A Soviet bomber and a Soviet missile cruiser in one shot are two parts of the same system that complement each other.
The fact that surface ships were often destroyed during World War II aviationand the fact that aviation has become the most destructive weapons in naval war, gave rise to a kind of "extremist" idea that with the development of strike aircraft capable of hitting naval targets, surface ships (NK) are outdated and in the event of a real war they will be quickly and ingloriously destroyed.
In domestic stories an ardent adherent of this point of view was N.S. Khrushchev, from the point of view of which, in the confrontation between aircraft and ships, the latter were doomed.
This view of things was due to the extremely primitive understanding of N.S. Khrushchev, according to the testimony of many contemporaries, he reduced all possible options for confronting the USSR Navy with the US and NATO naval and air forces to one and only one ꟷ “one of our ships reflects a massive air attack ". In fact, the world is much more complicated, although we admit that N.S. Khrushchev managed to cause serious harm to the development of the Navy, both by personal decisions and by conniving at subordination fleet army generals.
This had negative consequences during the Cuban missile crisis. At the same time, the views of N.S. Khrushchev and generals from the General Staff were simply not allowed to understand the reasons for the failure of Soviet actions and what measures needed to be taken in the future to avoid their repetition. The insight of NS Khrushchev did not finally come. However, this is a topic for a separate article.
Those interested in the realities of the confrontation between surface ships and aviation can familiarize themselves with the materials “Surface ships against aircraft. World War II "... With an analysis of a particular case - the catastrophe of October 6, 1943 on the Black Sea “October 6, 1943. Operation Verp and its lessons for our time. And with generalizations of real post-war combat experience (including Soviet) in the material “Surface ships against aircraft. Rocket era ".
Unfortunately, the “extremist” view of NK exists today. As well as the opposition of surface ships and basic strike aircraft. And the consequent opinion that the creation of powerful strike aircraft makes surface ships unnecessary for the Navy, since it replaces them or makes their survival impossible.
In our time, such ideas are becoming popular in society due to the spread of an infantile outlook on life and belief in various types of superweapons. (For example, the "Dagger" system). And also due to the inability of some people to accept reality in all its complexity. The latter is manifested in the fact that a simple listing of some of the difficulties that accompany the search for enemy ships (“Sea warfare for beginners. We take the aircraft carrier to strike ") in the ocean or the issuance of target designation for the use of missile weapons on them (“Sea warfare for beginners. Targeting problem "), causes aggression in such infantile personalities. And the low level of intelligence of such a contingent reduces in their views all the variety of situations possible in a war to one or two. (If the war, then with America. If with America, then unlimited. If unlimited, then only nuclear, etc.). Although (again) the real world is very complex.
There is also an opposite point of view, which has some distribution among the command staff of the Navy. And, on the contrary, it is associated with an underestimation of the importance of strike aircraft. It is known that today there is no Naval Missile Aviation in the Navy. Moreover, even the naval assault aviation capable of attacking surface targets in the near sea zone (and partially in the distant one, as will be shown), does not receive serious development. So until now in the Pacific and Northern fleets, it simply does not exist.
Su-30SM naval assault aviation. These aircraft can be very large, but there are no assault regiments in our most important fleets - the Pacific and Northern.
This point of view, nowhere formally spelled out, should also be recognized as extreme. Despite the fact that in the admiral's environment as a whole there is an understanding of the importance of naval aviation, in practice this understanding is not fully embodied in specific actions. Investments in submarines in terms of costs are simply incomparable with those in aviation, although the former cannot operate effectively without the latter.
In this regard, it is worth doing some analysis of the flights and show how surface ships and naval aviation (including base, non-ship) interact with each other and with other forces, and also why they cannot (or almost cannot) each other replace.
In order to simplify explanations (and without pretending to be universal), the topic will be reduced to the interaction of the NK and strike aircraft that hit surface targets. Submarines and anti-submarine aircraft will be mentioned on a limited scale. There will also be a limited number of examples. It is important for us to show the principles: any interested reader can understand everything else later on his own.
Some characteristics of surface ships and aircraft (as combat assets)
Ships, submarines and different types of aircraft have tactical properties that determine their use.
Without going deep into tactical properties, let us briefly analyze the differences in the characteristics of ships and aircraft as means of combat.
