We are building a fleet. The power of the poor

Alfred Thayer Mahan once wrote that not a single country that has a land frontier will achieve the same level of sea power as a country that does not have one and is insular - an island, or isolated, isolated.


In an effort to surpass the USSR, the United States invested in massive and simple ships, it was they who gave the number of pennants of the US Navy in 80's. In the photo - a frigate class "Perry"



Some domestic readers translated the frontier as a “border”, meaning simply the state border of this country on the other. This is not true given the context. In the middle and second half of the nineteenth century, when Mahan began to create, the concept of "American frontier" meant anything but just a border - it was more like the front of the nation’s efforts, materialized as a line on the map, the challenge facing the American colonists, the front of the application efforts, the front of expansion, the horizon, the achievement of which was the national idea, albeit not formalized. In the years when Mahan wrote his book, the expansion into the lands of the Indians was already over and the whole territory of the then North America was occupied by Europeans and the Africans brought by them, but it ended “just” - literally. Here is what Mahan himself wrote about this "frontier":
The center of power is no longer on the seashore. Books and newspapers compete with each other in describing the amazing development and still not fully developed wealth of the interior of the mainland. Capital there gives the highest profitability, labor finds the best applications. The border areas are neglected and politically weak, the shores of the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean are absolutely, and the Atlantic coast is compared to the central Mississippi valley. When the day comes on which shipping operations will again be paid enough, when the inhabitants of the three maritime borders realize that they are not only militarily weak, but also relatively poor in the lack of national shipping, their combined efforts can provide an important service to restore our naval strength .


Mahan had in mind precisely this - the front of the application of efforts, the border, but not between the countries, but the border that was achievable for the country and the people, which this people had to push, and so much that it could not be avoided. The frontier is, figuratively speaking, "a national task on the ground." For Russia at different times, such “frontiers” were advancement to Siberia, advancement to Central Asia, conquest of the Caucasus, and at least advancement to Berlin. Development of Samotlor oil. BAM. All this required a mass of resources. Masses of steel, gunpowder, warm clothing, firewood and timber, food, liquid fuels, tools and, most importantly, people. The time of people and their strength. Often - their lives and health.

The same British spent these resources on sea power. The Russians could never afford it - the land frontier demanded his own.

Is it right now? Absolutely, nothing has changed. Our country is still full of both economic, economic and military tasks on earth. And they require resources. Diesel fuel, man-hours, spare parts for bulldozers, cement, antibiotics, warm clothing and self-propelled artillery pieces. They require, after all, money. And they are of such a nature that we will not get out of their implementation.

And this means that we will always lose to nations that do not have a "frontier" on earth, to lose in what resources we can attract to build our sea power. They can always “throw on the scales” more.

Does all this mean that we are a priori doomed to be the weakest side? Are there any recipes for the poor that make it possible to compensate for the inability to throw all resources to sea power? There is. Let's start with organizational issues and look at an example of how the poor side can offset the lack of resources to create military forces to some extent through a smart approach to the issue.

Ax porridge, or an example of how to make three divisions from four regiments


Let us first consider the situation with the example of naval aviation, which for our country with isolated naval theater of operations is the only maneuvering force after a certain “big” conflict has entered a “hot” phase. Naval aviation, even strike, like the former MRA, even anti-submarine, is very expensive. On the other hand, the main fleets should have it, we have no and will not have another way to concentrate the prohibitively volley salvo of the RCC. Suppose risk assessments tell us that in the Northern and Pacific Fleets we need to have at least a three-regiment air division. And another regiment to the Baltic and the Black Sea. In total, therefore, you need two divisions and two regiments, a total of eight regiments and two divisions. This is a need.

But here Her Majesty intervenes in the economy, which tells us: "No more than five regiments for the entire fleet." There is no money, and never will be.

How to get out?

The solution, which will be described below, can be considered in some way a reference for the poorest side. Unable to win extensively by pulling more and more money into circulation, the poor may well get out "intensively", that is, organizationally - no matter who and what is said. To some extent, of course.

The solution is as follows


We deploy air divisions control units at the Pacific Fleet and Northern Fleet, we form for them all parts of the division subordination, if it is required to provide them with reconnaissance or some special aviation units, we do it.

