In mid-May, an operational formation of the Russian Navy was formed in the Mediterranean, which is now increasingly referred to as a “squadron”. It was based on the large anti-submarine ship Admiral Panteleev, large landing ships (BDK) Admiral Nevelskoy and Peresvet, the rescue tug Fotiy Krylov and the tanker Pechenga. The group also includes ships and vessels of the Baltic, Northern and Black Sea fleets. The postmaster PM-138 (BSF) came to Syrian Tartus, which replaced the PM-2012, which had been there since October. And in the Gulf of Aden, which is separated from the Mediterranean Sea by the Suez Canal and the Red Sea, FIR "Fearless" (BF), the rescue tug "Eugene Khorev" (BF) and the tanker "Yelnya" (BF) carry anti-piracy service.
WHAT IS IT LOOKING FOR IN A COUNTRY FAR
The Russian fleet appeared in the Mediterranean in 1769 year. The second coming of our Navy to the Mediterranean took place in the second half of the 50 of the last century, when, after the Suez crisis, Soviet submarines settled in the Albanian Vlora Bay, which tickled nerves against the enemies of the USSR in the Cold War. At the same time, our country had allies in the turbulent Middle East. Since then, our Navy began to be present in the Mediterranean on a permanent basis.
A little later, the 5-I Mediterranean squadron was formed, whose main task was to detect and destroy in the event of war American nuclear-powered submarines with ballistic missiles aimed at the Soviet Union and aircraft carriers whose aircraft could carry atomic bombs to the southern regions of the country. Here, too, everything is logical and clear.
But what to do now operational connection of the Russian Navy in the Mediterranean Sea? It is surprising that the intention to create an operational ship group, albeit a small one, is still in the Indian Ocean. Delhi makes no secret that they want to see this ocean with their “lake”. And the Indians there by and large do not need neither Americans, nor Chinese, nor Russians.
The other side of the same coin is the ability of the Russian fleet provide today with the necessary forces these same “operational units”. It’s very tight. Combat surface ships (BNKs) of the ocean zone of the Russian Navy are easy to recount. There are only 28 of them. This is a heavy aircraft carrier cruiser "Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Kuznetsov" project 11435, which needs major repairs and modernization; nuclear missile cruiser "Peter the Great" project 11442; three Project 1164 missile cruisers, one of which is under repair; eight large Project 1155 anti-submarine ships, one of which is in a sludge awaiting modernization; BOD Admiral Chabanenko, project 11551; BPC "Kerch" of project 1134B, which has been part of the Navy since 1974, that is, it has already served the due date; eight project 956 destroyers, of which five are in sludge; two patrol ships of project 11540; two TFR projects 1135 and 1135M, which have been in service since 1980 and 1981, respectively; TFR “Shrewd” of project 01090 - he has been in the ranks of the Navy for 44 years, that is, he is the absolute record holder in the “length of service” among the BNK not only in Russia, but throughout the world. But even this arithmetic does not give a complete picture. Three destroyers of project 956 - the “Admiral Ushakov” of the Northern Fleet, the “Fast” of the Pacific Fleet and the “Persistent” of the Baltic Fleet - do not dare to send the command of the Navy on long trips, because it is not without reason that they are afraid of their capricious boiler turbine installations (close relatives of those flew last year on the tests of the Vikramaditya aircraft carrier modernized for the Indian Navy) at any time can fail. BOD "Kerch" for many years does not leave Sevastopol. The Black Sea TFRs of project 1135 / 1135M are also scary to let go far because of their advanced age. But they still sometimes run to the Mediterranean Sea, as well as the “Savvy” modernization that took place in 1997. As a result, if you subtract all the "orphans and wretched", 16 warships are suitable for long-distance service in the seas and oceans, that is, conditionally, four for each fleet. Among them, the relatively “young” include Peter the Great (in service since 1998), the BPC Admiral Chabanenko (1999), the TFR Ustrashimy (1990) and Yaroslav the Wise (2009). Moreover, the “Undaunted” is exploited simply mercilessly. It has been chasing the seas without average repair for 23 years. It doesn’t even have time to install the Uranus anti-ship missile system put in the state.
Who will provide reliable protection for Russian nuclear-powered missile carriers on their deployment routes? Is it because of this that the Russian SSBN, according to the Federation of American Scientists, relying on intelligence sources, performed only five sea trips to combat service in 2012. Who will protect the waters adjacent to the Russian coast and naval bases? After all, the situation with the ships of the near-sea zone and the protection of the water area is by no means better.
