Baltic corvettes on exercises, 2019 year
There is an opinion that the Baltic Fleet is a fleet without a future, that it is outdated and it makes no sense to develop it. There is even a joke about the former fleet. It is worth sorting out this issue.
Some characteristics of the theater of operations located on it countries and their impact on the situation
The Baltic Sea is very small in size and shallow. Depths are generally measured in tens of meters; there are shallows. Geographically, the sea is locked - access to the open ocean from it passes through the Danish Straits, controlled by a country unfriendly to Russia - Denmark. The Kiel Canal is controlled by Germany. Russia controls a few percent of the Baltic coast, and it has only two naval bases on it - Kronstadt (to put it bluntly, more than just a base, it has great infrastructure) and the Baltic Naval Forces. The latter is within the range of the actual fire of the Polish army artillery.
For those who do not remember the map of the region
Hydrology of the Baltic Sea significantly complicates the detection of submarines by acoustic methods, but due to the shallow depths of the submarine it is difficult to hide from non-acoustic ones - primarily radar detection of wave traces on the surface of the water, above a moving submarine, detection of wake traces, detection of heat generated by a submarine using thermal imaging equipment .
The Leningrad Navy base in Kronstadt is located inside the narrow Gulf of Finland, the northern coast of which belongs mainly to Finland, and the southern one to the Baltic countries that are NATO members. The Gulf of Finland can be very quickly blocked by the laying of minefields, which will cut off Northwest Russia from maritime communications. This will be an economic disaster for the country as a whole.
On the shores of the Gulf of Finland is the second most important city in Russia, St. Petersburg, with its port, as well as the most important export infrastructure, for example, the port of Ust-Luga.
Russia owns the Kaliningrad region, located “halfway” from Russian territory proper to the exit from the Baltic Sea. Its population is more than a million people and maintaining a stable connection with this territory is critically important for Russia, and for the population of the Kaliningrad region. Communication with the territory, independent of third (hostile) countries, is carried out exclusively by sea. The lines connecting the Kaliningrad Region with the rest of Russia are thus critical sea lanes that must remain free under absolutely any circumstances.
The population of the countries of the Baltic region is mostly hostile to the Russian Federation. This has both historically determined reasons, and is due to the absolutely insane and unrepresentable for the average Russian citizen incandescence of anti-Russian propaganda. For example, in Sweden, for example, dramatic feature films are made where the Russian military massively poison the population of Sweden with rains contaminated with psychotropic substances, and this is taken seriously and does not cause any rejection of the mass audience. The attitude of the Poles also does not require comments, with the exception of the population of the regions bordering the Kaliningrad region. The population of Finland is largely suspicious of Russia, although it is very far from hostility to the level of Poland or Swedish paranoia.
The British and US Navy have free and unlimited access to the Baltic Sea thanks to the position of Denmark and can deploy there almost any forces, the strength of which is limited only by military expediency.
The risk of a full-scale war in the region is low - all countries that are in it to a greater or lesser extent are “friends against” the Russian Federation and will not fight among themselves, but a full-scale attack on Russia should be considered unlikely due to its nuclear status (although it cannot be completely ruled out ) At the same time, the intensity of anti-Russian propaganda in the media of some countries has already led to a partial loss of an adequate perception of reality by their population and political leadership, and this creates risks of local clashes of limited scope.
This risk is especially enhanced by the fact that the US leadership is firstly interested in such clashes, and secondly, it has an almost unlimited influence on the mechanisms for making foreign policy decisions in some countries, whose population is no longer able to evaluate the actions of their authorities adequately. Moreover, opportunities have been outlined for introducing mentally ill people who are sick from a medical point of view into the power structures of the same Poland, an example of which some time ago was the Minister of National Defense of Poland Anthony Matserevich. With such cadres, gaining the United States, Britain, or another opponent of Russia of their own kamikaze country, willing to sacrifice themselves in the war with Russia, is a purely technical task that can be done at any given time.
