Navy in the estimates of foreign experts and in reality
The efforts of the Russian military-political leadership in the field of naval development did not go unnoticed. Over the past year in leading foreign "naval”Publications have published so many materials about the Russian Navy, which, perhaps, have not been in the previous ten years.
The most recent example is the article “Once again on the world stage: Russian naval power in 2013 year and for the future”, published in the journal IHS Jane's Navy International earlier this year by Dr. (Russian terminology of the candidate of sciences) Lee Willet.
“Revival of the Navy of Russia” - this was done by the editors to the article. And in another edition - about him a bit later - the takeaway is completely unique: “Russians are coming! “Again.” Some foreign analysts seem to be scared by our fleet, while others are trying to figure out how to live with it further and whether it can be used to their advantage.
The author of the article, the head of the naval research program of the military science department of the British Defense Intelligence Research Center (the United States Institute for Defense and Security Studies), is trying to find answers to these difficult questions and, in particular, stresses: “President Vladimir Putin views the restoration of naval power as a fundamental tool for strengthening Russia's position among its closest circle and in the world as a whole.
In 2012, two examples of active use of the Russian Navy forced the naval command and Western politicians to again ask themselves: is Russia and its fleet the object of confrontation or is cooperation more likely? ”
What kind of events are we talking about? One might think that the strengthening of the NSNF is about the completion, or rather, the near completion of a long-term epic with the construction and commissioning of the 955 project’s head missile carrier. Far from it.
“First, Russia, directing operational groups to the Mediterranean, uses its fleet both to demonstrate support for Syrian President Bashar Assad and to demonstrate its wider interests in this region,” writes Dr. Lee Willet. - Secondly, starting from 2009, the Russian Navy is making an ever-increasing contribution to the fight against piracy in the Indian Ocean. Its significance is so great that the task of more actively involving Russian ships in this operation has become more important for the naval forces of Western countries today. ”
True, speaking of the importance of Russia's participation in the anti-piracy operation, the author points out that part of the Russian Navy ships are involved in it several times and also takes part in other operations conducted by the Russian fleet: “Taking into account the simultaneous dispatch of tugs, it seems to have already become standard practice, and, given the scope of the tasks at hand, it can be assumed that the number of “running” ships in the Russian Navy remains rather limited. ”
But the author considers the situation around Syria as an example of “an international crisis where national interests may not coincide and the presence of warships from different countries may create a risk of confrontation”. In particular, referring to the Russian ship group headed by the Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Kuznetsov expedition to the Mediterranean Sea in 2011, he emphasizes: “The transition of the task force to the Mediterranean Sea and back passed close to British waters, therefore the Royal Navy (Great Britain ) sent its destroyers "York" and "Liverpool" to accompany her ".
It is clear that the accompaniment is not out of politeness, but to monitor the actions of Russian ships. But if the West so frightened the campaign of a small detachment of ships, what will happen after the recent naval exercises in the Mediterranean Sea with the involvement of the forces of the three fleets of the Russian Navy? In general, the article left, to put it mildly, not quite a positive impression.
The considered “operations” of the Russian Navy are described superficially, in their assessments there is an excess of the words “probably”, “possible”, “maybe” and others that indicate a lack of accurate and verified information. There is no good analysis of modern Russian naval policy with estimates of the western expert community on this issue. There is no analysis of the Russian shipbuilding program, on the contrary, there are mistakes. In particular, the author points out: “Starting from Severodvinsk, the arrival of five new attack submarines of the 885 project of the Ash type is expected. But in the 2011 year, representatives of the USC stated that after the "Severodvinsk" will follow at least five production nuclear-powered project 885M. Last year, it was officially announced that the Russian Navy will be replenished with eight submarines of this type. Last confirmed by Vladimir Putin in January 2013.
In general, the material turned out more from the field of political science or on general issues of security and cooperation at sea, than an attempt to analyze the directions of naval policy and the construction of the Russian Navy.
More thoroughly approached this in the American magazine Proceedings. True, it was not without panic here - on the cover of the March 2012 issue of the year we read the takeaway: “Russians are coming! “Again.”