It is because of extreme poverty that large landing ships are also included in the “operational formations”, which are also not young, but are strong enough and seaworthy. On long-distance marches, they seem to denote warships of the main classes absent from the Russian Navy. But, of course, they are no warriors themselves and need to escort BNK. We should not forget that most of the Russian BDK - Polish construction of the 775 project (15 of 19 units), that is, it is necessary to “beat” their lifespan with care, it is not forever, and long-distance crossings, for example, from the Far East to the Mediterranean Sea, contribute to engine wear. Or after us even a flood?
NOBODY WILL TELL THE TRUTH TO THE PRESIDENT
Russian President Vladimir Putin 11 April held a video conference with top managers of Rosneft. Its head, Igor Sechin, reported to the head of state that the need of the largest Russian and global oil company for offshore engineering for offshore projects is 394 units. These include 15 exploration platforms, 106 mining platforms, 16 seismic survey vessels and more 200 support vessels. It was assumed that the whole of this fleet will be built by the United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC). But, according to Sechin, USC is not able to meet the needs of Rosneft. He certainly knows the situation, if only because for several years he headed the board of directors of USC.
Alas, no one will tell the truth to the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, that the program of military shipbuilding approved by him before 2020 cannot be completed either. If you manage to commission at least half of the ships and vessels intended for the Navy, it will be a great success.
Recall that this program was launched in 2011, and on July 30, 2012, Vladimir Putin, during a visit to Sevmash, outlined its quantitative parameters. According to him, by the end of the decade, the fleet should receive eight nuclear-powered strategic missile submarines, 16 multi-purpose atomic and non-nuclear submarines, 51 combat surface ship - all 75 units. All submarines, as well as 49 BNK will be assembled at domestic shipyards, two more naval helicopter Mistral will be received from France.
10 January this year, the president during a visit to the cruiser "Peter the Great" once again returned to the shipbuilding program. He said that before 2020, more than 100 new surface and submarine ships of various classes would be added to the fleet. At the same time, the Supreme Commander expressed confidence that the program would be necessarily executed.
Finally, 11 of March of this year, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, at the conference call, informed that by the end of 2020, the Russian Navy will receive 24 submarines and 54 surface ships, that is, 78 units. We will not pay attention to some discrepancies in numbers. Undoubtedly, the program is impressive, but by no means super-ambitious, as it is sometimes presented. It can be called optimal in relation to the real tasks that the Russian Navy is designed to solve, and according to industry capabilities, if you take up the business without the traditional Russian buildup and in a businesslike manner. But harmonious work did not work.
Since 2011, the strategic naval submarine cruiser Yury Dolgoruky of the 955 project (2012), the Savvyotny corvette (2011) and the Boky (2013) project of the 20380 project, have problems and we are let's say below, the patrol ship (so on the site of the Zelenodolsk Shipbuilding Plant) Dagestan project 11661K, two small artillery ships of the 21630 project (2011 – 2012) and three anti-sabotage boats of the 21980 project (2010 – 2012). For three years - only nine units, mostly small and medium displacement.
What are the reasons for the low rate of shipbuilding? A lot of them. Here is the disorganization of the military shipbuilding mechanism, and the practice of financing defense orders that does not correspond to the State Armaments Program. When Anatoly Serdyukov was the Minister of Defense, the domestic industry was declared almost the main enemy of the department he headed. In a certain sense, it was the Ministry of Defense that, if not torpedoed, then put a leg in the shipbuilding program. Under the flag of the struggle to save every state ruble, the signing of contracts was delayed, and when they were concluded, the real financing was inhibited. But it is known that naval equipment annually rises in price by 7 – 9%. And in order to prevent cost overruns and minimize damage, the proportion of work performed under the contract should not be less than twice the rate of appreciation. That is, the less time the ship spends on the stocks and on the completion, the cheaper it costs the state. In our country, even small ships are often built much longer than battleships. That is why, from time to time, the head of state accounted for resolving contradictions between the Ministry of Defense and industry in manual mode. Which, of course, is not normal.
Anatoly Serdyukov is not on Arbat Square, but his work lives. There is no need to go far for examples. By the end of April this year, as the director of the armament department of the Russian Defense Ministry, Anatoly Gulyaev, reported, the long-term contracts of the military department in the Navy line barely exceed 25%. And after all, shipbuilding needs more money than other industries. Or another, more tangible example. This summer, the frigate “Admiral Grigorovich”, the lead ship of the 11356Р project, is expected to be launched. But it was not until March that the Baltic Shipyard began to manufacture for it and two other ships of this project the launchers for firing Caliber missiles being built at the Baltic Yantar plant. They will be ready by the end of the year. As before, no one knew that launchers would be needed for these frigates. And now let's go hunting - and feed the dogs? And it is unlikely that “Admiral Grigorovich” will be able to be put into operation in the summer of next year, as planned. These are the "little things" inhibit the implementation of the shipbuilding program. But there are more large-scale problems.
