On the "Voennoye Obozreniye" there are many works devoted to the comparison of the combat effectiveness of the Russian and foreign fleets. However, the authors of these publications usually use a purely arithmetic approach, which compares the number of ships of the first and second class and the number of missiles for various purposes on them. This approach does not take into account that the probability of hitting an enemy ship is determined not only by the number, but also by the effectiveness of anti-ship missiles and missile defense systems used, the quality of electronic countermeasures (EW) systems, the tactics of using ships in a group, etc. If the result of a duel between two snipers were assessed with such a technique, then such experts would define it as 50/50 on the basis that each of them has one rifle, and would not be interested in the quality of rifles, cartridges and training of snipers.
Next, we will try to outline simplified ways to take into account the above factors. The author is not an expert either in the field of shipbuilding or in the field of submarine use, but in Soviet times he participated in the development of shipborne air defense systems, and then in the development of raid methods aviation on groupings of enemy ships. Therefore, here he will only consider issues related to the methods of attacking ships with enemy missiles, as well as methods of defending ships. The author has been retired for the last seven years, but his information (albeit somewhat outdated) could be useful for the “sofa” examination. The underestimation of the enemy was already letting us down, when in 1904 we were going to shower the Japanese with hats, and in 1941 the Red Army was the strongest from the taiga to the British seas.
For waging a nuclear war, the last war of mankind, Russia has more than enough forces and means. We can repeatedly destroy any enemy, but for conducting a conventional war using a surface fleet strength is not enough. During the post-Soviet period, only two (!) Ships were built in Russia, which can rightfully be considered first class ships. These are frigates of project 22350 "Admiral Gorshkov". The frigates of the project 11356 "Admiral Makarov" cannot be considered as such. For operations in the ocean, their displacement is too small, and for operations in the Mediterranean, they have too weak air defense. Corvettes are suitable only for the near sea zone, where they must operate under the cover of their own aircraft. Our fleet, with a clear advantage, loses to the fleets of the USA and China. The division of the Navy into four separate fleets led to the fact that we are inferior to other countries: in the Baltic Sea - Germany, in the Black Sea - Turkey, in Japan - Japan.
2. Methods of attacking enemy ships. RCC classification
RCC are divided into three classes, which differ significantly in the method of application.
2.1. Subsonic anti-ship missiles (DPKR)
The survival of the DPKR is ensured by flying at extremely low altitudes (3-5 m). The enemy ship's radar will detect such a target when the DPKR approaches a distance of 15-20 km. At a flight speed of 900 km / h, the DPKR will fly up to the target in 60-80 seconds. after discovery. Taking into account the reaction time of the air defense missile system, equal to 10-32 seconds, the first meeting of the DPKR and the missile defense system will occur at a distance of about 10-12 km Consequently, the DPKR will be fired upon by the enemy mainly using short-range air defense systems. At ranges of less than 1 km, the DPKR can also be fired upon by an anti-aircraft gun, therefore, when approaching at such ranges, the DPKR will conduct anti-aircraft maneuvers with overloads of up to 1g. Examples of DPKR are Kh-35 (RF) and Harpoon (USA) missiles with launch ranges up to 300 km and masses of 600-700 kg. "Harpoon" is the main anti-ship missile of the USA, more than 7 thousand of them were produced.
2.2. Supersonic anti-ship missiles (SPKR)
SPKR usually has two flight sections. On the marching section, the SPKR flies at altitudes of more than 10 km at a speed of about 3 M (M is the speed of sound). In the final flight segment, at a distance of 70-100 km from the target, the SPKR drops to an extremely low altitude of 10-12 m and flies at a speed of about 2,5 M. When approaching the target, the SPKR can perform anti-missile maneuvers with overloads up to 10g. The combination of speed and maneuverability provides an increased survivability of the SPKR. As an example, we can cite one of the most successful SPKR - "Onyx" with a mass of 3 tons and a launch range of up to 650 km.
The disadvantages of the SPKR are:
- increased weight and dimensions, which do not allow the use of SPKR on fighter-bombers (IB);
- if immediately after launch the flight to the target takes place at low altitudes, then due to the increased air resistance, the launch range is reduced to 120-150 km;
- the high temperature of the hull heating does not allow applying a radio-absorbing coating on it, the visibility of the SPKR remains high, then the enemy's radars can detect the SPKR flying at high altitudes at ranges of several hundred km.