AMERICA HAS SHOWN A THREAT
The article in Proceedings was prepared by captain (corresponds to the rank of captain of 1 rank in the Russian Navy) by Thomas R. Fedyshin from the US Naval College. It is called the “Renaissance of the Russian fleet?” And is of greater interest if only because its author at one time held the post of naval attache in Moscow and should know the subject of analysis better.
“Naval strategy specialists began to get used to reports of the growing power of the Chinese Navy, but during a report in March 2011 at a meeting of the defense committee of the US Senate appropriations subcommittee, then acting as chief of naval operations (corresponding to the post of the Russian Navy. - V.Shch.) Admiral Gary Rafkad stunned everyone, saying that "the Russian fleet is on the rise again." A number of specialists have already noticed that Russia is trying again to create a threat to the sea for the naval forces of the West, especially in light of the support that the Russian Black Sea Fleet provided during the Russian-Georgian armed conflict in 2008, begins its article Captain Fedyshin, then citing a very interesting conclusion: “However, a deeper analysis of recent events leads to an illogical conclusion: a sleeping bear wakes up, but this time it appears in a less belligerent and aggressive form.”
By the way, you can read about the “Black Sea horror stories” in the same Proceedings for February 2011 of the year, in the article entitled “Threat from the Russian Black Sea Fleet” or in the first issue of the RUSI in 2009 in the article “The Role of the Navy in the Revival of Russia”.
In the article, captain Fedyshin describes in detail the reasons for the rapid degradation of the Navy, stressing that "the state was unable, and quite likely, did not want to allocate enough funds for the development of its naval forces." However, from 2008, in his opinion, “the Russian fleet began to give signals - it is being revived”, noting, on the other hand, that “words alone ... are not enough to improve and modernize the Russian Armed Forces”.
Having then subjected to sufficiently detailed analysis, various Russian official documents in the field of national security in general and in the field of naval strategy and naval construction in particular, captain Fedyshin correctly emphasizes the “historically formed subordinate status of the Navy in the system of the Ministry of Defense of Russia”.
This status, which at first glance does not cause direct harm to the development of the Russian Navy, in reality made the Russian fleet hostage to the “land thinking” of that part of the country's military-political leadership, which is firmly convinced of Russia's land or continental “destination”. Although, if you look at the map, you can easily notice that this “land power” has a maritime border from the north and east, a significant part of the state border runs from the west, and in the south Russian territory passes along two seas. It remains to add that the sea borders from the north and east are the outlets to the oceans, the Arctic and Silent, which, according to unanimous opinion of Russian and foreign experts, in the 21st century will become the scene of hot political, economic, and quite possibly military battles. . And here you can’t do without the fleet.
However, captain Fedyshin, speaking of the “historically established subordinate status” of the Russian Navy, is not quite right. For most of its more than 300-year-old stories the domestic fleet had an independent status — in the form of either a collegium, or a ministry, or a people's commissariat — and only in the second half of the twentieth century did it “firmly” fall into this very “subordinate status”. And only thanks to the close ties of the USSR Navy Commander Sergey Gorshkov with Leonid Brezhnev a fleet was created, the combat potential of which even in the 20-year period of oblivion was quite sufficient for the implementation of nuclear deterrence and more or less tolerable protection of the near-sea zone.
Even Peter the Great understood: our country needs both a strong army and a powerful fleet. However, as the former commander-in-chief of the Russian Navy, Admiral of the Fleet Vladimir Kuroyedov, pointed out, the financing of the Russian fleet from the middle of the 1990s to the beginning of the zero years was at the level of 12 – 14% of the total budget of the Defense Ministry of the Russian Federation. And even from these insignificant funds the fleet in the period of 2001 – 2006 did not receive more than 60 billion rubles. Taking into account that from the north and east the security of Russia depends almost entirely on the effective actions of the fleet, to call such an attitude on the part of the military-political leadership can only be genocide.
By and large, it was only in recent years that the situation began to change for the better (except for NSNF, for which funds always went in priority order). Significant funds have been allocated for the renewal of the naval composition of the fleet and its re-equipment for the latest models of rocket, torpedo, artillery, electronic and other weapons. The HPV program before 2020 - about 25% of all funds for the procurement of weapons, military and special equipment (VVST), which, hopefully, will allow the Navy to gradually change the role of "stepdaughter" to the role of equal participant in national military construction and one of the most important means ensuring the national interests of Russia. Especially those that lie away from its shores.
