If we evaluate the current state of the mine defense of the Navy, then it can be safely called a crisis. One of the ways out is the adoption in the shortest possible time for the arming of unmanned boats (BEC) of mine defense (CMP).
Currently, the number of independent BEC developments for the Russian Navy is approaching the top ten, however there are good reasons to assume that there are significant errors in the concept and design of these R & D projects.
Of all the proposals on the subject of BEC, the BEC Inspector Mk2 and Typhoon were most publicly identified (including in the competition for a place on the deck of the new minesweeper of the 12700 project). The BEC Inspector Mk2 was created by one of the world's leading developers of mine risk control products - ECA in 2008. However, it is difficult to attribute it to the successful products of the company - it was never adopted by the French Navy, did not have commercial success on the market (except for proposals to supply BEC Inspector Mk2 for the Russian Navy a few years ago).
In assessing the BEC CMP (Inspector Mk2), it is necessary to clarify the position of the BEC in modern and prospective PMP systems of the West.
PMO - a comprehensive system that provides counteraction to the mine threat at all levels of confrontation, starting with reconnaissance and preventing the laying of mines by forces aviation and special forces. Moreover, taking into account the low sonar visibility of new mines and the critical problem of their detection on soils with a large number of false sonar marks, it is important to conduct mine reconnaissance with advance mapping and inspection of all mine-like objects. An ideal tool for such operational monitoring is BEC PMO equipped with a side-scan sonar (HBO). The use of autonomous uninhabited PAs for these purposes has a number of drawbacks - reliability problems (seizure by the DPRK Navy of the U.S. Navy’s reconnaissance anti-mine ASA PLA in the mid-2000s), lack of operational data transfer to command, and so on, and tactically justified primarily in enemy waters.
The emergence of programmable non-contact mine fuses, which provide an analysis of the “fine structure” of target fields, became another serious problem with the possibility of their adjustment to undermine a remote-controlled anti-mine NPA (such as PAP-104 or others). This factor has led to the widespread in the West, compact disposable APA-destroyers. However, this solution is far from optimal. NPA-destroyer - first of all, “cheaper mine-controlled, remote-controlled NPA”, but it costs many times more than the mine to be destroyed.
In fact, today, APA destroyers are “a means of breaking through the fairways” to ensure the passage of forces through the mine hazardous area, and systematic anti-mine actions are carried out by classical modern means — specialized remote-controlled anti-mine anti-nuclear weapons and mine-divers.
Conducting systematic anti-mine action BEC Inspector Mk2 can only be carried out in the form of intelligence. Due to the high cost of the NLA-destroyers, the solution of the problem of eliminating the detected threat in case of any significant mine setting by means of the BEC Inspector Mk2 is impractical and impossible.
The following disadvantages are obvious:
-high cost and low productivity eliminate the threat of mines;
-the expediency of application on the BEC GBO with the synthetic aperture mode is questionable and leads to a significant increase in the cost of the BEC (HBO and BEC control system) without a real increase in efficiency;
-efficiency of the magnetometer and profilograph for dealing with silted mines is obviously insufficient;
- non-optimal selection of the frequency range of GAS BEC (high frequency) reduces the effectiveness of mine action (although it provides the best “pictures” for “advertising”).
Nevertheless, in conditions where there is practically nothing, any options are of interest to the Navy, ensuring the immediate delivery of modern MIP systems to the fleet. However, it is necessary to be aware of the following fundamental points: the vehicles received by import are not able to solve the most acute problem of the naval fleet's PMO - primarily for financial reasons, the fleet needs massive and efficient domestic systems. In addition, if overseas supplies are paid, funds for domestic development are automatically reduced, as happened at the end of the 2000-s with the STIUM “Mayevka”. Again, the issues of service and repair during the period of sanctions also do not look easily solved - for example, Atlas Electronic, previously actively cooperating with the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, banned the delivery of similar equipment in February 2014, that is, before the official imposition of sanctions.