It is obvious that aviation is a salvo weapon. She delivers a very powerful blow. Then those aircraft that inflicted it cannot fight for some time, while the ship is capable of staying in the designated area for days upon detecting the enemy, attacking it until it is completely destroyed, or, conversely, keeping an eye out, and ensuring that aviation is directed at it. But his punching capabilities are limited. In addition, it is very difficult for him to replenish the spent weapons, sometimes it will be impossible at all, etc.
The simplest conclusion follows from this difference - aircraft and ships, due to different, even opposite properties, complement each other, and do not replace.
Consider a few examples.
Deployment in a threatened period, aerial reconnaissance, tracking, weapon tracking
A slightly clever man in the street sees the course of events from the middle - here we are already at war, here the enemy AUG is going to our shores (one), now we are her "Dagger" (one) ...
In reality (even without corrections for reconnaissance, command control and the capabilities of the "Dagger") this does not happen - any story has a beginning.
The beginning of the story called "military conflict" is the deployment of forces and assets by the enemy in the theater of operations (or theaters) with which he will fight. This is usually accompanied by many reconnaissance signs, such as a change in the nature of radio traffic, the appearance of new radio points, heavy traffic at military bases, the entry into the sea of more ships than usual, and many others.
To hide such preparations, the enemy has been carrying out such pre-war deployments under the guise of exercises for many years. Where it works out misleading the intelligence of the defending side. In general, he learns to provide surprise, and even tries to do it realistically.
Since the time of S.G. Gorshkov, there is a trick against such a scrap - the notorious "pistol at the temple of imperialism", a surface ship assigned to the enemy's naval grouping, tracking it and not allowing (if possible) to break away from it.
Such a ship is always viewed by the enemy as a threat and fetters his actions. The enemy simply does not know what will happen in the event of aggressive actions on his part - the tracking ship itself will attack him or a powerful missile salvo will come from somewhere on his target ... You have to behave carefully.
Project 1135 patrol ship Zharkiy monitors the American aircraft carrier Nimitz and its escort, February 5, 1979.
Tracking "hard" - our 61st project goes side to side with an American aircraft carrier. But this is not yet a weapon tracking, but simply a daringly executed tracking, right inside the enemy's order.
In fact, we are talking about containing the escalation of the conflict.
S.G. Gorshkov said this about the MRK project 1234, but, in general, this is true in a broader sense. Since then, little has changed - in the age of satellite reconnaissance and computer networks, a surface ship is still the most reliable means of preventing the enemy from getting lost, but this enemy must be intercepted in time, and then not allowed to leave. For this, the ship must, first of all, be high-speed, its maximum speed at a given excitement must be higher than that of a typical "opponent", the ability to maintain this speed for a long time according to the reliability of the power plant is also, in the conditions of the far sea zone this often also requires good seaworthiness and cruising range - the enemy should not be able to drive the tracking ship before running out of fuel. This already implies some dimensions for the ship and nullifies the ideas of dreamers about a "mosquito fleet", although in the near sea zone such tasks can be performed by RTOs, only "normal" RTOs, such as the new Karakurt, and not missile barges of the Buyan type -M ".
At the same stage, NK begins to interact with aviation on the coast, while in terms of reconnaissance. This may be due to the fact that aerial reconnaissance will have to direct the ship to the enemy. Or vice versa. If the ship found the enemy itself, but the latter broke away from him, then it is necessary for someone to help "restore contact" - quickly, starting from the last information received from the ship about the location of the target, find it and either transfer it to the same ship, or, if the difference in the speed of the ship and the enemy ship group does not allow it to quickly catch up with it, then another ship operating in this area. Which requires a certain number of ships.
The second important point is that strike aircraft should be ready as soon as possible according to information from the ship to take off, carry out additional reconnaissance of the target and deliver a powerful blow against it, which would destroy it. That is, the headquarters begins combat work already at this stage.
Thus, it becomes clear that at least some surface forces are needed in any case. And that they should form a single system with aviation, in which each side fulfills its part of the common task.
The failure of a surface ship to contact or breaking communication with it with a high degree of probability means the beginning of a war.
