In the material devoted to domestic multipurpose nuclear submarines of the type Ash-M, the author came to the conclusion that these ships are good for everyone, except for the cost. Unfortunately, the costs of building ships of Project 885M are excessively high (1,5-2 times higher than on SSBNs of the Borey type) and will not allow equipping the fleet with them in an amount at least minimally sufficient to solve the tasks facing the Russian Navy.
Is the message from afar rarely true?
As you know, today work is underway to create the next generation MPSS. We are talking about the already completed research work (R&D) of "Husky", smoothly flowing into development work (ROC) under the code "Laika". It should be expected that upon completion of the development work, the future MPS will once again change its name, and it will be built by some kind of "Eucalyptus" or "Rhododendron". The guys who come up with the names of the types of our military equipment are still entertainers, I hope, at least the "Weeping Willow" will not come up. But in the future I will call the developed MAPL "Husky" - by the name of the research project that gave rise to this project.
So, information about "Husky" ... Of course, are classified as "top secret". But something still leaks into the media through the statements of various responsible persons. Of course, if we take the general tone of the media about the new MAPL, then everything is simply gorgeous: the new ship, much less noticeable than the Yasen-M, and even armed with the Zircon hypersonic missiles, of all the adversaries with one left propeller ...
But if we impartially analyze the crumbs of information that reach us about the Husky, then the picture is not even that ambiguous, but rather very sad. Of course, here you need to understand that news from afar is rarely true: simply put, some information transmitted by the media can be distorted by accident, and some - even deliberately, in order to mislead the "sworn friends". Whatever one may say, but a modern MAPL is an extremely complex and high-tech facility. In the old days, a ship of the line was called the pinnacle of human scientific and technical thought, and so it was in fact. Not that the MAPL came to replace him, but nevertheless the modern nuclear submarine is such a unique quintessence of scientific and technological progress that only a few creations of the human mind are able to challenge its primacy in this field. Without a doubt, information about modern and even more promising nuclear submarines is an extremely tasty morsel for any secret service in the world: do not use it yourself, so at least sell it at the most reasonable price. Any nuances are interesting here, and therefore it cannot be ruled out that some statements by our responsible persons on the topic of "Husky" may turn out to be disinformation.
But, of course, the author of this article is not informed about this, and all that he can is to analyze the information that is in the public domain. So let's do it.
Unification with SSBNs
For the first time, Nikolai Novoselov, deputy general director of the Malakhit design bureau, announced the desire for such unification at the end of 2014. And that was, let's say, at least strange.
The fact is that SSBNs and MAPLs are submarines with completely different combat missions. Shooting with intercontinental ballistic missiles is not just a complex, but also an extremely specific process, which puts forward equally specific requirements for the design of an underwater strategic missile carrier. Of course, you can see some parallels in the firing of cruise missiles from vertical installations, which, for example, are equipped with our "Ash-M", or the American "Virginia", but there is still a significant difference.
In addition, there is still a question of size. The dimensions of the ICBM must fit into the dimensions of the carrier submarine hull. You can, of course, not do this, forming a specific "hump" over the body, as, for example, was implemented in the 667BRDM "Dolphin". But SSBNs without a "hump" can be made less noticeable, why, in fact, our newest "Borei-A", unlike the missile carriers of the "Borey" series, do not have a hump.
In other words, the height of the SSBN hull must correspond to the dimensions of the ICBMs it carries, but there is no such restriction for an MPSS hull. And therefore there is no point in making SSBNs based on MAPLs or vice versa. Of course, unification is possible between SSBNs and MAPLs, but it will be different - in the use of the same components, assemblies, instruments and devices.
This is the opinion of the author of this article, and the same point of view was shared by N. Novoselov, Deputy General Director of KB Malakhit. When in 2014 the correspondent of RIA “News"Asked him a question about the creation of a single corps for a multipurpose and strategic nuclear submarine, he replied:
“This question is being considered. The point is that the characteristics of a nuclear weapons RF sets the characteristics of the ship itself - for example, the weight of this weapon, length, width. Therefore, it is impossible to say that it is simply possible to unify the corpus ”.
