When it was time to say goodbye, not a single tear fell down the sailors' cheeks. The cruiser "Texas" was without regret thrown into landfill, despite its young 15 years and a quarter of a century left of the resource.
11, thousands of tons of steel structures, Tomahawk cruise missiles and plans for further modernization with the installation of the Aegis system, were all in vain. What ruined the cruiser "Texas"? Why was the new ship almost cruelly cut into nails?
At first glance, the end of the Cold War was the reason for the untimely cancellation of Texas, as well as its three formidable Sister Thorns - Virginia, Mississippi and Arkansas. But, after all, many of their peers remained in the ranks! - the same destroyers Sprewens passed under the stars and stripes by 10 and more years. The Oliver H. Perry frigates were notable for their longevity - half of them are still listed as part of the US Navy, others were transferred to the allies - Turkey, Poland, Egypt, Pakistan, where they were enthusiastically received by local sailors.
Paradox? Hardly. The Yankees first of all wrote off the most inefficient, costly and difficult to operate equipment samples.
15 years is not the age for a warship. For comparison, the average age of modern American cruisers URO type "Ticonderoga" - 20 ... 25 years, and, according to the plans of the US Navy, they will be in the current composition fleet until the middle of the next decade. In Fig. - nuclear missile cruiser Arkansas
The cruiser "Texas" let down its "hot heart" - the infernal unit D2G, inside which uranium assemblies burned with invisible fire, emitting heat every second 150 by Megajoules.
The nuclear power plant (YASU) endowed the ship with fantastic combat abilities - unlimited cruising range, high cruising speed - without regard for the fuel on board. In addition, the YSU ensured the tightness of the superstructure, due to the lack of developed chimneys and air intakes - an important factor in the case of use by the enemy weapons mass destruction. Agree, a lot of advantages.
Alas, behind the beautiful fairy tale about the “seven round-the-world voyages without entering the port” there were several unflattering truths:
1. The autonomy of the ship is not limited to fuel supplies. Food, technical liquids, repairs - every time you have to meet with a ship of integrated supply or make an entry into the nearest naval base / PMTO. Not to mention such a simple and obvious condition, as the endurance of the crew - technology and people need rest.
2. A world tour at full speed in 30 nodes is nothing more than a beautiful fantasy. Ships rarely go alone: frigates, amphibious ships (BDK, Mistral - max. 15..18 knots.), Supply ships, ocean tugs and sea rescue complexes, minesweepers, escorted ships of the merchant fleet - naval combat service may include a variety of tasks.
When operating as part of a squadron, the nuclear cruiser loses all its advantages - it is not possible to install YASU on each Mistral, frigate or merchant ship.
3. A nuclear power plant, coupled with its cooling circuits and hundreds of tons of biological protection, takes up much MORE place than the engine room of a conventional cruiser, even with the required supply of thousands of tons of fuel oil or lighter oil fractions.
However, it will not be possible to completely abandon the conventional GEM in favor of YASU: according to the accepted safety standards, emergency diesel generators are on all nuclear-powered ships and there are fuel reserves.
Here is a saving.
In numbers, this literally means the following:
The state-of-the-art EGIS destroyer Orly Berk is a combination of four General Electric LM2500 gas turbines (the famous unit used on Navy ships in 24 countries of the world), as well as three backup diesel generators. The total power is about 100 thousand hp.
The mass of the LM2500 turbine is nearly 100 tons. Four turbines - 400 tons.
Fuel stock aboard the Berka is 1300 tons of JP-5 kerosene (which provides 4400 cruising miles at 20 knots)
You may ask why the author so deftly neglected the masses of beds, pumps, heat insulating circuits and auxiliary equipment of the engine room? The answer is simple - in this case it doesn't matter anymore.
After all, the promising development of the Afrikantov Design Bureau - the “compact” nuclear reactor RHYTHM-200 for the nuclear icebreaker LC-60Y under construction has a mass of 2200 tons (a combination of two reactors). Power on icebreaker shafts - 80 thousand hp
2200 tons! And this is without taking into account the biological protection of the reactor compartment, as well as the two main turbo-generators, their feed, condensate, circulation pumps, auxiliary mechanisms and propeller motors.
No, there are no complaints about the icebreaker here. The atomic icebreaker is a wonderful machine in all respects, in polar latitudes one cannot do without YSU. But everything should have its time and place!