Then form the shelves. One in the Northern Fleet, we include it in the division, the second in the same way in the Pacific Fleet. We get one quasidivision from one regiment. These regiments constantly operate on their own theater with their own divisions.

At the second stage, we deploy a regiment in the Black and Baltic Seas. In normal times, these regiments train on their own theater.

But in the unusual, they are transferred to the Northern Fleet or Pacific Fleet and the second and third “numbers” are included in the division. Everything, the necessary shock force on the theater of operations is received. When needed, we threw a three-regiment division into battle. Inflicted losses on the enemy and gained time? The flight of a pair of regiments from the Pacific Ocean to the North, joining the Northern Fleet air division and departure to strike. And if you get the fifth regiment? This is a reserve. If in a situation where the Black Sea and Baltic regiments went under the headquarters of a division somewhere in the North, will it be necessary to sharply hit the enemy in the Black Sea? For this we have a reserve regiment. Incidentally, it can be used as part of an air division instead of the Black Sea or Baltic, leaving “another reserve” another aviation regiment that knows its own theater of operations well.

Compare. In the case of "extensive" development, we would have two division divisions, six regiments in divisions, and two more separate divisions — under one in the Baltic and the Black Sea. Only eight regiments.

And what about the “solutions for the poor”?

Two divisions, and first four, and then five regiments - exactly in terms of economic opportunities.

And now attention - how much strength can the same Pacific Fleet throw in the attack in the case of a “solution for the poor”? Three-regiment division. And with normal military construction? Same.

And on the SF the same picture. As in the case of sufficient financial resources, and in the case of insufficient, we are throwing into the battle the three-regimental division. Only with the solution for the poor do the divisions in the Northern Fleet and Pacific Fleet have two common regiments, which in themselves turn single-regiment quasi-divisions into full-fledged three-regiment percussion units, roaming from theater to theater. Thus demonstrating the importance of maneuver.

Yes, this solution has a minus - at the same time you can have only one division, the second at that time will be a one-regiment (or, if the last reserve regiment is included in it, then a two-regiment) ersatz. When the Baltic and Black Sea regiments are redeployed to the same Pacific Fleet there, at the Pacific Fleet, the required three-regiment division “grows up”, but the Baltic and Black Sea are “bare”.

But who said that the enemy’s pressure on various theater of operations spaced over thousands of kilometers will be synchronized? And what do you need to have aviation in different places at the same time? It is quite realistic to create conditions under which aircraft could operate in several places in turn. And, most importantly - who said that the war will generally be with such an adversary who can simultaneously press both the Kola Peninsula and Kamchatka? A war with the United States is possible, its probability is growing, but this probability is still very small. Japan is more likely to grapple with Japan at times, and the likelihood of a “border incident” with Poland is higher than the likelihood of a war with Japan - at times.

It is worth recognizing that the solution with the “roaming” regiments is quite working, as well as with the air divisions “cropped” in such a specific way. It is only necessary to regularly practice such things in exercises.

The problem is that due to losses inevitable in the war, the striking force of naval aviation in the second option will decrease faster than in the first. But there is still no choice! In addition, something can be completely compensated by combat training, for example, the loss in each combat mission of well-trained aviation regiments will be lower.

This is the power of the poor.

This is the evidence that, having money only for 4-5 regiments instead of the 8 ones needed, you can have attacking groups of sufficient strength, simply due to maneuver. This is the solution for the poor in terms of organizational structures. Poor doesn’t mean weak. The poor may be strong. If he will be smart and fast.

Article “We are building a fleet. Consequences of “uncomfortable” geography ” a similar example with a surface fleet was considered — ships in reserve on each of the fleets and a “hot” reserve crew, which can be used on any of the fleets, and even transferred from fleet to fleet. Such decisions require a high level of training of personnel, high morale, discipline, but if all this is ensured, a party experiencing a shortage of resources for naval construction can get more than if guided by the traditional approach.

But the most important thing in the “naval economy” is adequate shipbuilding costs. Historical experience suggests that the fleet is significantly more expensive than the ground forces during intensive shipbuilding, the rest of the time it’s not so dramatic. And that means that the key to building a “fleet of the poor” —a strong fleet for little money — is the application of appropriate approaches to both the design of ships and their construction.