It seems that everything is clear and understandable, but already the following words of N. Novoselov sounded extremely alarming: "The task is worth it, but we understand it at the level of equipment unification, that is, the filling inside the ship." Then N. Novoselov quite rightly noted that the unification of the equipment used to equip "Borey-A" and "Yasen-M" has fully justified itself. So, after all, someone demanded to unify the body?
In 2015, A. Shlemov, the head of the USC Department of State Defense Order, told interesting details about the Husky. In his words, the ship was designed in two versions: a purely torpedo hunter boat, intended primarily for the destruction of enemy submarines, and a cruise missile carrier. Moreover, the difference was only in the "insert" of the compartment with missile weapons.
This option looks quite promising. It is clear that when the Soviet anti-ship missiles had a starting weight of 7 tons, it was completely impossible to unify torpedo (PLAT) and missile (SSGN) submarines along the hull. Hence the need for the appearance of Project 949A SSGNs with Granites and PLATs of projects 971 and 945.
But today the mass of cruise missiles has been significantly reduced and does not exceed 2,3-3 tons. the fleet there is absolutely no need to install vertical launchers (VPU) in the amount of 32-40 mines and more on "everything that goes under water." Even in a non-nuclear conflict, even in a nuclear conflict, part of the multipurpose nuclear submarines will receive tasks that have nothing to do with the salvo launches of anti-ship missiles. We must not forget that the PLAT is not exclusively a torpedo ship: if necessary, missiles or rocket-torpedoes can be used using torpedo tubes. Perhaps it makes sense to leave on PLAT and VPU with a relatively small number of mines for their use of missile-torpedoes. Here the author, alas, is not an expert ... But, in any case, with the approach described above, the fleet will be able to retain specialized anti-submarine and missile "anti-aircraft" nuclear submarines, and at the same time will significantly save thanks to unification, optimizing both shipbuilding and operating costs.
And it seemed that it turned out that someone set the task of unifying MAPLs and SSBNs in the hull, but common sense prevailed. However, further publications did not provide a direct answer to this question. For example, the CEO of Malachite said in 2016:
“It cannot carry ballistic and cruise missiles at the same time. Today, ballistic missiles cannot be installed on multipurpose nuclear submarines due to the difference in their mass and dimensional characteristics. "
That is, it cannot at the same time, but separately it can? The statement of the head of the USC Rakhmanov did not clarify anything either: "This will be a boat that will be unified - strategic and multipurpose in a number of its key elements." It is obviously impossible to understand the degree of unification from this phrase. But the reasons for the requirements for unification are quite obvious: Rakhmanov said bluntly that maximum unification is required in order to get the best price offer from the RF Ministry of Defense.
And then, at the end of 2019, there was complete clarity. As follows from the materials of the Federation Council, "Husky" will be able to carry both ballistic and cruise missiles through the use of various modules.
According to the author, the unification of SSBNs and MAPLs in this form is a mistake. An attempt at a compromise will lead to the fact that the ship will turn out to be significantly larger than is needed for the MPS, but at the same time the development of promising sea-based ICBMs will be squeezed into the "Procrustean bed" of dimensions, in which the MPS is still acceptable. That is, such "savings" will not benefit either the MAPL or the SSBN.
And again, the unification of SSBNs with a non-strategic nuclear submarine could be accepted if it was a question of creating a specialized submarine anti-aircraft carrier. That is, if, for example, a nuclear submarine was created, carrying, depending on the modification, either 16 intercontinental ballistic missiles, or a TLU for 70 or more anti-ship missiles, as it was implemented in the modernized version of the Anteyev project 949AM. Well, for other tasks, it would be possible to design the PLAT of the most moderate displacement. But we are talking about something completely different: the Husky is expected, among other things, to perform the tasks of the PLAT.
