Here it is, "Big Karakurt"
December 24, 2019 was held enlarged meeting of the board of the Ministry of Defense with the participation of the President of the Russian Federation V.V. Putin.
On this occasion, "Russia 24" made short report, during which "lit up" the project, which previously was not worth talking out loud. But now they say.
We are talking about a multi-purpose corvette based on the 22800 Karakurt project - in fact, an enlarged Karakurt in size with enhanced air defense and the ability to fight against submarines. About how this ship was supposed to be from the very beginning.
A little background.
RTOs, submarines and common sense
Since 2006, when the "life-giving impulse", plunged by the leadership of the Ministry of Defense and naval to the commanders from the side of V.V. Putin, led to the appearance in the fleet of cruise missiles "Caliber", the Navy acquired their carriers in the most irrational way possible - by building specialized "missile gunboats" such as "Buyan-M", with non-localized imported diesels, lack of target designation system and "no" seaworthiness. These ships could somehow accomplish a very narrow range of tasks, but only one task is good - to strike cruise missiles at stationary (ground-based mostly) targets. In the war against an enemy with a combat-capable fleet, their survival was and remains a huge question - neither the attack of the submarine, even the most antediluvian, nor an air strike, even from a helicopter, these ships can survive.
Their first combat use was, in a sense, a surprise, but the defectiveness of such ships was always clear to experts - cruise missiles could well be on some multi-purpose ships capable of performing a wide range of tasks, moreover, Russia then had such ships now, just a little. An example is project 20385 corvettes (2 units), project 11356 frigates (3 units), project 6363 Varshavyanka submarines (7 units, 5 under construction) and project 22350 frigates (2 units, 4 under construction).
Alas, Gentschub’s requirement to have “specialized missile ships” of the Navy and industry continued to be fulfilled due to the mass construction of frankly miserable RTOs, the only plus of which was very good habitability - if there was a war, their crews would go to the bottom, having huge and comfortable “bulkheads” cabins and cockpits.
At the same time, this “holiday of life” was brewing a serious “hole” in the country's defense, associated with the outage of old anti-submarine ships of Project 1124 and 1124M Albatros. These ships were and still remain necessary to cover the deployment of our submarines and to prevent their execution by the enemy at the stage of leaving the bases.
I must say that this threat is real. Only very recently, the US Navy began to reduce its presence in the Avacha Gulf, ceasing to provide continuous presence of a hunter submarine there at any time. True, from April 2018, the Japanese took up the shift and now they are on duty there.
For many years in the north, the exit of our “strategists” from the bases was controlled by Norwegian diesel submarines of the “Ula” type. They were found extremely rarely and accidentally, then they always lost, it did not work to establish any long-term tracking or to find the places where they charged the Navy.
Today they are not on duty there, but the upcoming renewal of the Norwegian submarine starting in 2020 will make such operations very easy, and taking into account the wild anti-Russian hysteria in the West, it is also desirable for political forces and groups ruling in NATO countries.
Under such conditions, anti-submarine defense, especially in the near sea zone in general, and at submarine bases, which are still the basis of the naval striking power, in particular, become critical for ensuring Russia's security. In modern conditions, such a defense in the BMZ is provided by surface ships, non-nuclear submarines, anti-submarine aviation and underwater lighting.
In Russia, neither anti-submarine aircraft nor anti-submarine helicopters are mass-produced. FOSS has failed, and today Russia does not have a working system. Non-nuclear, or rather diesel-electric Varshavyanka are produced, and this is the only thing that works well for us - but the fact is that they are outdated and, in general, ousting enemy submarines from the defended area from the defensive area by technical missile forces is impossible. DEPL is a means of execution "from an ambush", and no more.
In the conditions of such a failure on all fronts, there was only one option left - to cover the near sea zone from enemy submarines using surface ships. Together with the remaining bits and pieces of anti-submarine aircraft, and the existing diesel-electric submarines, a large number of modern surface ships with good anti-submarine capabilities could partially compensate for the weakness of the rest of the submarine. With this approach, coverage would be critical - since we have no other means, and the submarine has an advantage in the detection range of a surface ship, there would really be a lot of such surface ships.
Like a distributed network of sensors working together, such ships equipped with towed sonar stations, combined into ship search and strike groups (KPUG), could very severely limit the possibilities for foreign submarines to act against ours, and sometimes even force them to reveal themselves and “substitute” under attacks of aircraft PLO, no matter how primitive they are. And certainly the permeability of the KPUG areas of action from such ships for enemy submarines would be near-zero. Yes, and the chances of destroying the enemy submarine in such ships in any case would be non-zero. If only because, in the correct version, the multipurpose ship should carry PLUR, and a large number of towed ASGs in the ship's group would make it possible to detect underwater targets at a considerable distance.
Thus, the BMZ defense required in our current conditions a large number of multipurpose ships with developed capabilities in the part of anti-aircraft defense.
