Frigate project 22350
When the author wrote an article “Is Russia ready for sea defense?”, then rightly believed that the situation in which our Navy is located is difficult. However, when the author re-read the series of articles by Andrey from Chelyabinsk (“The Russian Navy. A sad look into the future ", “Naval Aviation of the Russian Navy: Current Status and Prospects”), as well as reading articles by Alexander Timokhin “Broken wings. Will naval aviation be reborn? ” и "On the need to recreate naval missile aircraft", he had to conclude that the situation is even worse.
In principle, the above articles are very informative, they indicate the main problems of our Navy and the sea aviation, and the author of this material can add very little to what was said there. At the same time, there is a common fundamental problem for Russia - this is the degradation of our naval fleet and naval aviation, and talk about it is necessary. It makes no sense to amuse the public with the ostentatious launches of the Caliber against terrorists from our ships and submarines; you need to honestly and impartially give information about the state of the Navy, the tasks facing it, the problems and possible ways to solve them. Therefore, this article was written: it is impossible to remain silent and to raise the problem, only then there is a chance that it will be eliminated over time.
On the need for strategic planning in the construction of the fleet
SSBN project 955 "Borey"
Why is the article talking about "strategy"? As if these issues are not being addressed at the level of the Ministry of Defense. Of course, to some extent, these issues are resolved there. An example of the strategic approach of our Ministry of Defense is the new SSBN of project 955 Borey. Three submarines with a displacement of 24 tons are already in operation, two more should replenish the fleet this year. These submarines have a difficult fate, but our military, shipbuilders and rocket launchers brought the project to a working condition, despite all the difficulties, and it is these submarines that will in the new century be the basis of our submarine forces of strategic deterrence. Russia implemented this project, implemented because there was a clear understanding that it was needed. The same understanding should be in the construction of any ship for the Navy and not only the ship, this applies to aviation. And here questions arise.
Why, for example, for our fleet, patrol icebreakers of project 23550, patrol ships of project 22160, large and expensive UDC? The author is not opposed to the construction of these ships, perhaps they have the right to life, but now, when the class frigate, corvette, multipurpose nuclear submarines and diesel-electric submarines, anti-submarine ships are elementary, building something else is simply unreasonable.
RTO project 22800 "Karakurt
You can understand the order of the MRK series of project 22800 Karakurt. Engines for frigates are not yet ready, and the Navy needs to be updated, at least at the expense of RTOs. But to the project 20386 corvettes there are again questions: the engines for them are based on the same M90FR gas turbines as for the 22350 project frigates. That is, those gas turbines which are not yet in the series. Again, is it worth it to start a new corvette project, when even 20380 corvettes mastered by the industry build 7-8 years each? How long will the new corvette be built? With such a "zoo" of ships of various projects, we completely lose the advantage of large-scale production.
If we talk about naval aviation, the situation here is even sadder: there are no naval AWACS aircraft, there are no EW aircraft, there are no new anti-submarine aircraft, new PLO helicopters are not being produced, and MPA has been abolished. Even the modernization program of the IL-38 to the relatively modern IL-38N Novella hung in uncertainty: 8 aircraft were modernized, but over the past two years there were no reports of new arrivals, but news about the modernization of the IL-38N in a certain Supernovela.
Maybe this is not bad, but neither the “Supernovels” nor the new IL-38N naval aviation received in 2 years. We have only 38 Il-8Ns and these are the only planes that can at least put something against the potential enemy’s submarines. And here the trouble is not even in the absence of serial samples, but in the absence of a technical backlog. Simply put, if the top military leadership had carried out systematic work on the development of the Navy and naval aviation, then somewhere else from the mid-2000s, R&D should have begun on a new PLO plane, on a new anti-submarine helicopter, on an AWACS sea plane. If this were done, then today we would have if not serial samples, then at least experimental ones, ready to be launched into series.
Just a catastrophic situation is observed in the field of torpedo weapons. The nuclear submarines and diesel-electric submarines are armed with obsolete UEST-80 torpedoes with a range of up to 18 km. But even worse is the situation with the BOD of project 1155; they use 533 mm SET-65 torpedoes adopted for service in 1965. Their range reaches 15 km, and the guidance system can hardly be called modern. The worst crews of the IPC project 1124 - they are armed with torpedoes SET-53 with a range of 8 to 14 km (the latest versions). It was adopted in the distant 1958 year. Wherein Italian electric torpedo "Black Shark" reaches a range of 70 km at low speed, the American Mark 48 has a range of 50 km. Thus, our submarines, not to mention anti-submarine ships, are in a very vulnerable position.