Install a similar power plant on a promising Russian destroyer - a decision, at least dubious.
In fact, the American "Burke" - here is not the best example. More modern models, such as British destroyers "Type 45" with a successful combination of diesel generators, gas turbine engines and full electric propulsion show even more impressive results - with a similar amount of fuel they can go up to 7000 nautical miles! (from Murmansk to Rio de Janeiro - where is more ?!)
Atomic Crester "Texas" and a Ticonderoga type cruiser
As for the Texas cruiser mentioned at the beginning of the article - a similar situation has developed with it. With a similar composition of weapons, he was at least 1500 tons larger non-nuclear cruiser type "Ticonderoga." At the same time, he was slower than the Tiki by a couple of knots.
4. Operation of a ship with YASU, ceteris paribus, turns out to be more expensive than operating a ship with a conventional propulsion system. It is known that the annual operating costs of Texas and its sys-thorns exceeded those of Ticonderog by 12 million dollars (a considerable amount, especially by the measures of 20-year-old).
5. Yasu impairs the survivability of the ship. A failed gas turbine can be shut off. But what about the damaged circuit or (oh, horror!) Reactor core? That is why landing on the ground or combat damage of a ship from YSU is a world scale incident.
6. The presence of YASU on board the ship makes it difficult to visit foreign ports and complicates the passage of the Suez and Panama Canal. Special security measures, radiation monitoring, approval-permission.
For example, it became an unpleasant surprise for Americans when their nuclear ships were forbidden to approach the shores of New Zealand. The intimidation of the “communist threat” led nowhere - the New Zealanders just laughed at the Pentagon and advised the Yankees to study the globe more closely.
Difficult, costly, inefficient.
This considerable list of errors caused the cancellation of all 9 nuclear-powered cruisers of the US Navy, including four relatively new Virginia. The Yankees got rid of these ships at the first opportunity, and never regretted their decision.
From now on, and overseas, they do not create illusions at the expense of nuclear-powered ships - all further projects of surface combatants — the destroyers Orly Burk — that will form the basis of the torpedo-naming forces of the US Navy to the 2050-s or three promising destroyers “Zamvolt” - all are equipped , nonatomic GEM.
Nuclear power plants are inferior on the criterion of cost / efficiency (broad concept, which includes all the above factors), even the boiler-turbine plants half a century ago. As for modern developments in the field of ship GES, the use of promising FEP or CODLOG schemes (complete electric propulsion with a combination of full-speed gas turbine generators and highly economical cruising diesel generators) makes it possible to achieve even better indicators. When performing combat service in remote areas of the World Ocean, such ships are practically not inferior in autonomy to ships with nuclear power plants (with the incomparable cost of YASU and conventional GEM as CODLOG).
Of course, YASU is not the "devil in the flesh." A nuclear reactor has two key advantages:
1. Colossal energy concentration in uranium rods.
2. Energy release without oxygen.
Based on these conditions and the need to find the right scope for shipboard YSU.
All answers are known from the middle of the last century:
The possibility of obtaining energy without oxygen was appreciated in the submarine fleet - they are ready to give any money, just to stay under water longer, while maintaining the 20-node motion.
As for high concentration of energy, this factor gains value only in conditions of high energy consumption and the need for long-term operation in maximum power mode. Where are these conditions? Who fights day and night, making his way through the polar ice? The answer is obvious - an icebreaker.
The other one major consumer of energy is an aircraft carrier, more precisely, catapults mounted on its deck. In this case, the powerful, productive YASU justifies its purpose.
Continuing the thought, one can recall specialized ships, for example, the atomic reconnaissance "Ural" (communications vessel pr. 1941). The abundance of energy-hungry radars and electronics, as well as the need for a long stay in the middle of the ocean (the Urals was intended to monitor the American missile test site on the Kwajalein Atoll) - in this case, the choice of YSU as the main power plant of the ship was quite logical and justified decision.
Here, perhaps, and all.
Cargo-passenger nuclear-powered ship "Savanna"
The remaining attempts to install YASU on surface warships and merchant ships were unsuccessful. The American commercial nuclear-powered vessel Savanna, the German nuclear-powered ore carrier Otto Gan, the Japanese cargo-passenger nuclear-powered vessel Mutsu — all projects were unprofitable. After 10 years of operation, the Yankees put their nuclear-powered icebreaker on the joke, the Germans and Japanese dismantled YASU, replacing it with a conventional diesel. As they say, words are superfluous.