Alas, instead of them, Russia "crazy" built RTOs. At the same time, firstly, the multipurpose ship could easily replace MRS - to launch anti-submarine missiles (PLUR) the very same 3S-14 UKSK launcher is needed as for the "Caliber", and secondly, a massive roll in the MRC took place literally “for the last money” - they were quickly built and handed over under conditions when the construction of project 20380 corvettes capable of fighting submarines was chronically underfunded, and the series of 20385 corvettes, which could also use cruise missiles, was nailed to please the ultra-expensive project 20386, at the head ship orogo I have a very good chance of never being built. And according to the keels laid, the Navy's priorities were more than clearly visible - if 20380 units were laid in corvettes 20385 and 12, then the number of RTOs built, under construction and contracted is equal to thirty today. About how much these ships are in demand today, read the articles “Does the fleet need small missile ships”, "The United States is withdrawing a whole class of Russian warships from the game".
Sanctions for Crimea forced instead of “Buyan-M” with German diesels to come up with a fully localized “Karakurt”. But the problem of PLO became more and more acute every year - the state of combatant MPC is getting worse and worse, and there are too few corvettes built, and new ones are not being laid, yes, to be honest, they turned out to be expensive. With our budget, it may be very difficult to close such an entire BMZ, or it will have to be done at the expense of all the other needs of the Navy.
We need more budgetary solutions - massive, simple and cheap, such that the gaping failure in our anti-submarine defense could be closed in a matter of years. At the same time, the United States withdrew from the agreement on the elimination of intermediate and shorter-range missiles, which ultimately put the construction of rocket gunboats beyond common sense.
The understanding that the Navy is not doing what is really needed for the country's defense capability was and is available both among military sailors and in industry. There were also projects of ships capable of replacing RTOs with themselves, and conducting effective anti-submarine defense at the same time. So, Zelenodolsk Design Bureau has a very interesting project based on the hull from the ship of Project 11661. True, he is not particularly interested in the Zelenodolsk plant either, but not because it is bad, but because the plant mows money on primitive RTOs and even more primitive and useless “patrol ships” of project 22160.
Previously, there were very interesting projects of the trimaran scheme, with a completely “corvette” displacement of the bearing weapon at frigate level.
But the “pursuit of missile cells” led to the fact that both time and money were spent on RTOs and “patrolmen”. Yes, even to the giant corvette overgrowth 20386. The “Hole” in the PLO, meanwhile, did not think to “dry up”.
Somewhere "high", apparently, an awareness of the problem began, and in 2019, rumors began to leak from the abyss of naval ideas and concepts that the IPC 1124 Albatros would be repaired and modernized. This, of course, had to be done many years ago. But this is not enough.
We need a project that will allow us to make a miracle and “close” the issue of PLO “here and now”, immediately, without wasting time.
And he appeared. It is his model that flashes in the report on the president’s participation in the expanded collegium of the Moscow Region.
We will analyze this ship in more detail.
Multipurpose "Super Karakurt"
The author is in a certain difficulty, since it is simply impossible to write about a lot that is connected with the project, and until last Tuesday it was not worth highlighting it. Therefore, even those things that are obvious and known will be written in a "presumptive" manner. About a lot of things you just have to keep silent.
Nevertheless, the project is quite worthy of being presented to the public, and launched into the series, and the fleet needs such ships yesterday and in considerable quantities, so we’ll risk it. We look at the model.
The hull of the ship was developed on the basis of the hull of the Karakurt RTO, with an elongated central part. The same 76-mm gun mount AK-176MA is installed on the nose, followed by the “Karakurt” superstructure. Behind it, as with the RTOs, a 3C-14 vertical launch missile launcher was installed, used to launch anti-ship missiles, long-range cruise missiles and PLUR. Theoretically, such a ship could even use Zircon, when receiving external target designation. Then the differences begin. On the model, when viewed in dynamics, one more installation of vertical start is traced. Given the clearly visible Positive-M radar, it can only be the Redut air defense system, the same one that is installed on corvettes 20380, 20385 and 20386, as well as on frigates of project 22350. True, it is controlled by Positive. It remains to regret that some similarly simplified RLC did not find a place on the corvette 20385, this would radically reduce the cost of the ship.
With such a radar of the Redut air defense system, inside the zone in which Positive-M can detect air targets, it will work better than on the corvette 20380.
It is also seen that, unlike the Karakurt, the exhaust of the power plant of this ship is brought up. This is necessary for an anti-submarine ship, since the discharge of the exhaust into the water seriously interferes with the operation of the under-hinged ASU.
At the stern, the round top of the AK-630 anti-aircraft artillery complex is clearly visible, apparently even the AK-630M, which is responsible for air defense from the aft corners.
The ship is explicitly equipped with a wing-mounted GAS - it is clearly visible on the model. This means that it is possible to search for submarines on the go without a towed GAS issued. The latter is on all available multipurpose ships of Russian production, which means it is here. Omitted GAS for work "on foot", which is a very effective search method, on small anti-submarine ships is a long-standing Russian tradition, which means that it will be here as well.