Which ones? Yes, take at least the expanding military, military-technical and economic cooperation between Russia and the countries of Latin America. Neither the Ground Forces, nor the Strategic Missile Forces, nor even the Air Force or Airborne Forces will be able to provide real support here. Only the fleet, with the support of other types of the RF Armed Forces, will be able to protect the interests of Moscow in this remote region of the planet. The same can be said about the Arctic region. Only to the fleet, with support aviation on the shoulder to protect Russian interests in the Arctic. But he will be able to do this only if he will systematically and progressively develop, and not be "at the beck and call" or play the role of the "experimental rabbit."
Having analyzed the open Russian documents in the field of maritime policy and naval strategy quite accurately, Captain Fedyshin turned to a narrower topic - the analysis of issues of military and naval construction. And once again confirmed the fact that Western naval experts either do not understand the “deep tendencies” in the development of the Russian Navy, or amid the euphoria of the victory in the Cold War and the rapidly rushing forward China devote to third-party issues of naval construction of Russia Attention.
For example, the author writes: “After 25 years of being in the construction of the lead ship (project 955. - V.Shch.)“ Yuri Dolgoruky ”was put into service in 2009 in St. Petersburg. Ships of this type will replace outdated SSBNs of the Delta III and Delta IV types. ” Let, what 25 built? What is the commissioning in 2009, and even in St. Petersburg? And finally, why did the 667BDRM (Delta IV) missile carriers suddenly become obsolete?
The head missile carrier of the 955 project, Yuri Dolgoruky, was laid on the stocks in November 1996. Its withdrawal from the workshop took place on April 2007, and in 2009, mooring and sea trials began. And, of course, not in North Palmyra. Maybe we got it wrong when translating? Not. The term “commissioned”, used by captain Fedyshin, in the US Navy implies precisely “putting the ship into service (combat strength)” upon completion of all necessary tests and other procedures.
And it’s even more unclear why suddenly the best domestic underwater strategic bomber of the twentieth century, and even with one of the world's best SLBMs, became “obsolete”? The American “Ohio” type SSBNs that were commissioned in 1984 – 1997 for some reason are not “obsolete”, and the first one is planned to be written off only in 2027, but the Russian ships, the very first of which entered the fleet in the 1984 year, and the last in the 1990, which means "obsolete."
The same is true about the submarines of the 885 project. The author claims that the main nuclear-powered ship, the Severodvinsk, was commissioned already in 2010 year. And we didn’t know, we thought that in 2010, he was just taken out of the workshop and lowered into the water, and he was not commissioned until now. It is the same with the frigate "Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Potted", which also turns out to be commissioned. But at the time of publication of the article in Proceedings, even the mooring trials did not begin.
No, of course, no one has canceled measures to disinform the enemy, but in this form it is already overkill. The passage that “the priority task of the Black Sea Fleet will be the confrontation with Georgia” was also quite surprised. Here it is, a vivid example of how some Russian "military experts" can mislead their colleagues overseas.
The most modern strategic missile submarine "Yury Dolgoruky".
WAITING AND WATCHING
What conclusions about the Russian Navy makes capten Fedyshin? They are the following: “First, the Russian Navy is developing. The ships are being built at a noticeably faster pace and more and more are being used by the Russian fleet, and not only supplied to foreign countries. So Admiral Raphahed was right - the Russian Navy is on the rise again. Secondly, Russia is increasingly relying on its fleet in the matter of nuclear deterrence, since the Navy has an invulnerable means of retaliation - strategic submarine missile carriers. Third, however, Russian projects of warships (with the possible exception of Yasen-type submarines armed with cruise missiles) have no priority in confrontation with the naval forces of other countries and were not created for the deployment of offensive operations outside territorial waters. Armament allows them to act independently and interact with other fleets, but not to challenge them in any way. Most of the new Russian ships are smaller than their predecessors, and were designed as multipurpose, and not for solving some specialized tasks. ”
Having made two correct conclusions about the intensification of the construction of warships for the Russian Navy and the priority attention of Moscow to the NSNF, the author somehow comes to the third conclusion, which is completely inconsistent with the first two and has nothing to do with reality. Except for the fact that the new Russian warships are indeed slightly inferior in displacement to their predecessors in the same class. But this is for now, and in the future, Moscow intends to build destroyers and even, with a favorable set of circumstances, aircraft carrier ships. And it is not at all clear which complexes weapons on Russian ships are more suited for "cooperation" than for confrontation? Perhaps, PKR of the “Caliber” or “Uran” family? And what is the difference between Russian frigates, armed with the KR "Onyx", from nuclear ships of the type "Ash" with the same missile?
