Anti-mine half-maneuver of Russian shipbuilding
Minesweeper. In our usual understanding, which is usually based on materials about the Second World War, this is a small and unprepossessing boat. A couple of cannons to drive off cormorants, machine guns, a small course and trawls.
But only a fool would underestimate or contemptuously speak of the usefulness of these ships. The war ended long ago, but not for these ships. How many years after the war the minesweepers cleaned the Baltic, how many mines were cleared in the Black Sea - this was a super problem. Which was decided not by battleships and aircraft carriers, but by these plain toilers of the sea.
Often - at the expense of their crews, for humanity has invented many deadly things and threw them into the sea.
The minesweepers, although they are now called mine defense ships, are as relevant as they were 100 years ago, since mines have not lost their relevance either. Moreover, mines have become "smarter" and more dangerous. These are worth talking about separately, they are worth it.
But we are not talking about mines of the last generation. And about the ships that must fight them.
Where? Four regions come to mind where this could become very relevant: the Persian Gulf, the Baltic, the Black Sea and the Syrian coast. Moreover, competently dumped in the Gulf of three to four dozen mines can very beautifully paralyze the world oil trade and cause ugly consequences.
The minesweeper is relevant and useful.
What do we have? Everything is very peculiar with us. As usual, though. In August the fleet The Severnaya Verf shipyard handed over another project 12700 ship Alexandrite - Georgy Kurbatov.
Another - it sounds nice and confident. This is the fourth ship of Project 12700. In general, "Kurbatov" was laid down first, but because of the fire, the building was very much "shifted to the right". To be more precise, a fire could easily destroy a ship on a slipway. This did not happen, to the great happiness, "Kurbatov" was defended and completed.
Project 12700 minesweepers are the so-called BTShch, basic minesweepers. The tasks of these ships, on the one hand, are simple to outrageousness: the BTShch first of all must find and eliminate mines in the coastal zone. Conversely, place mines where necessary.
By the way, a very strange one was associated with the BTSH of project 12700 story, which experts talked about a lot then. It happened not so long ago, in 2017. Then the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy Vladimir Korolev (who was already the Commander-in-Chief) took and transferred the first ship of the project 12700 "Alexander Obukhov" and all the ships following it to the MTShch, sea minesweepers.
MTSH is a ship of a slightly different plan. Its main task is to escort ship groupings and ensure their mine safety throughout the entire campaign and missions.
These are ships of a larger displacement than the BTShch, respectively, they have larger dimensions and higher seaworthiness. "Alexandrites" are absolutely not suitable for trips to the distant ocean zone. For this they have neither seaworthiness nor autonomy.
Then the minesweepers were returned to their former status of the BTShch. In general, Admiral Korolyov's gamble itself was not from a good life. It's just that, as always with us, the former Commander-in-Chief of the Navy did not act thoughtfully. From the fact that BTSH turns into MTSH on paper, in fact it does not work out that way. And the "trishkin caftan" turns out. The Korolyov had nowhere to go, even on paper, but something had to be done with MTSH.
However, if everything is more or less with the Alexandrites, that is, the ships went into series and there will be no fear for the near zone, then with MTSH everything is much more sad.
The sea minesweeper is a necessary tool in the ship group. Our often very active, but not very understanding gentlemen, fans of some kind of campaigns to the other end of the earth and there demonstrations of the Russian flag or, even worse, squadron battles in the vastness of the World Ocean, they do not understand that an aircraft carrier is not a panacea for all ills. Escort ships are required that will not allow this expensive trough to sink.
We have ten sea minesweepers for three fleets. Six in the Black Sea Fleet, two in the Northern Fleet and two in the Pacific.
Moreover, there are essentially only two anti-mine ships capable of launching a nuclear submarine into the operational zone of the ocean or sea: these are Project 12660 Rubin sea minesweepers Vladimir Gumanenko and Zheleznyakov, belonging to the Northern Fleet and Pacific Fleet, respectively.