Thus, this ship in its anti-submarine capabilities even surpasses the corvettes of projects 20380, 20385 and was not born until 20386 in many respects. The disadvantage is the lack of a helicopter, but more on that later.
With a close increase and giving the pictures additional sharpness, symmetrically installed PU of the Package-NK complex are visible at the stern. Thus, the ship can protect itself from torpedoes of enemy submarines and itself can hit submarines with a 324 mm torpedo.
The most important thing that makes this ship attractive for mass construction is the main power plant.
It was created on the basis of the power plant of the Karakurt MRK, with additional measures to reduce noise. At the heart of this power plant are diesel engines manufactured by PJSC Zvezda.
When the Karakurt began to build, it turned out that the supplier of diesel engines for the series of this ship, the St. Petersburg PJSC Zvezda, simply could not produce engines. Enterprise degradation has gone very far.
To date, measures to improve the situation at the plant have made themselves felt, albeit not without difficulties, but the Star gives two “Karakurt” sets of power plants during the year. Since the ship does not have systems with a long production cycle, this means that such ships can be built at two units per year.
And this is a very real figure - a contractor like Pella would have mastered such a pace with such ships.
Moreover, there is a likelihood that when these ships are launched into series, it will turn out to be realistic to reach three sets, which will allow to build and even surrender three such corvettes every year. As a result, taking into account the already constructed and under construction 20380 and 20385, the BMZ PLO can be closed somewhere in five years - faster than building one 20380.
The design of the ship is such that it can be built almost everywhere - at the Pella, at the NEA, and in Zelenodolsk (no matter how offensive the engineers and designers at ZPKB), in the future, even at the Gulf - but in general where. The availability of power plants and the simplicity of design, the use of only serial ship systems with a short production cycle guarantees fast construction time - a few years on the ship. It is more fully possible that such an OVR corvette will be comparable in terms of construction time with the Varshavyanka submarine, of which 23 units have been built over the past 28 years.
There are no obstacles for this today.
This project cannot be said to be perfect - for example, the absence of a bomb is a serious minus. RBU is the only way to "get" the submarine lying on the ground, there are no others. A hit on a “contact” that suddenly appears at a short distance is also faster to carry out with a bomb.
For some reason, they stopped putting it on modern Russian ships. Super Karakurt is no exception.
Another drawback is the completely zero compatibility with the helicopter. There is not even a landing pad. At the same time, during operations to cover the deployment of submarines, the range of the Ka-27 and 27M helicopters allows them to be used from the shore. In addition, in KPUG there may be a ship with a runway and a hangar. However, note the minus.
The third minus obviously follows from the size of the ship - it is longer than the Karakurt, but its displacement is slightly larger, that is, very light. This implies restrictions on the use of weapons on strong pitching, and there is nothing to be done. But, again, if you focus on real weather, then for a significant part of the time of the year, the excitement at sea will not impose restrictions on the ship, the rest of the time it will apparently be limited to detecting a target, and will transmit contact to aviation for destruction.
The fourth minus is a narrow specialization. A ship can fight submarines and use rocket weapons, and, for example, fire along the shore - it can already be bad. A 76 mm gun is very good as an anti-aircraft gun, it surpasses a 100 mm gun in this quality, but in other cases it is inferior too - the mass of a 100 mm shell is almost three times higher, the ammunition consumption for hitting any typical ground target with a 100 mm gun XNUMX times lower.
But for us the main problem is precisely the PLO, the rest right now is in a somewhat less acute form, and the narrow specialization of the ship in this case can be neglected.
On the whole, it’s not bad - the high speed and the presence of BOGAS allows it to be placed in the PLO not only in naval bases and adjacent water areas, but also in convoys and amphibious assault forces, and taking into account the presence of Redut air defense systems, it will be able to provide their air defense.
Like the Karakurt missile defense system, it can strike at surface targets and use long-range Caliber cruise missiles.
As part of the anti-submarine KPUG, he will, minus the bomb, seriously exceed the IPC pr.1124, and minus the helicopter - the corvette 20380, due to the presence of PLUR.
The estimated price of such a ship is about 10 billion rubles, which is 2,2 times less than the corvette 20385, and somewhere 1,9-2 times less than the corvette 20380.
But the most important thing is that having laid six or nine of these ships in 2020, it will be possible to equip them with engines by 2023-2024, and the first three will receive engines by the middle of 2022 at most. Moreover, taking into account the enormous problems taking place on the "Star". This is unprecedentedly fast for modern Russia. And this makes the project simply uncontested in terms of quickly restoring the number of anti-submarine ships. You can make the ship better. You can even make it better for the same money.
But it can not be done either faster or in the same time. And this means that other options simply do not exist.
The project has some support within the Navy, albeit not at the very top. This means that he has a chance.
And this means that our submarines have a chance for deployment safe from enemy submarines. We wish the fleet not to miss it.