To summarize, let’s say that today we have achieved the following “successes” in the development of the Navy: we are building ships with incomprehensible functions, we are building submarines with outdated torpedoes and without modern anti-torpedo protection (see the article by M. Klimov "AICR" Severodvinsk "surrendered to the Navy with critical deficiencies for combat readiness"), we are building several types of corvettes with similar functions at once, updating our naval aviation very little.
The general impression is this: our potential adversaries are building a fleet for war, for victory at sea, and we - for the "demonstration of the flag." And one of our main problems is the lack of a clear understanding of the functions that our fleet must fulfill.
For convenience, we will make a list of the problems of our Navy and naval aviation.
1. The lack of serial gas turbines for frigates and corvettes. Previously, they were supplied by the Zarya-Mashproekt plant, but after the reunification of Crimea with Russia, supplies ceased. Now we are waiting for the results of the Rybinsk Saturn.
2. Extremely slow production of diesel engines for RTOs of project 22800 at PJSC Zvezda (according to media reports no more than one engine per year).
3. The lack of engines for MRK project 21631 "Buyan-M" (using Chinese engines).
4. The lack of modern torpedoes for nuclear submarines, diesel-electric submarines and surface anti-submarine ships. The UGST “Physicist” / “Case” program is in an undetermined state; instead, UET-1 electric torpedoes with a very short range of 25 km come into service.
5. Lack of modern anti-torpedo protection for submarines.
6. Extremely long construction periods of both submarines and NK. Even the small corvettes of project 20380 we are building for eight years.
7. Lack of modern anti-submarine aircraft. Conventionally, only 8 IL-38N Novella can be attributed to them.
8. The lack of naval aircraft AWACS. There are only a few Ka-31 helicopters with a range of detection of ships of 250-285 km.
9. The lack of modern EW aircraft.
10. The lack of VNEU for diesel-electric submarines, while a number of countries: Sweden, China, Germany, Japan already have submarines with VNEU.
11. The elimination of MPA, as a result of which our fleet lost air support.
12. Obsolescence of missile weapons. First of all, it concerns RTOs of project 1234 with anti-ship missiles P-120 Malachite. This missile, which was adopted in 1972, is now hopelessly outdated, and its carriers of the 1234 missile launchers have a very low combat value.
13. Lack of modern mine protection equipment. Read more in the article by Andrey from Chelyabinsk “The Russian Navy. A sad look into the future: mine-sweeping disaster ".
The conclusion, unfortunately, is obvious. Russia today is far behind the leading maritime powers. There can be no talk of US opposition at sea. At sea, we lag behind not only the United States, but also Japan, China, Great Britain, and Germany. And, worst of all, we lag behind not so much in the number of ships (in this indicator we are second only to the USA and China), but in technologies: shipbuilding, engine building, marine weapons, anti-submarine aircraft.
So, our position in terms of naval combat readiness is unenviable. In addition, our fleet is dispersed over 4 theater of operations almost isolated from each other, therefore, we cannot now demand anything more from it than:
1. Ensuring the deployment of SSBNs in areas of combat duty.
2. Coastal defense near our naval base under the guise of a DBK of coastal troops and airborne forces.
These are the two tasks that our fleet is facing now, and which they will face 15–20 years before we can again acquire an ocean fleet capable of performing more complex tasks. However, this does not mean that the fleet does not need to be engaged. The ways of development of the fleet will be discussed below. We list them also point by point.
1. First and foremost, a strategic program for the development of the Navy for a couple of decades ahead is needed. The goal of this program should be not so much to “build ships” as to eliminate technological lag from leading sea powers, learn to make engines for ships, and provide orders to shipbuilding enterprises. This program should focus not on quantity, but on quality. Let us lay fewer submarines, but they will be provided with modern torpedo weapons, anti-torpedo protection, and VNEU.
2. The program should emphasize in shipbuilding universal and industrial ships: Project 22350 frigates should become the core of the future fleet, it also makes sense to lay project 20380 corvettes, Project 636 diesel-electric submarines, and Project 885M nuclear submarines. No patrol ships, patrol icebreakers, even UDC-type “Surf” should be postponed for 10-15 years.
Flying laboratory based on IL-114
3. An important place in the program should be given to naval aviation. It is necessary to develop a modern anti-submarine aircraft, for example, based on the Il-114, especially since such a project existed. In addition to the aircraft itself, it is necessary to create modern sonar beacons. In addition, the renewal of the fleet of Ka-27 helicopters is required due to the release of a modern PLO helicopter.