The specifics of hostilities in the Baltic
The small distances between the bases of the warring parties, as well as the large number of skerries where you can mask and hide warships, led to the fact that to ensure, if not victory, at least non-defeat in the Baltic, the belligerent has only one way of acting - decisive an offensive with the goal of neutralizing the enemy fleet as quickly as possible. This theater of operations does not give other options, the speed of any operations on this theater is too high due to its smallness, and the enemy simply needs to be forewarned in everything.
During the First World War, both Russia and Germany ignored this situation and as a result, none of the parties in the Baltic region achieved a strategically significant positive change in the situation, which made all the losses incurred in the battles by the parties largely in vain. The Germans made the right conclusions from this. During the Second World War, the very small German-Finnish forces, consisting largely of mobilized civilian courts, were able to effectively neutralize the disproportionately larger Baltic Fleet of the RKKF in the very first days of the war. The reason for this was the possession of the initiative and the pace of operations ahead of the enemy.
The Baltic Fleet, in terms of its numerical superiority over any potential enemy in the region, could not oppose anything to this.
There were a lot of reasons for this state of affairs, today we can safely say that the Baltic Fleet, like the RKKF as a whole, was in a state of systemic crisis, which determined its effectiveness.
What was the Baltic Fleet supposed to do?
Use their light forces and aircraft for effective reconnaissance to great depths, and large surface ships to prevent German offensive mining operations in the Gulf of Finland. There were enough forces for this, the courage of the personnel, too, in the end, the Soviet pilots opened fire on German ships for the first time even before the “canonical” moment of the outbreak of war in 03.30 in the morning of June 22 of 1941. The command had an understanding of when the war was about to begin, and the circle of future opponents was clear. If such measures were taken in advance, no blockade of the fleet would have occurred and it could have had a completely different influence on the course of the battles.
But nothing was done, for a complex set of reasons. The results are known.
Another feature of military operations in the Baltic is that it is the only theater of operations where light forces are really capable of performing a wide range of tasks independently, and where surface ships are more likely to engage in battle against other surface ships than anywhere else.
Another specific feature of the theater of war, also stemming from its geography, is the possibility of waging a mine war on a scale that is nowhere else possible. For a long time mine loaders were a very common class of warships both in NATO and in neutral countries, and even today it is minzags that are the main warships in the Finnish Navy.
The current state of the Baltic Fleet of the Russian Federation
At present, the Baltic Fleet of Russia is still a “fragment” of the Baltic Fleet of the USSR. This is not an association created for a task or tasks, it is the remnants of what was previously there and what should have acted in completely different conditions. The structure of the Baltic Fleet of the Russian Navy, its naval staff, and the forces of the Naval Aviation that are in the fleet are not based on any doctrine or concept of combat use. It’s just “a lot of ships” and no more.
We give some examples.
There is a clear neglect of the submarine forces of the Baltic Fleet, at the moment they include one operational submarine B-806 "Dmitrov". Hypothetically, she will soon be joined by another company - Alrosa, but first she must get out of the repair and make the transition to the Baltic.
There is a misunderstanding of what surface forces and where the fleet should possess - the most valuable and large fleet ships, 20380 project corvettes, are based in Baltiysk, where Polish artillery can get them. There is also the flagship of the fleet - destroyer "Persistent", naturally, when it comes out of repair.
The Undaunted project that is being repaired by the 11540 TFR project may still come out of it without the Uran missile system that it’s “relying on”, however, there may still be options.
But with the available anti-mine forces there are no options - even if the minesweepers that the Baltic Fleet had could fight modern mines, then they would not be enough. But they can’t. In general, the attitude of the Navy to the mine threat in the Baltic is not much different from the attitude to the mine threat in the North or the Pacific Ocean, but, as has just been said, even the geography in the Baltic favors the conduct of the mine war, and the neighbors are preparing for it.
In general, the Baltic Fleet is not ready for a serious war.