If this did not happen, but the situation is aggravated, and the country's political leadership comes to the conclusion that the risk of a military conflict is growing, then from tracking NK they switch to tracking with weapons. That is, not only is the continuous pursuit of the enemy's ship group, but also the continuous determination of its movement parameters and the constant issuance of target designation to missile weapons, which are made ready for the fastest or immediate use. In especially "acute" cases, the order can be given in advance. And at the beginning of a massive rise of an air group from an aircraft carrier or launching cruise (or any other) missiles from enemy missile ships, they will be attacked immediately. However, this is not an ordinary case.
The ship carrying out direct tracking now occupies a position relative to the enemy from which weapons can be used. Together with him, other ships can begin to operate, ready to also strike the enemy.
And if against the ships of direct tracking of the US Navy was developed its own and rather effective tactics of "counter-tracking", then with the tactical reception of the Soviet Navy "tracking with weapons" (from a long distance), the US Navy was much worse.
Separately from the tracking ships, naval strike groups are formed, ready to launch a missile salvo at the enemy at the external control center. Other enemy ship groups are also monitored by weapons. The combat readiness of aviation rises at this moment, up to (temporarily) readiness number 1 (readiness for immediate departure, aircraft at the start, weapons suspended, engines tested, pilots in cockpits, combat mission set, aircraft technicians) by all or part of them.
It is worth paying attention to the fact that at this moment the key qualities of the ships are the ability to stay in a given area for a long time and pursue the enemy. It is critical at this stage to maintain the tracking of the weapon and here's why.
In the missile era, such a thing as preempting the enemy in the first salvo has become critical. The meaning of this is well known to the military, but among ordinary people you can constantly hear groans that "all the same, the US and NATO have superiority in forces, we can never compare with them, there is nothing to even try." And then there is either a proposal to surrender or a mantra about the inevitability of nuclear suicide.
Alas, politicians appear mainly from the composition of the inhabitants, so the issue needs to be clarified separately.
So, we have an enemy with 20 warships, which are combined into two large detachments of 10 ships each. Let's call them the American term "Surface Combat Group" - NBG. Each of the groups is monitored by a detachment of warships (OBK), capable of executing a volley of all their anti-ship missiles on command. Let's say that we have four ships in each of the squads, a total of eight, anti-ship missiles on each ship, 8 units, 32 in total for 10 targets.
The ratio of forces on ships is 20 to 8, or 2,5 to one in favor of the enemy. Let's say we "won" the first salvo - the ships of our OBK, tracking the enemy's NMC with the help of passive RTR and UAV means, with periodic reconnaissance missions of shipborne helicopters, at the time of receiving the order to strike, they had accurate data about the enemy. The enemy managed to mislead, using the setting of false targets, maneuvering unmanned boats with corner reflectors, the approach of helicopters and UAVs from the side of a false order and other measures that in any case must be followed. As a result, our volley went first to the target, and the enemy's volley went almost entirely to a false order, "catching" only one or two ships in both OBK.
Suppose that the enemy shot down some of the missiles, some went “not on their own” targets, a couple of three broke down and did not reach. As a result, the volley cost the enemy six ships in each detachment - partly destroyed at once, and partly lost their speed and combat effectiveness. The enemy was able to destroy one ship in one OBK and two in the second.
What is the balance of power? Now the enemy has two battle groups of 4 ships each, a total of 8. We have 3 left in one detachment, and 2. The overall ratio of forces in favor of the enemy from 20 to 8 has turned into 8 to 5. Got it?
This is how SG Gorshkov's “pistol at the temple” should have fired. An enemy with a machine gun is stronger than a shooter with a pistol, but he would not have had time to shoot. And it could have worked.
In a "missile" war, numerical superiority is assessed differently. And most importantly, it is much more important who first discovered and correctly classified their targets, and who won the first salvo. The Americans have a catch phrase, once said by the missile-era tactics guru, Captain Wayne Hughes:
"Attack effectively first".
