At an angle to the horizon. "Caliber" needs installation for inclined start

"Gauges" will start completely along an inclined path, but so far only from submarines

The advent of the UKSK universal naval firing complex and the 3С14 universal launchers that provide vertical launch of the Caliber family of cruise missiles was a sharp step forward in the potential capabilities of the Russian Navy. Now, during the construction of any warship, it became possible to "fit" into its design a "package" of at least eight vertically mounted missiles. 3С14 launchers can also be set in “blocks” of several units. Thus, Russia received technologies that are largely similar to those due to which the US Navy sharply added power at the turn of the 80's and 90's of the last century.

The creators of this system have the right to be proud of it.

However, another fact should not be hidden behind pride and joy - concentration only on vertical launch installations does not allow to fully reveal the combat potential of the Russian navy. Together with the 3С14, the Navy “splashed out a child with water” - refused a decision that allowed deploying Caliber family cruise missiles not only on new ships, or being upgraded by the Admiral Nakhimov TAKR and Marshal Shaposhnikov BPC.

We are talking about the inclined launch of cruise missiles, not vertically up, but at an angle to the horizontal. Such a solution would allow the installation of rocket launchers for the Caliber family of missiles on any old ship that has adequate deck reinforcements and provides resistance to heat from the jet exhaust of the rocket launch booster.

Installation, allowing you to run "Gauges" "in a slope" was developed, there is even an index 3С14П, where "P" means "Deck". It could be put on any ship armed with missiles, instead of a regular missile weapons. And with minimal alterations. But alas.


Launching a cruise missile is not vertically upward, as our Caliber and American Tomahawks are launching today, but at an angle to the horizontal, “tilting” is more energetically advantageous for a cruise missile. The reason is that a few seconds after the start, additional lifting force already appears on its body, and the appearance of lifting force on the wing occurs immediately after the wings open.

A very important advantage of this method of launching a rocket is a gentle “slide” - a rocket launching “on a slope” does not rise to such a height that the accelerator raises the rocket during vertical launch. This is important because with a vertical launch, an adversary can detect a missile that has risen high enough for its radars to detect it from a great distance - albeit for a matter of seconds. These seconds are enough for the enemy to understand that a missile strike is being struck.

Start with submarine - the trajectory of the rocket is very flat

At an angle to the horizon. "Caliber" needs installation for inclined start

Launch of 3M14 missiles from surface ships - it can be seen that the rocket takes off quite high to go on a horizontal trajectory

Another important feature of such installations is that they allow you to equip anything with cruise missiles. This is confirmed, for example, by the American experience.

The first “Tomahawks” began to arrive at the Navy of the so-called ABL - armored box launcher. Being incomparably lighter than the standard Mk.41 today, ABLs do not require so many volumes under the deck - in fact, they only need power cables and connections to the CIUS. It can be installed on any ship. The Americans, however, they were not just inclined, but also lifting - this provided the possibility of multiple reloading on the ship. But we still do not have space, you can put it stationary.

Mounted on a Virginia-class nuclear missile cruiser, Mk.143 installations

And this is the installation in the already raised position for launching missiles on the ship of the Second World War - battleship "Wisconsin" class "Iowa"

The Americans, having received such a launcher, immediately began to equip it with their "ones" - destroyers "Spruance", nuclear-powered cruisers of the Virginia class and, until a certain moment, the champion of carrying the Tomahawks - battleships of the Iowa class. A little later vertical installations appeared on the Spryuans and Tikonderogs, and then a series of Arly Burke destroyers went on, but it all started with armored boxes on decks.

Starting a Tomahawk cruise missile from an inclined position - the Caliber can fly exactly the same, it would be why

And this lesson from the past, our Navy completely ignores.

Missed Opportunities

There are ships in the under deck of which vertical launch installations are placed. This is, for example, the heavy nuclear missile cruiser Admiral Nakhimov. Or BOD project 1155 - we will return to the project of their modernization.

It is less known that the “vertical” 3С14 can stand on the TFR of the 1135 project instead of the standard Metel missile system - then instead of the four old 85P missiles, the ship would receive eight “cells” into which modern 91Р / РТ and КР caliber family missiles could stand "- both the 3M54 anti-ship missile and the 3M14 missile for striking ground targets.

However, such an upgrade makes sense only with the repair of the ship and the extension of its service life by a substantial amount, the possibility of which is not obvious.

But the possibility of installing inclined launching rails (if they were) on the MRK of 1234 "Gadfly" projects is obvious.

Currently, these ships are undergoing modernization repairs, during which, instead of the Malachite missile system with six missiles, the ships receive the Uranus missile system with sixteen.

