About the origin of "Mistral" is known in great detail.
Universal landing helicopter-docks, adopted by the French Navy in the amount of three units. Large ships with a full displacement over 20 thousand tons with a solid flight deck, a hangar for the placement of aircraft and aft dock chamber for landing craft.
They are built according to the modular principle in accordance with the standards of civil shipbuilding, which has a positive effect on reducing the cost and accelerating the pace of their construction. The maximum duration of construction of the Mistral UDC, taking into account all the identified problems and inevitable delays, does not exceed 34 months. The cost of buying two ships under the "Russian contract" amounted to 1,2 billion euros, which corresponds to the cost of one amphibious transport ship-dock of the type "San Antonio" (USA). Impressive.
"Tigers" on the deck of "Mistral"
The use of norms and technologies of civil shipbuilding in the design of the UDC seems to be a justified decision - the concept of using UDC does not imply direct participation in hostilities. High durability, resistance to hydrodynamic strikes and combat damage, the presence of strike weapons - all of these items do not apply to Mistral. The tasks of the ship-ferry are the delivery of an expeditionary battalion of marines to anywhere in the world, over-horizon landing of personnel and equipment in low-intensity conflicts using helicopters and amphibious assault vehicles, participation in humanitarian missions, and performing the functions of a hospital ship and command center. The combat information center aboard the French "ferry" is equipped at the level of AIC cruisers with the Aegis system.
But how much "French" is this "steam"?
The UDCV Mistral project came into being thanks to the efforts of the General Armaments Delegation (Délégation Générale pour l'Armement) and the French state defense company DCNS (Direction des Constructions Navales) with the involvement of a number of foreign contractors: Finnish Wärtsilä (ship diesel generators), Swedish offices of Rolls-Royce (Azipod-type steering wheels), Polish Stocznia Remontowa de Gdańsk (blocks of the middle part of the hull, forming a helicopter hangar). The development of the combat information system and the detection of the ship was entrusted to the international industrial group Thales Group, the world leader in the development of radio electronic systems for aerospace, military and marine equipment. The self-defense SAM system was supplied by the MBDA European company. The multinational format of the project does not bother the French at all - a single European space with a single currency, living according to the same laws and rules. Common goals and objectives. Fleet, built under the same standards of NATO.
But, most surprisingly, the Mistral project is not limited to the European continent: the threads of this stories stretch far to the east, to South Korean Gyeongsangnam-do. Where the headquarters of STX Corporation is located.
The Mistrals for the French Navy were based on the following scheme: the UDC corps was ultimately formed from two large sections — fore and aft. The aft part and the superstructure were built on DCNS own capacities with the participation of many subcontractors: the wreck of the standing ship was regularly towed from one French shipyard to another, where it was gradually saturated with equipment: most of the assembly work was carried out in Brest, the engines and the spinning columns of Rolls Royce Mohmeid "mounted in Lorient. The final saturation of the finished hull section, installation of electronics and radio-technical systems was carried out by the specialists of the ship repair plant in Toulon. Total DCNS accounted for about 60% of work performed.
The nose of the helicopter carrier was built in Saint-Nazaire, at the famous shipyard "Chantier de l'Atlantic", which belonged at that time to the French industrial giant Alstom. This place became the cradle for the most impressive projects in the field of large-tonnage shipbuilding - the legendary liner Queen Mary 2 went from here. Here, in 70, a series of supertankers of the type Batillus with a deadweight of more than half a million tons was built! The nasal parts of each of the Mistral UDC were also assembled here.
In 2006, the shipyard "Chantier de l'Atlantic" was transferred to the Norwegian own industrial group Aker Yards. However, soon, in 2009, the shipyard, like the entire Aker Yards group, was absorbed by the South Korean corporation STX. The third ship of the Mistral type, the Dixmude (L9015), was already completed by the Koreans.
Mistral helicopter carriers built the whole world. France with the participation of Poland, Sweden, Finland ... - the entire European Union in the collection! In the French and South Korean shipyards. Despite such a complex industrial chain and a huge number of foreign contractors, the new UDC, in general, met the expectations of the French Navy command - a universal and relatively cheap means to deliver humanitarian aid and expeditionary units to countries in Africa and the Middle East. For example, the UDC "Diximuid" took part in the operation "Serval" (suppression of riots in Mali, 2013), delivering units of the 92 Infantry Regiment (92ème Régiment d'Infanterie) from France to the African continent.
Ship without homeland
Everything is very obvious with the French Mistrals - the ships were built by the joint efforts of the partner countries. The close economic, political and military ties between the countries of the Eurozone and even such a distant, but in fact close, Republic of Korea are beyond question. Common international standards and transnational companies are erasing the borders of states, uniting the scientific and industrial potential of many countries.
