Red Dragon Awakens
December 29 Chinese news agency Xinhua published a rating of the most significant events that occurred in the PRC for 2012 year. The fourth line of this list was occupied by the success of China in the military arena. This year, the Chinese are more actively involved in the struggle with Japan and with a number of states in Southeast Asia for the disputed territories in the East China and South China seas. The apotheosis of this confrontation was the adoption of the first Chinese aircraft carrier "Liaoning", built on the basis of the aircraft carrier cruiser Varyag bought from Ukraine.
When our national symbol “Aurora” was flooded with sewage, when the Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier “broke” after a long overhaul in the Barents Sea, when the Ka-27 helicopter crashed onto the deck of the Peter the Great heavy nuclear missile cruiser, China spent on the high seas dozens of deck tests aviation.
The fate of the Soviet "Varyag", renamed in honor of the Chinese northeastern province, where it was modernized, is as sad as the rest of the destroyed Soviet aircraft carriers. In the 93 year, the unfinished cruiser went to Ukraine, where it was mothballed due to a lack of funds for the construction on the territory of the Black Sea shipbuilding plant in the city of Nikolaev. In 1998, the Chinese company Chong Lot Travel Agency Ltd for the entire 20 of millions of dollars bought Varyag from Ukraine, ostensibly “on needles”.
В history shipbuilding this event was included as a kind of “Guinness record”, since it is simply impossible to acquire an aircraft carrier built on 70% for such a ridiculous amount. By the way, only the modernization of the Gorshkov sold to India cost 2,3 a billion dollars. And the cost price of one such floating base in the USA exceeds 10 billion dollars.
Amid the ongoing collapse of the Russian military-industrial complex, China is deeply modernizing its army and fleet. In connection with this program, the new Chinese aircraft carrier will be used for the first time to train crews and specialists, as well as for naval exercises. And by 2020, as stated by the PRC government, China will complete the construction of several of its own ships of this type. The appearance in the Pacific Ocean of a new powerful aircraft carrier group will significantly affect the alignment of forces in this region, where 10 aircraft carriers of NATO countries are concentrated.
“China must break the naval blockade by international forces. And only after completing this task, we can talk about the revival of China. The future great China will rise out of the ocean, ”General Wen Tsonggren, political commissar of the Academy of Military Sciences of the People’s Liberation Army of the People's Republic of China (PLA), said in his report.
China is actively diversifying its military technology, and its industrial espionage has no equal. Even without purchasing imported samples of weapons "on trial", the Chinese manage to create exact copies of both the Soviet and NATO weapons. For example, the Russian SZRCH Smerch in the Chinese army is called the A-100, the FD-2000 air defense system resembles our C-300, French Crotale air defense system in China - Hunzi-7, the Swiss anti-aircraft gun Oerlikon GDF "-" Type 90 ", etc.
Of course, one can reasonably argue that the Chinese counterparts of Russian weapons do not withstand any competition with domestic prototypes. However, unlike the Russian Federation, China is able to provide these numerous copies with proper content. “In Russia, it has reached the point that aerospace defense forces are sorely lacking ammunition. The C-300 air defense system accounts for less than one set of missiles per installation, and there should be two in reserve, ”said Army General Anatoly Kornukov, the former commander-in-chief of the Russian Air Force.
The former Soviet cruiser was an excellent foundation for creating the future aircraft carrier of the PRC. During 5 years, Chinese engineers and scientists only studied Varyag, and already in 2007, the State Committee for the Defense Science and Technology of China officially announced that China was able to build an aircraft carrier on its own. In addition, recently it became known that the commander of "Liaoning" Captain Li Xiaoyan just a few years ago graduated from the Naval Academy. N.G. Kuznetsova, and the diploma work of the Chinese officer was just devoted to the tactics of carrier strike groups.
“The statements of the Chinese authorities on the construction of their own atomic aircraft carrier fleet are fully justified, since the booming military-industrial complex of China will undoubtedly draw these expensive projects. We were in a situation in which we simply must build aircraft carriers. Without them, Russia is unable to participate in local conflicts and exert political pressure on other countries, ”says Nikolai Novichkov, chief editor of the ARMS-TASS news agency.
At the same time, some Russian military officials openly advocate the use of foreign parts in domestic shipbuilding. “If the leadership of the Russian Ministry of Defense believed in the potential of domestic shipbuilders, and they would be trusted with the design and construction of modern warships, this would be an indicator of Russia's return to the status of a great power. However, it is well known that at present the Russian Defense Ministry is increasingly cooperating with foreign companies for the purchase of advanced military technologies, ”writes Richard Weitz, senior researcher and director of the Center for Military-Political Analysis at the Hudson Institute in Washington.
