The Russian Ministry of Defense has decided to start mass production of anaerobic air-independent power plants for advanced non-nuclear submarines (NNS). This was reported by "RIA News"With reference to a source in the military-industrial complex of the Russian Federation. "It was decided to mass-produce VNEU to equip future submarines of the 677" Lada "project. The tests of the prototype VNEU on the stand were completed successfully. The following tests will be carried out directly on the boat, ”he said.
The submarine is unique weapon. Appearing from “nowhere”, it can strike a crushing blow at the warships of the enemy, onshore facilities, sink a caravan of merchant ships, and then also dissolve into the vastness of the World Ocean. The only problem is how long the submarine can secretly remain under water. Modern nuclear submarines can not rise to the surface for up to three months. But diesel-electric submarines have to periodically float to the periscope depth on the 2-5 for hours to start the diesel and, due to their work, recharge the electric batteries due to which they move under water. Therefore, back in the 50s of the last century, in all countries of the world that have relevant engineering schools (with the exception of the United States, who prefer to buy rather than build naval submarines), the development of air-independent power plants (VNEU) began that would allow a non-nuclear submarine to remain at a depth of 15-20 days. And a huge market interest arose to this topic, since nuclear submarines can afford to build and maintain only a few states in the world. And non-nuclear submarines are now in service with virtually all states.
The “legislators” of fashion in this area are now Germany (which is not surprising, given the traditions of this country in the field of submarine building) and Sweden. Since the end of 90, the German shipbuilders have been building the 212 \ 214 project boats equipped with a hybrid power plant, which operates in fully automatic mode - without service by its personnel. It includes diesel for surface running and battery recharging, silver-zinc batteries themselves and VNEU for economical underwater running on the basis of fuel cells including cryogenic oxygen tanks and metal hydride tank (a special metal alloy combined with hydrogen). Equipping the boat with an anaerobic installation made it possible to increase the time it was submerged until 20 days. And now the German naval submarines with the VNEU of various modifications are in service with Germany, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, Israel, Korea and several other countries.
The Swedish concern Kockums Submarin Systems, in turn, at the end of the last century began the construction of Gotland-class submarines with VNEU based on Stirling engines. When used, these boats can also be under water without recharging the batteries for up to 20 days. And now the submarines with Stirling engines are not only in the Scandinavian countries, but also in Australia, Japan, Singapore and Thailand.
The French took the path of creating the VNEU "Skorpen", working on ethanol and liquid oxygen, which began to equip the boat type Agosta. Now boats with similar VNEU are not only in France, but also, for example, in Chile. In addition, on the basis of closed-cycle diesel technology, Italian designers created the VNEU for ultra-small and small submarines.
Thus, the use of VNEU is the main trend in the development of non-nuclear submarines for the last thirty years. They are simpler, cheaper to build and operate, and much more accessible to most countries than nuclear missile carriers. And equipping them with cruise missiles, such as the German 212 submarines or the Chinese Yuan submarines (pr. 041), makes these submarines a formidable influence on the coastal installations of a potential enemy during the "coastal wars".
Jump over the stage
In Russia today there are no submarines equipped with VNEU. The most famous third-generation NPLs of projects 877 (code “Halibut”) and 636.3 (code “Varshavyanka”) go, like their predecessors in the Great Patriotic War, on diesels and electric motors. Although the development of VNEU was at the turn of the 80-90s of the last century. But it was only possible to start putting them into practice when, in 2010-2011, our state really began to allocate substantial money for updating the army and fleet. Therefore, the Rubin Design and Design Bureau is the main developer of submarines in Russia, apparently at that time it began testing the full-scale bench model of the VNEU for both promising Navy submarines of the Russian Navy and for export boats.
Now, bench tests have been successfully completed and a new power plant will obviously be installed for further tests at the second (Kronstadt) and third (Sevastopol) submarines of the 677 Lada project, which are being built at the Admiralty Shipyards. The head boat of this project - "St. Petersburg", was accepted by the fleet into trial operation in May 2010 of the year.
And during this time she delivered a lot of headaches to both the military and designers. Including due to the fact that the diesel-electric power plant of the boat at the first stage produced no more than 70% of the declared power. However, by the present moment most of the defects have been eliminated and at the end of this year the boats of the Lada project, which belong to the fourth generation of naval submarines, should be officially adopted by the Russian Navy.
The export version of the Lada, Amur-950, will be capable of launching volley torpedo-missile strikes against sea and stationary ground targets from four torpedo tubes and ten vertical missile silos. Amur-1650 has an increased target detection distance compared to other existing sonar tools due to the presence of a unique hydroacoustic complex. Both modifications can dive up to 300 m. The speed of the full Amur submersible is up to the 21 node, autonomy is 45 days. Vibration isolators, an all-mode permanent magnet rowing motor are used to reduce the noise of the boat, and the boat hull is covered with Lightning material that absorbs sonar signals.
About VNEU boats, which will be installed on the export versions of the "Lada" little is known. Just like the Germans, it will be based on an electrochemical generator. But it will be fundamentally different in that the hydrogen required for the operation of the VNEU will not be messing around with itself, but will be produced directly on board in the amount of consumption by reforming the existing diesel fuel. Therefore, the Russian VNEU will be much more economical than the German counterpart, which will allow, for example, to increase the time the boat stays under water for up to 25 days.
In addition, the export version of the Lada, even with the VNEU, will cost less than the German boats of the 212 \ 214 project, which allows Russian shipbuilders to rely on lucrative export contracts. By the end of this decade, the Russian fleet expects to receive nearly a dozen new Russian non-nuclear submarines of the 4 generation by the end of this decade.