DON'T DO ANYTHING WITH US "BULAVOY"
“There are no questions to the Bulava,” Vladimir Popovkin, the head of Roscosmos, said recently, thus guaranteeing the high reliability of the newest strategic missile system of submarines. I would like to believe it. But it is puzzling why from December 23 2011 of the year, that is, for almost a year and a half, not a single launch of SLBMs has been made. There were a total of 18, of which six were unsuccessful, and two more were recognized as partially successful. That is, only 10 starts - fully accomplished. For comparison: during the development of the Trident 2 SLBM, the United States carried out 28 missile launches, of which four ended in failure, and one was recognized as “nontest”, that is, in our opinion, partially successful (according to weather conditions, the rocket went beyond the safety corridor and was undermined ). After the introduction of the Trident-2 into service, the US and British Navy nuclear submarines performed 1989 successive launches of this missile in a row since December 143. To test its reliability, up to six starts are made annually. Is the Mace better than the Trident 2?
In January of this year, we were told: "The Bulava" was adopted by the Navy together with the submarine "Yuri Dolgoruky". Now it turns out that this is not entirely true. As the general director of the FSUE “NPO Avtomatika” Leonid Shalimov told the Urals Regional Information Center ITAR-TASS (“TASS-Ural”), it is planned to complete one or two SLBM launches by the end of 2013. These shots will be “confirmation of the consignment”, since so far the “Bulava” has been commissioned only in pilot operation. In the upcoming trials, the launching of these missiles will be carried out from Moscow. “If such a team passes from the General Staff to the launch pad of the boat, giving start to automatic pre-launch operations and subsequent launch of the rocket, this will be a weighty reason for adopting the Bulava missile system into service,” said Leonid Shalimov.
In other words, the "Mace" has not yet been adopted. And for this we need "good reasons". But the former general director of the Moscow Institute of Thermal Engineering (MIT), Yuri Solomonov, who is now the general designer of the complex, vowed to surrender it to the fleet in 2005 year. And all because of the lack of resources from industry and funds from the Ministry of Defense at the time MIT decided to beat the competition by promising to make a new missile on the cheap - based on the ground Topol and abandoning the sea bench tests. As a result, we had to actually create a new SLBM and, at the insistence of the fleet, re-equip the nuclear-powered cruiser TK-208 "Dmitry Donskoy" into a test submarine. All this was very expensive. Significant interruptions in the Bulava tests are not by accident alarming. It seems that the complex is still far from perfect.
Unfortunately, with the new weapons systems for the Navy in general, there is a critical situation. We have already mentioned the problems of the Corvette "Savvy". He was accepted into the fleet in the 2011 year. But until now, its main anti-aircraft defense, the Redut air defense missile system developed by the Almaz-Antey Air Defense Concern, is not capable of hitting targets. Radar "Furke" general detection can not cope with the targeting of missiles, and, apparently, can not cope. The Corvette "Boky" - the second serial ship of the 20380 project - before joining the Navy 16 in May, completed a series of state tests. He shot out all kinds weapons except "Reduta." And what does the absence of air defense systems mean? The fact that this ship is defective, sky-finished, since it cannot protect itself from an air strike. By the way, under the Ship Regulations, no one has the right to send a ship to the sea with a faulty materiel. A couple of years ago there was information that the Fazotron-NIIR corporation is creating a new radar for corvettes, but so far nothing is known about the results of this work.
There is great doubt about the readiness of the more sophisticated and sophisticated “Polyment-Redut” air defense missile system, which should be equipped with the latest 22350 frigates. The director general of the Almaz-Antey Air Defense Concern, Vladislav Menshchikov, promised that work on it would be completed before the end of this year. In this little hard to believe. This complex should have been armed with the Novik frigate of the 12441 project, built at the Yantar Baltic plant in the 1997 year, but still unfinished due to the unavailability of Polyment Redoubt and a number of other weapon systems. Then they decided to convert it into a training ship called Borodino, but Anatoly Serdyukov considered it redundant, and the hull, into which they invested hundreds of millions of rubles, was left to rust.
