Model of UDC "Surf"
This year, the Russian Navy is waiting for a joyful event: the laying and construction of two UDCs of the Surf project at the Zaliv plant in Kerch should begin. In the second half of the 2020s, the Navy should receive two UDCs: Sevastopol and Vladivostok.
The exact characteristics of the new project are still unknown. The approximate data are as follows: the total displacement of the ship is 28 tons; full speed - 000 knots; cruising range - 22 nautical miles; autonomy - 6000 days; crew - 60 people, in addition: up to 320 marines, up to 900 units of military equipment, up to 50 landing boats in the dock chamber; air wing: more than 6 landing helicopters Ka-20, anti-submarine Ka-29, or attack Ka-27K.
News really good. The shipbuilding industry receives a new large order; there will also be work for helicopter manufacturers. For the first time since Soviet times, domestic shipbuilding received an order for the construction of such large vessels for the Navy.
This article discusses both domestic UDC projects and foreign experience, comprehends the concept of using such ships as part of the Russian Navy and foreign countries.
UDC: foreign experience
The United States as the main maritime power today has the largest fleet of UDC, as well as experience in their design, construction and operation. To date, the U.S. Navy used 3 types of UDC.
UDC type "Tarava"
The first of them were UDK type "Tarava" built in 1971-1978. These ships had a total displacement of about 40 tons; engines - steam turbine unit with a capacity of 000 hp; speed up to 70 knots; cruising range - 000 nautical miles; crew - 24 people; landing - 10 people of the Marine Corps. Staffing aviation The group provides for the presence of 16 Tarava-type ships on board 46 CH-6D Sea King helicopters, 53 CH-4D Sea Stallion helicopters and 1 UH-43N helicopters. The maximum possible number of aircraft on board is XNUMX units.
UDC type "Uosp"
Next in the American fleet steel UDC type "Uosp". These ships were built from 1987 to 2009. A total of 8 ships were built. Characteristics of Uosp "Uosp": total displacement - 40 532 tons; engines - 2 steam and 2 gas turbines with a capacity of 70 hp; maximum speed - 000 knots; cruising range - 24 nautical miles; crew - 9500 people and 1147 people of the marine corps; air wing - 1893 - 30 CH-32 helicopters, 46 - 6 AV-8B aircraft or up to 8 CH-46 helicopters or 46 AV-20B aircraft.
UDC type "America"
The latest project under construction now is the UDC of the America type, which has the following characteristics: total displacement - 45 tons; engines - 700 GTU General Electric with a capacity of 2 hp; maximum speed - more than 70 knots; cruising range - 000 nautical miles; crew - 22 people; landing - 9500 marines; air wing - up to 1059 helicopters and aircraft, or 1871 F-29B fighters.
Izumo-class helicopter destroyer
The Japanese Navy is armed with 2 types of UDC (here they are called destroyer-helicopter carriers). The first type is the Izumo helicopter destroyers. Total displacement - 27 tons; engines - 000 GTU General Electric with a capacity of 4 hp; speed - 112 knots; crew - 000 people and 30 landing personnel; air group - up to 470 aircraft (helicopters, convertiplanes, fighters).
The second type is the Hyuga destroyers. Total displacement - 18 tons; General Electric engines with a capacity of 000 hp.; maximum speed - 100 knots; crew - 000 people; landing - 30 people; wing - 370 helicopters.
UDC of type “Mistral”
The French Navy has the Mistral type UDCs well known to us. These ships have a total displacement of 32 tons; Engines: 300 Wärtsilä 3V16 diesel generators (32 MW), 6,2 Wärtsilä 1V18 diesel generator (200 MW), 3,3 Alstom Mermaid rotary-column speakers (2 MW); total engine power - 7 hp; speed - 20 knots; cruising range - 400 nautical miles; crew - 19 people; landing - up to 10 marines; air wing - 700 heavy or 160 light helicopters.
Helicopter landing ship dock HMS Albion (L14)
Helicopter landing ship dock Dock HMS Albion (L14). Total displacement - 18 tons; engines - 500 diesel engines with a total capacity of 4 hp; speed - 21 knots; cruising range - 213 18 miles; crew - 8 people; air wing - 600 Sea King helicopters MK 325.
UDC of project 071 of the Qinchenshan type
UDC of project 071 of the Qinchenshan type. Standard displacement of 19 tons; engines - 000 diesel engines with a total capacity of 4 hp; maximum speed - 47 knots; range - 200 km; landing - 20 people; air wing - 11 Z-000 helicopters.
UDC Juan Carlos I
UDC Juan Carlos I. Displacement - 27 tons; engines - diesel-electric propulsion system with a total capacity of 079 hp; speed - 30 knots; cruising range - 000 nautical miles; crew - 21 people; landing - 9000 marines; air group - up to 900 planes and helicopters.
UDC type "Rotterdam"
The ship has a normal displacement of 12 tons. The power plant is based on four Stork Wärtsilä 750SW12 diesel generators with a total capacity of 28 MW. Generators supply electricity to four electric motors with a total capacity of 14,6 MW. Electric motors are connected with two propellers, two for each screw. In the bow of the ship there is a bow thruster. Such a power plant allows the landing ship to reach speeds of up to 12 knots.