Ships for the poor


In 1970, Admiral Elmo Zumwalt became Commander of the United States Navy. Zumwalt had his own, very integral and clear vision of how the U.S. Navy should develop in a situation where the enemy, the Soviet Navy, sharply accelerated the construction of new ships, especially submarines, and built them at a pace that the United States could not keep up with then.

For example, the Kiev-carrying aircraft cruiser was laid down in the 1970, in the 1972 it was already launched, in the 1975 it was already at sea and aircraft flew from it, and in the 1977 it was included in the fleet. In 1979, the USSR already had two ship carrier groups in two fleets. In 80, they tried to use the Yak-38 in Afghanistan, after which these aircraft began to fly, although very poorly, but they could already be assigned limited combat missions. So quickly, nobody ever had a chance to fear deck aviation and the carrier fleet from scratch, and Zumwalt had nothing to fear, all the more so since the USSR built submarines even faster and in large quantities, actively experimenting with products of technologies inaccessible to the USA, for example, titanium hulls.

At that time, the United States was not in the best condition. The economy was storming, a bit later the 1973 oil crisis of the year also began to affect. In fact, it was clear that the long and bloody war in Vietnam was already lost, or at least not won. And it was precisely in such circumstances that the Americans had to jerk up sea power to such a level that the actively investing in the fleet of the Soviet Union would have no chance in case of war. This could be done only by increasing the number, but at the same time reducing the cost.

In more detail, what Zumwalt wanted to do, and what his followers did under Reagan, is described in the article “It's time to learn from the enemy”. The methods used by the Americans are described in detail, and attention should be focused on this.

First - Zumwalt quote:
Fully high tech navy will be so expensive that it will be impossible to have enough ships to control the sea. A completely low-tech navy will not be able to withstand certain [some. - Translation.] Types of threats and perform certain tasks. Given the need to have both enough ships and fairly good ships, [the Navy] should be a combination of high-tech and low-tech [fleet].


Zumwalt saw this as a huge mass of simple and cheap ships, with deliberately cut back capabilities, led by a very small number of super-advanced and high-tech warships made at the "limit of technology."

Of all that Zumwalt planned, we are only interested in the project that he was given almost completely to implement - the frigate of the Oliver Hazard Perry class. Moreover, it is not so much the frigate itself, which is well studied and described in Russian periodicals and literature, as the design principle applied during its creation.

We are talking about the so-called principle of “Design to cost” or “Design at a given cost.” The Americans firmly withstood only one parameter - the price of the designed subsystems and structures of the ship, abandoning some seemingly correct design decisions and forcibly "cutting off" the possible functionality of the ship. In order to exclude technical risks, many systems were worked out at ground-based stands, for example, a power plant. Only proven subsystems and only cheap materials were used.

The result was a series of ships of the same type, which before the arrival of the destroyers Arly Burke was the most massive in the world. "Perry" became the real workhorse of the US Navy, they were part of all the battle groups deployed by the Americans in the world, they fought with Iran in the Persian Gulf, and then - with Iraq, providing the basis for helicopters that "cleared" the oil platforms occupied by Iraqis which they turned into fortified defensive points. Although initially the frigate was not intended for anti-submarine operations, it later began to be used for this purpose with its pair of anti-submarine helicopters.

We are building a fleet. The power of the poor

A new simple workhorse and an old modernized ship - this is how the Americans acted during the Cold War


Elmo Zumwalt’s high-end approach, design for a given cost, and the principles listed in the article mentioned above, which the Americans applied to the construction of their Navy, allowed them to receive one more dollar ship than the USSR could get for it. In fact, the Americans, being a richer country than the USSR, applied the methods of the poor in their naval construction, and the USSR behaved like a rich country, and as a result lost the arms race. And the “Perry” here is just one example; in fact, there were such examples in everything. One "Harpoon" instead of the giant zoo of Soviet anti-ship missiles, torpedoes, submarines - the list is long.

To understand how all of the above works in practice, especially in our realities, we will conduct an intellectual exercise and see how the American “principles of the poor” look like ours.

Two fleets


Consider two countries - Country A and Country B, or further A and B. Both of them are building a fleet. Both of them are not very rich, though A is richer than B. But the tasks they face are comparable. To simplify the issue, we believe that the ruble is the currency there and there, there is no inflation, and they can use the same ship subsystems.

For the starting point we take the “minus the first” year of the shipbuilding program, when there was no money for the fleet yet, but it was clear that they would be there next year. For our country, it was about 2008 year.

