About the past and present of the Navy fleet the country reflects the professor, the head of the expert council on defense of the State Duma Boris Usvyatsov
It can be said without exaggeration that for the first time in recent years, on the eve of the professional holiday - Defender of the Fatherland Day and the current military, the first decisions of the new leadership have been approved by both military professionals and throughout society. It is particularly gratifying that not only the work on the mistakes is going on, and the veterans of the Armed Forces can talk with optimism about the future of our Army and Navy. This is connected, of course, with the appointment of Sergei Shoigu to the post of Minister of Defense. Already the first decisions of the new leadership were approved by both among military professionals and throughout society. It is especially gratifying that not only the work on the mistakes is going on, but also concrete steps are being taken to create modern Armed Forces, guaranteeing the security of the country. In this case, it is very important not to lock in the narrow departmental boundaries, but to study the opinions of the expert community.
For example. Recently, interviews, statements, comments of military commanders, political scientists, and military experts have appeared in the media on the Russian Navy — its state, development prospects, and activities. This is quite natural: the military-political situation in the world, modern threats and challenges addressed to the Russian Federation, including from sea directions, urgently require that our state has a “second power” - a powerful military fleet.
In our opinion, there is nothing surprising in the ensuing discussion. The whole history of Russia clearly demonstrates that it is obliged to the fleet both by the increment of military force, and by international influence, and new territories, and, which is especially important today, by direct economic dividends. And at the same time, the weakness of the power certainly reflected on its sea power, as a result of which political and economic losses of the state were not uncommon. So it was in the Crimean War, in which the technical backwardness of the troops and fleet led, in fact, to the defeat of our state. This cost the fleet more than a hundred submerged ships under the terms of the Paris Treaty 1856 of the year.
During the seemingly victorious 1877 — 1878 war with Turkey, the Russian army was forced to retreat from the walls of Constantinople with only one news of the appearance of the English fleet in the torrential zone. Later, incompetent political and military decisions forced the fleet to stand idle at the initial stage of the Russo-Japanese War (1904 — 1905), which led to the fall of Port Arthur, and later on to the natural defeat of the Russian squadron at Tsushima. As a result, the country received serious social and political upheavals.
Military strategic parity was achieved not only by the quantity but also by the high quality of our ships.
And take the First World War, the 100th anniversary of the beginning of which is celebrated this year? She left Russia without a fleet and Baltic bases, except for Kronstadt. At the cost of enormous forces, the country restored its naval forces, which proved to be excellent in the Great Patriotic War. But in the 1950s and 1960s, Nikita Khrushchev, who did not understand the significance of the fleet, destroyed about 400 of the latest ships, disrupted almost the entire sea aviation, the Amur Flotilla was liquidated, and the magnificent river monitor ships, armed with 130-mm guns, were cut into scrap metal.
Were thinking quickly. The dangerous political and political situation around the Soviet Union forced the leadership to once again undertake the restoration of the fleet. And by the middle of the 1980-s, the country came up with a fairly slim and relatively balanced military shipbuilding program. We were leading in the creation and construction of complex-automated high-speed torpedo anti-submarine vehicles (PLA), the world's largest amphibious hovercraft, combat SSNs with a depth of 1000 meters. We were the first to introduce gas turbine power engineering, supersonic cruise missiles onto ships, we began to use guided submarine wings on large high-speed ships, airborne and rocket ekranoplans. Every decade a new generation of submarines and surface ships was commissioned ...
It is clear that the military-strategic parity was achieved not only by the quantity but also by the high quality of our ships, which fully complied with international standards.
Unfortunately, all this is in the past. In the second half of 1980, the state stopped accepting shipbuilding programs and funding existing ones. After the collapse of the USSR, we also lost the basing areas on the Baltic, Black and Caspian seas, as well as airfields, shipbuilding and ship repair infrastructure, part of the control system facilities. Finished the defeat of the fleet dashing 90-e.
Attempts to somehow remedy the situation by adopting documents such as the Basics of the Russian Federation's policy in the field of naval activities for the period up to 2010 and the Plan for the construction and development of the Navy for 2001 — 2005 years did not bring the desired result. Most of the measures prescribed in them remained on paper. As a result, the operational capabilities of the Navy in solving the tasks assigned to it were reduced across the ocean zone 3 — 4 times, and in the sea zone — by a third. In the Russian Navy there are a few dozen mostly outdated types of warships that even cope with such a task as long hikes into the Indian Ocean, where the crew, straining turbines and sweating, fights with pirates. Sensing the weak presence of the Russian fleet in the oceans, the arrogant seizures of our civilian ships have increased ...