As a result, and also due to the high cost in the United States, there was no rush to develop the SPKR. SPKR AGM-158C was developed only in 2018, and only a few dozen of them were produced.
2.3. Hypersonic anti-ship missiles (GPCR)
At present, the CCP has not yet been developed. In Russia, the development of the Zircon GPCR has entered the testing stage, nothing is known about it, except for the speed of 8 M (2,4 km / s) and range (more than 1000 km) announced by the president. However, the world community of "sofa" experts hastened to dub this missile "the killer of aircraft carriers." At the present time, judging by the tone of the messages, the required speed has already been reached. How can you ensure that the remaining requirements are met? One can only guess.
Next, we will consider the main difficulties that prevent obtaining a full-fledged rocket:
- to ensure flight at a speed of 8 M, the flight altitude has to be increased to 40-50 km. But even in rarefied air, heating of various edges can reach up to 3000 degrees or more. Consequently, it turns out to be impossible to apply radio-absorbing materials to the hull, and the radar stations of the ships will be able to detect the Zircons at ranges of more than 300 km, which is enough to perform three missile launches on it;
- when the nose cone is heated, plasma forms around it, which impairs the transmission of radio emission from its own radar homing head (RGSN), which will reduce the detection range of ships;
- the nose cone will have to be made of thick ceramics and make it strongly elongated, which will cause additional attenuation of radio emission in the ceramics and increase the mass of the rocket;
- to cool the equipment under the nose cone, it is required to use a complex air conditioner, which increases the mass, complexity and cost of the rocket design;
- the high heating temperature makes the "Zircon" an easy target for short-range missiles of the RAM SAM, since these missiles have an infrared homing head. The indicated shortcomings cast doubt on the high efficiency of the Zircon state-of-the-art production facility. It will be possible to call it an "aircraft carrier killer" only after a comprehensive set of tests. The developments of the United States, China and Japan are also at the stage of experiments; they are still very far from being adopted.
3. Defense of a single ship
3.1. RCC attack preparation methods
Suppose that an enemy reconnaissance aircraft is trying to detect our ship in the open sea using an airborne radar (BRLS). The scout himself, fearing defeat from the missile defense of the ship, will not approach him at a distance of less than 100-200 km. If the ship does not include interference for the radar, then the radar measures its coordinates with a sufficiently high accuracy (about 1 km) and transmits its coordinates to its own ships. If the scout manages to observe our ship for 5-10 minutes, then he can also find out the course of the ship. If the ship's electronic countermeasures (KREP) complex detects radiation from the reconnaissance radar, and the KREP can turn on high-power interference that suppresses the signal reflected from the target, and the radar cannot receive a target mark, then the radar will not be able to measure the range to the target, but will be able to find the direction to source of interference. This will not be enough to issue target designation to the ship, but if the scout flies some more distance sideways from the direction to the target, then he will be able to once again find the direction to the source of interference. With two directions, it is possible to triangulate the approximate range to the source of interference. Then it is possible to form an approximate target position and launch anti-ship missiles.
Next, we will consider RCCs using RGSN. Target attack tactics are determined by the RCC class.
3.1.1. The beginning of the DPKR attack
The DPKR flies to the target at an extremely low altitude and turns on the RGSN 20-30 km from the meeting point. Until the moment it leaves the horizon, the DPKR cannot be detected by the ship's radar. The advantages of DPKR include the fact that it does not require exact knowledge of the target position at the time of launch. During the flight, its RGSN can scan a strip of 20-30 km in front of itself, if several targets are encountered in this strip, then the RGSN is aimed at the largest of them. In the search mode, the DPKR can fly very long distances: 100 km or more.
The second advantage of the DPKR is that during low-altitude flight, the sea surface in the distance for the RGSN seems almost flat. Consequently, there are almost no back reflections of the signals emitted by the RGSN from the sea surface. On the contrary, reflections from the side surfaces of the ship are large. Therefore, the ship against the background of the sea is a contrasting target and is well detected by the RGSN DPKR.
3.1.2. The start of the SPKR attack
The SPKR on the cruising leg of the flight can be detected by the radar and, if the air defense system has a long-range missile defense system, it can be fired upon. After the transition to a low-altitude flight segment, which typically begins 80-100 km from the target, it disappears from the zone of visibility of the air defense system radar.