At minus the first year, A and B were in approximately the same position. Their fleets were literally “on their knees” because in past years it was not possible to get financing even for repair and maintenance of ships in a technically ready condition for going to sea. This crisis in A and B lasted quite a long time and most of the fleet was cut into needles in both countries. But there were differences

At A, the fleet continued to wait for funding. The crisis turned out to be not only economic, but also ideological, many people in the country simply did not understand why they needed a fleet at all, moreover, such were even among the command staff. As a result, the fleet existed by inertia, the ships rotted, and slowly forever stood up “for fun”.

In B, despite the crisis, the understanding of the need for the fleet never disappeared. It was clear that sooner or later he would need it, but how to survive without money? In B, the fleet came to the conclusion that there would be no money for a long time and began to implement a conscious survival strategy in difficult conditions. An inspection of all “living” ships was carried out, each of which made one of four possible solutions:

1. The ship remains in combat
2. The ship rises for conservation “by all the rules”, but without repair (there is no money for repairs).
3. The ship stands up for conservation as a donor of components for other ships of the same class.
4. The ship is decommissioned and sold for scrap regardless of anything, including its residual life, valuable mechanisms are removed, and the rest - in the furnace.

In the absence of stable funding, this program looked just like a gigantic conveyor of death. Even completely running units were cut, crews and headquarters were absolutely ruthlessly reduced, and combat ships capable of going out to sea became "piece goods."

Once upon a time, fleets A and B were the same in number and consisted of many tens of pennants. And in the “minus the first” year, A had twenty-five first ranks in service, and B only had eight, though the condition of the ships at B was much better, because other expenses were ruthlessly cut for their repair. At the same time, however, B had ten more ships left for conservation “for restoration”, while A had five and in worse condition, looted completely for spare parts. Of the five, it was possible to “revive” only two, and it was very expensive and long. At B - all ten. And for each sailing ship in B there were two crews.

But then came the realization that it was time to build.

Both countries analyzed their tasks. In A, the fleet received political orders from above to ensure the use of cruise missiles over a long range. In B, such a task was also posed. But the naval commanders of B had a clear and clear understanding of what war at sea was and how it was being waged. They understood that even with cruise missiles, even without, but the main enemy of surface ships was submarines. They understood that the ship lives a long time and the tasks before it during its service life can arise very different, and in different places. And they also remembered what it was worth keeping the fleet in a “living" state without funding, and not just letting it go by chance, and they were going to count every penny.

And so the “first” year came, the year when the money appeared.

A was a jolly chaos. Having received instructions from the General Staff to provide a missile salvo, and money from the Treasury, A quickly designed a series of small missile ships. These ships could launch cruise missiles from a universal installation of vertical launch on eight missiles, they could attack surface targets from it and conduct artillery fire. They had problems with seaworthiness, but no one set the task of providing them with combat use in the far sea zone. Bookmarks of such ships, which were planned to build ten units, began very quickly. The price of each was to be ten billion rubles, totaling one hundred billion.

There were no one hundred billion ships in B. It was only thirty-five. And there was a clear understanding that it was impossible to miss this last money. And that missiles are missiles, but no war at sea will ever be reduced to them alone. Therefore, Fleet B began to focus on small multi-purpose corvettes. In B, they were designed for a given cost. Corvette had a sonar system of several ASGs and torpedo tubes, as well as the same as in small missile ships A missile launcher for eight missiles.

In an effort to reduce the price, B went to the deliberate simplification of each ship. So, instead of a hangar, a place was left for the helicopter under it, for the future. A sliding light hangar shelter was developed, but it was not purchased. There was not a single system that would have to be developed from scratch, only modifications to the existing one were accepted. As a result, B had corvettes that were quite capable of fighting submarines, which had slightly better air defense than rockets had A, the same gun, and significantly better seaworthiness and cruising range.

The command of Fleet B fundamentally ensured that these corvettes could be used in battle groups along with the old first-movers in speed and seaworthiness. In addition, engineers B cheated - they provided a reserve of space for more powerful diesel generators, the main power cables could transmit twice as much current as needed, all the equipment included in the ship’s electronic weapons could be dismantled without entering the plant, just a crane and personnel. Engineers B analyzed the growth dynamics of the mass and dimensions of various equipment (the same radar) and provided for reinforcing and reinforcing decks where it could become necessary in the future, and the free volume they needed, where it was possible. For this, I also had to sacrifice something when designing the case.

