The squadron of diving surface ships may not look as impressive as the squadron of classic surface ships, but this will make it no less dangerous
On the border of two environments
Based on the premises set forth in the article “On the border of two environments. Diving ships: history and prospects ", consider a variant of a diving surface ship (NSC), the hull of which is under water, in the near-surface layer, and above the water there is only a superstructure mast with radar stations, with active phased antenna arrays (AFAR), optical reconnaissance aids and communication antennas . In other words, the waterline of such a ship should go just above the base of the mast superstructure.
The design of NNCs to a greater extent should be based on the design of submarines (PL) than surface ships (NK), but taking into account the influence of surface factors: wave resistance, near-surface rolling, etc. Given the Russian specifics, the optimal basis for a ship of this type is likely to be one of the projects existing or promising nuclear submarines, for example, the project of the Strategic Missile Submarine Cruiser (RPKSN) 955A, with contours optimized for movement in the near-surface layer. Perhaps the NOC should be supplemented by installed high-speed low-inertia thrusters and control surfaces, as well as ballast tank pumps of increased power.
Previously, the SSBN project 955A has already been considered by the author and as the basis for nuclear submarine with cruise missiles (SSGN) conditional project 955K, and implementation of SSBNs based on project 955A is considered by the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, and as a basis for nuclear multifunctional submarine cruiserintended for raider operations against surface forces and aviation the enemy. The reason for such attention to project 955A is that it is quite modern, well-developed and is being built in a large series, which will simplify the development and reduce the cost of solutions based on it.
As the name implies, the NOC should be able to dive to a shallow depth of not more than 20-50 meters, which will reduce the requirements for the hull structures of the original submarine design.
The mast must be located at the top of the superstructure. unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), most likely quadrocopter (octopopter, hexacopter) type with reconnaissance equipment on board, which is powered by flexible cable from the side of the NOC. Depending on the permissible UAV dimensions, both optical, thermal imaging, and radar reconnaissance equipment can be placed on it. The possibility of automatic tracking of UAVs of UAVs flying at an altitude of 50-100 meters, and, if possible, more, will make it possible to detect surface and low-flying targets at a much greater distance than is possible with the help of the mast of the NSC.
If the radar stationed on the mast at an altitude of 5-15 meters can see an anti-ship missile (RCC) flying at an altitude of 20 meters, at a range of about 25-30 kilometers, then the radar stationed on a UAV at an altitude of 50-100 meters can see the same RCC at a range of 40-55 kilometers.
Dependence of the range of visibility of a target located (flying) at a height of 20 meters, on the height of the deployment of reconnaissance equipment
The NOC submarines will inherit a powerful sonar station (GAS).
The NOC will not be able to place the classic manned anti-submarine defense helicopters (PLO). Their functions can be divided between UAVs, crewless boats (BEC) and uninhabited underwater vehicles (NPA), accompanying NOCs and recharging batteries from it (refueling). For the release and reception of UAVs or crewless boats, the NOC must perform a short ascent with the hull rising above the waterline.
Anti-submarine UAVs can be implemented on the basis of a helicopter or quadrocopter (octopopter, hexacopter) UAV.
Speaking about UAVs for a diving surface ship, one cannot but recall the UAV projects starting from under water. One of the most interesting projects is the Cormorant UAV, designed to launch nuclear submarines and ballistic missile launchers (SSBN) from mines from a depth of 46 meters. For NOCs, such difficulties are not required, the start may well be carried out from the surface. Such a UAV can be used to perform reconnaissance missions at a relative distance from the ship.
Crewless surface and underwater vehicles can be used both to perform the functions of anti-aircraft defense, and to solve missile defense tasks.
The Iskatel crewless boat, developed by Aviation and Marine Electronics and Design Bureau Luch [/ size
The Iskatel crewless boat, developed by Aviation and Marine Electronics and Design Bureau Luch [/ size
Tetis Pro experimental pilot autonomous radio-controlled boat with side-scan sonar Kalan
The submarine autonomous uninhabited apparatus of NPO Aurora, equipped with an echo sounder, side-scan sonar, sonar positioning and communication system, satellite and inertial navigation systems, a sound depth and speed meter
Autonomous uninhabited underwater vehicle "Klavesin-1R" developed by the Institute of Marine Technology Problems
Since the main task of the NOC is air defense (air defense), like the British destroyer type 45, its main weapons should become a powerful anti-aircraft missile system (SAM). Presumably this may be a modernized air defense system, implemented on the basis of the Poliment-Redut air defense system. It is possible that a naval air defense system based on the promising land complex S-500 would become a more promising option, but, given the fact that its composition and capabilities are not yet known, it would be more logical to dwell on more worked-out solutions. The basis for the ammunition should be anti-aircraft guided missiles (SAM) of medium range 9M96E, 9M96E2 with an active homing radar (ARLGSN) and short-range missiles 9M100 with an infrared homing head (IKGSN), capable of hitting targets without continuous target designation or highlighting targets.