Finally, the untimely write-off of American nuclear cruisers and the absence abroad of new projects in this area - all this clearly demonstrates the futility of using YASU on modern warships of the cruiser and destroyer classes.
Race to rake?
The resurgent interest in the YASU problem on surface combatants is nothing more than an attempt to sort out a recent statement on the design of a promising Russian destroyer:
“The design of the new destroyer is being carried out in two versions: with a conventional power plant and with a nuclear power plant. This ship will have more versatile capabilities as well as increased firepower. He will be able to operate in the offshore zone alone, as well as in groups of naval ships. ”
- Representative of the press service of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation for the Navy (Navy) Igor Drygalo, September 11 2013
I don’t know how about the connection between the nuclear power plant and the destroyer's firepower, but the connection between YASU, the size and cost of the ship is quite clearly visible: such a ship will be larger, more expensive and, as a result, its construction will take more time - at that time, As a navy, urgent saturation of surface warships in the ocean zone is urgently needed.
Unrealized project of an atomic large anti-submarine ship of 1199 Ave. Anchar
The fact that YASU, in reality, has little effect on increasing the combat power of a ship (rather, on the contrary) has already been said a lot today. As for the cost of operating such a monster, everything is also very obvious here: refueling ordinary ship fuel - kerosene, diesel fuel (not to mention boiler fuel oil) - will be MUCH cheaper than a perpetual engine in the form of a nuclear reactor.
Let me quote the data from the report for the US Congress (Navy Nuclear-Powered Surface Ships: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress, 2010 year): the Yankees honestly admitted that the equipment of the YASU surface combat ship will increase the cost of its life cycle on 600-800 million dollars, compared to its non-atom counterpart.
This is easily seen by comparing the destroyer’s average mileage over the entire life cycle (usually no more than two or three hundred thousand miles) with fuel consumption (tons / 1 a mile of the way) and the cost of 1 tons of fuel. And then compare the resulting amount with the cost of recharging the reactor (taking into account the disposal of spent nuclear fuel). For comparison: the reloading of a multi-purpose atomic boat can cost up to 200 million dollars at a time, and the cost of reloading the reactors of the Nimitz aircraft carrier is 510 million dollars in 2007 prices of the year!
Of no small importance will be the last years of the life of an atomic ship - instead of drowning in the form of a target or careful cutting into metal, complex and expensive disposal of radioactive ruins will be required.
The construction of an atomic destroyer could have made sense only in one case - the absence of the necessary technologies in Russia in the field of creating offshore gas turbines.
Alas, this is absolutely not the case - for example, NPO Saturn (Rybinsk), with the participation of the GP NPK Zorya-Mashproekt (Ukraine) developed a ready-made sample of the promising shipboard gas turbine engine M90FR - a close analogue of the American turbine LM2500.
As for reliable and efficient ship diesel generators - the world leader, the Finnish company Wärtsilä, is always at the service, and even the arrogant British resorted to the creation of their destroyer Type 45.
All problems have a good solution - there would be a desire and perseverance.
But in conditions when the Russian Navy is experiencing an acute shortage of ships in the ocean zone, it’s frivolous to dream of atomic super-destroyers. The fleet urgently needs "fresh forces" - heels (and preferably a dozen) of "Birkopodny" universal destroyers with a full displacement of 8-10 thousand tons, and not a pair of atomic monsters, whose construction should be completed before 203 ... year.
The humble hero of the sea - tanker "Ivan Bubnov" (project 1559-B).
A series of six tankers of the 1559-B Ave. was built in the 1970-s for the USSR Navy — it was thanks to them that the fleet was able to act at any distance from its native shores.
The project tankers are equipped with a device for transferring cargo to the sea on the move in a traverse way, allowing cargo operations to be carried out at a significant sea state. Wide range of transferred goods (fuel oil - 8250 tons, diesel fuel - 2050 tons, jet fuel - 1000 tons, drinking water - 1000 tons, boiler water 450 tons, lubricating oil (4 grades) - 250 tons, dry goods and food for 220 tons) allows to rank tankers of this project as integrated supply ships.
And this is the Yankees