As a result, B received two corvettes of 15 billion rubles. The remaining five were repaired by one of the “navigational first ranks,” and he received a small upgrade — the ability to fire new missiles from his old launchers, which had to be modified a little. In its missile salvo, this first rank turned out to be the same as two corvettes - 16 cruise missiles of a new type.

Two years later, B had on the stocks two corvettes in readiness 40% and one repaired first rank.

Country A had two RTOs on sea trials, and three more under construction, a contract was signed for another five.

By the beginning of the third year of the shipbuilding program, B was able to allocate another thirty-five billion. But the fleet command was given the task of strengthening the outfit of forces in the far sea zone. Fleet B reacted simply - contracts were signed for two more corvettes. Moreover, since there was no need to conduct any development work, some saved money was generated for which sets of helicopter hangars for all four corvettes were purchased. These hangars allowed for a long time to store helicopters on the ships and formally gave the admirals a reason to declare that the corvettes are capable of operating in the DMZ. However, this was so. The remaining five billion B was spent on repairs and minor modernization of another first rank, according to the same program as the first.

In A, the situation was different - the political leadership demanded to ensure the presence of patrol ships in areas where there was a risk of pirate attacks on merchant ships. The missile ships program continued, they continued to be built.

Having received the task of patrolling, Fleet A came up with patrol ships - simple and cheap. Frankly speaking, they were not optimal for such tasks, but at the very least it would be possible to chase pirates at them (with restrictions). Each ship cost A total of six billion rubles, and six were planned. Thus, to the one hundred billion rubles that had already been allocated and partially spent on missile ships, thirty-six more were added to patrol ships. By that time, it was in the process of developing seventy billion.

By the beginning of the fourth year of the shipbuilding program, an anti-piracy attack had fallen on B. Now, politicians also demanded from Fleet B that they ensure the fight against pirates. Under this was allocated funding, the same as received fleet A

But in B there were people who acted differently than in A. Instead of designing some kind of anti-piracy vessels, Parliament B pushed the legalization of private military companies, and authorized them to conduct such activities with the money of shipowners. This immediately removed the problem of protecting ships flying the flag of B or belonging to citizens of B and sailing under convenient flags.

True, the political leadership continued to demand patrolling of the pirate danger zones, and not with the first ranks, each exit of which cost a lot of money, but with small and inexpensive ships, like in A. And fleet B answered this demand. Namely, he laid more corvettes. That's just not fully equipped. They didn’t have an air defense system, there was only a regular place for it and wiring, there were no sonar stations, although they could also be delivered later, there was no bomb and air defense systems, there were only places for their installation. And there was no rocket launcher either. Everything was drowned out. As a result, one corvette stood at only nine billion per unit, and they built four units, and much faster than full ones. But they were immediately with the hangars.

By the end of the sixth year, in formation A there were six RTOs, and two patrolmen out of six, B had three corvettes in formation, one in trials and four “naked” corvettes in construction, in readiness 70%.

By the beginning of the seventh year, shipbuilding programs were audited in A and B.

In A, under pressure from lobbyists, they decided to build four more RTOs of ten billion each. In addition, the first ranks began to pour in - they had not done any repairs for a long time. However, A did not have a clear theory of why they needed the fleet and what it should do, so they planned to repair the first ranks according to the “push to the maximum” scheme. The ships were planned to be seriously rebuilt, and such repairs came out in 10 billions per ship. The number of cruise missiles that were supposed to get on the upgraded ship was to be 16 units. At first we decided to try one - a lot of new systems in the old building meant a high technical risk. Additional funds allocated to RTOs and the repair of an old large ship amounted to fifty billion.

In B, too, they underwent all revisions. It turned out that the pirates were killed by mercenaries of one of the nearby monarchies, and they were killed so hard that there were no one to give birth to new ones. The number of attacks on ships dipped to a few times a year. Patrol corvettes were now no longer needed, but the task of continuing the construction of the fleet was still not going away. But the military had an answer here - it’s easy to turn patrol corvettes into real ones, you just need to throw out the caps and covers, and put in place the previously uninstalled equipment weapon. Six billion for each of the four ships, twenty-four in all. It was quite capable of budget B. In addition, B could allocate another ten billion to the fleet. We decided to repair it with this money and, as before, it was easy to upgrade a couple of first ranks from the “running” ones.

