February 20, Flot.com citing informed sources сообщил:
"The long-planned modernization of the Peter the Great the heavy missile cruiser Project 11442 (the Orlan code) will be carried out with emphasis on repairing and updating the ship’s main power plant."
On the one hand, the presentation of the material raises questions, even the project number is confused: “Peter the Great” was built according to project 1144.2, code “Orlan”. On the other hand, in naval Wednesday, there has long been a sentiment that Petra does not need to be modernized following the example of the Admiral Nakhimov of the same type, but simply repaired. The message that “Peter” will “emphasize” the main power plant and repair, apparently, is somehow connected with these moods.
I must say, the modernization of Nakhimov really turned out to be super expensive, and indeed, Peter the Great should not go through the same thing, our country simply does not have that much money. But to refuse to upgrade the ship is a mistake worse than a crime. With these ships, everything is complicated, but they should develop further.
The USSR was 16 years late with the nuclear missile cruiser compared to the United States, the Americans laid down their atomic Long Beach back in 1957, and we started building the first missile ship with nuclear reactors and missiles in 1973. But the new cruisers were supposed to be powered "Plug in the belt" everything. In many ways, it turned out that the ships were really very powerful. The head “Kirov” was so scared of the West that the Americans began an expensive program of reactivation and equipping their battleships with missiles, and for the first time after the Second World War, the Air Force began to adapt its strategic bombers to surface targets. The breakthrough of such ships on ocean communications would have to be eliminated by all the US Navy at the theater of operations, and not the fact that it would have happened on time. The ships had an S-300F air defense system (96 anti-aircraft missiles), and the Peter the Great S-300 FM and S-300F together (46 and 48 missiles) have air defense systems of the near air defense zone and artillery air defense systems. In general, even assuming that aviation the enemy managed to destroy such a ship, then the price for such a victory would have to pay a very large.
The artillery installation of the ship, AK-130 with a caliber of 130 mm with two barrels, is by far the most powerful ship artillery system in the world. True, the lead ship in the series, “Kirov,” had a couple of hundred millimetres, but this was corrected, as well, by the way, and much more than the lead ship differed from all serial ones. At the time of taking the ship into the combat structure of the Navy, something was stronger only for American ships of the Second World War, but for such an opponent the Soviet cruiser had missiles.
Kirov and Tu-16. Two artillery mounts visible
Ships have a powerful sonar complex "Polynomial", a set of anti-submarine weaponscapable of carrying up to three helicopters on board in some cases. Offensive weapons, 20 granite supersonic anti-ship missiles (ASM) - at the time of adoption, perhaps the most powerful ASM in the world. Not a single ship in the world can repulse a volley of such a ship alone, and, in principle, can win a battle against it (under the unmistakable actions of the crew and commander of the domestic cruiser, of course).
It was planned to build five of these ships, but only four were built. “Kirov” (later renamed “Admiral Ushakov”), “Frunze” (“Admiral Lazarev”), “Kalinin” (“Admiral Nakhimov”) and “Kuibyshev”, which the truth was already laid down as “Yuri Andropov” (later “ Peter the Great"). The latter was completed in 1998 and only for this reason still walks briskly on the seas.
The collapse of the USSR almost put an end to these ships. Russia did not have money to maintain them in a combat-ready state, an exception was made only for Peter the Great, who did not require such expenses as the old ships of the same type demanded. “Kirov” in fact went out of order after a reactor installation malfunctioned back in 1990 - there was no money to restore it even then, although the ship was later even put on some kind of modernization, which, however, never started. Today it is completely rotten. There were no problems with the reactor at Frunze-Lazarev, it was simply rotted off the coast in the Pacific Ocean - today it is also completely, despite the ship being docked from time to time, it even landed on the ground due to leaks corps.
Today, none of these two ships can no longer be restored in their technical condition, they will be disposed of. But “Kalinin-Nakhimov” was lucky. They decided to keep it and even modernize it. In 1999, the ship embarked on modernization and repair at Sevmash. Thus began the epic, which continues to this day and does not end earlier than a few years later. Best case scenario.