In our country, the struggle for the first salvo was also and is of great importance. Here is a quote from the last Commander-in-Chief of the USSR Navy V.N. Chernavin:
“Such a specific feature as the growing role of the fight for the first salvo is becoming extremely important in modern naval combat. Preempting the enemy in striking a blow in battle is the main method of preventing his surprise attack, reducing his losses and inflicting the greatest damage on the enemy. "
But for preemption, it is necessary that missile carriers be at a salvo distance from the enemy and that they have sufficient information about the enemy to obtain a command control. In the USSR Navy, these were cruise missile carrier submarines and surface ships. In our example, surface ships. Aviation can theoretically be used in the first strike. But in practice, an attempt to do this can lead to a loss of surprise and the adversary gaining an understanding that we start first. NK, "shooting" according to the tracking ship (and he himself also participates in the strike), this surprise is ensured on condition of continuous and successful tracking with the transfer of the control center. And besides, continuous aviation tracking is very expensive.
The Soviet Navy on a large scale took aim at American forces under this scheme twice - in 1971 in the Indian Ocean and in 1973 in the Mediterranean Sea. In both cases, the US Navy's reaction was extremely painful.
Thus, at the stage preceding the start of hostilities, the role of surface ships is very important, as well as of the aircraft supporting them, mainly reconnaissance.
With the onset of the "hot phase" everything changes. The importance of strike aircraft is sharply increasing, while the role of ships as a strike weapon is decreasing, but not disappearing. And besides, they remain urgently needed.
Regardless of the "results" of the exchange of the first salvoes, now (with the beginning of hostilities) the enemy forces must be urgently destroyed. And here the planes will be the main violin. It is precisely such properties of aviation as speed, the possibility of delivering massive strikes, repeating these strikes after a short time and continuing hostilities, even having lost part of their forces, that make aviation the main weapon. But ships will also be in demand.
Let's go back to our situation with the exchange of volleys, the first of which we, for example, won. The balance of power after the battle changed in our favor. But it excludes the development of success by ships. In one case, our OBK of two ships must attack four. In the other, our three ships must attack four. Moreover, our ships do not have anti-ship missiles, they are used. Some of the anti-aircraft guns were also used up when repelling an enemy strike and hitting his UAVs and helicopters. That is, you will have to approach the range of artillery use. With a different balance of forces or accurate information that the enemy no longer has missiles, and there are no helicopters armed with anti-ship missiles, this could and should be done, but in a situation of the uncertainty that we have, this is an unacceptably high risk.
Therefore, now the ships are continuously monitoring the situation, transferring the command control to other forces. And only if possible, they finish off the enemy.
And the "coast" raises the planes to strike. The enemy may have a lot of anti-aircraft missiles. And, perhaps, it will take more than one attack to destroy it. Then the detachments of warships will be responsible for guiding air strike forces from the shore until the enemy is completely destroyed. They are also responsible for the tasks of rescuing pilots of downed aircraft, assessing the real results of the strike and (if necessary) finishing off the surviving enemy ships, as well as picking up surviving members of their crews from the water.
Naturally, this is not even close. In fact, much more depends on the ships. So, all of the above mental constructions can be canceled out by the weather. A banal side wind over the runway, if it is too strong (and we remember about the latitudes in which our country is located), means that the planes are chained to the ground, they can neither attack, nor even disperse and get out of the impact. In such conditions, the task of destroying the enemy or disrupting the opportunity to attack for him will completely fall on the surface forces, which are much less sensitive to the weather.
This is especially important in the fight against an enemy with aircraft carriers. For them, the wind itself is not a problem at all. The aircraft carrier simply turns towards the wind, and if it is too strong, then it slows down, and you can raise aircraft. If the enemy has “friendly” airfields on the ground where planes can be landed instead of an aircraft carrier, then the problem is even more acute. An aircraft carrier can raise aircraft to strike in such weather and with such a roll, in which it will not be able to sit on the deck later. Our planes are standing. This is, of course, an emergency, usually not done this way. But it is possible.
Another insurmountable factor is that it is the surface forces that will meet the enemy first. And if the enemy wins the first salvo, starts hostilities first, then the ships will have to hold on to themselves and fight without the help of aircraft before the aircraft arrives (and this is in any case several hours). This requires a lot: from the power of air defense and electronic warfare systems, to a stock of its own anti-ship missiles and the presence of UAVs on board for reconnaissance and helicopters armed with missiles. And there is no choice.
There is another factor associated with enemy submarines. If the enemy's submarines (SSGN) will be able to attack the CD "from under the coast" (in the absence of effective PLO and OVR forces), then the end of our airfields (too little flight time is obtained, we do not have time to react).