So last year, then still commander-in-chief of the Russian Navy, Admiral Vladimir Vysotsky demanded to consider the possibility of installing imported diesel engines, ventilation systems and weapons, in particular French and Italian artillery, on new Russian warships. These statements were made against the background of the tests of the newest domestic ship guns A-192M “Armat”, which were then underway.
"Further purchases of foreign weapons will lead to the final degradation of our military-industrial complex, and if today we proceed to the purchase of ship engines, we will bury the shipbuilding industry," said Konstantin Sivkov, captain of the 1 rank.
While Communist China is actively copying foreign weapons and technologies for the purpose of their independent production, the Russian leaders, while buying French Mistrals, are not at all determined by the plans to build domestic aircraft carriers. In 2008, President Dmitry Medvedev spoke about the possibility of building such a fleet. Soon, Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov denied this information, noting that aircraft construction does not include plans for the military. His words were confirmed by Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov.
However, this year, at his press conference on July 26, on the question of journalists about the new aircraft carrier, Vice-Admiral Viktor Chirkov, Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy, made a diametrically opposite statement: “The technical design of the new aircraft carrier for the Russian Navy is currently being developed in accordance with the state armament program before 2020 of the year. And the question of directly building the ship will be considered only after 2020 of the year. ”
The head of the press service of the United Shipbuilding Corporation Andrei Kravchenko confirmed this information in a telephone conversation: “Of course, Russia needs nuclear aircraft carriers, but such vessels do not exist alone, each of them must be provided with a full-fledged attack group consisting of cover ships, submarines and aircraft . We also need to create a material base on land to provide these compounds. ” According to the expert, Russia has the capacity to implement such a project, but so far it is only at the discussion stage in the highest echelons of power. The press service of Sevmash answered the question about the planned construction of aircraft carriers and said that the company did not know anything about it.
In a situation in which Russia is unable to maintain even its old Soviet aircraft carriers, sold out for hotels or sawn into scrap metal, it is still very early to talk about building new ships. Yesterday's superpower is 22-th place in the world in the number of construction sites for ships. In this regard, independent military experts believe that if such a project is implemented, its construction will be complicated by the collapsed military-industrial complex infrastructure. In the USSR, this kind of ships were laid in shipyards in the city of Nikolaev, which now belongs to Ukraine. Aircraft carriers can build on Sevmash, but only by modular assembly.
Even the flagship of the Russian Navy, the aircraft-carrying cruiser Admiral Kuznetsov, does not have its own base. The aircraft carrier, while in Severomorsk, stands at the pier. Over the 20 years of operation, the strike air group of the cruiser has never been fully equipped, nor has a full-fledged aircraft carrier connection ever been formed.
It is impossible to stop the growth of the military-technical potential of the PRC. By upgrading its military-industrial complex at a frantic pace, and, in particular, by creating its own aircraft carrier fleet, the PLA guarantees itself security in the future against US intervention in its possible local border conflicts with Taiwan, Japan and Russia. According to the new military doctrine, only China’s maritime security zone goes two thousand miles deep into the Pacific Ocean “to ensure the fundamental national interests of the PRC.”
Former commander of the legendary 58-Army Lieutenant-General Viktor Sobolev believes that the Russian Armed Forces today are not able to resist the eastern neighbor: “Our whole army today is 39 brigades, that's about 10 divisions. For comparison, in June 41-oh we had more than three hundred divisions. And from Ulan-Ude to Belogorsk on the 3 thousands of kilometers of the border with China in general is only one brigade. The advancing Chinese will not even look for a handful of our soldiers in the forest. After the Transsib is cut by the enemy, the reinforcements beyond the Urals will get under their own power only after two and a half months. ”
In order to coexist on equal terms with such a powerful neighbor, Russia alone is not enough. The key to preserving the military balance in the Far East is the creation of a powerful aircraft carrier fleet, ready to defend national interests anywhere in the world. Whether Russia is able, after two troubled decades, to pull this expensive project, which requires not only solving the most complex organizational issues, but also the political will of the country's leadership, time will tell. However, one should not forget that in the Celestial Empire itself the theme of five million square kilometers of Chinese land “occupied by foreign states” is systematically exaggerated.
- Roman Akolsin