This is not surprising. On the website of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation The main tasks of the Baltic Fleet are defined as:
—Protection of the economic zone and areas of production activity, suppression of illegal production activities;
- ensuring the safety of navigation;
—Performing government foreign policy actions in economically important areas of the oceans (visits, business visits, joint exercises, actions as part of peacekeeping forces, etc.).
- ensuring the safety of navigation;
—Performing government foreign policy actions in economically important areas of the oceans (visits, business visits, joint exercises, actions as part of peacekeeping forces, etc.).
Explicitly, the Defense Ministry assigns to the Baltic Fleet the character of a sort of "ritual" formation, the purpose of which is "to appear, not to be." Hence the lack of an intelligible strategy for the existing deliveries of new ships to the Baltic - they exist, but they are largely unsystematic in nature, which does not correspond to the model of threats that Russia faces in this theater of operations.
Threats and Tasks
The “model" war that can be waged today against Russia is the war with Georgia in August 2008. That is, this is a conflict in which Russia, under the cover of a provocation, is attacked by a kamikaze country acting in the interests of third countries (for example, the USA), which inflicts losses on people and equipment, and then suffers a military defeat, but at the cost of inflicting Russia colossal foreign policy damage. At the same time, the issue of military losses and political damage are interconnected - the less capable the military organization of Russia has shown itself to be, the greater the political damage. The fate of the kamikaze country does not matter, moreover, the stronger it gets, the better for the beneficiary of the conflict. Thus, the stronger Russia hits back, the better for the beneficiary of the conflict (in the first approximation, this is again the United States and the bureaucracy of the NATO bloc).
The Baltic is an ideal place for such provocations. Firstly, due to the presence of at least four potential kamikaze countries - Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Secondly, thanks to the presence of a country that itself will not engage in offensive military operations against Russia, but will gladly play the role of the victim - Sweden. Thirdly, due to the presence in Russia of an extremely vulnerable point - the Kaliningrad region, separated from the territory of the Russian Federation. Fourth, due to the fact that it is technically possible to concentrate the main efforts of the parties on the sea, where Russia not only does not have adequate naval forces, but also does not understand how to use them, and what is the essence of naval war in principle.
What could be the object of such a provocation?
Kaliningrad region. As soon as a certain beneficiary needs a war with the participation of Russia, it is necessary to attack a point that Russia cannot fail to defend. In 2008, they were peacekeepers in South Ossetia and its civilian population.
When in 2014, the Americans needed to provoke a Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Ukrainian troops deliberately fired on the civilian population of Donbass, since their masters believed that Russia would not be able to stay away in this case. Then we managed to evade the open invasion, limiting ourselves to less ambitious measures, but in the case of a hypothetical attack on Kaliningrad it doesn’t work out that way, we’ll have to openly beat back.
In what form can an attack occur? In any, depending on the extent of the conflict required by the beneficiary. So, in the minimum version, this could be artillery shelling of military facilities in Baltiysk from Poland, with the simultaneous propaganda pumping of its population that it is shelling itself or that shells are exploding at the crooked Russians, and they are trying to make “good forces ". Any response from Russia to this will be defeated as unprovoked aggression.
In a tougher version, such a shelling will only be the beginning, followed by a continuation of various kinds of retaliatory actions. At this stage, the war is very convenient to transfer to the sea in order to exclude the possibility for Russia to realize its superiority on land.
The possibility of such a transfer is very real. For this, it is enough that NATO is not the subject of the conflict, but that it be an independent operation of the Polish armed forces, for example.
In this case, Russia will be in a situation where it does not border the attacking side on land. Moreover, in order to immediately set all the traps, the enemy can behave as follows - the former Soviet republics of the Baltic States verbally condemn the actions of the attacking side - Poland, and demand that it abandon the continuation of hostilities, initiating ceasefire negotiations with Russia. At the same time, foreign military contingents in the Baltic countries will be strengthened.