The disadvantage of SPKR ramjet engines is that when the rocket body rotates during intense maneuvers, the air flow through the air intakes is noticeably reduced, and the engine can stall. Intense maneuvering will be available only in the last few kilometers before hitting the target, when the missile can reach the target and with the engine stalled by inertia. Therefore, intensive maneuvering is undesirable on the cruising leg of the flight. After approaching the target at a distance of 20-25 km, the SPKR emerges from the horizon and can be detected at ranges of 10-15 km and fired upon by medium-range missiles. At a distance of 5-7 km, an intensive shelling of short-range missiles by SPKR begins.
The SPKR detects the target in the same favorable conditions as the DPKR. The disadvantage of the SPKR is that at some point in time it must complete the cruising segment of the flight and, having dropped down, go to the low-altitude segment of the flight. Therefore, to determine this moment, it is necessary to know more or less accurately the range to the target. The error should not exceed several kilometers.
3.1.3. The beginning of the attack of the PCR
The GPKR emerges from the horizon immediately after the ascent to the height of the marching section. The radar will detect the PCR when it enters the radar detection area.
3.2. Completing a single ship attack
3.2.1. GPCR attack
The ship's radar station should strive to detect the target immediately after it leaves the horizon. Few radars have sufficient power to perform such a task, only the American Aegis air defense missile system, deployed on the Arleigh Burke destroyers, is apparently capable of detecting GPCR at ranges of 600-700 km. Even the radar station of our best ship, the frigate of the project 22350 "Admiral Gorshkov", is capable of detecting the GPCR at ranges of no more than 300-400 km. However, long ranges are not required, since our air defense missile systems cannot hit targets at altitudes of more than 30-33 km, that is, the GPKR is not available on the marching sector.
The characteristics of the GVKR are unknown, however, from general considerations, we will assume that the GVKR airships are small and cannot provide intensive maneuvers at altitudes of more than 20 km, while the SM6 missiles retain the ability to maneuver. Consequently, the likelihood of damage to the Zircon HPCC in the area of descent will be quite high.
The main disadvantage of the GPCR is that it cannot fly at low altitudes for any length of time due to overheating. Consequently, the descent section must pass at steep angles (at least 30 degrees) and hit the target directly. For the RGSN GPKR, such a task is excessively difficult. At a flight altitude of 40-50 km, the required target detection range for the RGSN should be at least 70-100 km, which is unrealistic. Modern ships are less visible, and reflections from the sea surface at steep angles increase dramatically. Therefore, the target becomes low-contrast, and it will not be possible to detect the ship on the marching sector. Then you will have to start the descent in advance and use the GPCR only for firing at sedentary targets.
With a decrease in the GPCR to an altitude of 5-6 km, it will be met by a short-range SAM missile system RAM. These missiles were designed to intercept the SPKR. They have an infrared seeker and provide overload up to 50g. In the event of the actual appearance of the GPCR in service with other countries, the SAM software will have to be finalized. But even now they will intercept the GPKR if they fire a salvo of 4 missiles.
Consequently, even during the attack of a single destroyer, the Zircon-class GPKR does not provide high efficiency.
3.2.2. Completion of the SPKR attack
Unlike GPKR, SPKR and DPKR belong to the class of low-altitude targets. It is much more difficult for a shipborne air defense system to hit such targets than high-altitude ones. The problem lies in the fact that the radar beam of the air defense missile system has a width of one degree or more. Accordingly, if the radar exposes a beam to a target flying at a height of several meters, then the sea surface is also hit the beam. At small beam angles, the sea surface is seen as mirror-like, and the radar simultaneously with the true target sees its reflection in the sea mirror. In such conditions, the accuracy of measuring the height of the target drops sharply, and it becomes very difficult to aim the missile defense system at it. The air defense missile system achieves the highest probability of hitting the SPKR when the radar is used for azimuth and range guidance, and the altitude guidance is carried out using the IR seeker. SAM short-range RAM use just such a method. In Russia, they preferred not to have short-range missiles with a seeker and decided to direct the missiles using the command method. For example, the "Broadsword" air defense missile system guides the missile defense system using an IR sight. The disadvantage of targeting with this method is that at long ranges, targeting accuracy is lost, especially for maneuvering targets. In addition, in the fog, the sight stops seeing the target. The sight is, in principle, single-channel: it fires only one target at a time.
To reduce the likelihood of hitting the ship, passive protection methods are also used on it. For example, the radiation of interference by the REB complex allows suppressing the RGSN range channel and thereby making it difficult for the RCC to determine the moment at which it is necessary to start anti-zenith maneuvering. In order to prevent the anti-ship missile from aiming at the source of interference, one-time fired jamming transmitters are used, which should divert the anti-ship missile to the side for several hundred meters. However, due to their low power, such transmitters effectively protect only ships made using stealth technology.
