One of the most important and interesting projects of the domestic military shipbuilding is a destroyer of the “Leader” type. While it is in the early stages, but in the near future, the construction of the lead ship of the new series should start. However, according to recent statements, the laying of the first destroyer shifts noticeably. For several reasons, the construction will be able to start only at the beginning of the next decade - much later than previously planned.
The latest official information on the progress of the Leader project was announced on June 20. The Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Navy, Vice-Admiral Viktor Bursuk, dealing with shipbuilding, spoke about the latest achievements and plans for the future. According to him, the advance design of the prospective ship has already been completed, and now the fleet is taking decisions. In the near future, shipbuilding engineers will begin developing a technical project. The construction of the first "Leader" should start after the 2020 year.
Thus, the Ministry of Defense continues the program of developing a new ship and is preparing for its future construction. However, as follows from recent reports, the laying of the new destroyer will take place with a certain delay in relation to previously announced plans. A few years ago, the military department published approximate plans for the coming years, in which the development of a new destroyer destroyer was present, followed by the beginning of its construction. Against the background of recent posts, these plans looked very interesting.
The presentation “Equipment with modern weapons, military and special equipment”, which is still present on the official website of the Ministry of Defense, covered the period from 2013 to 2020. It reflected plans for the overall results of rearmament, as well as the desired purchases of military products and promising projects. In the "cards" of several years there was a certain destroyer project. Apparently, it was about the development, known under the code "Leader".
The new destroyer was first mentioned in the plans for 2013 year, the project implementation period - before the start of 2019. Similar information was maintained until 2017, inclusive. Plans for the current 2018 year indicate that the destroyer project will be implemented before December 30. In the following 2019 and 2020 years there is no destroyer in the plans: apparently, due to the transition from the design stage to construction.
It should be noted that similar terms for the development of the project and the start of construction of the lead ship "Leader" were repeatedly mentioned in the past in official statements and in various press publications. However, information about a possible change in the schedule of work appeared later. Now the deputy commander-in-chief of the Navy has confirmed that the laying of the future Leader will take place only in the next decade. At the same time, as often happens, the official report did not cite the reasons for the shift in deadlines.
According to previously published data, the development of the project with the code "Leader" is carried out by the Northern Design Bureau (St. Petersburg). The first reports of the beginning of work in this direction appeared in 2010. At that time, it was about working out a pre-draft project. Subsequently, the new destroyer became a hero several times News. Basically, they affected certain technical features of the project. In February 2013, it became known that the command fleet approved the proposed pre-draft design, and the development of a new ship was to go to the next stage.
Only two years later, the Northern PKB continued work; The program has moved to the stage of preliminary design. These works were completed in about a year and a half - at the end of 2016. However, after that there was a new break. For some unidentified reasons, the conceptual design was approved with a noticeable delay - only in the middle of 2017. After that, the organization-designer could proceed to the development of design documentation necessary for the subsequent construction of the ship. However, this stage of work did not start without delay.
From recent statements by Vice-Admiral Bursuk, it follows that the development of a technical project has not yet begun, and the military department is looking for the necessary solutions. The start of the next stage of development work belongs to the near future. All this had a clear impact on the timing of the start of subsequent work. Bookmark the lead ship project 23560 "Leader" had to be postponed to the beginning of the twenties, and the exact date has not yet been named. Moreover, for the time being it cannot be ruled out that the command will again have to change plans and work schedules.
Considering the available data on the progress of the “Leader” project, it is not at all difficult to notice that the ship's developer, represented by the Northern PKB, did an excellent job with its tasks. All the design stages were carried out in the shortest possible time, and their result did not seem to be seriously criticized and was quickly approved by the customer. Nevertheless, two sufficiently large pauses have already taken place, which have a negative effect on the general terms of work performance. Their reasons have not yet been announced at the official level, and therefore we have to rely only on estimates and assumptions.
Why is the project "Leader", despite all the successes, still far enough from the start of construction, and what factors prevent to implement all the plans in the desired time frame? Having an incomplete amount of data from officials, as well as taking into account some assumptions or even rumors, you can find several answers to this question at once. At the same time, it is obvious that the 23560 project, which is notable for its particular complexity, simply could not face some known problems.
First of all, the risk factor should be considered the complexity and novelty of the project as a whole. The Russian shipbuilding industry for a long time did not develop and did not build such large surface ships with outstanding characteristics. Having partially lost experience in this matter, the industry may face known problems, which, among other things, should lead to delays in work. However, in the field of design, apparently, there are no significant problems of this kind. It is known that the draft design of the “Leader” did not take too long, and this gives reason for optimism.