Thus, Russia has lost the political basis for the “breakdown” of the corridor to Kaliningrad by force - on its way are countries that have supported it itself, albeit in words, and which are members of NATO, and have the right to apply for help from other countries of the bloc in accordance with the fifth article of the NATO Charter. And who do not participate in the attack on the Russian Federation. An attack on these countries in such conditions, and even when there are military units of other NATO countries that are also not openly involved in the conflict, will be political suicide for the Russian Federation, and potentially fraught with a really big war with unpredictable consequences.
Further, the enemy can take any measures to block Kaliningrad from the sea, for example, massive offensive mining, to which the Russian Federation has nothing to answer. Any blow from Russia to neutral countries is already a victory for the USA, Belarus’s refusal to participate in the war and Russia's permission to release Kaliningrad from land is already a victory for the USA, and even the threat of nuclear weapons this is a double victory, since it will vividly show the whole world the incapacity of Russia even when defending its territory and its near-zero value as an ally.
In fact, absolutely any outcome of such a war will be a defeat for Russia and a victory for its enemies, except for one thing - lightning defeat by Russia of the forces that the enemy will use against it, without serious damage to its territory and population, and without prejudice to the neutrals, whose roles in such a scenario as NATO will not come out strangely. But for this, Russia at least needs to maintain communications with Kaliningrad behind itself, in order to quickly deploy large forces there sufficient to decisively defeat the enemy, which requires a capable fleet, which is absent and which the Russian Federation, apparently, does not plan to have in the Baltic at all.
Moreover, what is very important - the defeat of the enemy must be completed faster than the beneficiary of the conflict (for example, the United States) can deploy its forces in the region - by the time they arrive, everything should be finished.
Such a scenario is far from the only one. There are much more difficult solutions. If the sanction pressure on the Russian Federation continues, it will be possible to bring matters to a sea blockade of Russian ports, and the enemy dominating at sea will be able to do this somewhere near the Danish Straits. Moreover, it is possible to wrap up any vessels with neutral flags going to or from Russia without touching the vessels under Russian, then from the point of view of international law, the Russian Federation will have no reason to intervene - neither its territory nor its vessels are touched.
A way out of such a crisis would be to force Denmark to pass ships through the straits under the threat of damage anywhere else, and at the same time to deploy the Northern Fleet and the Baltic Fleet in the Baltic to make blockade actions impossible. And again we are talking about the need to have a fleet adequate to the tasks.
The danger is a combination of several scenarios of hostilities and provocations. So, during a crisis around Kaliningrad, NATO, regardless of Poland, can inspire another round of provocations with submarines in Swedish territorial waters (see “Submarines and psychological warfare. Part 1 » и “Submarines and psychological warfare. Part 2 »), which may contribute to the involvement of Sweden either in a war with Russia or NATO or in blockade actions against the Russian Federation and in any case will cause Russia significant political damage.
In addition to military crises, the Baltic Fleet also has peacetime tasks unrelated to the actual military operations in the Baltic. So, it is Baltiysk that is the military base closest to the Atlantic. The presence of a number of large surface ships in the Baltic in peacetime is quite rational, since they are closest to those areas of the oceans where naval forces are currently operating (with the exception of the Mediterranean, which is closest to get from the Black Sea). Actually now this is the only task that the fleet is fulfilling for real.
At the same time, with the mass of military scenarios, the presence of large surface ships in the Baltic will be on the contrary, unjustified, and the Navy, on the contrary, should be ready to withdraw them to the North in advance or deploy them to the Atlantic together with the forces of other fleets.
It is important to understand that nowhere else is there such a gathering of anti-Russian countries as in the Baltic, nowhere else are there such opportunities for intrigue against Russia as in the Baltic. Both in Ukraine and around the Kuril Islands, bilateral confrontations are possible, one of the parties in which the Russian Federation will be. In the Baltic, anything is possible, and at an extremely high pace.