The author has repeatedly heard from naval officers that a single-hull design allows for a lower level of visibility than a two- or one and a half-hull. It is also known that Soviet-built and then Russian-built nuclear submarines are precisely two- or one-and-a-half hulls, while the Americans are building single-hull nuclear submarines.
What are the advantages of a double-hull design over a single-hull? Perhaps only the best buoyancy and survivability (although maybe there is something else, the author is still not an expert). But it is obvious that in combat conditions it is more important to have less visibility than better buoyancy. As for peacetime, the Americans proved that the survivability of the US nuclear submarine is quite sufficient to carry out their inherent tasks. Their atomarines do not shy away from ice.
There were also incidents of emergency situations: for example, collisions with our submarines. At the same time, the US nuclear submarines sometimes received very serious damage, but there were no cases of the death of American nuclear submarines (after the Thrasher and Skipjack disasters in the 60s of the last century).
In other words, the American experience shows that the creation of a completely reliable, but at the same time, single-hull nuclear submarine is quite possible. We would expect our designers to embrace this experience, but ... no. When asked by a reporter about the use of a single-hull design, deputy. N. Novoselov, General Director of Malakhit, replied:
“The concept of a double (strong inner and light outer) or one-and-a-half hull also remains a tradition in our submarine building. We believe this is a more cost-effective design than a single hull. ”
It can be assumed that this is due to the requirements of the Navy. Again, according to N. Novoselov: “... there are technical requirements, from which, as it seems to us, the Navy will not retreat. This is, for example, the percentage of unsinkability. " But why? It turns out that a double-hull submarine can be more reliable than a single-hull submarine in peacetime, but more vulnerable in wartime. And here sad reflections suggest themselves. Here are the current requirements for the buoyancy of the boat, they are very high and require a two-hull structure. You can, of course, abandon these requirements, lower them. And if then there is an accident with the new ship, who will be the "extreme"? The initiator of the transition to a single-body design, of course! So it is much easier and safer for the person in charge to give up and live the old fashioned way: well, to Neptune, this invisibility, we will continue to build two-hull ships.
Only now, warships are built for war, and not for peace. Admiral S.O. Makarov has been pointing out with a stone finger for 107 years: "Remember the war!"
Yes, just not for the future, it turns out?
Propeller or water cannon?
This is a very difficult question. What is a water cannon anyway? Roughly speaking, this is a screw stuck in a pipe. It seems to be simple, but in reality the water cannon is the most complex propulsion system.
On the one hand, the efficiency of a water jet is lower because energy is spent on friction of the water flow against the pipe. On the other hand, the efficiency of the impeller (propeller) of a water cannon is higher than that of a conventional propeller, so the water cannon may be even more effective in some modes. A water cannon can provide better maneuverability, but apparently only if its "pipe" is equipped with a rotating nozzle. On a boat, this design will not be too complicated. And on a submarine?
The use of water cannons on nuclear submarines is an extremely secret thing, there is no exact data in the open press. But if we assume that some of the features of civilian water cannons apply to the military, then this is what happens.
The main advantage of a water cannon is less noise than a propeller. Perhaps the reason is that the water in the "pipe" of the water cannon is, as it were, in an ideal state, while an open propeller works in conditions of sea currents, that is, the natural movement of water. And the main disadvantages of a water cannon are lower efficiency at low and medium speeds, large mass (also because from the point of view of displacement for a water cannon, one should take into account the mass of water inside it), and high cost.
It can be assumed that by choosing a water cannon, we will sacrifice the maneuverability of the submarine in favor of its low noise, while choosing a propeller - the opposite. Perhaps this is connected with the extremely strange fact that our newest SSBNs "Borey-A" are supplied with a water cannon, but the multi-purpose "Yaseni-M" - with a screw. But here everything is not at all simple.
It should be assumed that it was precisely the transition to water cannons that allowed the Americans to reach unprecedented speeds of low-noise travel (up to 20 knots). Accordingly, a submarine with a propeller can have the same noise level, but at a lower speed. But then everything becomes quite interesting.