By the way, recently the High Command of the Navy decided to complete the construction of the Borodino ship. It will be used to train officers to handle new types of weapons entering the fleet. There is a plan for the restructuring of another, also unfinished and abandoned on Yantar, patrol ship "Fog" of the 11540 project into an experimental ship for developing promising models of anti-submarine weapons.
The command of the Navy is also taking the initiative to modernize the large anti-submarine ships of the 1155 project, which now act as the main "actors" of the Russian fleet in distant sea and ocean zones. There are eight of them, and taking into account Admiral Chabanenko, nine. It is supposed to equip these BOD with universal Caliber-NK missile systems, Polyment-Redut air defense system, X-NUMX-mm A-130 artillery systems capable of firing guided missiles. That is, they will become multipurpose ships. However, the service life of some of these BODs is close to 192 years. Therefore, before embarking on modernization, it is necessary to thoroughly examine the state of their bodies and mechanisms. How much longer can they serve after the "plastic surgery"? And, of course, it will not be possible to meet the 30 billion rubles. for upgrading each ship as planned. In the best case, “European-quality repair” will cost 2 – 10 billion rubles. on the case.
A big problem remains ship power plants. The boiler-turbine ones are already a relic of the past, domestic diesels do not meet the requirements of the time and often simply break even on new ships, and gas-turbine power plants are not produced at all in our country or are assembled in experimental single copies. With this we need to do something. The first sign that gives hope can be the launch in Penza of a joint venture between the well-known Finnish company Vyartsilya and ZAO Transmashholding with the annual release of 200 – 300 diesel engines, including ship engines.
WHY OUTSIDERS ARE LEADERS
But back to the problems of the United Shipbuilding Corporation, which Igor Sechin touched on in his report to the president. According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation, USC completed 2012 a year with a loss of 6 billion rubles. (in fairness it should be said that the activities of the United Aircraft Building Corporation were unprofitable). At the same time, USC received a large package of government orders and increased the volume of completed orders in monetary terms. But besides the "Yuri Dolgoruky", which was built 16 years, the corporation did not transfer a single combat ship to the fleet.
In general, in recent years, a curious trend has emerged in the field of military shipbuilding. Almost all surface ships, boats and auxiliary ships were built and surrendered to the Navy and the Coast Guard of the Russian Federation by enterprises, which we will call "outsiders", that is, not included in the USC. These primarily include the St. Petersburg shipbuilding company "Almaz" and the marine plant "Almaz", Zelenodolsk plant named after A.M. Gorky, Leningrad plant "Pella", Rybinsk shipbuilding plant "Vympel", Yaroslavl Shipyard. The Coast Guard of the Border Guard Service of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation, with the exception of a few units that are being built in the Far East, orders all other ships and boats from “free-standing” companies. Last year, the Navy also received surface combat units exclusively from "outsiders".
When I asked the representative of one of the ordering departments why this was happening, he said bluntly that it was easier to work with “outsiders”. With them less red tape, approvals, the quality of work performed is higher, and the final product is cheaper. It is known that large corporations are difficult to manage, more costly compared to other enterprises and often unprofitable.
And one more important circumstance. Stalin can hardly be attributed to fans of the capitalist mode of production. However, he, who had such powerful levers to stimulate creative and other creative activities, such as prisons, camps, torture and death threats, created in the defense-industrial sphere many design bureaus and enterprises that competed with each other for life and death. The competitive moment has always been and remains the driving force of the progress of the economy, and the monopolies hold down the forward movement. USC, of course, played a positive role in the rehabilitation of the shipbuilding industry. But now we need a different mechanism for its functioning, aimed at accelerating high-quality creative labor, and not at increasing the number of bureaucratic chairs. Under the existing system, there is no point in expecting a radical change for the better from a change in the management of a shipbuilding holding.
SEXVERSTER AT THEM, OPTIMIZATION AT US
The second wave of the global economic crisis forces states to sequester, or, more simply, cut military budgets. The United States and NATO countries are also forced to pursue military spending. And Russia will not escape this fate. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has already instructed the commanders of the clans and branches of the Armed Forces to prepare proposals for revising a number of programs. It is argued that we are not talking about reducing military spending, but about optimizing them. Well, this may be called so.
The Ministry of Defense has already abandoned plans to build a second pair of Mistrals. It was also announced that on the SSBN of the 955 project, instead of the previously planned 20 launchers of the Bulava SLBMs, there would be 16. It is explainable. 20-missile "Borei" is actually a new project. For their construction, testing and entry into the fighting will take more time and money. It is easier to build a ninth submarine with 16 launchers, rather than undertaking to build other type of boats.