Accordingly, an error is the desire to register the Inspector Mk2 for the promising PMK of the Navy of the 12700 project. For the reasons stated above, this BEC does not in any way provide solutions to the tasks assigned to this ship. Western BEC and NPA destroyers are needed by the Navy only for the modernization of the old minesweepers and the PMO of naval bases.
The most detailed information about the Russian competitor Inspector Mk2 - BEC "Typhoon" was contained in the advertising brochure of PKF Mnev and K LLC on MVMS-2015.
A prototype of an unmanned boat based on the speedboat BL-680 adopted by the RF Ministry of Defense was presented to the Minister of Defense at the Rzhevsky testing ground in 2013 during the demonstration of robotic technology and received a positive rating.
In September, 2014-th at the test site of the Russian Defense Ministry on Lake Ladoga, with the participation of representatives of the Navy's main command, tested a prototype of an unmanned boat equipped with a crypto and jam-proof control system (STTs, St. Petersburg) and HBO-500, adopted. Neman "(JSC" NIIP them. Tikhomirov ", Zhukovsky). The BEC was controlled from a surface ship, and then transferred to the Orlan-10 UAV and carried out at a given BEC range.
For mine action BEC it is planned to equip the TNMA RTM-500М (FSUE Yuzhmorgeologiya, Gelendzhik).
Comparison of BEC "Typhoon" and Inspector Mk2 is complicated by the fact that, on the one hand, the anti-mine complex of the well-known company ESA, existing from 2008, is on the other hand, a promising development with significantly expanded functionality. For this reason, it is advisable to compare the BEC Inspector Mk2 with the “minimum configuration” of the BEC “Typhoon” (PMO tasks).
The first thing to note is that the BEC Inspector Mk2 search tools were optimized not so much for solving the full range of software tasks (up to the depths of 300 – 400 meters), but for conditions of small and very small depths (for this, onboard GUS). The depth range to 40 meters is dangerous for surface ships (land mines) and is essentially the main area of modern mine action. Moreover, the most complex depths in the MIP are very small - less than 10 – 20 meters. Under these conditions, a good onboard HBO is significantly superior to the towed both in the width of the field of view (and therefore the search performance) and in reliability.
The specific conditions for the maintenance of MIP at shallow depths raise the question not so much of the nomenclature and formal performance characteristics of the search tools used as of their suitability for the conditions. Experience shows that the off-road performance of onboard HBO "Neman" is quite sufficient to solve the problems of the software at shallow depths. The most appropriate use of low-frequency modification of HBO (HBO-100, and in the future and below), providing the best "signal depth in the ground" and sufficient resolution.
A parametric profilograph can be used to detect silt mines (similar to the BEC Inspector Mk2 PPF), however, the viewing band of such tools is extremely small, and a low-frequency HBO is a much more reasonable solution.
The cost of HBO "Neman" and the BL-680 boat turns out to be an order of magnitude less than the Inspector Mk2, which provides multiple exceedances of the capabilities of the BEC "Typhoon" group over the Inspector Mk2 by the "cost-effectiveness" criterion.
It is also necessary to emphasize the possibility of data transmission from the BEC "Typhoon" over the domestic broadband noise protection communication channel. The probability of delivery of the Inspector Mk2 with a secure communication channel is very small (and, all the more so, we cannot talk about the delivery of the original protocols and algorithms).
Thus, in solving the problem of searching for mines, the BEC “Typhoon” complex significantly exceeds the Inspector Mk2 due to the sufficient for solving the TTX problem of the HBO “Neman” and a lot of lower cost (corresponding to high serial size and the possibility of group solving the problem with high performance).
At the same time, when solving the problem of the destruction of the mines found, the Inspector Mk2 has spent K-Ster NPA destroyers. The ability to solve similar problems BEC "Typhoon" is stated, but requires separate R & D. However, in the zone of shallow and ultra-low depths, this task can be effectively solved by divers-miners, and the high accuracy of mapping min-like objects ensures a short time to solve such a problem (at a much lower cost).
With the destruction of mines BEC Inspector Mk2 today has no competitors, but it solves this problem with very high costs. In the range of depths up to 20 meters, divers-miners can be used as an alternative, but at greater depths, NPA is needed.