A moving ship has a certain amount of energy, determined by its mass and speed. But any maneuver is associated with the loss of energy, which is spent, among other things, on overcoming the ship's inertia when its course and water resistance change. Thus, while maintaining the current operating mode of the power plant, maneuvering causes a drop in the ship's speed. But, of course, the commander of the ship, starting the maneuver, can "sink the pedal to the floor", giving full speed. In this case, the change in speed will depend not only on the loss of energy to perform the maneuver, but also on the additional energy that the power plant will impart to the ship.
All this has a direct analogy with the fighter aviation... There, the large energy of the aircraft is an advantage at the beginning of the "dog dump" - the fact is that, having made a series of energetic maneuvers, a fighter that had less energy before the start of the battle risks "failing" below the evolutionary speed and becoming an easy prey for the enemy, who, due to the greater "Energy reserve" retained controllability.
At the same time, civilian water cannons have one very interesting feature. They are inferior to a conventional screw in efficiency at small and medium moves, but they can win at large ones. And if this principle applies to the nuclear submarine, then ...
Imagine a confrontation between two nuclear submarines, identical in everything, except that one of them has a propeller, and the other has a water cannon. With the same noise level, the jet will have a higher speed and, accordingly, a greater supply of energy for maneuver. But when the nuclear submarines find each other, then there will be no need to hide, and both ships will be able to give full speed. However, in this case, the nuclear submarine with a water cannon will receive an additional advantage, since in addition to the greater energy at the beginning of an underwater battle, superiority in speed at full speed will also be added, due to the advantage in the efficiency of the water cannon in this mode.
In other words, at least theoretically, a submarine with a water-jet propeller will have superiority over a similar submarine with a screw propeller not only in stealth, but also in maneuverability.
So what will the Husky be equipped with: a propeller or a water cannon? Taking into account all of the above, as well as the general "water jetting" of the nuclear submarines of the USA, England, France, one would expect a water cannon, but ...
Oddly enough, in the photograph of the nuclear submarine, presented as "Laika-VMF", we see not a water cannon, but a propeller. Why?
Oh, how I want to believe that smart people in secret research institutes have calculated all the options, came up with a super-optimal propeller shape, having achieved superiority in maneuverability and comparable speed in low-noise mode with the "water-jet" submarines of our "sworn friends". And that for better realization of such opportunities, the Husky will be equipped with super-effective active and passive defense systems, at the sight of which any Virginia Block 100500 will simply burst into tears of envy and crawl out onto land, since it will have absolutely nothing to catch in the ocean. And that Vladimir Vladimirovich in the next (I don't remember which one) presidential term will definitely change the economic course of the Russian Federation, so that rivers of milk with jelly banks will come to us ...
It's just that it's much more convincing that in fact our developers took a simple and cheap, but far from the best way. And instead of creating an adequate water jet propulsion unit, we limited ourselves to “straightening” what is on the Ash-M. This option, no doubt, fits perfectly into the logic of "getting the best price offer." But whether it fits into the logic of creating a promising submarine, which will be able to effectively defend the sea borders of the Motherland for many decades, is a big question.
We can only hope that the presented Laiki-Navy model is some very, very preliminary, when the ship was designed on an initiative basis and was conceived as a modernization of the Ash. Or is it an export version focused on the Indian Navy. Or maybe someone accidentally sat down on a real Laiki-Navy model just before the start of the exhibition, and had to urgently change it, taking out a model from the Soviet era from the store. Or it does not correspond to the real prototype at all and is cobbled together according to the principle “it will do just that”. Someone had enough conscience to pull out a model of the Soviet atomic TAVKR "Ulyanovsk" and, having attached a new superstructure to it, to declare a project of a promising aircraft carrier!
After all, as stated earlier, it is entirely possible that the image presented is deliberate misinformation. In general, Nadezhda dies last (Vera said and shot Lyubov).
