporters of "ground thinking" are heard more and more, demanding to limit the development of the Navy by sending most of the resources to the land army. However Tanks cannot sink ships. And our enemy is superior to us precisely in naval power; on land, the US army will in any case "wash itself with blood" in the fight against the Russian army. And the Anglo-Saxons will not come to the ground war. The restoration of naval missile-carrying aviation will be a powerful defense against attacks from the sea for both our country and its allies. Taking into account the fact that Russia has all the components necessary for its creation, it is necessary to begin its creation immediately. Otherwise, crises like the Syrian will continue again and again. Our weakness provokes the enemy to attack. It is necessary to return the power that protected us in the past.