What, in the opinion of Captain Fedyshyn, should Western naval experts extract from all this? “It is more likely,” he writes, “that Russian warships will take part in international anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden, rather than tracking US aircraft carrier strike groups in the Pacific or the Mediterranean. Such anti-piracy operations will increasingly be carried out using small, high-speed, inconspicuous multipurpose ships. The growing presence of Russia in the Arctic Ocean will be associated more with ensuring the security of global trade and oil development than with the protection of its ballistic missile submarines. The Russian task forces in the Caribbean will contribute more to raising Russia's international prestige and arms sales to Latin American countries, rather than creating a threat to US military exercises. ”
Of course, we can assume that the American naval experts are really so peaceful (by and large real commanders seek to avoid a real battle and win without blood) and do not consider Russia as a competitor (although no one has canceled geopolitics, but according to it, Washington and Moscow are rivals in the fight for resources), which is why they assume that “small, high-speed, multi-purpose ships” will only fight with pirates, and the Northern Fleet will be more engaged in protecting fishermen and oil fields Esto security of their strategic missile carriers.
However, all of the above is not a forecast of the real state of affairs, but a scoring of the actions of the Russian fleet that Washington and Annapolis would like to see. Moreover, other American naval experts understand perfectly well what role the Navy should play in the history of Russia. In particular, Norman Polmar, who worked as an adviser and consultant to three ministers and two chiefs of naval operations of the US Navy, in the article “The Russian Navy will remain strong after 2000 of the year”, published in the March issue of Proceedings for 1997, said: Political, economic and military power - certainly, the military fleet is necessary. From the point of view of the West, the main tasks of the Russian Navy for the period after 2000 can be:
- coastal defense: Russia has a long maritime border, which requires the presence of forces for proper surveillance and patrolling, and, if necessary, to prevent invasion by foreign naval forces;
- strategic deterrence: strategic submarine missile carriers are an effective means of strategic deterrence. Given the vast expanses of Russia, the combination of land-based missiles and submarine missile carriers is optimal for the nuclear deterrent forces;
- advanced presence: warships will be used to protect Russian political and military interests in third world countries. In many ways, this task will be the main for the Russian Navy at the beginning of the XXI century. Moreover, the focus of action will be different from the period of the Cold War, when actions in the third world countries were on the periphery of a confrontation between the Soviet Union and the United States. ”
In this regard, of interest is the letter of retired Rear Admiral Thomas Brooks, sent to the editorial board of Proceedings after the publication of the article by Captain Fedyshyn and published in the May issue of the journal for 2012 year.
“Thank you to captain Fedyshin for reminding us that the attention that we pay to China today made us somehow lose sight of the fact that the Russian Navy still exists, still has strategic sea-deterrence forces capable of inflicting crushing nuclear blow, and begins to act - albeit slowly and indecisively - in the direction of increasing and modernizing its surface forces of the ocean zone, writes Rear Admiral Brooks. - However, this is not surprising. Throughout the Russian and Soviet, and now again the Russian periods of its history, when the security of the land borders was ensured, the economy was on the rise, and the strong king was on the throne, Russia began to turn to the outside world and create a powerful ocean fleet. On the contrary, as soon as a threat arose on land or the economy became weak, the fleet was reduced and reoriented towards solving defensive tasks ...
Today ... Russia's borders are safe, and its economy is strong. The recent re-election of Vladimir Putin has provided the country with a "strong king" - perhaps another 12 years. Based on historical experience, this means that Russia will build an ocean fleet. Let's wait and watch! ”
This seems to be closer to the true views of the US naval command on the "problem of the Russian fleet." Yes, and our problems for leading overseas experts do not remain a secret behind seven seals. Thus, the already mentioned expert Norman Polmar in the June issue of the magazine Proceedings published an article “Under the Waves”, in which he analyzed the current state of the submarine forces of the Russian Navy. The analysis is professional, you can immediately see the hand of a specialist.