What will be fraught with the victory of a country over Russia at the Baltic Theater? By shutting down, even temporary, the economy of the second most important region in the Russian Federation - the North-West of Russia, together with St. Petersburg, as well as the loss of connection with the overseas territory of the Russian Federation - Kaliningrad, where, again, more than one million people live. This is a catastrophe. True, if, due to the banal shortage of minesweepers or anti-submarine aircraft, one has to resort to nuclear weapons, it will not be much better.
Conclusions on the importance of the Baltic Fleet
In peacetime, the Baltic Fleet is important for naval operations by surface ships in the Atlantic, the Caribbean and the Mediterranean Sea. However, the limited location and the limited value of such ships in some variants of the conflict on the Baltic Sea requires that the number of large surface ships be limited.
At the same time, the importance of submarines and light forces remains. The Baltic Sea is the only marine theater where light forces will be able to carry out a wide range of tasks independently, without the support of large surface ships and nuclear submarines. However, they will be dependent on aviation.
The Baltic region is a place of potential military conflict that will take on unusual forms - a high-intensity and high-tech conflict of limited proportions, in which one of the parties will pursue goals that are far from a military victory, which will require adequate goal setting from Russia. The fighting will be characterized by their highest pace - on the verge of losing control by politicians, since in some cases the belligerents will have no choice but to maintain an ultrahigh pace of operations.
Purely Russian specifics will be the need to be prepared to deploy both naval forces and the floating rear in the sea at the very first reconnaissance signs of any impending provocation. At the same time, since the issue of possession of communications between Russian territories in the Baltic will be key, not only the fleet forces, but also the airborne forces and even parts of the marine corps and airborne and ground forces should be prepared for actions to destroy enemy ships, for example by raids against its naval land bases by evacuation by air or sea.
The key issue of victory will be the speed of naval operations and other operations against the enemy fleet.
During the Second World War, it was the Baltic Theater of Operations that turned out to be the most difficult for the USSR. There is no particular reason to believe that today the situation will be different. It is already complex - Russia borders on the Baltic Sea with a host of hostile countries and has only two naval bases, while Poland is slowly modernizing its naval forces, and with its modest numbers it already has three submarines in service, and surpasses the Baltic Fleet in terms of the number of minesweepers and Sweden has technological superiority over the Russian Federation in naval underwater weapons, anti-submarine ships and aviation, and a number of other weapons.
Also, the most important quality of the Baltic Fleet should be its readiness for a mine war, both in terms of defense and in terms of offensive mining. With this, everything is bad, individual ships are practicing mining, but exercises on massive productions are not carried out for a while, as far as mine action, everything has already been said in principle.
It is worthwhile to outline what the Baltic Fleet's forces should be.
Baltic Fleet for the first half of the 21st century
As we recall from the article “We are building a fleet. Theory and Purpose", The fleet must establish dominance at sea, if possible without a fight, if not, then leading battles with the enemy’s Navy, in which the latter must be destroyed or defeated and forced to flee.
The specifics of the Baltic is that the fleets of potential opponents are mainly represented by surface ships. In addition, with the hypothetical deployment of the Navy of non-Baltic countries in the region, it will also be carried out mainly by surface ships - for nuclear or large non-nuclear submarines the Baltic is small (although technically they may well operate there), the risks of losing them in an unfamiliar hydrological environment are very high . But large US and NATO surface ships on the Baltic Sea have deployed more than once, including aircraft carriers - the last time it was the Spanish UDC with Harrier II aircraft. Thus, Russia, with its budgetary constraints and insufficient resources, should have forces and means in the Baltic Fleet for the destruction of surface ships.