But the rejection of the construction of the eighth multi-purpose nuclear submarine 885 is puzzling. As acknowledged by foreign experts, these submarines will pose the greatest threat of all ships under construction in Russia for NATO and China’s naval forces. Or is it staked on the fact that fifth-generation submarines, which design bureaus have begun to design, will be better and cheaper? Better - maybe, but cheaper - hardly.
Obviously, it is necessary to abandon the modernization of the heavy nuclear-powered cruiser “Admiral Nakhimov”, which in 1997 was removed from the operational strength of the Navy and has actually remained in sludge since. It does not make sense to make cosmetic changes on it, and turning into a missile defense ship is expensive and premature, since the Prometheus PRO-500 missile system only exists on paper so far and it will take a lot of time to work it out. And as we know from the experience of "Reduce," the process is painful and difficult. Yes, and one missile cruiser - in the sea is not a warrior. It is unlikely that he will be helped by three or four supere-destroyers that are planned to be built for the fleet in the future. There is no doubt that the Northern PKB can design such ships, but now the industry is hardly capable of filling them with appropriate weapons. Until automatic combat control systems like the American Aegis and interceptor missiles like the SM-3 IIA and SM-3 IIB appear in Russia, it’s not practical to take on the creation of these destroyers.
Meanwhile, the dreams of the superBN of the ocean zone do not have the best effect on the implementation of the shipbuilding program before the 2020 year. After all, in order to engage in the creation of such ships, it is required to withdraw appropriations from some projects. In early March, there were reports that the Navy decided to limit the construction of the corvettes of the 20385 project (an upgraded version of the 20380 project) to one unit. The reasons? The high cost and redundancy of weapons through the introduction of a universal missile complex "Caliber-NK", capable of striking surface, submarine and coastal targets at long distances.
Let's see. Yes, the cost of the corvette project 20385 above the prototype. But he has another weapon - more powerful, as well as other electronic equipment. According to a number of sources, MTU diesels are supposed to be used on the ship. They are more expensive than domestic ones, but at least they won't break. It’s ridiculous to talk about redundancy of weapons. Just look at the map. In the North, and in the Baltic, and in the Far East, there are plenty of targets for the “Calibrov”. In the end, common sense seems to have prevailed. At the Northern shipyard, metal is being cut for the second hull of the 20385 corvette.
Some events in the Russian shipbuilding are generally difficult to explain. Three times in six months, the laying of the frigate “Admiral Butakov”, the fourth in a series of six units of the 11356 project, was postponed. These ships are urgently needed by the Black Sea Fleet, including for trips to the Mediterranean Sea. Whether the "Admiral Butakov" fell under the "optimization", or there were problems for ships of this type to replace imported equipment, which was located on the prototypes - the Indian frigates of the 11356 project.
DO NOT HAVE TO DROP IN NAVAL ROMANTICISM
Domestic fleet for their history survived several "Tsushim". Suffice it to recall the death of the Black Sea Fleet in the Crimean War of 1853 – 1856, the actual Tsushima battle, which resulted in the loss of the best ships of the imperial fleet. Then there was the Civil War, which turned the Russian fleet into pathetic bits. We must not forget about the so-called Tallinn breakthrough 1941 of the year. Then went to the bottom of the Gulf of Finland 15 warships and boats, 43 transport and auxiliary vessel. In total, taking into account the sunk in Tallinn in the last days of the defense of the city, more than 100 ships and vessels were lost. It is difficult to fully imagine the losses from the last Tsushima when, after the collapse of the USSR, the second in the world power of the Navy (this was what they called it at that time - all words with a capital letter) ceased to exist. Therefore, the restoration of the Russian Navy is required with the utmost care. No need to put before the fleet and industry overwhelming tasks and fall into the "naval romanticism" when it seems that the sea is knee-deep.
The tasks of naval construction are obvious. This is, firstly, the creation of powerful and sustainable NSNFs. Secondly, the provision of a favorable operational regime in the areas of deployment of Russian SSBNs. Thirdly, to prevent the dominance of foreign naval forces in the waters adjacent to our shores, including in the Arctic. Fourth, adequate opportunities to respond to new challenges and threats. These today include US plans to deploy a global missile defense system, where emphasis is placed on the naval component. Each foreign missile defense ship entering combat service must be monitored and destroyed during the threatened period. To neutralize the antimissile threat, it is also necessary to take measures to create additional counter-threats to the territory of the United States by deploying multi-purpose atomic and non-nuclear missile submarines off the US coast. This will undoubtedly contribute to constructive negotiations between Moscow and Washington.