Restructuring in a single cruiser
The domestic fleet has one terrific disease, which does not go away at all: constant revisions of technical tasks for the construction or repair of ships, in the worst case, to make changes to the design of each individual ship in a series. This is occasionally caused by corruption, sometimes by many years of underfunding, which leads to the fact that some of the subsystems for the ship have time to withdraw from production while it is still under construction, but, admittedly, this is often just bad management. It is difficult to say in what proportion these factors influenced the terms of repair of Nakhimov and the scope of modernization, but the contract for its implementation was signed only in 2013 - 14 years after the ship was transferred to the plant. Then there was a transition to the Sevmash filling pool, disassembly, troubleshooting, and actually the beginning of work, at the very end of 2014.
"Nakhimov" in the drained pool at the perestroika
Most of the information about what will be done with the cruiser came out from under the veil of secrecy very slowly and in proportion, but at some point it became clear: the ship would actually be rebuilt. In fact, the point is that in a very seriously rebuilt building with a completely refurbished main power plant, new weapons, new electronic weapons will be installed, cable routes will be replaced. The striking power of the ship should grow by orders of magnitude, and the total number of both anti-aircraft and cruise (anti-ship and for land strikes) missiles will be hundreds of units.
The installation sites of the UKKSK 3S14 launcher and the huge amount of work performed on the cruiser are visible
Another view for scaling
Sheets of decking with holes for new launchers are visible on the crane cable and on the ground
It was assumed that the ship will be able, if necessary, to bring down the Caliber salvo on the coastal target and it will still have anti-ship variants of the Caliber, or even Onyx with Zircons. His air defense system was strengthened just as much. The power of the ship was to be unprecedented. Perhaps it will be so when it is finally surrendered to the fleet. However, this coin has another side.
The name for this side is price. The Navy does not disclose the exact costs of the modernization of Nakhimov, but it is clear that they have either come close, or will soon come to a hundred billion rubles. Recall that the cost of a new aircraft carrier for the Russian Navy is estimated at 400 billion rubles. A hundred billion is a lot, this is a corvette team for the Pacific Fleet, which has almost lost its anti-submarine forces, or a complete update of all anti-submarine aviation, which flies mainly on aircraft built back in the USSR.
And although the “Nakhimov” promises to turn out to be a really very strong ship, the money that was invested in its repair would be enough to strengthen the entire fleet as a whole, which one ship, with all due respect to it, would not provide. Just because he is alone.
The terms of the most complex restructuring of the ship (it’s no longer repair and modernization, it’s completely rebuild it) is also the same as we say “float to the right”, and today we can only speak with greater or lesser degree of confidence about surrendering to the fleet in the first half of the 20s years.
The cost of money and time, which Nakhimov demanded, seriously scared everyone involved in this project, and I must say, it cost a career a certain number of people, including those not involved. It just so happened, the cruiser for the highest echelons of power launched a very big wave.
The fact that they won’t repeat anything like this with Peter was obvious for a long time, but now there are signs that the Navy may throw out a child with water. And instead of revising the volumes of modernization downward, to abandon it altogether, limiting itself to ship repair and minimal improvements to the systems already installed on it.
Repair of Peter the Great
The main problem with domestic ships is cable routes. They are traditionally laid in such a way that their complete replacement at a cost sometimes turns out to be only several times cheaper than building a new ship. At the same time, it is impossible not to change them: over the years, the insulation of the wiring is destroyed by old age. Nuclear cruisers are no exception. Also, a lot of money will cost the repair of a nuclear power plant. All this suggests that the repair of the Peter the Great cruiser itself will cost a lot of money, even without modernization. And this may be an additional trump card for those who would not like to see this modernization.
Nevertheless, even if it is necessary to bear these costs, it is worth updating missile weapons on the ship.