To destroy air targets at long range, the air defense system’s ammunition should be supplemented with long / super long-range missiles. There may be few of them, but their very presence will force the enemy to plan their actions taking into account this fact, to keep away high-altitude UAVs and early warning radars (DRLs).
If technically possible, placement on the NOC would be a good help. laser weapons (LO) with a power of 100-500 kWcapable of defeating small-sized targets: UAVs, light boats and boats, destroying sensitive elements of the optics of anti-ship missiles and enemy aircraft, and in the long term ensuring their physical destruction. Despite the fact that many are skeptical of laser weapons, they will not become less effective from this. The leading powers of the world (USA, UK, Germany, Israel, China) are investing huge amounts in the development of laser weapons. For example, Germans plan to put LO on corvettes, the British on type 45 destroyers, the United States even plan to put laser weapons on almost all types of ships (promising frigates, destroyers, landing ships, and even on multipurpose nuclear submarines) And do not think that it will occupy half the ship. A laser module with a 100 kW cooling system can be comparable in size with one or two refrigerators.
From the initial submarine project, 533 mm torpedo tubes will remain. The NOC will lack artillery weapons, as well as short-range air defense systems / anti-aircraft missile systems (anti-aircraft missile and artillery systems).
The question arises: where to place all of the above and how can you save space? The answer is simple: the NNP should become exactly the air defense ship of the combat area, that is, its strike functions will be minimized. The same goes for anti-submarine functions.
If we say that the project 955A SSBN is taken as the basis, then it has space to accommodate 16 missile silos (with a diameter of about 2,2 meters), 6 (8?) Torpedo tubes of 533 mm caliber with an ammunition load of about 40 torpedoes, and also six disposable non-rechargeable 533 mm launchers for launching sonar countermeasures, which are located in the superstructure.
Based on this, the NOC ammunition can be:
- 10 standard torpedoes of caliber 533 mm of the current model;
- 40 anti-torpedoes having dimensions half the standard torpedo 533 mm;
- 10 uninhabited underwater vehicles made in the dimensions of a standard torpedo of caliber 533 mm;
- 2 (4) anti-submarine UAVs with a release-receiving-refueling device occupying the space of two conventional missile silos;
- 2 crewless boats in containers on the hull, by analogy with external docking cameras implemented at the Ohio SSBN;
- 12 super-long-range missiles 40N6E in four conventional missile silos, taking into account the diameter of one missile in a transport and launch container (TPK) 1 meter;
- 192 medium-range missiles 9M96E2 in four conventional missile silos, taking into account the diameter of one 240 mm missiles;
- 264 9M100 short-range missiles in four conventional missile silos, taking into account the diameter of one 200 mm missiles (according to some sources, 125 mm, that is, the number of short-range missiles can be increased to 584 units);
- 24 missiles (anti-ship, cruise missiles, missile and torpedoes) of the Caliber complex, with a complete set, depending on the task of the NOC, in two conventional missile silos, taking into account the diameter of the missile in the TPK 533 mm.
An approximate calculation of the number of missiles that can be placed in compartments under the RPKSN mine project 955A. For 9M96E2 and 9M100 missiles taken an additional margin of 40 mm in size, taking into account the need for TPK
Of course, the actual ammunition will be 20-30-50 percent less due to the need for cabling, installation of power structures and so on. Nevertheless, a general idea of the potential NOC ammunition based on the project 955A SSBN can be obtained, and even if the ammunition is halved, the NOC will be equivalent to several air defense divisions.
In addition, it must be borne in mind that the dimensions of the missile silos on the SSBNs are much larger in height than the missiles and missiles that are placed in them, that is, there will be a reserve of volumes to accommodate the necessary additional equipment.
The advantages of NOCs over surface ships of a classic design
First of all, the appearance of NOCs will significantly depreciate the reserves of RCC available to potential opponents, including the latest AGM-158C LRASM. Protection of the NOC from a massive impact of RCC can look something like this:
After the discovery of a group of NOCs by the enemy, the latter carries out a strike with a large number of RCC. Active radars will detect flying, anti-ship missiles from a distance of at least 20 kilometers. After that, the NOC carries out an urgent dive, having previously released the protective curtains. In principle, the creation of false targets can also be considered, which are inflatable quick-deploy simulators of the surface of the NN mast, ejected from torpedo tubes or air-launched vehicles and inflated with compressed air.