These ships, built quite a long time ago (1994 and 1988), are the first Soviet MTShch, capable of destroying Captor deep-water torpedo mines, Colas sonar buoys of the Colas anti-submarine warning system and other enemy underwater targets at depths of up to 1000 meters.
And it is these minesweepers that are capable of bringing a nuclear submarine to the operational space, providing it with protection from mines and torpedoes. A mine placed on the way of the submarine's exit to Motovsky Bay, for example, is a big problem.
The Rubies are able to complete the task of escorting nuclear submarines into the ocean, despite their age. The equipment on them is quite modern, capable of dealing with mines of the latest generations. Acoustic, magnetic, electromagnetic, automatic.
"Zheleznyakov" and (especially) "Humanenko" are equipped quite well. They carry out tasks of finding mines using a sonar station, remote-controlled search-destroyers, acoustic and electromagnetic trawls. To destroy mines of various principles of action, acoustic and electromagnetic trawls, homing anti-mine torpedo shells, a torpedo receiving target designation from the ship are used. The traditional contact trawl is also used.
And only these two ships can cope with such important tasks. The rest of the naval minesweepers in the fleets are even more ancient ships of Project 226 "Aquamarine" and its various modifications. That is, built in the interval from 1960 to 1980. Completely incapable of working against modern mines.
An exception may be the "Vice-Admiral Zakharyin" of project 266.8, built at the beginning of the XNUMXs, which has relatively modern search tools.
With this ship, a generally sad story turned out. The fact is that the minesweepers of the 226ME project (modernized, export) were willingly bought by other countries. But after the beginning of the 90s, the level of equipment of the ships ceased to suit the customers, and Vietnam refused this minesweeper. The ship was re-equipped and sent to serve on the Black Sea. Now it is the most modern minesweeper in the Black Sea Fleet. Far from perfect, but for lack of a better ...
In general, we have the worst. The mine-sweeping forces of the Russian fleet today are approximately on a par with the aircraft carrying forces in terms of efficiency.
They said about sea minesweepers, let's go back to basic minesweepers. If we consider the composition of the Russian Navy today, the lion's share of the BTSC is the ships of the project 1265 Yakhont.
81 ships of these minesweepers were built in the USSR. And they serve even today, if you can call it a service. The main search tool on the Yakhonts was KIU-1, a seeker-destroyer. Yes, in the 70s it was a completely modern complex. In 50 years, you understand, a museum exhibit, as well as its bearers.
The number of "Yakhons" could not compensate for the quality. Although the quantity is also more than sad, but at least there is a light at the end of the tunnel in the form of "Alexandrites".
Conditionally. Conditional light at the end of an unconditional tunnel. Because even if they order “Alexandritov”, it will not be as much as the fleet needs.
The fleet announced the need to include about 20 minesweepers. Quite an acceptable figure, given that the minesweeper is not a frigate, there should be no problems with it.
But the economic situation in the country was somewhat shaken, and the order was halved. And instead of 20 ships, 10 remained in the state defense order. Then, however, 2 more ships were added.
Will this amount be enough to cover the needs of the fleets? Everyone can answer this question for himself. Whereas the Yakhonts are minesweepers only on paper.
By the way, it makes sense for those who are interested to get acquainted with the results of the "Open Spirit" exercises, in which our ships previously took part. NATO mine-action exercises are conducted in the Baltic every year, fortunately, there is enough material and the number of defused mines of the Second World War is considered dozens.
Our ships stopped taking part in the exercises. Maybe for political reasons, or maybe because they could not show anything to NATO ships, fully equipped.
Now all hope is for Alexandrita. 12 ships is not God only knows what number, but it is still better than the mammoths "Yakhonts", which can do nothing.
Project 12700 is a modern project. The body is made of fiberglass, strong, durable and not afraid of sea water. And not magnetic, which is more than vital for a minesweeper. The technology is not the latest, but the workers of the Sredne-Nevsky shipyard have mastered it so well that they can build hulls of ships up to 80 meters in length from fiberglass.