The photo with the Laiki-Navy model shows the ship's displacement: 11 tons. Most likely, we are talking about an underwater displacement, and in this case, we can say that the ship turned out to be somewhat smaller than both the Ash and even Shchuk- B "project 340 - their underwater displacement exceeds 971 tons (in a number of media outlets even 12 tons are indicated for" Ash ").
Let me remind you that there is surface and underwater displacement of submarines. Surface represents the weight of the ship itself, as if it were weighed on gigantic scales. Thus, if we want, for example, to compare a surface and submarine ship in terms of displacement, then for the submarine it is necessary to take the surface displacement. But the underwater displacement is equal to the volume of water displaced by the boat underwater.
Very simplistic: an iron ship does not sink because its specific gravity (ratio of mass to volume) is less than that of water. A ship with a weight of 8 tons and a volume of 000 cubic meters. m, will submerge so that its 10 cubic meters. m will be under water, and 000 cubic meters. m will be above the water. Accordingly, in order to dive to the very deck (zero buoyancy), such a ship will need to take another 8 tons of water.
And therefore, it should be understood that when comparing the underwater displacement, we are not comparing the mass of the submarines, but their volumes, or, if you like, the masses of the ships themselves plus the masses of the water they received (this is not a completely correct definition, but for understanding the principle it will do quite well). That is why there is no need to faint from the realization of the underwater displacement of our famous TRPKSN project 941 "Akula", which is as much as 48 tons (!), Since the mass of the ship itself, that is, its surface displacement is more than half. Which, of course, also "inspires", but still more or less within reason.
So, our lead "Ash" significantly surpassed the American "Virginia" Block 5, carrying a vertical launcher (VPU) for 40 "Tomahawks". "American", according to BMPD, has 7 tons of surface displacement and 900 tons of underwater displacement, and "Ash" - 10 surface displacement and either 200 or 8 underwater. The Yasen-M turned out to be more modest in size and displacement, but its surface displacement is probably still more than 600 tons, that is, it still remains the largest submarine in the world. But if the underwater displacement of the Husky is the declared 12 tons, then given its double hull and the fact that the Soviet / Russian nuclear submarines usually surpassed American submarines in terms of buoyancy, it can be assumed that the surface displacement of the Laiki-Navy is still lower than the latest version of "Virginia". But, obviously, it is still higher than that of the "torpedo" variations of American nuclear submarines, as well as submarines of England and France. If we were talking about the creation of a specialized ship for "anti-aircraft" divisions, then one could put up with this, but for multipurpose nuclear submarines, such weights are excessive. And in terms of underwater displacement, the Husky continues to hold the world championship that is completely unnecessary for us, and this is also not very cool.
It remains to be hoped that the Husky is being created as a unique nuclear submarine platform, on the basis of which it is possible to build an SSBN (with a missile compartment under an ICBM), an SSGN (with a missile compartment for an anti-ship missile and anti-ship missile system) and a submarine (without a missile compartment). And that the photo shows a multipurpose missile version, and the torpedo "hunter" will be much more modest in weight and volume. That's just ... The Americans, too, at one time decided to save money by creating a single plane for the needs of the Air Force, Navy and ILC. The resulting F-35, to put it mildly, is very difficult to attribute to the success of the American aircraft industry. Are we not going the same way, designing one ship for almost all the tasks of the submarine fleet? Have we not relaxed, designing ships for service in peacetime, in the argument "and in war the sailors will come up with something"?
I'd like to believe that not. But ... looking at strange dances with corvettes 20385 and 20386 (buy a corvette at the price of a frigate, but don't think that the second one will be given to you for free!), At the stupid patrolmen of Project 22160, built in the absence of modern IPCs in the fleet, at the state of mine-sweeping forces , for investments in deck attack helicopters, while the fleet does not have modern PLO aircraft and so on and so on, you begin to seriously fear that the country, having financed the Husky R&D, Laika R&D and other work on the creation of the newest MAPL, will receive at the output "Not a mouse, not a frog, but an unknown animal."