Even the RCC’s retargeting capabilities will not allow them to “circle forever,” waiting for the NOCs to reappear on the surface. In order to provide anti-ship missiles with the ability to barrage in the air, to search for targets and retargeting, they must not be launched at maximum range, but closer to the target, which puts carriers at risk. And still, not being able to track NOCs under water, RCCs will quickly move away from them, run out of fuel, or hit false targets.
Can RCC defeat a target underwater? In its present form, no. Equipping the RCC with a depth-bomb type warhead will also do little, since the NOC is a moving target, capable of changing course and speed, and it cannot predict the movement of the NOC under water. The weight of the warhead (warhead) of most modern anti-ship missiles does not exceed 500 kg. Any complication of warheads, giving it the function of destroying underwater targets, will weaken it even more.
There remains the option of equipping the RCC with a small-sized torpedo, that is, in essence, turning it into a missile torpedo (RT). But in this case, we will expect a comprehensive drop in the characteristics of the Republic of Tatarstan in comparison with the RCC. For example, the firing range of the RPK-6 Vodopad missile and torpedo complex is only 50 (according to some sources, 90) kilometers, plus the UMGT-1 torpedo range is another 8 kilometers.
Rocket-torpedo complex RPK-6 "Waterfall" with a torpedo caliber 400 mm UMGT-1
The American RUM-139 VLA missile torpedo has an even shorter range of 28 kilometers, and the Mark 46 or Mark 54 torpedoes installed on it have a range of 7,3 or 2,4 kilometers, respectively.
Thus, RTs will have a smaller range, speed, maneuverability, warhead mass and at the same time greater visibility and cost compared to RCC. If the enemy wants to increase the firing range of the Republic of Tatarstan, their dimensions and mass will increase significantly, which will not allow placing them on those aircraft carriers that can carry anti-ship missiles. And those aircraft carriers that can carry RT with an increased range, will take them less than they could take RCC.
It is possible to practically exclude the possibility of a “firefight” of a KGU from surface ships of a classic design and a KGU consisting of diving surface ships, since the latter will have time to reach the launch line of the RCC, shoot and change course long before the enemy’s KGU can approach the RT launch range.
In terms of the probability of hitting the target, the missile + torpedo bunch will most likely also be inferior to the probability of hitting the target of anti-ship missiles, although here we partially compare the incomparable, but, in the end, we are interested in the final result - hitting the target, be it NK or NNK.
As a result, short-range RTs will force aircraft carriers to enter the NOC air defense coverage area, there will be fewer launched RTs than RCC could be, and RTs themselves will be easier to hit with NOC SAMs. And the probability of NW damage by small-sized torpedoes, which nevertheless managed to reach the drop zone, will not be so high because of their obviously worse characteristics compared to full-size torpedoes, as well as due to counteraction of the NW with the help of false targets and anti-torpedoes.
In other words, it is good to shoot missile torpedoes at submarines, but not at diving surface ships capable of actively counteracting them. The enemy will have to organize complex strike of anti-ship missiles, RT, with false targets like ADM-160A MALD, knowingly aware that the RCC is likely to be spent in vain, if such a blow at all will have a chance of success.
In the event that when an NNV dives above the surface, the UAV will remain on the power and control cable, the situation for the enemy will become even more complicated, since the NWN will be able to destroy air targets even after immersion, albeit with less efficiency.
Thus, diving surface ships will have the following advantages:
- the ability to provide continuous monitoring of airspace and the destruction of air targets, as with a classic design NK;
- significant missile ammunition, which allows to isolate the combat area and level the strike potential of the enemy carrier strike groups (AUG);
- increased secrecy, since only the superstructure-mast with reconnaissance and communications equipment will remain on the surface;
- the possibility of further increasing stealth due to the transition to a completely underwater position, and misleading the enemy with false inflatable mast superstructures;
- the possibility of avoiding RCC, due to the immersion of the NOC under water;
- a highly efficient HAS, inherited by the NOC “from inheritance” from the submarine, capable of detecting the submarine and NK of the enemy.
The high protection of NNP from anti-ship missiles can lead to the fact that the most modern low-noise enemy submarines will become the only serious threat to such a ship.
Of course, diving surface ships should not act alone, but as part of a naval strike group (KUG). However, its composition should differ significantly from the KUG based on ships of classical design.
Naval iceberg strike group
The presence of classic-class surface ships as part of the KGG eliminates all the advantages of the NOC, since in the event of an anti-ship missile attack, the NOC will hide under water, and the classic-designed surface ships will take the entire anti-ship missile attack. This leads to the following conclusions:
1. Kug based on the NOC, in addition to the NOC itself, may include only submarines.
2. Kug on the basis of the NOC cannot include surface ships requiring protection - airborne assault forces, aircraft carriers, etc.
