Russia revives nuclear submarine fleet ("World Politics Review", USA)
January 10, the combat structure of the Russian North fleet a new generation nuclear submarine equipped with Bulava ballistic missiles officially entered.
This first class submarine "Borey", called "Yuri Dolgoruky", was built at the shipbuilding enterprise "Sevmash" from 1996 to 2008 year. Initially, they wanted to equip the missile submarine cruiser with much larger Bark missiles. However, problems with the development of this rocket forced the Russian government to abandon it and give preference to a smaller rocket called Bulava. As a result, Russian shipbuilders had to rework the entire project of Borei-class boats to accommodate new missiles there, and this had to be done before the Bulava moved from the drawing boards to the production plant.
The Russian military wants the Borey-Bulava combination to become the naval basis of the Russian nuclear triad until at least the 2040s. The costs of research, design and development work to create this new combination of boats and missiles have become perhaps the largest for the Russian military budget in recent years. According to estimates, at some point, work on creating the Borey-Bulava complex was “eaten up” by more than a third of the Russian defense budget. The government has allocated 132 billion dollars to build a large number of new submarines and other warships by 2020.
Huge expenses speak of the importance of the Borey-Bulava systems for the Russian political leadership. Speaking at the ceremony of introducing "Yuri Dolgoruky" into the fleet, President Vladimir Putin boasted: "The Yuri Dolgoruky" is a new generation nuclear-launch vehicle. Boats of this class will become an essential element of the naval component of the Russian strategic forces, the guarantor of the global balance, the security of Russia and its allies. "
The Borey-class submarines in the 130 crew are people. They are equipped with modern sonar and navigation equipment, advanced communication systems and fire control, and have the characteristics of stealthiness of the fourth generation. The length of each boat is 185 feet, the width of 15 feet, the depth to 500 feet, and the submerged speed of 29 nodes.
The first three Borey-class submarines will carry the Bulava P-16 30 missiles and six cruise missiles each. The second missile carrier of this class, the Alexander Nevsky, is currently undergoing sea trials, and the third, called the Vladimir Monomakh, was taken out of the workshop at the end of last year for launching.
On the next boat class "Borey" will be on 20, and not on 16 Bulava missiles. The first submarine of this upgraded Borey-A class, Prince Vladimir, was laid in July 2012. Construction of the fifth boat of this series, "Alexander Suvorov" will begin in July 2013, and the sixth, named "Mikhail Kutuzov", will be laid before the end of this year. The Russian fleet intends to get two more Borey-A class submarine cruisers by the year 2020. In total, the eight submarines of the Borey and Borey-A classes will have 148 Bulava missiles.
The Bulava is one of the few large Russian missile systems developed after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The split head of the rocket can carry 10 warheads of individual guidance in nuclear equipment, each of which has a 100-150 kiloton power. The maximum range of the rocket - 8000 kilometers. On paper, Bulava has a modern enemy missile defense system and is highly manoeuvrable, has a powerful solid-fuel engine, small size, light weight, high speed and other characteristics that turn it into a deterrent that surpasses all other systems from the Russian sea-based ballistic missile arsenal. .
However, the Bulava during the tests has shown itself to be more or less successful only in recent years, and this has allowed the Russian leaders to proceed with its installation with a fair degree of confidence. Initially, the rocket was planned to be adopted in the 2006 year, but the terrible performance of the Bulava during the tests led to the fact that it remained on paper until December 2011. And only two successful launches formally completed its test program. And before that, almost half of the rocket test launches were unsuccessful, and failures were sometimes overwhelming. Constant delays damaged the reputation of the Russian defense industry at the very moment when the authorities again began to talk about Russia as a great power.
The problems of the Bulava were the result of two main factors. The first is that the Russian government decided to transfer the contract to the wrong project organization, and then followed its wrong recommendations. The second is the remaining shortcomings of the Russian military-industrial complex, especially the problems of production, quality control and system integration. In particular, the inability to effectively coordinate the activities of dozens of independent subcontractors participating in the program has become an important reason for the failure of Bulava.
However, the Russian government considered that the missile should be completed, because it was designed for Borei-class submarines, and this is the only new strategic submarine built in Russia.
The Russian Navy was eagerly awaiting these submarines, since the nuclear-powered missile carriers, which are contained in it, are every single Soviet-built, and they were created before the 1990 year. These submarines are equipped with new ballistic missiles and other components, but their technical and operational resources have long been developed. As a result, it turns out that only a few of the Russian nuclear submarines are in constant readiness, while the rest of the vessels are being renovated, upgraded, or used for crew training.
In February last year, the commander-in-chief of the Russian Navy, Admiral Vladimir Vysotsky, announced that the Russian nuclear submarines would resume regular campaigns with the aim of patrolling and deterring when Yuri Dolgoruky joined the fleet. Such a change in deployment plans means that at least one Russian strategic submarine will be at sea all the time. In the past decade, the country's submarine fleet patrolled only intermittently, and the breaks between hikes were long. If during the Cold War, the Soviet Navy carried out several hundred military campaigns a year, then last year the Russian fleet managed to hold only five such exits.
Although the Russian designers were finally able to make the Borey-Mace combination work, this success may be the exception to the rule. The Russian government has allocated huge funds for this major project, and cannot make similar efforts in the field of building all other weapons systems. For example, the Russian leadership had to repeatedly announce delays in the construction of new aircraft carriers. Russian defense companies, which have not yet fully recovered from the painful collapse of the Soviet military-industrial complex, are still unable to create such sophisticated weapons systems in a timely manner.
The primary attention that Russian leaders are paying to Borei-class submarines and the Bulava missiles indicates their determination to preserve for Russia the status of a great power with the potential for deterring a nuclear missile attack from the United States. Although such an attack will never happen under any circumstances, the revival of the Russian strategic nuclear deterrent forces can have a positive impact on relations between the two countries, reducing the Russian outrage over the US missile defense and eliminating other sources of tension in relations between Russia and America.
- Richard Weitz