We are in no way talking about the level of changes in the design that takes place at Nakhimov. It is a matter of replacing launchers of the Granit rocket launcher with the same 3C14 universal launchers that Nakhimov is equipped with (a special version made for this cruiser) and limit itself to minimal changes to all other systems.
Replacing the “Granites” is a vital necessity. These missiles are far from being as formidable as they were when they first appeared. Their number on the ship is frankly small. Even on frigates of project 22350 Admiral Amelko and Admiral Chichagov, it will be possible to equip launchers with a large number of anti-ship missiles or cruise missiles of long range - 24 units. And among them there may be supersonic Onyxes and future hypersonic Zircons, that is, missiles more dangerous for the enemy than Granite. But these are small ships, four times lighter in displacement than Peter the Great.
Start "Granite" with "Peter the Great". Impressive, but it’s not such an effective weapon as before.
In addition, “Peter the Great” is practically deprived of the ability to launch rocket attacks along the coast, and this is almost more important task now than attacks of surface ships. In order for the existence of Peter the Great in the Navy and the expenses incurred by the fleet to maintain it to continue to make sense, the replacement of its offensive weapons is necessary. This ship will fit many dozens of missiles and from a highly specialized strike ship, which best hits other surface ships, it will turn into a not-so-modern ship, but still a very significant combat unit, incomparably more important than with the current twenty "Granites".
The minimum modernization of shipboard air defense systems, the minimum modernization of electronic weapons, systems for the mutual exchange of information with other ships, and, most importantly, with ship's helicopters, ensure that the air defense capabilities of these ships remain relevant for another fifteen years after Peter the Great returns in order. And his missile offensive weapons are inadequate right now, and he needs to be changed to modern.
A bad experience with Nakhimov should not push the fleet to the other extreme and should not help the ship to remain with a museum offensive weapon after an expensive (remember cable route) repair. This will deprive the ship of the meaning of existence, taking into account how much money it costs for the country.
The power of the cruisers
Imagine that the “Nakhimov” was completed as planned, and the “Peter the Great” - according to some simplified scheme, with the complete replacement of only percussion weapons.
A pair of such ships, with some advanced combat helicopters capable of performing DRLO tasks and providing target designation for naval air defense systems outside the radio horizon, will require dozens of aircraft to destroy them, and outside the combat radius of the base aviation a full-fledged carrier strike group. Moreover, even in such a situation, the result is not guaranteed.
On cruisers you can place a large number of crewless boats with inflatable false targets, to divert the enemy to false targets and organize "missile ambushes." If there is a smooth interaction with the base reconnaissance aircraft, they will be able to get enough information about the enemy, so that when you need to dodge the battle, and choose a fairly weak victim. In the case of a hypothetical war against Russia, a breakthrough of a pair of such ships into the open ocean will force any enemy to remove dozens of ships and patrol aircraft from the tasks of attacking the Russian Federation. And this means that all these forces will be distracted from their main tasks.
In addition, the 30-nodal move that these ships can support for a long time, firstly, will allow them to dodge the battle when necessary, just tearing away from the enemy with a move, and secondly, will make them intact for enemy submarines.
Article “We are building a fleet. Attacks of the weak, loss of the strong raid actions were described that would allow small Russian forces to keep the enemy’s forces as large as possible, simply due to their superior speed and ability to attack objects and ships that are important for the enemy that are poorly guarded or away from the main theater of operations - and the enemy with a high degree of probability is simply nothing to answer.
Such action is one of the very few ways to use a missile ship against superior enemy forces, not having its own aircraft carrier, but with success.
And if there are working systems for the mutual exchange of information between cruisers, full-fledged sea helicopters and proper preparation, these operations will be quite capable of modernized cruisers. Moreover, the cruisers seemed to be created specifically for them - fast, nuclear, well-armed ships, including against the air enemy.
But all this will be true only if, after the epic with Nakhimov, Peter the Great will also receive a new complex of offensive missile weapons instead of Granites.
We can only hope that common sense will prevail, and correct, balanced decisions will be made with respect to Peter the Great. Do not be shy to demand this from the authorities.