Such modernization certainly increases their strike potential when attacking surface targets. However, if such ships received “Caliber” instead of “Uranus,” then their strike potential would not have been less, rather, on the contrary, they would have become multiple. But at the same time they would have the opportunity to attack ground targets.

Currently, the total volley of cruise missiles of our entire fleet is absolutely insufficient, in the US Navy the same number of missiles can be launched by a couple of destroyers. At the same time, in Russia there are twelve units of 1234 missile systems of the project, and two units of ships of the 1239 project.

It is difficult to determine how many Caliber family missiles could actually fit on the Gadfly. On the ship of the 1234.7 project “Nakat”, which was used to test the Onyx anti-ship missiles, it was possible to place 12 of such anti-ship missiles. Given the fact that the Caliber family of missiles is smaller, it is safe to say that approximately sixteen of these missiles would have fallen on RTOs.

MRK Nakat with Onyxes

Of course, in the future, such launch vehicles will be replaced by ground launchers. But, firstly, ground control missiles of the Kyrgyz Republic will not be able to attack enemy ships if the enemy substitutes, and secondly, we already have RTOs anyway, why not give them additional capabilities, making the ship more versatile? This is not to spend on new money - the ships have already been built.

Approximately the same “Caliber” could be installed on each of the two X-ray projectiles of 1239 project.

Thus, if pennies on oblique launchers for ships had not been saved at one time, and an accelerated modernization of RTOs had been carried out, now the Navy would have more carriers for cruise missiles on 14, and each of them would carry 16 cruise missiles. Total 224 missiles in salvo.

Similarly, the destroyers of the 956 project could be modernized. These ships, like RTOs, are questionable in concept - they have very powerful artillery weapons combined with powerful anti-ship missiles, but in a small amount - 8 units on board. Air defense, frankly speaking, is moderate in capabilities, and anti-aircraft defense is approximately zero.

The ship, therefore, is not optimal and vulnerable from under the water. Having put here his problematic boiler-turbine power plant, we get a “walking headache”. But, again, as in the case of RTOs, other ships of this class will not be soon, and this one can very well be used for surface attacks, fire support for landing and air defense. Replacing the Moskit anti-ship missiles with Caliber would, firstly, solve the problem of obsolescence of the main offensive weapons for this ship, which, we recognize, exist, secondly, increase its ammunition load, and thirdly, also give it the ability to strike along the coast from a great distance. And here, no ground complex could compete with it. The destroyer is a ship in the ocean zone, armed with the Caliber KR, it could strike almost anywhere on the planet, remaining in the depths of the ocean zone without approaching a dangerous distance to the enemy’s coast.

A somewhat similar example - the old anti-ship missile system on the Indian destroyer "Rajput" of the 61E project was replaced by the anti-ship missile system "Bramos". It can be seen that this is just an inclined farm with TPK. PU for Caliber would be identical

Assuming that the destroyer would have 16 missiles, we get another 32 missiles in salvo on the ships that are in service, and, potentially, if Persistent is repaired, then 16, all 48. Together with the modernized RTOs of two projects - 272 missiles.

But all this pales against the backdrop of the opportunity to rearm the 1164 project missile cruisers. The placement of anti-ship missile launchers on these ships is such that their replacement with vertical launch launchers is completely excluded. But the replacement of sixteen huge launchers of Soviet anti-ship missiles with compact launchers for the Caliber, and perhaps the Onyx (like at the Nakat missile defense system) is quite feasible. It’s hard to immediately imagine how many missiles the cruiser can carry after such an upgrade, but in any case we are talking about many tens of units. And some of them may well be intended for attacks on ground targets.

The missile cruiser of the 1164 project "Moscow". It can be seen that the launchers are simply huge, their Caliber family missiles (and maybe Onyx) would fit in a huge amount

Once again, it’s worthwhile to focus on the fact that everything is technically feasible - the Caliber family missiles can be launched from inclined guides, a transport and launch container has been developed for experimental container launchers, which can become the “base” for the development of TPK with inclined launch. Those ships on which such missiles could "register" and so have inclined launchers, and, accordingly, will withstand the load from the "Caliber". All that is needed is political will and a very small amount of money compared to other military expenditures.

True, there is an expensive option.

Modernization of the BPC “Marshal Shaposhnikov” as a comparative example. As you know, the BOD of the Marshal Shaposhnikov project is currently under modernization. There was a lot of speculation about this modernization at one time, and today it can be said that the “speculators” were largely right. The modernization project really, among other things, provides for the dismantling of one of two artillery installations, instead of which 2 launchers 3С14 will be mounted, eight cruise missiles in each. Regular PU KT-100 PLRK "Trump" has already been dismantled. Instead, they will be mounted PU RK "Uranus".