By the beginning of the eleventh year of the shipbuilding program, the world had changed. The danger of war, including the sea, has grown.

By that time, all means had already been spent in A and all RTOs and patrol vessels had been handed over. 14 MRK and six patrol vessels. One of the first ranks was in the final stages of a complex and “charged” modernization. The rest of the previously available required urgent repairs, which had not been done all these years. 186 billion rubles were spent.

In B, by that time eight multifunctional corvettes with the possibility of using cruise missiles had been delivered. In addition, four new first-ranking of the eight existing chassis were repaired and re-equipped with new missiles.

All of the above required 140 billion rubles.

During the shipbuilding program, both A and B wrote off one wear rate first. B planned to take from storage and restore for about five billion another one of the same. And A didn’t have such an option, what they listed as “in storage” had long since decayed.

Now let's count.

For 186 billion rubles A received 112 missile cells - on 8 at 14 RTOs. More 16 at the expense of the same cost were expected in the future at the repaired first-rank. Total 128 missiles on marine carriers.

It was possible to ensure the deployment of 6 deck helicopters at sea on patrol ships.

B had other statistics - 64 cruise missiles in corvettes and 64 on repaired front-ranks. All the same 128 cruise missiles in a salvo. The ratio of the number of first ranks also changed - both countries lost one “running” ship, but B introduced the other from conservation, but A did not enter anything.

By the number of helicopters deployed at sea, Fleet B won - 8 corvettes were provided by eight helicopters at sea, and not 6, as B.

At the same time, over the years of the shipbuilding program, A had a huge hole in anti-submarine defense - those ships that A put into operation were unable to fight with submarines, while B was enough to load PLUR corvettes in launchers instead of cruise missiles.

Now they decided in A what to do best - urgently needed anti-submarine ships, which still had to be designed. It was assumed that these would be either corvettes, as in B, at 15 billions per unit, or simpler ships unable to take helicopters on board and use cruise missiles, at 8 billions per unit, at least 8 ships. And urgently needed to repair the oranges left over from the old days. Shipyards A could reanimate no more than two ships in two years. And there were 23 in the ranks and one on modernization. According to the forecasts of the “core” Central Research Institute, at such times, at least four ships will not see the repair, they will have to be decommissioned earlier, leaving twenty units in service.

As a result, new anti-submarine ships and repairs of the old ones got up at least 164 billion over the next ten years, with eight small anti-submarine ships and ten repaired and deeply upgraded first ranks (plus the one that has already been repaired).

Twenty years after the start of the shipbuilding program, A would have:

- 11 repaired and modernized ships of 1 rank, according to 16 cruise missiles;
- 9 partially combat-ready first-ranks, with the possibility of repair and modernization, and in very need of such;
- 14 RTOs on 8 cruise missiles;
- 6 almost unarmed patrol vessels;
- 8 small anti-submarine ship (small corvettes without take-off area and cruise missiles);
- Helicopters at sea on new ships - 6;
- missile salvos - 288 missiles.

350 billions of rubles would have been spent, and 9 billions of rubles in the next ten years were needed to repair another 90 first ranks.

B would have:

- 17 repaired first-class ships with new missiles instead of old ones and a small upgrade. By 16 cruise missiles;
- 15 of the URO / PLO corvettes already built (assuming that a simple and small ship can be built in 4 of the year). If necessary - according to 8 cruise missiles;
- 1 corvette under construction, the deadline for delivery is 1 year;
- volleys - 392 missiles + in a year another 8. Total will be 400;
- Helicopters at sea on new ships - 15 and another one in a year.

Spent - 325 billion. All future money for the fleet will go not for repairs of old ships, but for the construction of new ones, including first ranks.

It is easy to see this: B spent less money on the fleet, and at first it was much less, but in the end it received a fleet significantly stronger than A. So, for example, B at the time of the end of the comparison had 15 anti-submarine ships in service and one in completion . A has only 8 and each of them is worse than B.