But if the near zone is provided (and ships are very important here), then the line of use of weapons (CR) at airfields is significantly postponed, which sharply increases the combat stability of our aviation.
Is it possible to do without ships in operations against enemy surface forces? We look at the map. The red line is close to the limit, which can be reached by an aircraft from the Su-35 family without strike weapons, but only with air-to-air missiles and a reasonable number of outboard fuel tanks (Su-34, 35 have them). The distance of this line from the Severomorsk-3 airfield (shown by the conventional sign "3rd class airfield", in fact it is 1st class, but it is inconvenient to draw) is about 1 kilometers. This is the theoretical limit on how far aerial reconnaissance can go. It is not difficult to see that she will have to explore vast areas to find "contact". Then it still needs to be classified, to establish what exactly these are goals. And then, in conditions of continuous opposition from enemy forces (including sometimes aviation), track the position of the target until the moment of the strike.
This is an extremely difficult task, the feasibility of which is highly questionable. Surface ships can be deployed in such a way as to turn this (essentially) search line into small areas. After all, having surface forces at sea, we can absolutely know exactly what where there is no enemy.
And this sharply narrows down the possible areas in which he is. Also, if there are surface forces that won the first salvo (which we should strive for in any case), by the time of the first air strike, we will have to deal with a much weaker enemy. It also removes the issue of maintaining "contact" from the moment the enemy is detected to the moment of the strike.
Next, let's pay attention to one more line - the green one.
This is a theoretical line at which an aircraft of the Su-27 family (the same Su-30SM or Su-34) can launch an attack without refueling in the air. About 1 km from Severomorsk-000, maybe a little further.
Kh-35 under the wing of a taking off Su-34. You can start the revival of naval strike aviation at least from this.
Thus, from the moment the target is detected and until the line at which we can shoot down “fire from the sky” on it, there is a rather large gap. And it, too, should be closed by ships and, possibly, submarines.
Naturally, there are a lot of nuances. For example, the fact that they will need to provide air defense in such actions. But ensuring the combat stability of forces is a separate topic. As a last resort, we have the same "Kuznetsov", which, perhaps, will allow us to gain time inside this 500-kilometer gap. It, however, cannot be repaired in any way. There are other solutions, more "bloody" for us, but also working.
The yellow line is the last line of defense, within which Su-24, MRK, missile boats can fight. After them - only helicopters, BRAV and ground forces with the Air Force.
There is one more factor that clearly requires the use of surface forces.
Now let's consider a matter of time. Suppose that from the moment when the air regiment received the task to strike at enemy surface ships, and until the strike itself, 3 hours passed. From this period, the enemy, regardless of the losses incurred (if they are not absolute), gets some head start in time.
Suppose that we can only throw one regiment on this surface group, the rest are busy with other tasks.
Then we have that, having survived the attack, the enemy has about 2 hours in which the regiment will return to the airfield and land. Then about eight more (this figure depends on the type of aircraft and the quickness of the TEC and can vary) to prepare for a new sortie. And then three more for another blow. Total - 13 hours. With a 25-knot travel, the ship will go 325 miles or 602 kilometers during this time.
Of course, in the real world, another air unit can attack it during this time. But it may not attack. It will depend on the course of hostilities, on the situation. Who will close the 13:XNUMX gap? Who, at least, if he does not finish off the enemy completely after the attack of aircraft, then at least will not let him act freely? Who will provide aircraft with target data for the next strike?
Only surface forces. There is simply no one else to perform these tasks with the required reliability. In theory, aerial reconnaissance could in some cases provide strike aircraft with information about the target's location. But she is vulnerable. Even a non-carrier enemy can simply request fighter cover from the shore. And, if such a cover cannot protect ships against a massive strike, then against aerial reconnaissance it will.
In fact, of course, we will talk about the complex use of surface forces and reconnaissance (and, if possible, strike all the same) aviation, but it is about the complex. Separately, by airplanes, the task will be solved very poorly... However, it will most likely not be solved separately by ships. At least, with the existing numerical ratio with the likely enemy.
The problem of air defense and the actions of fighter aircraft
Up to this point, it was about the actions of strike aircraft based on the coast. It makes sense to talk about the extermination.