Inclined PU CT-100 PLRK "Bell". Instead of them there will be PU "Uranus"

The photo shows that the second AK-100 artillery mount was dismantled and "wells" under the 3С14 launcher were already mounted instead

View from above. "Wells" are visible under 3С14

At first glance, the result of the modernization is promised to be good - the ship has 16 “cells” in which there may be PLURs for destroying submarines, and cruise missiles for hitting the ground, there may be other missile weapons.

And the plus to them is also Uranus. The downside is the lost gun.

It’s too early to talk about the price, let’s just say that two 3С14 launchers for this ship by themselves are much more than a billion rubles (including hull operations). The numbers will one day be voiced, while we confine ourselves to the fact that the restructuring of the entire bow of such a ship cannot be cheap.

The problem with our Navy was that there was a much cheaper alternative.

The fact is that it was technically possible to slightly, by a few degrees, change the installation angle of the standard KT-100 launchers, place them instead of the standard 85RU missiles on a pair of TPK with missiles of the Caliber family.

Examples of existing TPK for "Caliber" missiles. Approximately the same, only a longer container is used for the Caliber-NK. And it is precisely such containers that could stand inside the CT-100 instead of the large-sized 85RU PLUR

It would be several times cheaper - neither 3С14 nor cutting the body where they were installed would be needed, the second 100-mm gun would remain in place, only the BIUS would be modified. Moreover, the number of missiles in CT-100 would be the same as that of Shaposhnikov, it would be in 3С-14.

What would be the advantages of such a solution? Firstly, it is many billion rubles cheaper. The total savings on all BODs that will be modernized would be comparable to the cost of building a small ship or ship.

Secondly, the gun remains. BOD project 1155 do not have long-range air defense systems. Their SAM “Dagger”, among other things, has a small reach of the target in height - 6000 meters. AK-100 guns have more than twice the reach in height. And when the ship attacks with bombs from aircraft flying at altitudes of more than 6000 meters, it is the guns that are its only means of air defense. And here the number of trunks is of serious importance. When repulsing a missile attack, an “extra” 100-mm barrel would also be in place.

Third, the timing. A simple modernization, not associated with an extensive cutting of hull structures, would allow to finish all work with the ship much faster. And this is also critical for the Navy.

Someone will object that in this case the ship is deprived of the Uran missile system, the missiles of which should be installed in place of the KT-100 launchers. But closer to the stern of the ship are the CTA-53 torpedo tubes obsolete to the limit and taking up a lot of space. They have no meaning at present. Their dismantling will allow not only to place in the indicated area of ​​the ship the launcher of the Republic of Kazakhstan "Uranus" (with the direction of fire to the side, as on Western ships or corvettes of the 20380 project), but also to install launchers of the "Package" complex with 324-mm torpedoes and anti-torpedoes there. Which is not superfluous for a ship whose task is to fight submarines.

It could be put and RK "Uranus" and PU complex "Package"

Alas, none of this will happen already, at least with Shaposhnikov - for sure, but knowing the policy of the Navy, you can guarantee that it will not happen at all.

Despite the fleet’s indifference to cost savings, it’s worth voicing this problem - it is technically possible to ensure the launch of Caliber family cruise missiles from inclined launchers. Such installations can be mounted on naval ships instead of the standard ones. In the case of the BOD of the 1155 project, as a principle, inclined launchers can in principle be used standard CT-100 launchers with minimal modifications. But nobody in the Navy needs them.

The use of inclined launchers will allow upgrading the mass of ships armed with the Navy, giving them new capabilities, and not expensive. All that is needed is to quickly resume the development of the 3C-14P launcher and bring it to the "series", develop a project to modernize the CT-100 launcher, finalize the Caliber missile launchers for oblique launch, develop new missile software and conduct tests.

There are no fundamental reasons why something in this project could not work out seriously.

Vertical launching installations are good in that they allow you to "pack" more missiles into a given volume than inclined ones, but they are more appropriate on new ships than on old ones, on old ones it makes sense in a few cases. In the rest, both common sense and economic feasibility require a completely different solution.

Financing the Navy in the foreseeable future will be insufficient, and this requires an economical approach to everything. It would be very nice if we would get firepower at a lower cost of money, which our country has so little.
Photos used:, Vadim Savitsky / TASS, Press Service of the RF Ministry of Defense, ichtios (, Matvey (Military Review), Agat Concern,,, RIAN
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