The most logical for the Baltic seems to be the massive use of light forces as the main strike means, and slightly more powerful strike ships to protect them. The small size of the Baltic Sea makes it possible to ensure fighter aircraft on air duty to protect naval strike groups. In this situation, the “composition” of forces looks like this: large NKs (for example, 20380 project corvettes or other multifunctional corvettes upgraded to increase the effectiveness of air defense and anti-aircraft defense) under the protection of fighters from the coast are forces that ensure combat stability (consider - defense against any forces and means of the enemy) light forces that perform the main missile missions, as well as defending against any forces and means of the enemy ships of the rear.
What light forces should these be? Given the need for strikes on surface ships, these should be high-speed and nautical missile boats, inconspicuous in the radar range. And it is necessary to make an important reservation. There can be no question of turning such a boat into a Death Star. It should be a simple and cheap ship with a small displacement. It should not be a pity to lose him (now we are not talking about the crew). But it has to be really fast. For example, the old Turkish Kartal-class missile boats with a displacement of two hundred tons and a tail carried four RCCs and had a maximum speed of 45 knots on four not-so-powerful diesel engines. More importantly, they could travel long distances at high speed, so with the 35 nodal course these boats could go 700 miles and nothing would have broken with a high degree of probability.
Kartal is not a good role model, but definitely a “direction worth looking into."
Of course, this example from the past is not entirely relevant - today we need much more powerful electronic weapons. But, nevertheless, these missile boats are a good demonstration of the approach to light striking forces in the form in which they have a right to exist. Our “Lightnings” of the 1241 project in any of its modifications are “ideologically” very close to the desired version of the ship, but they lack stealth in the radar and thermal ranges, and besides, they are probably too expensive, given the gas turbine power plant. You need something simpler, cheaper, more inconspicuous, smaller and, perhaps, quite a bit faster. And in principle, while the Lightning is in operation, the development of such a cheap missile boat is quite real.
Rocket boat of the 12411M project of the Pacific Fleet
In no case should such a ship be confused with an RTO. The modern XRMK X-ray project “Karakurt” costs about ten billion rubles, which completely deprives it of sense as an attacking “unit” - it is corny too expensive to climb under fire. In addition, he lacks speed in comparison with a missile boat. And as part of the "heavy" forces - he is too specialized. There is no anti-aircraft defense, there is no anti-torpedo protection, you cannot put a helicopter on it ... Of course, they will have to be used in that capacity while they are in service, but gradually the role of Caliber carriers in the Baltic should be taken by multifunctional corvettes and submarines, and if before this will come - ground launchers. As for Buyanov-M, these are pure floating batteries, and they are able to influence the outcome of the armed struggle to the very minimum extent.
“Heavy” forces will engage in battle when an adversary tries to get a “light” attack with a massive attack, or, as an alternative, when a third party’s naval force breaks through the Danish Straits if it is decided not to let it in. And if it becomes possible to establish dominance at sea, especially with the destruction of enemy submarines, then such ships will be able to accompany landing troops, support them with fire of their guns, provide basing of helicopters, including attack ones, capable of operating along the coast, and provide for the blockade of enemy ports and air defense of naval formations landing troops and convoys.
They will be able to prevent the enemy from entering the areas where anti-submarine search is being conducted, and they themselves will be able to lead it in the future, when instead of the IPC of the 1331 project there will be other ships, whatever they are.
We need submarines, but of a smaller size and displacement than what we are doing today or even what we plan to do. Moreover, it is critical for the Baltic to have a VNEU - the boats will have a couple of days of deploying force until the enemy adapts to the hostilities, then his aircraft will hang over the sea and, firstly, it’s unlikely to emerge at least under the RPD to charge the batteries, and secondly, it will be very relevant to perform separation from the anti-submarine forces of the enemy in the submerged position, and for a submarine devoid of VNEU this will mean a complete consumption of electric power in literally one hour. The presence of VNEU is critical for the Baltic Sea.
