The "defense" - breaking
When sociologists formulated their concept of the information society, skeptics only laughed, predicting the imminent decline of high technologies. But they miscalculated: the rapid development of science, the available technical means forced the defense industry, one of the most sluggish in the world, to fundamentally break both armaments and the principles of operation.
The 21 century is a time of new tactical decisions that 50-60 years ago seemed at least strange. Globalization and permanent scientific and technological progress forced manufacturers weapons and technology to change the principles of work. Once the principles, goals and objectives change, the production must change. In the Russian market, which is experiencing hard times, military experts and market players are trying to formulate new requirements for such products. First of all, it concerns the shipbuilding industry and the aviation industry.
War and Armistice
The defense industry lives and develops according to market laws: the high demand for technological solutions spawned their large-scale production and implementation. At the same time, the monopoly of the production of revolutionary novelties passes from the state to a private trader. In fact, civilian firms supply equipment for the military. As Mikhail Pogosyan, the president of UAC (United Aircraft Building Corporation), noted, over the 50 years the trend has completely changed the trend. If in the 60-ies the aviation industry used exclusively military technology, now the military began to use up to 70% of civilian technologies in their craft.
Roman Trotsenko, who is president of USC (United Shipbuilding Corporation), noted an unusual phenomenon for the industry. For the first time in the military production of vessels used military technology. The main reasons for this trend are huge competition in the civil shipbuilding segment, as well as the growth of the market as a whole. If only a few decades ago, the total deadweight of warships was about 8 times lower than civilian (3 million tons versus 25 million tons), now the proportions are completely different. Total 200 thousand tons against 50 million. The warships thus reduced their share to the minimum 0,4%.
Such a trend has become a pretext for the military industry to change its principles (utmost secrecy and isolation) and to interact with a small business to produce new solutions for the defense industry. Pogosyan, in particular, explained that the “clean” military aircraft industry is becoming too expensive. But when combined with civilian needs, there is a chance to strengthen the position and achieve an optimal pricing policy. Instead of individual contracts and small projects form powerful alliances that are focused on long-term work.
It is international civilian and military alliances that are becoming more and more popular. Speaking in legal terms, in Russia such relations are fixed on the basis of a joint venture (JV). This makes it possible not only to use civilian technologies for the needs of the defense industry, but also to import them legally from abroad.
As Andrei Reus, who is the general director of Oboronprom, noted, international projects are inevitable. As in any other sector of the industry, gathering in one geographical point of the world is almost impossible. There is a kind of international division of labor of the military industry. In this case, the key position will be taken by the one who will have scientific potential, that is, qualified engineers.
The general trends of the industry are quite concretely reflected in its individual components. In addition, new requirements are imposed on the armament of the fleet. Roman Trotsenko in his interview noted that there is a decrease in the speed of the ships, as well as a reduction in their mass. According to the expert, no matter how fast the ship is, it will not be able to escape from the helicopter, and the helicopter from the rocket. However, this does not apply to firepower. Compared with cruisers that were released twenty to thirty years ago, new frigates and corvettes are much better armed.
Trotsenko explained that absolutely all states of the world are interested in the development of such a class of ships as the “corvette”. They are required for coastal patrols and have a displacement of thousands of tons in 2.5-5. Their key advantage is high-tech weapons, maneuverability. The increased interest in this class fully meets the interests of domestic industry representatives, who began to design the new 20380 corvette at the beginning of the new millennium. In this sense, the Almaz PKB became a branch prophet. At the moment, two such cruisers "Steregushchy" and "Sozyruchny" are already in service with the Russian Navy (they were built at Severnaya Verf, St. Petersburg), and another such ship is launched.
Another important trend is the use of modern materials. Corvette "Strict", which is intended for use in the near-sea zone, is focused on technological solutions. He was presented at the St. Petersburg International 5 Navy Salon. Among its main advantages is a carbon fiber superstructure, which makes it possible to make a corvette on the radars of devices reflect just like small vessels about 30 meters in length. Despite the fact that the layout has already been developed, the descent will take place no earlier than 2015. It is precisely to such forms of production that the entire fleet aspires.
To understand the scale of the planned work, it can be noted that at the moment the ship’s 54 is being created at USC, and four dozen of them will serve as part of the Russian Navy. 17 ships will be commissioned before the end of this year. The USC in the production structure has about 70% of orders of the defense industry, and about half of the ships are produced for the needs of the Russian Navy. The rest are intended for import, that is, ordered by other countries.
The decrease in total tonnage is a characteristic trend not only for the surface, but also for the submarine fleet. At the same time, their saturation with rocket armament is growing. The Brahmos complex is being introduced for vertical launch of rockets. The most popular diesel-electric submarine "Lada" (fourth generation of machines). Its export version is called "Cupid 950". Despite the small displacement (only one thousand tons), she can take on board up to a dozen cruise missiles. As for the radius of destruction of targets, it is 1200 kilometers. 14 day submarine can be offline. According to Totsenko, the presence of only one such submarine can significantly affect the course of a military conflict in a particular region.
At the moment, on the basis of his enterprise, the tests of the new St. Petersburg submarine, which is also ready to show itself in all its glory, are coming to an end. As for the “Lada” of the third generation, then, most likely, three more such vessels will be made on the order of the Navy.
Another pressing issue facing the manufacturers of warships is a cardinal decrease in their value. As noted by Trotsenko, this problem is characteristic not only for Russia, but also for the whole world. Reducing costs everywhere leads to the fact that you need to look for more technological solutions. A reduction in military budgets is a new trend of the 21 century. The number of requirements for the ship is growing, while the serial production of orders is reduced.
The problem is reinforced by the fact that 20-30 years ago, submarines were ordered by dozens, and this significantly reduced the cost of creating each unit. Now, each order is rather individual, so the cost of solutions has to be reduced by other means. Russia is no exception to the rule: the issue of creating unique, high-tech, but inexpensive submarines faces all states. Paradoxically, the problem can be solved only through large-scale cooperation. Seriality can be defined in certain segments of the industry, for example, by creating universal platforms.
But the payload in each case may be different. There is a widespread narrowing of the number of tasks that the submarine must perform.
According to representatives of the industry, it is Russia that can become the developer of such a universal platform: the design in this direction is actively underway.
Aircraft carrier: to sail or not to sail?
At the moment, there is no universal opinion on whether Russia should adopt an aircraft carrier. Shipbuilders are in favor of the project, since this expensive order is of great interest to them. However, the Russian Ministry of Defense has no money for the project. Such uncertainty: the readiness of factories and the hesitancy of the ministry, has become especially evident in recent times.
According to experts, in the 2016 year, the company USC will begin design work on the creation of an aircraft carrier for the navy of Russia, and already in 2018 year, large-scale construction will unfold. If everything goes according to plan, then an aircraft carrier that has a displacement of thousands of tons in 80 and a nuclear power plant will be completely ready in 2023.
However, this statement was disavowed by Anatoly Serdyukov. His department is more interested in not building up new capacities, but preserving existing ones. Due to obsolescence, many ships are taken out of the fleet, so you need to change them to new and productive ships. However, the opinion is expressed that with the successful resolution of these issues, the construction of an aircraft carrier is a matter of time. The presence of this ship is a strategic task for the Russian Navy, which is necessary for the correct positioning of the country in the international arena.
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