Cruising range at an economic speed of 12 knots - up to 6000 miles. The crew is 128 people. Troopers - 600 Marines. If necessary, this landing ship can carry over 30 tanks or up to 170 armored personnel carriers. Air wing - from 4 to 6 helicopters.
UDC: domestic experience
The USSR did not build the UDC, however, it designed as an answer to the American UDC “Tarava”. We are talking about the UDC project 11780. These ships were supposed to have a normal displacement of 25 tons; as engines, a boiler turbine plant with a capacity of 000 hp was assumed; maximum speed - 180 knots; cruising range - 000 nautical miles; landing - 30 people, up to 8000 tanks; wing: landing option - 1000 Ka-40 or anti-submarine version - 12 Ka-29.
BDK project 1174 "Rhino"
It is also worth saying a few words about those who went to the BDK series of project 1174 "Rhinoceros". These ships were built for the USSR Navy in 1973-1978. They had a total displacement of 14 tons; engines - 060 gas turbines with a total capacity of 2 hp; speed - 36 knots; cruising range - 000 nautical miles; crew of 20 people; landing - up to 7500 people, up to 239 PT-500 tanks, or 50 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, or up to 76 vehicles; air wing - 80 Ka-120 helicopters.
UDC Construction: Pitfalls
As can be seen from international experience and from the experience of the USSR, UDC were widely used and are used in fleets around the world. In this context, the desire of the Russian Navy to have such ships in service is quite understandable.
UDC can be used:
• for landing on the enemy’s coast;
• as a command ship;
• as a light aircraft carrier;
• as a hospital ship;
• as a ship of strategic projection of force;
• as a floating airfield for anti-submarine helicopters.
Such multifunctionality evokes sympathy for ships of this type, however, there are pitfalls in the construction of such ships for the Russian Navy.
1. Is industry capable of overpowering the construction of these ships? Is the Gulf Shipyard ready to build such large ships in an acceptable time? Given the novelty of the project, ten years for the construction of ships seems to be a very realistic term.
2. What engines will these ships run on? There is only one candidate here - the Rybinsk Saturn, where the production of gas turbines for frigates of project 22350 has just begun. Will the enterprise be able to ensure timely delivery of engines for UDC? Will there be a delay in the supply of engines for frigates?
3. UDC at sea requires reliable air defense and anti-aircraft defense. This means that each UDC in combat conditions must be accompanied by ships with modern and long-range air defense systems, anti-submarine ships, as well as several submarines. Is our Navy able to provide such an escort for UDC "Surf"?
4. Given the shortage of ships of rank 1-2, is it justified to build UDCs, which require engines with which there is already a shortage, occupy a place on the slipway, absorb money? Isn't it better to order additional frigates of project 22350 or 11356P or corvettes of project 20380?
5. What is the tactical use of these ships in the Russian Navy? Where are we going to land? What ship groups to lead? Where to project the strength of our Navy?
UDC - a widespread type of ship in different fleets of the world. The design decisions and performance characteristics of ships used in their design are varied. In size, they can vary from relatively small: UDC type "Rotterdam" or BDK project 1174 to the size of a light aircraft carrier, such as UDC "America". The propulsion systems on these ships are also diverse: diesel, diesel-electric, gas turbine.
The most interesting experience of the United States in the construction of UDC, since they are already operating the third generation of such ships. Since the 1970s, Americans have been building the same type of UDC with almost the same size, speed, range, power plant capacity, and airborne landing capability. The changes are mainly made by engines (replacing a steam turbine installation at a gas turbine) and an aircraft wing, replenished with new types of aircraft. The use of UDC in the NATO fleets is quite obvious and leaves no doubt. For the United States and its allies, UDC is an offensive weapon, which can be used in all areas of the oceans, reliably covered by a huge fleet of NK and submarines. But what about Russia?
There are few doubts that our industry will be able to build such ships. Most likely, with proper financing in ten years we will receive these ships. Engines for them can build Rybinsk "Saturn", it is possible, based on units for frigates of project 22350.
As for the tactical use of these ships, it is not entirely clear. We, by and large, have nowhere to land an airborne assault; moreover, in the event of a conflict with a serious enemy, 900 men and a couple of dozen helicopters will not do the weather, but they themselves will be in a very vulnerable position. The Americans can provide their landing with a powerful cover from the sea, but we are not able to do this.
UDC at sea is a very vulnerable target and requires powerful air cover and from enemy submarines. For the Russian fleet, allocating such an escort for UDC is now a difficult task.
The only function that UDC “Surf” can unambiguously perform is the function of a floating airfield for PLO helicopters.
Perhaps the best solution would be to postpone the construction of the UDC for ten years and now concentrate on saturating the fleet with ships of 1-2 ranks, multipurpose nuclear submarines and diesel-electric submarines and only after solving this problem proceed with the construction of large aircraft-carrying ships. However, we are not looking for easy ways.
It remains only to add that the construction project of UDC “Priboy” has its advantages: the shipbuilding industry receives the largest order in recent years and the opportunity to gain new competencies in the construction of large surface ships. Helicopter manufacturers also receive a new order, which is also good for our industry.