It should be noted that new problems may arise in the very near future - at the stage of technical design. In particular, we can expect some difficulties with the creation and delivery of individual components. Thus, the “Leader” is planned to be equipped with a nuclear power plant, the development of which is a very difficult task. Problems of this project that can occur at different stages will have a negative impact on the entire construction program for destroyers. It is also not possible to exclude any difficulties in the line of armaments and avionics.
The problem of the new 23560 project may turn into a search for a site for the construction of the lead and serial ships. According to the most realistic estimates, the future Leader should have a length of the order of 200 m with a width of at least 20 m and a draft of more than 5-6 m. Not all domestic shipbuilding enterprises are able to build such a large ship, and platforms with the required potential are already loaded with orders for few years ahead. As a result, the customer and the contractor will have to plan the construction taking into account the current and future possibilities of the industry.
The largest sites for construction are available at the Severodvinsk plant Sevmash, however, they are fully and for many years ahead busy with the construction of new nuclear submarines and the repair of the nuclear cruiser Admiral Nakhimov. The situation is similar with the Baltic Shipyard, which is currently building icebreakers. The Zvezda complex in the Far East has not been completed yet, and modernization is continuing on the Gulf in the city of Kerch. Also for the construction of destroyers, it will be possible to use the new slipway with a slipway, which will appear at the Severnaya Verf plant in St. Petersburg next year.
It is quite possible that several significant interruptions in the design of a new warship were connected at once with several causes of various kinds, but some conclusions can be drawn from the available data. The most serious factor that most influences the prospects for shipbuilding should be the specificity of shipyards. All large sites are already loaded with orders and are engaged in solving the most urgent problems. In such conditions, the new destroyer, with all its positive features and importance for the fleet, finds itself in a difficult situation.
However, so far it is not necessary to exclude the factors associated with the design of the ship and its individual systems, as well as other difficulties characteristic of the development work. But, as already noted, the pre-design and preliminary design of the “Leader” was completed in the shortest possible time, and pauses arose between them - this fully justifies the designers and their development.
Everything indicates that the Ministry of Defense and the command of the fleet see the current situation in the areas of creating new projects and building ships that have already been ordered, and also takes it into account when drawing up plans. At least until the end of this decade, the shipyards will not be able to find free space for laying the head "Leader", and therefore the Navy decided not to hurry with its development. Designers shipbuilders will be able to work out a technical project in a relaxed atmosphere and without haste, having fulfilled all the requirements of the customer, as well as in time finding and correcting possible shortcomings.
As a result of current decisions, the construction of the first destroyer Leader will begin no earlier than 2020 of the year, and the fleet will be able to receive this ship only in the middle of the decade. Of course, such terms may not suit the commanders or the public, but in the current situation they turn out to be a reasonable compromise between desires and possibilities. Moreover, in the end, the Russian Navy will still receive new ships with high performance and outstanding combat capabilities.
According to previously published data, the 23560 “Leader” project provides for the construction of a destroyer with guided missile weapons with a displacement of at least 14-16 KT. The ship will have a length on the order of 200 m with a draft of more than 5-6 m. Previously, the possibility of using nuclear or conventional power plant; later a reactor based system was selected. With its help, the ship will be able to reach speeds up to 30-32 nodes, and the cruising range will be virtually unlimited. Autonomy is limited only by food supplies and the capabilities of the crew.
The main strike weapons "Leader" will be cruise missiles of several types that have different purposes. Such products will be located in the cells of the universal launcher, the total ammunition - a few dozen missiles of all types. It is also planned to use modern anti-aircraft complexes of several types capable of organizing echeloned defense. The installation of an artillery installation with an 130 mm caliber gun and a modern torpedo complex is envisaged. Also, the ship will be able to carry a couple of helicopters.
At the exhibitions of recent years, the model of a future destroyer has been demonstrated several times, having received a recognizable multi-tiered superstructure with characteristic panels covering the antennas of different systems. However, it cannot be excluded that at certain design stages the appearance of the ship will change noticeably.
In recent years, the topic of the possible number of “Leaders” has been raised repeatedly. So, in 2016, the possibility of building 20 destroyers was mentioned in press reports. A little later, less ambitious plans in the form of eight ships were announced. New information on this subject is no longer received, and, apparently, while the plans of the military department are really present no more than 8-10 promising ships of the "Leader" type.
Recent news does not give much reason for optimism. The development of pre-draft and outline versions of the new Leader project, despite some delays, was completed last year. However, the next work will take some time, and the laying of the first destroyer will take place no earlier than 2020 of the year. The Russian Navy will still be able to get a new large surface ship with modern equipment and weapons, but not in the very near future. He will have to wait a few more years.
On the materials of the sites:
Destroyer "Leader": delayed or late?
- Ryabov Kirill
- Photos used:
- Wikimedia Commons