The task of creating a small-sized domestic anti-mine NPA exclusively relevant, but today there are no reliable and effective solutions. When carrying out prospective works, the main criterion of a small NLA MIP should be put at the forefront - minimum cost with a sufficient level of efficiency.
Among the developers of BEC Typhoon, a wide range of organizations are declared: KMPO Gidropribor, OOO STTS, ZAO NII STT, OOO PKF Mnev and Co, OAO NIIP them. Tikhomirova ", FSUE" Yuzhmorgeologiya ", OJSC" KMPO Gidropribor ", CJSC Scientific Instruments, OJSC Concern Elekropribor, LLC Kontur-NIIRS, Tula KBP ... On the one hand, this indicates a wide range of tasks solved by BEC "Typhoon". But on the other - why so many additional features? Why beskatazhnuyu boat UAV and even taking off from the BEC? As a result, the declared value of BEC "Typhoon" has already reached (prospect LLC PKF Mnev and K) 350 million rubles, which is clearly beyond common sense.
The BEC "Typhoon" is an extremely necessary for the Navy and a promising model of the VVST, but its prospects seem vague because of the frankly strange concept. It seems that the main problem here in the Navy.
The organization of the development and delivery of BEC Typhoon should optimally provide for the phasing of work with the creation of a minimal basic modification in the shortest possible time, with the subsequent building up of the BEC capabilities by separate modules, with their independent testing and obtaining tolerances for mass production.
In order to quickly implement modern robotic systems (BEC) in the Russian Navy and to address these several issues of the Navy, the development of BEC PMOs should be carried out as the creation of an integrated modular system in several stages.
The first one is the “zero version” design and development work, to complete the development of a minimum configuration (the mine search tools only) and to ensure their delivery to the Navy as soon as possible.
The second stage is NIER BEK, with the development of the concept of application and prospective BEC systems and tasks in natural conditions (including in conjunction with the Navy ships) to create the necessary scientific and technical groundwork and the justified TTK OKR BEK, upgrading previously issued BEC-PMO "zero version.
The third stage - OCD BEC Navy, with the introduction of means for the destruction of mines and modular target loads (intelligence, weapon, EW).
Work on the further development of the BEC of the Navy should be carried out with the obligatory implementation of the stage of research and experimental work, with the obligatory requirement of a reasonable and real TTK ROC on their results.
The main idea of creating a “zero version” BEC CMP should be to ensure high search performance for bottom mines (including at shallow depths) due to the group use of BEC CMP with HBO with mapping (during the initial search) or matching (with repeated) previously stored sonar pictures of the ground, followed by a survey of minimized objects by divers or a TNPA.
The facilities of the BEC PMO complex must ensure its placement without constructive modifications on all surface ships of the Navy (including anti-mine ships).
Due to the provision of group BEC, a high search performance is achieved (many times superior to the BEC Inspector Mk2) and a significant reduction in the requirements for search tools is possible (since at a sufficiently high level further increase in TTX cannot be implemented in practice due to the geometric limitations of the search conditions shallow depths) to reduce the cost of BEC and to ensure mass serial shipments of the Navy.
In this case, it is advisable to place BEC facilities on standard BL-680 and BL-540 boats in the form of modernization kits, as well as to develop a specialized lightweight compact BEC PMO. Taking into account the need for group-based deployment and the provision of descent by regular means of ships, it is advisable to limit the mass to 600 – 700 kilograms.
The problem of seaworthiness in the use of search tools should be noted especially - the first tests on the subject of BEC PMO in the Navy were carried out in 2010 year (HBO "Neman" on BL-680) and interrupted by the onset of stormy weather. The boundaries of efficiency and the sharp decline in the capabilities of HBOs of small boats in conditions of intense excitement are very obvious. It seems that the experience of testing 2010-th was not fully realized by all the developers of the BEC. The sea is not a test pool, and taking into account this factor, the choice of the optimal BEC CMP scheme that is optimal for the best seaworthiness is very important.