Indian Su-30 with anti-ship missile system “Bramos” - clone P-800 “Onyx”
4. The revival of MPA is required. Some authors believe that MRA is too expensive and easier and cheaper to build aircraft carriers. However, the state of our shipbuilding industry is such that relying on the construction of aircraft carriers in the next 15-20 years, alas, is too optimistic. So MRA is still uncontested. Tu-22M3 should be modernized for new missiles: X-32, P-800 Onyx, maybe under the Dagger and return to naval aviation. By the way, such modernization program is and most importantly, that it be implemented in full. However, the main strength of the MRA should not be Tu-22M3, which are relatively few, but cheaper and more versatile Su-30SM, which have already been purchased in small quantities for naval aviation. Such machines adapted for the use of Onyx need 100-150 pieces.
5. Creation of modern anti-mine systems based on remote-controlled unmanned vehicles.
6. Development of diesel-electric submarines with VNEU. According to the latest data new OKR on VNEU is opened.
7. It is necessary to create modern torpedo weapons and in parallel with them anti-torpedo protection systems.
If such or close in essence the program is implemented, what will we get on the way out? Of course, we will not receive a second, third or even fourth strongest fleet. A large and strong fleet needs a lot of money, which the country does not have yet. But no need to tear and chase after America or China. We now need to practically re-learn how to build ships, engines for them and create naval weapons. And the first stage is the acquisition of technological competencies and groundwork for the creation of new military equipment. The main thing is to eliminate technological lag, to obtain new weapons, even in a small series.
Another issue is the financial one. The fleet is the most expensive type of troops, is it necessary to spend money on it when there are other important projects: T-14 Armata, self-propelled guns Coalition, RS-28 Sarmat, Avangard program, Su-57, resumption of Tu production -160. All this requires a lot of money. The author believes that spending money on the development of the fleet is necessary. After all, it is the fleet that ensures the deployment of the strategic nuclear forces, the fleet can defend our economic interests on the shelf of the Arctic, and there is the Far East - a huge region - where there are few railways, few roads and the main communications are carried out by sea. In addition, it is in naval armaments that we have the largest lag behind the leading powers and must be eliminated, otherwise our fleet will simply lose its defense significance and turn into a set of outdated, ineffective ships.
MRK project 12411 "Lightning" with anti-ship missile R-270 "Mosquito"
At present, the Russian Navy has 26 combat-ready ships of 1-2 rank, 40 RTOs, 26 MPKs, 42 mine sweepers, 16 diesel-electric submarines, 13 multi-purpose submarines. What is their real combat value? Of the 26 ships of 1-2 ranks - 6 Project 1155 BODs. For their time, these were good ships, but today they carry outdated torpedo weapons, do not have long-range air defense systems, and have no anti-ship missiles. Another 2 - patrol corvettes of project 22160 unable to fight with either NK or submarines.
Out of 40 RTOs, 8 are Project 21631 Buyan-M, which are offshore platforms for launching the Caliber, 2 modern RTOs of Project 22800 Karakurt, 11 RTOs of Project 12341, one of which has been modernized for X-35 missiles, the rest carry obsolete P -120 "Malachite", and there are 19 more RTOs of project 12411 "Lightning" with missiles P-270 "Mosquito". "Lightning" due to their sufficiently powerful and difficult to intercept missiles can still be considered more or less serious "fighters". Thus, among 40 RTOs, we have 22 ships suitable for fighting at sea.
With the IPC of Project 1124 Albatros, the situation is even worse - due to the lack of high-quality torpedo weapons, using them against modern submarines means sending them to certain death.
The situation with the submarines is no better: the lack of modern torpedoes, anti-torpedo protection, and VNEU on diesel-electric submarines puts them in a very difficult position in confronting the probable enemy with submarines.
Forty-two mine minesweepers do not have modern mine weapons and use obsolete mine trawls. Their value in the fight against probable enemy mines is close to zero.
Thus, the modern fleet of Russia can only be considered limitedly combat-ready and it can be used in the fight against a knowingly weaker enemy. A collision at sea with a modern, even not very large fleet, will end for our Navy with heavy losses.
In this situation, the main emphasis in the short term should be placed on DBK and aviation with anti-ship missiles. DBK type “Ball” and “Bastion” are good for their relative cheapness, as well as the ability to use against ground targets, as a result of which they can be considered as a reserve for the Ground Forces. Aviation based on the Su-30SM armed with anti-ship missiles can also be used to cover the fleet from the air, and also as a reserve for the airborne forces in the event of a large-scale land conflict.
The situation of our fleet is difficult and requires vigorous measures to restore its combat effectiveness. However, these measures should be applied comprehensively: the goal should be not just the construction of ships and submarines, but the creation of a system of "power plant - ship - weapons." The fleet should not be developed separately, but in conjunction with naval aviation, which in the coming years should be considered as the main striking force of the fleet. And most importantly, we need a state fleet development program, within the framework of which the necessary R&D would be carried out, regular funding would be carried out, and the actions of the fleet and industry would be coordinated. And to do this it is necessary that our fleet be a reliable tool in protecting the interests of Russia.