The only thing that is dangerous for such buildings is fire. It happened with "Alexander Kurbatov". A fire started, which could deform the hull with a high temperature, which then simply would not have been possible. The monolithic body would simply have to be disposed of.
The hull was rescued, but the construction of the ship was delayed for four years. Nothing, you can wait. The ship is worth it.
In addition to the plastic hull, the superstructures are also made of the same material. Of course, there is enough metal on the ship that can form physical fields that modern mines react to. Therefore, the minesweepers also have classic demagnetization equipment.
The acoustic activity of the ship has also been minimized. Engines and anything that can make a loud noise are mounted on rubber damping pads.
Naturally, we also worked to reduce electromagnetic radiation and electrostatic fields. That is, the entire range of radiation capable of activating the fuses of modern mines.
In addition to protection - a good mine attack complex. Stationary and towed hydroacoustic stations, searchers-destroyers of the latest generations, underwater search vehicles. Vehicles, both manned and underwater dronesable to act independently.
To our great regret, almost ALL of the main means of dealing with mines were purchased in France, which today is the leader in the production of anti-mine weapons and search equipment.
The first ships of the series had on themselves:
- two autonomous anti-mine underwater vehicles "Alister 9" with a working depth of up to 100 meters;
- two remote-controlled underwater vehicles of the "K-Ster Inspector" type with a working depth of up to 300 meters;
- ten disposable remote-controlled underwater mine destroyers of the "K-Ster Mine Killer" type;
Plus, the set was supposed to include a remote-controlled mine boat of the "Inspector-MK2" type. There was a discrepancy and the boat did not fit on the ship, being slightly larger than required according to the terms of reference.
To replace the French car, the boat "Skanda" was urgently developed, capable of operating without a crew, on remote control.
Thank God, at least the sonar equipment and trawls are domestic. But there is something to think about, because it is very doubtful that the French will continue to supply such equipment for minesweepers.
You must have your own.
There are also questions for the remaining Yakhonts. Considering how many of them are still left (more than 20). Why are these ships, which, by the way, differed from their brethren in the exceptionally convenient placement of the crew, which today are of museum value (not in such quantities), not to be taken and modernized?
Why can't the ancient and useless KIU-1 be replaced with the newest self-propelled remote-controlled mine seeker-destroyer STIU-3 "Mayevka"?
The complex is designed, tested, ready to go. It is domestic, which is very important in our time.
The question arises, why should the fleet command not carry out such a modernization, and not only Yakhontov, but also Aquamarines? Who will be hindered by ships with the latest weapons in the navy?
"Mayevka" was developed by specialists of the State Scientific and Production Enterprise "Region" from the Tactical Missile Weapons Corporation. These are the developers of the anti-submarine "Package-NK", "Shkval" and many other useful things.
"Mayevka" can search and destroy mines at a depth of 300 meters. The horizontal speed of the vehicle is 6 knots, the vertical speed is 1 knot. Length - 3 meters, width - 1,6 meters, height - 0,84 meters. Weight - 740 kilograms. The mass of the charge for the destruction of mines is 100 kilograms. The thickness of the steel cable to be cut is up to 12 millimeters.
The device has its own hydroacoustic station, "Mayevka" can launch an attack on a mine according to the instructions of the ship's information system, broadcasting actions on board the ship using a video camera.
Why is this weapon, or, say, the newest complex "Alexandrite" can not take a place on the ships, thereby really turning them into ships that can serve and serve in reality, and not on paper?
The 12 Alexandrites is, of course, a step forward on the path to reviving the fleet, but real steps are needed. Alas, first of all we need to create not aircraft carriers, but ships that will have to protect them.
Or, as an option, withdraw submarine missile carriers to strike positions in the ocean. An aircraft carrier cannot cope with such a job. We need a minesweeper hard worker. I really need it.
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