Boats should be small - so the Poles are armed with diesel-electric submarines of the “Cobben” class, with an underwater displacement of 485 tons. It is the small size that is critical for reducing the likelihood of a boat being detected by non-acoustic methods. Yes, and on the shallows easier to work. Against this background, our “Halibut” with their 3000 and more tons in the Baltic look somewhat strange. You should not understand this as a call for the mass construction of ultra-small boats, but definitely for the Baltic, our “Halibut”, “Varshavyanka” and “Lada” are too large. The Amur-950 project with VNEU would be close to some ideal submarine in terms of its displacement and dimensions, for the conditions of the Baltic Sea, if someone would do it and VNEU.
Figure submarine "Amur-950" - alas, only a picture
In aviation, Ka-52K helicopters can play a huge role, but provided that their radars are replaced by more efficient ones. If on warships operating in the far sea and ocean zones they feel sorry for the place - helicopters in independently operating formations should be able to deal with submarines, then in the Baltic countries such highly specialized fighters will be quite out of place, especially if you can debug their interaction with surface ships . They will be able to act due to the small distances on the theater of operations from the coast, including on the “coast-ship-coast” rotation.
Ship-based combat helicopter Ka-52K Katran
This, of course, does not eliminate the need for naval assault regiments on the Su-30СМ and for a full-fledged base anti-submarine aviation, which we, alas, do not have today. If necessary, such forces, if available, could be transferred from other fleets.
It is especially important to pay attention to the mine war. We must set a minimum of hundreds of mines per day of hostilities. For this, submarines, aircraft, and landing ships, and, the very same “light forces” - missile boats, can be involved. Nothing prevents one from five to six mines in each place of a different type. In the end, during the Great Patriotic War, torpedo boats completely laid mines. Moreover, since we are building simple and cheap boats, nothing prevents us from having “light” forces and high-speed mine production boats, even simpler and cheaper than a missile boat equipped with a primitive set of self-defense equipment and armed with mines. Such boats could well act at the time of impact on the coast of our aircraft, and under its cover, and provide speedy and accurate staging of a large number of mines of various types, such that for technical reasons aviation cannot set.
Figure of the created Taiwan high-speed minzag boat with a displacement of 500 tons. It is possible and simpler and cheaper
This fact is also indicative - out of forty-five warships of the Polish Navy, twenty are minesweepers. Apparently, we will first have to come to the same proportions, and then realize that in the old days minesweepers absolutely correctly and naturally had more powerful weapons than today. We will have to “return to the true path” in this matter too.
What tasks can such a fleet accomplish?
To seize dominance at sea faster than the beneficiaries of the conflict deploy their naval forces to the Baltic and put the Russian Federation in need of accepting the unwanted escalation of the conflict, destroy the opposing surface fleets, leaving the anti-submarine forces (corvettes, IPC, as long as they exist and aviation, when it will be reanimated) few enemy submarines on the theater of operations.
Ensure the escort of convoys and amphibious units to communications secured by the Baltic Fleet. To ensure the impossibility of the blockade of Kaliningrad, who would not try to fulfill it. If necessary, to succeed with the help of curtains from their submarines, minefields, deploying fleet forces at a distance favorable for attack, and to ensure that forces of third countries do not pass through the Danish Straits.
To create, thus, a favorable operational regime in the entire Baltic Sea, to ensure the possibility of landing operations against an enemy who does not want to surrender and continues to resist.
In general, carry out the usual naval work for its intended purpose.
And in peacetime, the Baltic Fleet’s ships go to Cuba, the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean anyway, you just need to use their capabilities there correctly and wisely.
And certainly there can be no question of treating the Baltic Fleet as in the famous naval joke: “The Baltic Fleet is a former fleet”. The Baltic is our most difficult theater of war, and potentially the most problematic, with vulnerabilities like the coastal city of St. Petersburg (does Russia have a comparable vulnerability in general?) And frankly crazy neighbors. And that means that, in the right version, the Baltic Fleet should continue to prepare for difficult wars both organizationally and technically. Indeed, traditionally the most difficult naval wars of Russia take place here. The future in this sense is unlikely to be very different from the past.