On 2014, the year is scheduled for a grand ship repair. In addition to the already recovering heavy nuclear missile cruiser “Admiral Nakhimov” of the 1144 project, the only aircraft carrier “Admiral Kuznetsov” will become to the wall of Severodvinsk Sevmash.
In case of successful completion of negotiations with Kiev, the cruiser 1164 project "Ukraine" - ex- "Admiral Lobov" will be added to this list. His Marshall Ustinov sistership, undergoing repairs and modernization at the center of the Zvezdochka ship repair ship, was removed from the dock this summer. According to the plant, the repair will last another three years. In 2013, on the same Zvezdochka, work will begin on restoring technical readiness (VTG) and modernizing the nuclear submarine of the 949 Orel project, which will take the place of Smolensk of the same type.
Plenty of plans
The Navy’s commander’s chief indicates that the repair activity that has begun is a consequence of decisions taken this year to increase the presence of fleet in the oceans and the creation of an operational squadron in the Mediterranean. Navy men need ships for long trips, and their choice now, alas, is small. Shipbuilders who are very late with the delivery of the head frigate of Project 22350 Admiral Gorshkov are not happy either. The construction of project 11356 frigates for the Black Sea Fleet has just begun, and project 20380 corvettes do not go further than the Baltic. How bitterly they joke in the Northern Fleet, the carrier-tanker group consisting of the aircraft carrier Kuznetsov, the anti-submarine Admiral Chabanenko and three to four tankers went on a campaign.
The construction of strategic submarine missile carriers is actively under way, but such submarines will not be part of the future operational squadron in the Mediterranean.
As naval sailors say, to form a warrant for the future operational squadron, large ships are needed, where the headquarters and command will be located, which can become the basis of the ship group. If you look at the modern shipbuilding program, then there are no other means besides the Mistrals that have squeezed the teeth of the Mistral, but there are no other means. Ocean destroyers of the Nevsky Design Bureau design will not appear before the 2020 of the year, at least some work is being done on them. The fate of a promising atomic aircraft carrier is very vague. In addition to conversations and the strange correspondence of the Navy Commander-in-Chief with the designers, things are not going so far.
In this situation, the navy insist on the return of large ships to the fleet. To ensure a permanent presence in the Mediterranean Sea and, in the future, in the Indian Ocean, taking into account the service life of each group of ships for at least four months in the Pacific, Northern and Black Sea fleets, there should be two large ships. For the time being, only North Seamen have this amount: as part of the 43 division of rocket ships - the Admiral Kuznetsov TAVKR and Peter the Great TARKR. The technical condition of Kuznetsov leaves much to be desired. Every two years now, the cruiser leaves for three to four months of combat service in the Mediterranean Sea and occasionally gets involved in maneuvers in the Barents Sea, as they say in Severomorsk, “walks through local garbage dumps”. On the Black Sea of the large ships only the missile cruiser "Moscow", and on the Pacific - its sistership "Varyag".
According to the chief of the Navy, with the commissioning of two "Mistral", after the repair and modernization of "Marshal Ustinov", "Admiral Lobov" and "Admiral Nakhimov", as well as "Admiral Kuznetsov" except for the group of surface ships of constant presence in the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean the sea will be a reserve for other tasks and full combat training. Taking into account the commissioning of promising frigates of 22350, 11356 projects and corvettes of the 22385 project, it will be possible to create full-fledged attack groups for solving anti-ship, anti-submarine and anti-aircraft tasks.
The harsh reality
Admirals' dreams do not allow domestic shipbuilding and ship repair to come true. The ships built in 80-s require not only the replacement of radio electronics, armament and underwater acoustics, but also full-scale repair. This is where the main difficulty arises. There are no spare parts for ships. If electronics, weapons, electricians can be replaced or installed new systems, then you can change components and assemblies of engines, bearings and shaft line connections, various valves can only be used for the native details of specific projects, and given their size, it is clear that they do not lie in the warehouses . Something bought at the factories, and something removed from decommissioned ships of the same type.
As long as the ship is new or its sisterships are being produced, everything can be obtained from the factories. But the older he is, the more problems. Now, Russian plants can not restore the production of most components and assemblies, and cannibalized stocks are coming to an end. Immediately it is worth making a reservation that cannibalization is not an invention of Russian shipbuilding, but a common international practice. For example, until the decommissioning by donors of British destroyers of the 42 project, their systerships, previously withdrawn from the fleet, served. As shipbuilders say, the situation is very complicated. To repair ships and submarines, the Severodvinsk ship repair center Zvezdochka has to conclude contracts for the supply of various components and assemblies with several hundred contractors for each hull. And if earlier delays were calculated in months, now already in years. For example, on the nuclear submarine of the 949A “Smolensk” project, the rest of the reserve from the utilized and unfinished submarines of this project was spent, nothing of the same type “Eagle” remained. We have to order the manufacture of components and assemblies, taken out of production 15 – 20 years ago. Of course, the contractors try, but if they do not have the documentation and the production line, then the production of the order may last for several years. There are also cases when ship repairmen enter into a contract not directly with manufacturers, but with intermediaries who are not always honest. An example is a recent criminal case on poor-quality repair of a large landing ship Otrakovsky, initiated against the leadership of the Murmansk branch of the CS Zvezdochka due to the unfair attitude of intermediaries to their obligations.
Lack of capacity
According to the estimates of the engineers at the Zvezdochka ship repair center, it is already clear that due to the lack of spare parts, it will not be possible to repair Marshal Ustinov and Admiral Lobov right away. Therefore, now on “Ustinov” there is not an average repair with the replacement of components and assemblies, but the VTG, that is, what is being repaired is possible without replacement. After recovery, the cruiser is supposed to be able to stay in service for another three years. The idea of transferring it to the Pacific Fleet was abandoned, and the Ustinov would return to Severomorsk.