But where and how are Vladivostok and Sevastopol being built - two amphibious helicopter carriers destined for the Russian Navy?
According to the contract, which has become the largest military deal between Russia and the countries of the West since the end of World War II, in the 2014 and 2015, the ship of the Russian Navy should be replenished with two imported UDC of Russian-French construction.
From words quickly got down to business:
1 February The 2012 of the year in Saint-Nazaire began cutting metal for the first ship, called the Vladivostok. October 1 of the same year began work at the Baltic Shipyard in St. Petersburg - according to the contract, domestic shipbuilders should build 20% helicopter carrier aft sections.
It is not hard to guess that the South Korean STX has become the general contractor - it was she who, with the support of the French defense company DCNS and a number of third-party suppliers, is building helicopter carriers for the Russian Navy at the Chantier de l'Antlantic shipyard in Saint-Nazaire.
26 June 2013, the Baltiysky Zavod completed the planned amount of work on schedule, launching the stern of the new Mistral - a month later the aft section was safely delivered to St. Nazaire for subsequent docking with the main part of the ship.
15 October 2013 landing ship "Vladivostok" was officially launched. After completing all the work at the French shipyard, he will go to the extension wall of the Severnaya Verf plant (St. Petersburg) for the final saturation with domestic equipment.
It is expected that the new helicopter carrier will join the Russian Navy at the end of 2014 - the beginning of 2015. Less than three years since the bookmark! Unprecedented result for domestic shipbuilding, where one frigate can be built over 8 years.
The second ship of the "Russian series" - "Sevastopol" - was laid on 18 June 2013 of the year. It will be built according to a similar scheme, with the only difference that the Baltiysky Zavod will ensure the construction of an 40% UDC building. The ship must be operational until the end of 2015.
Also, the agreement between Russia and France includes options for the construction of the third and fourth helicopter carriers under license from their own industrial facilities - it is assumed that a new shipyard will be built on this island for these purposes. Kotlin. But, as it became known at the end of 2012 of the year, plans for the implementation of these options were transferred from 2013 to 2016 year, which gives the entire history a misty shade of uncertainty.
Among the suppliers and contractors in the global industrial chain are: the Russian United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC), the state defense company DCNS, the shipyard Chantier de l'Atlantic of the South Korean company STX, the Finnish Wärtsilä and the Swedish division of Rolls-Royce (power plants and propulsion systems). ). Extremely important is the participation of Thales Group - the equipment and systems supplied by this company are of most interest to the Russian military industrial complex (first of all, the combat information-control system Zenit-9). Also, the Russian helicopter carrier promises to equip Vampir-NG infrared search and sight systems of the French company Sagem. Despite the abundance of foreign equipment, the French promise to complete the Russification of all ship systems in order to avoid any problems during its operation as part of the Russian Navy.
The air group will be represented by domestic transport and combat helicopters Ka-29 and attack machines Ka-52. The first of the Russian “Mistral” will have to be equipped with French-made high-speed boats - the layout and dimensions of the dock-camera were originally calculated for the dimensions of NATO equipment. Therefore, the effective deployment inside the Mistral of the existing Russian-made landing craft is not possible. However, this is not the biggest problem, moreover, it was successfully solved.
Considering the number of subcontractors who took part in the creation of a helicopter carrier for the Russian Navy, you can sing the "Internationale" - in fact, the French landing ship turned out to be the "Noah's Ark", which absorbed technology and participants from around the world.
And you have to admit: the project was a success for all 100%.
Despite the angry accusations of “squandering” public funds, the Mistrals turned out to be VERY cheap. 600 million euros (800 million dollars) for each combat unit - even with all the additional procedures associated with fine-tuning ship systems, conducting its tests and eliminating the identified deficiencies - the cost of the "Mistral" will not exceed one billion dollars. This is incredibly much in terms of the average Russian. But mere pennies by the standards of modern shipbuilding.
800 million dollars - for the money now is not even build a normal destroyer. American "Berki" cost Pentagon 1,8-2 billion dollars apiece. The cost of a small Russian corvette project 20385, according to the Main Committee of the Navy, can reach 560 million dollars (18 billion rubles)!
In this case, we have a large helicopter carrier with a displacement of 20 thousand tons. In addition, built in the shortest possible time - the result is obvious, and it is difficult to notice any corruption component here. To build something like this for a lower price is not possible.
Seaman, take off your sandals, stepping onto the deck of the democratic European "Mistral"!