Towed false targets can also be used, usually a chain of small rafts on which small metal corner reflectors (up to 1 m in size) are installed. The effective reflecting surface (EOC) of such reflectors is large: up to 10 sq. m, which is more than the image intensifier of the ship, and the anti-ship missile system can re-target them. Artillery shells are also used, forming clouds of dipole reflectors, but modern RGSN are able to eliminate such interference.
At the beginning of the flight at low altitude, the SPKR must deviate from the direct course in order to get out of the horizon at a point unexpected for the enemy. The first meeting of the SPKR and medium-range missiles will take place at a distance of 10-12 km. The air defense missile system will not have enough time to evaluate the results of the first launch, therefore, a few seconds after the first launch, a short-range missile defense system will be launched.
3.2.3. Completion of the DPKR attack
The guidance of the DPKR occurs in the same conditions as the guidance of the SPKR, the main difference is that the DPKR is in the firing zone 2-3 times longer than the SPKR. This disadvantage can be compensated by the fact that the DPKR is significantly cheaper, and its mass is several times less than that of the SPKR. Accordingly, the number of launched DPKR can be many times greater than the SPKR. The result of the attack will be determined by what capabilities the ship's air defense system has for simultaneously firing at several targets. The disadvantage of Russian short-range air defense systems is that most of them are outdated and remain single-channel, for example, the Kortik or Palash air defense systems. American SAM RAM is multi-channel and can simultaneously fire at several DPKR.
3.3. Features of the launch of aviation anti-ship missiles
If the ship is attacked by several fighter-bombers (IS), then usually IS have very approximate target designation by the coordinates of the target, that is, when entering the target detection zone, they must perform an additional search, namely, turn on their own radar and determine the coordinates of the target. At the moment of turning on the radar, the ship's KREP must record the presence of radiation and turn on the interference.
If a pair of ISs has dispersed along the front over a distance of more than 5 km, then they can measure both the bearing of the interference source and the approximate distance to the source, and the more accurate the longer the interference source is observed. The IS continue to monitor the source of interference after the launch of the DPKR and can correct the coordinates of the target during the flight, transmitting the updated coordinates to the DPKR along the radio correction line. Thus, if the DPKR was launched and its flight time is 15-20 minutes, then the DPKR can be redirected to the specified target position. Then the DPKR will be accurately displayed on the target. As a result, it turns out that jamming is not very beneficial for a single ship. In this case, the ship will have to pin all hopes on the defense against anti-ship missiles in the final phase of the attack. After the position of the ship became known accurately enough for the IS, they can organize a salvo attack of several anti-ship missiles. The salvo is organized in such a way that anti-ship missiles fly up to the ship from different sides and almost simultaneously. This significantly complicates the work of calculating the air defense system.
3.3.1. Bombers attack
If the ship is so far from airfields that the IS range is not enough for an attack, the attack can be carried out by long-range aircraft. In this case, it is possible to use SPKR in order to avoid attacks by SPKR by missiles on the marching sector. A bomber, usually moving into the attack area at altitudes of about 10 km, should begin to descend at a distance of about 400 km, so that it is always below the horizon for the ship's radar. Then the SPKR can be launched from a distance of 70-80 km immediately along a low-altitude trajectory and turn around on the opposite course. This ensures the stealth of the attack.
4. Conclusions on the part
Depending on the ratio of the effectiveness of anti-ship missiles and the ship's air defense systems, the results of the attack turn out to be completely different:
- in a duel situation "single ship - single anti-ship missile", the ship has the advantage, since several missiles will be launched at anti-ship missiles;
- with a salvo of several anti-ship missiles, the result depends on the variety of air defense capabilities. If the ship has a multi-channel air defense system and passive defense means, then the attack can be successfully repulsed;
- the probabilities of a breakthrough for anti-ship missiles of various classes also differ. The best probability is provided by the SPKR, since it is under fire for the shortest time and can perform intensive maneuvers.
DPKR should be applied in one gulp.
Air defense will successfully hit the GPCR if long-range missiles are used in the descent section, and the short-range air defense system will be modified for these purposes.
In the following parts, the author intends to consider ways to organize group air defense and methods to improve the effectiveness of air defense.