Today, it is not a secret to anyone that the basis for the reforms to give the Armed Forces a new look was the organization of the American army — strategic command, brigade structure, and much more. At the same time, it seems that blind organization of this organization took place, since, for example, it did not take into account that the committee of the chiefs of staff of the US armed forces, which, in fact, performs the same functions as our General Staff, includes full-fledged specific headquarters responsible for the state and the development of subordinate forces. The same headquarters of the US Navy is engaged in the constant readiness of the forces of the fleet, the development of their command and control systems, and so on.
We transferred the fleets and the Caspian flotilla to the command of military districts, creating so-called interspecific groups. As a result, the Russian Navy from an independent type of the Armed Forces actually turned into a "naval unit of the army." Little depends on the current Glavkomat and the headquarters of the Navy, since they were left without many control structures. Their functions are transferred to other bodies.
An assessment of the situation in the oceans is always necessary for all fleets, whatever they may be.
Meanwhile, every military man knows that every administration begins with an assessment of the situation. An assessment of the situation in the oceans is always necessary for all fleets, whatever they may be. What does the Western District Commander have to do with the situation in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans? Previously, this involved the reconnaissance and operational management of the Northern Fleet and the General Staff of the Navy. And now who evaluates the situation in the oceans? And this is not a simple matter, given the increasing maritime activity of many countries. And then, unfortunately, it has become the norm when arbitrary concepts such as North, South, East and West are used on strategic directions and on regions, ignoring ocean and maritime theaters of military activity. Each fleet receives directives from the military district, to which it is subordinate, has its own autonomous plan. Consequently, in the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation there are unrelated 4 fleet.
Now touch the construction of ships. It should be carried out in accordance with the operational tasks assigned to the fleets. However, here too, the functions of the Main Committee are truncated to the limit - for today, it is not central to the determination of the forces and means necessary to perform tasks in the oceans. As a result, a lot of sharp questions arise to the warships that are being designed and already adopted for service. Many of them are already morally obsolete today, it is not clear under which tasks the prohibitively bulky and expensive ships have been created in the sea.
And there are several reasons for this - first of all, a weak unified technical policy, which in turn puts our industry in strict dependence on foreign suppliers for a large number of components, and component base, for slow technical re-equipment of defense enterprises. In modern Russia, the scientific and technical reserve created in the last century has been practically exhausted. It is clear that we need maximum unification of new projects of ships and submarines, achieved through the use of standardized power plants, weapons systems, combat information and control systems, electronic weapons and so on. Such an approach adopted by all the leading maritime powers should reduce the cost, simplify and, consequently, speed up the construction of the fleet. And further facilitate its provision and maintenance in combat readiness.
As for training, here the “new look” simply did not provide for this, not only from the organizational point of view, but also from the point of view of training specialists for the fleet. The reorganization, which is more appropriately called a collapse, has undergone a military education system in the navy. Also borrowed from the United States, it was largely incapacitated in the Russian context. About 75 percent of graduates are dismissed immediately after graduation, receiving a diploma of higher vocational education. Meanwhile, an unprecedented concentration of universities destroyed many of the best military schools of its kind in the navy, forcing them to merge with major centers. As a result, further reforms are needed, otherwise the number of officers in the fleet may drop to a critical level.
Military education should not be the service of the military department. After all, the training of specialists is a producing structure, and personnel bodies are a distributing structure. Obviously, in order to avoid various distortions and interpretations in the future, the country needs a law on military education.
What to do?
In fact, what we have now is a direct opposite of the old Soviet system, which, according to fleet veterans, was distinguished by sufficient speed, reliability, management efficiency and high professionalism of the personnel. Again - and this system was not perfect, especially in the mid-2000-s. The need for modernization is long overdue, including radical cuts in the number of government bodies. But why it was necessary to chop down the bladder?
What should be done in order for the fleet to regain the meaning of life and be able to fulfill its original purpose? First of all, it is necessary on a scientific basis to form the Main Command of the Navy, capable in its composition to direct the combat and mobilization readiness of the fleet and its construction. To realize this plan, it is necessary to transfer the fleets and the Caspian flotilla to administrative subordination to the commander-in-chief of the Navy, placing upon him full responsibility for combat and mobilization readiness, and building the fleet, endowing it with the functions of a customer of armaments and military equipment. Moreover, it is necessary to take these measures as quickly as possible, while there is still an opportunity to correct the mistakes made. Otherwise, they will have to pay for them at very high rates.