"Admiral Lobov", standing in the Ukrainian Nikolaev, must be completed. The Ustinov, restored and served for three years, will become a donor for the former Ukrainian cruiser, after which Lob will replace it as part of the 43 division of the SF rocket ships.
Not everything is simple and with a heavy aircraft-carrying cruiser "Admiral Kuznetsov". On the only aircraft carrier of this project, released during the Soviet era in Ukraine, there is practically no documentation. There is no one-type ship for analysis. Cope with the repair of heavy aircraft-carrying cruiser can only the creator of "Vikramaditya" - Severodvinsk Sevmash, whose filling pool allows you to put big ships there. But in order to start Kuznetsov, it will be necessary to expand the gates, and this is a complex technical process associated with lengthy earthworks and construction work. On the video entry of the Indian Vikramaditya into the pool, it is clearly visible that there are several tens of centimeters between the sides of the ship and the gate, and the Kuznetsov is larger than the Indian in size.
Now the 1144 “Admiral Nakhimov” cruiser of the XNUMX project being repaired is stationed at the factory berth, but in the near future it will be transferred to the pool, where both ships, alas, will not fit.
5 December of this year, "Admiral Kuznetsov" will go to military service in the Mediterranean Sea. During the campaign will be agreed on the project of repair and timing. In the spring, work should start in the Sevmash basin so that at the beginning of the summer of 2014, the aircraft carrier would be in charge of repairs. However, it is not excluded that the work will begin at the berth of the plant, where the Admiral Nakhimov now stands. It is also possible that part of the work will be carried out in the Murmansk branch of the CS “Zvezdochka”, where the aircraft carrier is not located at the berths of Severomorsk.
Repair of "Admiral Kuznetsov" will affect the combat training of the only naval aviation regiment - the 279th separate naval fighter (okiap). The pilots, who agree with the repair of the Kuznetsov in the near future, nevertheless regret that they will be left without a deck. In addition, there is a desire to have a new aviation equipment similar to that installed on the Indian aircraft carrier Vikramaditya. Flight operations from the deck can also be carried out on the NITKA simulator of the 859th naval aviation training center in Yeysk. From there already flew the Su-25UTG of the 279th okiap. It was previously planned that during the repair of the Admiral Kuznetsov, the ship’s regiment, having received the latest deck-mounted MiG-29K, will undergo a reorganization. But the trials of the “numbed” MiG are not yet completed, and there is no new regiment staff even in the project.
There are problems with the workers. We must pay tribute to Sevmash and Zvezdochka, who preserved and trained excellent workers and engineering personnel. At the same time, with the projected amount of work they may not be enough. In the Zvezdochka CS, there are about a dozen shipyards scattered throughout the north, but the main burden for the new repair will fall on the head enterprise in Severodvinsk, where the Marshal Ustinov cruiser, the 971, 945, 949 nuclear submarines are already being repaired AC-13 and AC-15. The newest submarines of the 885M Yasen, 995 Borey projects are being built at Sevmash, the cruiser Admiral Nakhimov is being modernized, and its brother Kirov is being utilized.
United Shipbuilding Corporation, confident that it will cope, does not doubt the success. Her supervisor is lobbying for a decision on switching to maintenance and repairs on a full life cycle system, when the shipbuilding plant that produced the ship maintains and repairs its entire service life prior to disposal. USC hopes that new ships and submarines built since 2014 – 2015 will be operated taking into account the full life cycle. Nevertheless, such a decision causes a deaf grumble of representatives of ship repair and shipbuilding plants. The former do not have sufficient capacity and equipment, while the latter remain without work. In this case, it is not clear what the latter will do.
No clear goals
There are questions to the military. There are no final plans to re-equip and re-equip the ships under repair. "Marshal Ustinov" in the process of VTG re-equip the anti-ship complex "Vulcan". But what will stand on Lobov? The NPO Mashinostroeniya, which developed the main caliber of 1164 cruisers, the Basalt and Vulcan complexes, is still awaiting military decisions. Now the choice is between the Onyx missile systems from the NPO Mashinostroyenia and the Caliber from the Novator Design Bureau, part of the Almaz-Antey.
There is still no solution for the air defense and missile defense system. So far there is only science-fiction reasoning about shipboard C-500 or C-400. There is no answer to the main question: what does the Main Command of the Navy want from the restored ships? Created by ideology 70 – 80-ies as ships of the first strike, 1164 cruisers are of little use in modern conflicts. But it is precisely the tasks facing the modernized cruisers that should determine the armament and equipment.
World experience shows that a modern ship abruptly loses its anti-ship functions in favor of air defense / anti-missile defense tasks, strikes against ground targets, as well as providing amphibious operations. British destroyers of the type 45 "Daring", armed with zonal air defense and missile defense systems with Aster -15 and -30 missiles, is an example. These ships with a large helipad, where even the CH-47 Chinook freely landed and take off, didn’t carry anti-ship missiles until August of this year, and Merlin and Lynx helicopters (in the future, Wildcat) represented anti-submarine armament. Starting next year, “Harpoons” will appear on the “Drilling”, but, as reported in the British media, in a variant for hitting ground targets. In general, while on repair plans there are a lot of questions and it is clear that all this will not end with a little blood. But on the other hand, it is necessary to move the current situation off the ground, when at shipyards and naval bases there are piles of scrap metal, called ships, and all officials just shrug their shoulders talking about unsolvable problems. The requirements of the Main Committee of the Navy in terms of building up an operational ship crew are basically reasonable and correct. If you don’t force the complex ship repair and shipbuilding to work now, it will only get worse.