"Author! - an indignant reader might say. - Well, could you find anything positive in the news about the Husky? It never happens that everything is really bad right now! "
There is positive news, how not to be. So positive ... that it would have been better if they weren't.
Husky and network centrics
At the exhibition "Defexpo-2014" the General Director of SPMBM "Malakhit" V. Dorofeev said:
“The distinctive features of a promising submarine should be sought not in increased speed, deep diving, displacement, dimensions, but in completely other things that are invisible - the possibility of their integration into a single information space of the Ministry of Defense, interaction with surface ships and aviation in real time, then there is, the possibility of their participation in network-centric wars. "
It would seem that this is really good news, and in many ways it is. Today, the nuclear submarine in a submerged position is literally cut off from the world: communication with other warships, aircraft, etc. extremely complicated. Therefore, the creation of technologies that retain the advantage in stealth, but at the same time integrate nuclear submarines into network-centric control systems, is a matter of paramount importance. That's just ... How are they going to integrate?
According to V. Dorofeev, through the widespread use of robotic equipment from the submarine. O. Vlasov, the head of the robotics sector of the St. Petersburg Maritime Bureau of Mechanical Engineering "Malakhit", specified that robotics on a submarine would be able to work both in the air and in the water.
It seems to be just great, isn't it? But there is a nuance. V. Dorofeev in an interview bluntly clarified: "There is serious scientific research on the problems that have not been resolved: communication under water, speed and information capacity of channels." That is, there is research, but the problems have not been resolved. This means that such robotics must either be connected to the nuclear submarine by a cable (especially flying, yeah), or be able to collect information on their own, and then return to the carrier. So, as far as the author understands, the procedures for launching and accepting such robotics aboard nuclear submarines will in themselves become a very serious unmasking factor. After all, the ship will have to go to a predetermined area, take a certain depth, which may turn out to be sub-optimal in terms of stealth, etc. etc. And who prevents our "sworn friends" from tracking the landing of the same reconnaissance UAV launched from the nuclear submarine on the water, and using it to determine the location of the ship?
All this, of course, does not mean at all that such robotics should not be dealt with. It is necessary, and over time it will bring results. But…
To date, the Russian Navy has not resolved the key problems with the torpedo and anti-torpedo weapons of submarines. Those interested in this topic, I strongly recommend that you familiarize yourself with the materials of M. Klimov, some of which, by the way, are published on "VO" Yes, of course, someone perceives this author as an "alarmist", ready to shout "everything is lost" for any reason. But personally, I did not manage to find at least some well-grounded objections refuting what M. Klimov writes about the deepest crisis of the domestic fleet in terms of torpedo armament and anti-torpedo protection equipment of even our most modern warships.
In short, today the practice of firing remote-controlled torpedoes over long distances, salvo firing, ice firing, and there are reasonable doubts that the available materiel will allow our submariners to do all this satisfactorily, has not been developed at all. While for American and European submariners, such things are routine of combat training. Accordingly, M. Klimov quite rightly notes: in the event of the outbreak of hostilities, our submariners will have to fight with a pistol against a sniper rifle. And as for our anti-torpedo weapons, they are created according to the technical specification, which was relevant in the 80s, well, maybe in the 90s of the last century and is almost useless against the latest foreign torpedoes.
In these conditions, we should, firstly, realize the existing problems, and, secondly, take the most decisive measures to eradicate them. Moreover, all this is fully within our power. But won't it turn out that instead we will redirect cash flows and pump them into "network-centric robotics"? And will it not turn out that, based on the results of all the above-mentioned work, research and development and development work, we will receive a suboptimal MAPL, armed with a “pistol against a sniper rifle”, which does not have any sort of sane anti-torpedo protection, but on the other hand, it is equipped with “super robots”, which in a combat situation no one dares to use it so as not to unmask the ship?
"But what about the hypersonic Zircons?" - the dear reader will ask. Alas, if the pessimism of the author of this article is justified, then the real capabilities of the Husky will not allow our submariners to use this weapon to any extent.