In other words, the NSC-based KMG is intended for attack, not defense. Is this a disadvantage? More likely no than yes. As mentioned earlier, in the foreseeable future, Russia is unable to build a fleet capable of "resisting" symmetrically the fleet USA and their allies. Those. we are unlikely to be able to ensure the safety of, for example, landing ships: no matter how many frigates of project 22350 we build, they will be “filled up” with anti-ship missiles and a bomber and / or aircraft from aircraft carriers. We can ensure their safety only if the adversary understands that in the event of a conflict, his losses in warships and auxiliary ships will be incomparably higher, which is why KGB based on the NOC is needed.
The proposed spatially distributed strike surface-submarine KGG type "iceberg" should include the following types of ships and submarines:
- 2 NOCs based on the SSBN project 955A;
- 2 submarines of conditional project 955K;
- 4 multi-purpose submarines.
Additionally, the KUG “iceberg” is attached to 2-4 UAVs with a long flight duration.
Variant of construction of KUG of the iceberg type
The distance between the NOCs, SSBNs and the multi-purpose KGM iceberg submarines of the "iceberg" type will be determined by the possibility of organizing communication and, accordingly, the interaction between the NOCs and the PL. An increase in the communication range can be organized at the expense of NPA-acoustic communication repeaters, in an organizational way - submarine submarine for radio communication with the NOC at certain points in time or in other ways. Currently, methods for long-distance communication between submarines are being developed, one of which, for example, is described in the patent RU2666904C1 "Method for two-way distant resonant EHF / microwave radio communication with an underwater object".
Also, the maximum distance between diving surface ships and submarines as part of the ICG of the “iceberg” type is determined by the ability of NOCs to protect “their” submarines from enemy anti-submarine aircraft and the ability of “their” multipurpose submarines to protect NSCs and SSBNs from enemy submarines. It can be assumed that the distance between ships and submarines of the KUG type “iceberg” will vary in the range from five to forty kilometers
Functions within the IBM are distributed as follows:
NOCs provide air defense of the area, not allowing the operation of anti-submarine aircraft of the enemy, destroy all types of aircraft and helicopters of the enemy. Upon reaching the frontier of attack, the enemy’s AUGs are destroyed by AWACS aircraft, capable of over-the-horizon guidance of the enemy’s missile launchers to attacking anti-ship missiles.
SSBNs are intended for delivering massive strikes, depending on the task, with cruise missiles at ground targets or anti-ship missiles at enemy ships.
Multipurpose nuclear submarines provide protection for NOCs and SSBNs from enemy multipurpose nuclear submarines.
ICG type iceberg reconnaissance data should be received from reconnaissance satellites, UAVs of long flight duration, as well as using unmanned aerial vehicles, unmanned boats and unmanned underwater vehicles deployed from onboard NSCs.
Is there a future for diving surface ships? The question is complex. There is no doubt that the design and construction of NOCs will not be easy, like any other new technology. Accordingly, the list of countries that can implement such a project is very limited.
The US already dominates the oceans, and only a threat from the rapidly growing fleet of China can prevent them from experimenting. But the fleet parity of the PRC and the United States is unlikely to be reached before 2050. US allies in NATO solve local problems as part of the US Navy, they are ships that can withstand a powerful enemy, to anything.
China might be interested in upsetting the balance, but it seems that for the time being, the PRC engineers can only combine and modify the successes of the design schools of other countries: most of the PRC’s weapons resemble “vinaigrette” from the finalized decisions of the USA, Russia, and European countries. Moreover, in the field of submarines, without which it is impossible to create a combined-cycle gas-compressor station on the basis of the NOC, the PRC's successes are not great: obviously, critical data in this area have not yet been obtained. On the other hand, China can replicate on a large scale what has already been developed, so the extensive development path for China looks more natural.
In the last century, during the Cold War era, original projects often appeared in the USSR: ekranoplanes, deep-sea high-speed submarines and highly automated submarines with a liquid metal reactor, Spiral spacecraft, and much more. By the way, the USA also experimented quite actively during the Cold War. But the USSR is no longer there, and the conventional forces of the Russian Federation pose a minimal threat to the United States, more likely even useful from the point of view of the occasion for budget development.
As for Russia, the Russian Navy hardly manages to maintain the fleet at a minimum level, although there has been recent progress in the serial construction of frigates of project 22350, although strategic and multi-purpose nuclear submarines are being built quickly. On the other hand, the Russian Navy allocates resources for specific projects such as the Poseidon strategic torpedo and special submarines for it. Maybe in the shipbuilding program of the Russian Navy there is a place for diving surface ships? At least, conducting research in this direction will be inexpensive and looks very real, and carrying out work at the outline design level will not take up a lot of resources.