There is an opinion (and it is very common) that fighter aircraft from the shore can protect surface ships from air strikes. Let's look at this with numbers.
Let's say we hung the Su-35 with fuel tanks and armed it with only four air-to-air missiles so that it could go to the “red line” (see map) and stay there for one hour. It will have no fuel for a maneuvering battle. That is, he will be able to intercept at the maximum range and separation from the enemy with a PTB. It will not work in another way. Resetting the PTB will mean that it is impossible to return to base. If someone wants to fantasize about refueling in the air, then we may not even have enough tankers for bomber aircraft. So the presence of a refueling system is not essential in such a situation.
Then we count. Two hours there, an hour there, two hours back. Total five. Then inter-flight service. We can safely say that for one Su-35 it will be possible no more than two such sorties per day. Accordingly, a pair of Su-35s over the area of action of the surface forces continuously means that we will have to have at least 24 aircraft on the shore. (Neither the capabilities of the pilots, nor the losses, nor the fact that 100% of the equipment can ever be in good order, etc., are taken into account, etc. That is, these are over-optimistic estimates that are impossible in reality for a more or less long period of time).
The question arises: "Will the enemy be able to cope with a pair of fighters incapable of maneuvering combat?" We look at the map - to the enemy airfields, basically, it is much closer (the same Keflavik). The enemy has high-class AWACS aircraft with a very high target detection range. Huge fleet of aircraft refuellers. And, most importantly, he knows in advance that there are only two interceptors.
Hence the simplest conclusion. The enemy will always be able to throw as many aircraft into the attack as the air cover cannot shoot down. Let us recall Operation Verpus. Our fighters were always above the detachment of the Black Sea Fleet ships and shot down German planes. But the enemy was building up his forces. And in the end, the ships were destroyed.
And from this the next conclusion - the ships will fight back themselves. And they must be able to do it. This does not mean that we need monstrous cruisers with hundreds of anti-aircraft missiles. We need to be able to mislead all types of enemy reconnaissance using the same methods that were described in the article “Sea warfare for beginners. We take the aircraft carrier to strike "... And also jointly act by dispersed forces, establishing an exchange of information between them. Use sea-launched cruise missiles against enemy airfields. The navy must first of all use this weapon to achieve its operational goals, and only then for hypothetical strikes against the enemy's rear.
We need the Air Force not to fulfill the tasks of the district commander (who will need to protect him Tanks from the air). And they waged a war for air supremacy in the entire theater of operations, destroyed enemy aircraft in the air and at airfields. And yes, we need our own aircraft carriers. Although some tasks (albeit with large losses) can be performed without them.
And at what distance from the coast (or the airfield where fighter aircraft are based) can ships count on fighter cover? Calculations made in the USSR showed that in the presence of a radar field with a depth of 700 kilometers or more, it is technically possible to provide cover for ships at a distance of about 250 kilometers. This required a combination of air duty of some fighters and at the airfield of ꟷ others.
Modern governing documents admit that right "under the shore" (a few tens of kilometers from it) it is possible to cover ships with fighters from the position of duty at the airfield. But in our case we are talking about completely different distances.
But what fighters can do is provide protection to strike aircraft.
In Soviet times, there were many ways to cover the same naval missile-carrying or attack aircraft. Fighters could escort attack aircraft to the line of missile launch at the target. Provide a "corridor" span. Organize a barrier in the air, which will cover the passage of attack aircraft. In some cases, to impose a battle on the enemy at his airfields, giving the "shock workers" time to fly to the desired point. They could have been brought out in advance to the line of launching missiles by attack aviation and ensured air superiority for a short time at this line. And here the situation is different - reasonable forces of fighter aircraft are quite enough for such things. Having a regiment of fighters on the ground on a combat mission, it can be sent all or almost all of it.
Thus, we state that the capabilities of fighter aircraft (working to solve naval missions) are limited. And because of this, it should be focused mainly not on attempts to provide air defense of ships at a great distance from the coast, but on the protection or support of combat missions of strike aircraft.