The fear that the Mistral will not be able to operate at temperatures below + 7 degrees Celsius is completely unfounded.
Russia, along with Scandinavia and Canada, are undoubtedly the northernmost countries in the world. But let me know how it relates to Mistral. No one speaks of its basing in the Far North - Russia, fortunately, is monstrously large and we have enough other home sites with more adequate climatic conditions. Novorossiysk. The weather forecast for December 1 is plus 12 ° C. Subtropics.
Vladivostok is colder. Latitude is Crimean, longitude is Kolyma. Nevertheless, there the operation of the UDC should not encounter any critical difficulties - the operational zone of the Pacific fleet includes the entire Asia-Pacific region and the Indian Ocean, where, as you know, the temperature rarely drops below + 7 ° Celsius.
"Mistral" is not suitable for action in the Arctic. But he simply has nothing to do there. But there is something to do in the Mediterranean and other southern seas.
Statements about the incompatibility of the infrastructure of the bases and the standards of the domestic diesel fuel to European standards are not worth it. The Mistral is not as large as it is represented - for example, it is smaller than the Peter the Great atomic cruiser. The length of the helicopter carrier only 35 meters exceeds the length of the average BOD or destroyer. The empty displacement of this “ferry” with the unloaded air wing, boats, equipment, supplies of weapons and fuel should not exceed 15 thousand tons.
Dixmude (L9015) compared with the Lafayette frigate (full f / xNNX t.)
The only problem may be related to the maintenance of Azipod type propeller speakers. In principle, this question should be addressed to the ship repair centers in the Baltic and the North, however, not so long ago plans were made to build a large shipbuilding enterprise in the Far East in cooperation with South Korea - by the time Mistrals arrived should be decided.
The Mistral is half the size of Soviet aircraft-carrying cruisers - let's hope that it does not repeat their fate and receive all the necessary coastal infrastructure in time.
As for the inconsistency of domestic brands and grades of fuel and lubricants to high-tech Mistral engines ... Who are you now surprised by the "strange" imported equipment - Finnish diesel generators of the company "Vartislya"?
The most terrible accusations against the French "ferries" are their low combat potential and absolute uselessness within the framework of the defensive concept of the use of the Russian Navy. "Cabin carrier" itself needs a quality cover from the sea and from the air and is not able to participate in the sea battle. Full move 18 nodes. Instead of serious self-defense systems - MANPADS and machine guns. Powerful radar tools? Sonar? Shock armament? Anti-submarine missile torpedoes? None of this is and can not be - because of such a low price for such a large ship. From the point of view of the navy, the Mistral is an empty box. The presence of 16 helicopters does not mean anything in modern combat - the Ka-52 is not a competitor to a fighter-bomber.
But it’s worth opening the binder News for 2013 - where and what does the domestic Navy do - everything immediately falls into place. "Mistral" is not suitable for combating the AUG of a "probable adversary," but it perfectly matches the tasks of ensuring the presence of the Russian Navy in the vast oceans. A large ship with a monumental appearance and modern design, capable of staying at the forefront for months - off the coast of Syria or where required. Comfortable facilities for the Marine Corps Battalion. Cargo deck for armored vehicles. Helicopters If necessary, it is possible to deliver “humanitarian aid” to the allies - and in a variety of ways. Neoversion of the Soviet BDK!
In general, the verdict is positive. The only really worthy question: could the Russian Navy do without the purchase of these ships? Experts at various levels agree that buying Mistral is not the most rational decision. We still have enough BDK from the "Soviet backlog". New ones are being built - the 11711 "Ivan Gren" project. But there is a critical shortage of warships of I and II ranks - cruisers, destroyers, frigates. So much so that you have to collect the Mediterranean squadron from all four fleets.
Finally, if our specialists were so impatient to get acquainted with “advanced” western technologies, it was possible to purchase equipment more interesting than the French “steam”. Even with the ZENIT-9 BIUS and Vampir-NG IR sensors.
For example, it would be curious to look around the French-Italian frigate (destroyer) of the Horizon type, the most powerful and perfect air defense ship in the world after the British Dering. If the Horizon turns out to be too secret, a non-nuclear Skopren submarine with a Stirling engine could be used as a “demonstrator” of new technologies. That, which we have no analogues yet. The French (DCNS) and the Spaniards (Navantia) are happy to build such equipment for export: for the fleets of India, Malaysia, Brazil, Chile ...
Alas, the interests of the sailors remained in the shadow of geopolitical intrigues. We chose the Mistral. So take it quickly, without further ado! While the allocated funds have not gone offshore.
Moreover, the boat is really good.