Moreover, at the beginning of the third decade, And still has a kettlebell on its feet in the form of old and unmodernized ships that are the fourth dozen - in the real world, their reduction to combat readiness is not always possible. Then B will begin to build modern first-rankers, and country A will have to decide whether to cut old ships and build new ones, or save on new ones, but restore old ones. Both that, and another, as a result, will increase B advantage in forces. In addition, fleet A is also much more expensive to operate - it has the same tasks worse, but with a large number of ships, which means more crews, housing, salary money, berths, fuel, ammunition for combat training.

Plus, the factor is that B has only one type of new ship (we’ll put the old first ranks “out of brackets”, who knows what is there), and A has three types - MRK, patrol and MPK / corvette. And this is demonization, a triple set of spare parts and so on.

And if B had as much money as A? At a minimum, this would mean that B would have received another corvette in the same timeframe, and that the first-ranking restoration program would have been completed a couple of years earlier. Or maybe we could not lose one of the ships by age. Then B would have 18 first ranks with modern weapons against 11 in A, and as a result, with an additional corvette, a missile salvo B would be 424 missiles against 288 in A. And this despite the fact that A was stung in RTOs! And B has more than twice as many ships for anti-submarine defense!

But the most interesting was expected ahead. Any ship has the ability to age. Its radar is aging, air defense systems, electronics are becoming obsolete.

And A has no answer to this challenge of time. When their RTOs become obsolete in terms of their electronic and radio-technical weapons, it will not be easy to upgrade them.

And B has in corvettes a reserve of internal volumes, electric power and excessively reinforced foundations for various equipment. Where A will have to change ships or turn them over at the factory, B will solve everything a lot easier. And at times cheaper. Again.

This is how it works. This is how the presence of a sane shipbuilding strategy allows a poor country to get a more combat-ready, and, in some positions, even a larger fleet for less than what a rich but stupid enemy can build. It looks like the power of the poor, those who wisely spend every penny. Do not compare countries A and B with Russia - both of them are Russia. Only one - real, stupid and not having as a result of an efficient fleet. The second is virtual, able to count money and know what she wants. Countries A and B are not illustrations of real shipbuilding programs, in the end Russia also has 20380, whose “analogue” is not included in the comparison. Countries A and B are an illustration of the APPROACH to shipbuilding. The first is real, the one that is. The second is the one we must come to if we want to have a normal fleet.

Let’s draw some conclusions for a “poor” country seeking naval power.

1. The mass fleet of such a country is built according to the scheme “Design for a given cost”.
2. The mass fleet of such a country is being built within the framework of the doctrine of naval warfare, which this country professes. It is an instrument for the implementation of such a doctrine.
3. The mass fleet consists of multi-functional ships, this allows you to have one multi-functional ship instead of two or three specialized ones.
4. All of these ships are the SAME.
5. Repairs and modernizations of old ships are carried out in a timely manner and in a reasonable volume, without total restructuring of the entire ship, with the exception of some special circumstances when such a restructuring is justified.
6. In the absence of money for the maintenance of the fleet, its combat crew is immediately optimized “for the budget”, and the existing ships are stored with the maximum requirements for such an operation, ideally through repair. The situation cannot be brought to the mass deterioration of ships.
7. When assigning the value of the future ship, the need to have their maximum number is taken into account.

With these methods, it will be possible to maintain an acceptable balance of power with most real opponents - even if their fleets are larger, ours will be strong enough to either keep them from the war at all, or together with the VKS and the army to prevent them from winning it.


Simple. Multifunctional. Cheap Massive. The same. Clear?


However, there is one more thing.

Alien hands


Back to Mahan.

In his quote about the country with a land frontier, which will always lose at sea to those countries that do not have this frontier, there is a continuation that seriously supplements the meaning of this Mehan statement. Here it is:
An alliance of powers can, of course, lead to a change in balance.


And that changes everything. Yes, a country like Russia will not be able to "invest" in sea power, like England or the United States. Or like Japan. But you can find such allies, an alliance with which will help to change the balance of forces in our favor, now with them.

Add something written by Mahan to our own - you can also create such allies. And such actions fit into our goals at sea like nothing else.

There is a theory, and, for example, in Germany it was once even formalized that the presence of an adequate and strong fleet attracts allies. Proponents of this theory cite the example of the Anglo-Japanese alliance of the early twentieth century. Today, before my eyes, there is another example - a country with a rapidly developing naval fleet - China, has gained in no less than situational and, possibly, temporary allies no less than the Russian Federation.