“For most of the cold war that lasted 45 years, Soviet submarine forces were a major factor in the political-military confrontation between the Soviet Union and the United States. At times, counting more than 400 submarines ... Soviet submarine forces dominated the minds of the specialists defining the US naval strategy, the Norman Polmar article begins. “Today, more than two decades after the end of the Cold War, Russian submarines — probably only a few in full readiness — rarely operate outside the coastal waters. And, despite the ambitious plans and statements of politicians and representatives of the fleet, the Russian programs in the field of building submarines and creating missile weapons for them for many years behind the approved schedule. "
Moreover, the author quite accurately represents and why our submarine fleet and submarine shipbuilding turned out to be in such an “awkward” position, leading the main problems: “the lack of realistic pricing methods for military products in shipyards, subcontractors and the Ministry of Defense; too high tax rates in shipbuilding and the lack of experienced specialists in the field of defense technologies and equipment in the Ministry of Defense. ”
However, the author then positively responds to individual innovations applied to domestic submarines of new types, and the material concludes on a very optimistic note: “Taking into account the experience of Soviet shipyards and many advanced submarine projects developed by the Malakhit and Rubin design bureaus, you can it is reasonable to assume that in the 21st century Russia will still receive numerous and reliable submarine forces. ”
DO NOT ACCEPT SELF-DEBTING
It is noteworthy that even the material of Norman Polmar contains inaccuracies regarding the description of technical issues, but we will not consider them here - there is no need to facilitate the work of foreign naval experts. Although no, we will correct a couple of mistakes: first, the 941 “Shark” missile carriers were originally built not four, but six pieces, and secondly, at the time of publication of the material, it was already known that nuclear ships of the “Ash” family 2020 year is planned to build not six, but at least eight. So our colleagues can be advised more often to go to the Russian bookstores and more carefully study the photos of Russian submarines.
I would also like to especially note that Western experts are seriously worried about the situation in the Arctic. This can be judged, for example, under Russia's World Turned Upside Down (can be translated as “Russia is transforming”, and literally - “The World of Russia turns upside down”), lieutenant of the US Navy (corresponds to the rank of lieutenant commander in the Russian Navy - V. S.) Daniel T. Murphy, published in the May issue of Proceedings for 2012 year. The author is a naval intelligence officer and at the time of preparing the article was studying at the National University of Intelligence in Washington.
The main idea is clear from the very first line: "Oil, melting ice and changes in the military and economic spheres will lead to a revision of the Russian naval strategy." At the same time, the author emphasizes: “Since Russia has clearly stated its strategic plans for the Arctic, the US intelligence community should more deeply understand what this may mean for us from the operational and infrastructure points of view. We need to examine how Russia will conduct future operations in the Arctic, where it is likely to create infrastructure for energy production, and understand what steps it will take in this regard and what means and capabilities it will use during operations and in the interests of defense. What will happen if Russia tries to prevent other countries from entering this region, and how will it do it? ”
Evaluating all the above, one should firmly point out: in the West, they still take the Russian Navy seriously and rather “closely” monitor the naval construction carried out by Moscow. Sometimes they are even too serious - even some kind of panic. But you must admit, for us this situation is still better than the situation of the second half of the 1990-s, when in the same Proceedings articles appeared under the heading of the type “The Russian fleet remains in decline.”
It turns out that the loud rhetoric of the Russian military-political leadership bore fruit — we were, to put it mildly, treated with wariness, and some even became afraid. However, we know that in reality the situation in the field of naval construction is far from ideal. Funds are not being spent efficiently enough, a number of shipbuilding projects have become long-term, the fleet and shipbuilding are lacking in highly qualified specialists. In general, scaring the West with loud rhetoric is one thing, and building an ocean fleet is quite another. The main thing is not to let yourself be lulled by its own rhetoric.
Russian fleet scares the West
- Vladimir Leonidovich Shcherbakov