The solution of the air defense problem of naval strike groups at sea must be solved with the help of a set of measures, including the intensive struggle of our air forces for air supremacy in the theater of operations, strikes by the air force and the fleet (cruise missiles) on airfields with enemy aircraft for its destruction, the use of naval aircraft for fighting enemy aircraft over the sea, camouflage, the introduction of enemy reconnaissance in error, etc.
At the same time, due to the fact that we have only one aircraft carrier, we need to be ready to solve problems in the face of losses from actions of enemy aircraft, which requires an appropriate approach to choosing the ratio between the types of ships in formation and their number.
Why not submarines
In such actions, submarines can theoretically find their place. Just as in the Soviet Navy, the main carrier of guided missiles after naval missile-carrying aviation were submarines with cruise missiles - SSGNs of various projects.
However, today the level of development of the anti-submarine forces of our adversaries (NATO and the United States) has become such that the preservation of the secrecy of submarines is in question. This does not mean that they are not applicable. But this means that there are a lot of difficulties in the way of their application. So, for them it will be critical to the beginning of hostilities to be where they can strike at the enemy surface forces. Otherwise, you will have to catch up with him. And this is a guaranteed loss of secrecy. One sonar reconnaissance ship within a radius of several hundred kilometers from the submarine can already detect it or ensure its detection by other forces. Those methods of evading submarine attacks that ships can resort to (being in a drift, camouflaging among civilian ships, high speed, using helicopters, noise suppression systems) are not available for submarines.
In fact, due to the resources the enemy invested in their anti-submarine defense, we found ourselves in a “reverse world”, where our submarines will sometimes be more difficult to hide from the enemy than our ships. It's funny, but in a number of cases it will be so.
One of the reasons is that the ship that has given the fullest speed, in real hydrological conditions due to being on the border of the media, can be less visible target than PLA at the same speed.
In addition, a typical ship capable of delivering a powerful blow to enemy surface ships can be simple and cheap, whereas a SSGN cannot. The Ashes Quartet stands like a strike aircraft carrier.
All this does not negate the importance and necessity of submarines, both in local wars and in global ones. But in the event of a confrontation with Western countries, this will turn out to be a "niche" weapon.
Even for a fleet almost devoid of aircraft carriers, the presence of naval strike aircraft is a necessity. For Russia ꟷ this is especially true, due to its geographic location and the fragmentation of theaters of military operations. A quick maneuver between theaters of military operations in our conditions can only be carried out by aviation.
At the same time, the nature of the war at sea implies that it should be naval aviation, fighting under the general command of the surface forces, whose pilots "speak the same language" with the sailors and, in general, are "flying sailors".
Strikes against surface targets require a different (than that of the Air Force) training of flight personnel, headquarters, other organization, tactical schemes, a level of interaction with surface ships unattainable for “not our own” forces, the ability to act within the framework of a single plan with the rest of the fleet and other equipment. And this means that aviation must be specialized maritime.
Launch of a heavy anti-ship missile system "Brahmos" from the Indian Su-30. Formally being an air unit of the Air Force, the Brahmos aircraft will have a naval specialization, but will not have such close interaction with the fleet. We should not repeat this mistake, but similar X-61 Onyx missiles have been in service for a long time.
It is also obvious that the potential of naval strike aviation will not be revealed without surface forces. The opposite - the inability of the surface forces alone to protect the country and its interests is also true.
The problem is the air defense of naval strike groups and units of warships. Fighter aircraft from the shore will not be able to provide it, and the Russian Federation has only one aircraft carrier and its future is in question, as well as the possibility of building new ones (this is not a technical problem, but an "ideological" one).
But on the whole, the fact that in the future fleet surface ships and naval aviation will have to form a single complex is obvious.
This is the case when 1 + 1 (NK + aviation) becomes more than two. A system of interacting aircraft and surface ships is not reducible in power to its components. The same aircraft can provide surface ships with Zircon anti-ship missiles with data for the development of the central control system, and they will be accurate enough to shoot.
Sooner or later, in a good way (as a result of society's awareness of real, and not imaginary, threats and its interests) or in a bad way (as a result of the war lost due to stupidity), but this will be done.
Attempts that have taken place were ripped offbut we'll come to that anyway.
In the meantime, it makes sense to set priorities.
Attack aircraft over the attack ship. Pacific Fleet and Eastern Military District.
Let's finish with this symbolic photo. Let it be prophetic.