Of course, the matter is not only and not so much in the navy. But the fact that the two weakest countries in comparison with the USA — Russia and China — are joining forces against the hegemon is a fact. Including the sea.

And now the United States, set up for confrontation with both Russia and China, is forced to consider the balance of forces, starting from the TWO opposing fleets.

Thus, it is worthwhile to understand: with a lack of sea power, you need to look for allies who have it, at least some. This was written by Mahan, as many countries did, as modern Russia once successfully did - in the case of China.

And you also need to be able to create such allies. From scratch.

There is a well-known and popular claim - the United States does not fight alone. This is not entirely true, but even in Vietnam they managed to attract a large military contingent in Australia, and - unofficially - tens of thousands of volunteers from Thailand and South Korea. The United States strives everywhere to create coalitions, even if constant, though not, even formalized, though not, it makes no difference: the more you gather supporters under your wing, the more chances are that in a given situation someone will take on part of the combat missions, although would be off their shores. This refers to war at sea more than to anything.

And it's worth seeing how they do it. Question: Why do Spain need aircraft carriers? That is, why are they even understandable, but it is Spain? Nevertheless, the Americans first handed over their Cabot to this country, then the documentation for the failed SCS, on which they first built the Prince of Asturias for themselves, and then a smaller copy of it for ... Thailand! Well, to whom such a ship is completely useless at first glance, but in fact it was after all the most loyal US ally in Asia.


Was USS Cabot, became SNS Dedalo. Light American aircraft carrier of the Second World War in the Spanish Navy, in 1988 year. The Americans needed many allies at sea, and they created maritime power for friendly countries. Also earned on this


Let's call a spade a spade - the US is actively contributing to the growth of the power of the naval forces of its friendly countries. They transmit ships, planes, helicopters, conduct training.

It’s worth learning from them.

Consider, for example, the potential benefits of properly conducting (these are the keywords here) Iran’s transformation into a country with a strong fleet. Firstly, this will allow Iran to be attached to Russia technologically - some of the systems on their ships should not have local analogues and be Russian-made. Secondly, this, just like the Russia-China link (no matter how loose and temporarily it may be), will change the balance of forces at sea.

Oddly enough, for many Iranians, sea power is a fad. We, as usual, do not know anything about this, but this is really so.

They will go to great lengths to help them build a combat-ready fleet. For example, Diego Garcia’s obligation to loom with any aggravation between the USA and Russia in the Pacific Ocean or in the Barents Sea. Iran is one of the three countries that actually fought the United States at sea during the Cold War. And, of course, they lost. There may be certain revanchist moods, and Russia may well use them, having received a reward for this for sales for naval equipment, a job for design bureaus, a spare parts market and new pain from our probable friends, which will force them to keep an enhanced outfit of forces in the Persian Gulf, but also in the Indian Ocean - always. A trifle, but nice. Especially when someone else’s money and someone else’s hands.

If you wish, such options can be found a lot. All of them will cost money not to us, but to other countries, all of them will squander the forces and money of the hegemon, and perhaps someday will give us real allies.

To sum up


Despite the fact that Russia will never be able to concentrate on the fleet as many resources as countries free of problems and challenges on land can do, this problem is not insurmountable. It can be reduced to negligible organizational methods.

These included replacing the missing troops and forces with their maneuver from other theater of operations and bringing the staff of command structures to a state where they could manage such maneuverable reserves without problems. It’s worth starting with the revival of centralized fleet management from the General Staff of the Navy and the High Command.

In shipbuilding, it is necessary to eliminate all the chaos with which it is accompanied in Russia, to build the same type of series of multifunctional ships with reduced cost, which would correspond to real threats emanating from the sea. About this, in principle, much has already been written, but repeating is not in vain.

It is important to maintain good relations with China, which has problems with the US and the ocean fleet.

Separately, it is worth taking a closer look at the possibility of creating naval forces for some countries so that they could divert part of the forces of a potential enemy, complicate the military-political situation for them and facilitate the sale of domestic weapons. It will also be useful for strengthening bilateral relations. All together, these measures will help prevent other countries from maintaining significant military superiority over Russia, at least one that will allow them to defeat us in a particular theater of war.

The poor may well be too strong even for the rich. If he wants to.
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