Assess the ability to hit armored objects in modern RCC is difficult. Data on the capabilities of combat units are classified. Nevertheless, there are ways to make a similar assessment, albeit with low accuracy and a variety of assumptions.
The easiest way to use the mathematical apparatus of the gunners. The armor penetration rate of artillery shells is theoretically calculated using a variety of formulas. Let us use the simplest and most accurate (as some sources assert) formula of Jacob de Marr. To begin with, we will check it using known artillery pieces data, in which armor penetration is obtained in practice by shooting projectiles on real armor.
The table shows a fairly accurate coincidence of practical and theoretical results. The greatest discrepancy concerns the BS-3 anti-tank gun (almost 100 mm, in theory 149,72 mm). We conclude that according to this formula it is possible to theoretically calculate the armor penetration with a sufficiently high accuracy, but it is impossible to consider absolutely reliable results obtained.
Let's try to make the appropriate calculations for modern PKR. As a "projectile" take the warhead, since the rest of the rocket design does not participate in the penetration of the target.
You also need to keep in mind that the results must be treated critically, due to the fact that the armor-piercing artillery shells are strong enough objects. As can be seen from the table above, the charge accounts for no more than 7% of the weight of the projectile - the rest is thick-walled steel. The warheads of the anti-ship missiles have a significantly larger share of explosives and, accordingly, less durable bodies, which, when they encounter an excessively strong barrier, will rather split themselves than pierce them.
As you can see, the energy characteristics of modern anti-ship missiles in theory completely allow punching through thick enough armor barriers. In practice, the figures obtained can be safely reduced several times, because, as mentioned above, the RCC warhead is not an armor-piercing projectile. However, it can be assumed that the strength of the Brahmos warhead is not so bad that it does not penetrate the barrier into the 50 mm with the theoretically possible 194 mm.
The high flight speeds of modern UN and OHP missiles allow, in theory, without the use of any complicated tricks, to increase their ability to pierce armor in a simple kinetic way. This can be achieved by reducing the proportion of explosives in the mass of warheads and increasing the wall thickness of their buildings, as well as the use of elongated warheads with a reduced cross-sectional area. For example, a decrease in the diameter of the Brahmos warhead in 1,5 times by increasing the rocket length by 0,5 meters and preserving the mass increases the theoretical penetrability calculated by the Jacob de Marr method to 276 mm (an increase by 1,4 times).
Soviet missiles against American armor
The task of defeating armored ships for PKR developers is not new. Back in Soviet times, warheads were created for them, capable of infecting battleships. Of course, such combat units were placed only on operational missiles, since the destruction of such large targets is precisely their task.
In fact, with some ships, armor did not disappear into the rocket era. We are talking about American aircraft carriers. For example, onboard booking of Midway-type aircraft carriers reached 200 mm. Forrestol carriers had 76-mm side armor and a package of longitudinal anti-splinter bulkheads. Booking schemes for modern aircraft carriers are classified, but apparently the armor has not become thinner. It is not surprising that the designers of the “large” anti-ship missiles had to design missiles capable of striking armored targets. And here it is impossible to get rid of with a simple kinetically method of penetration - 200 mm of armor is very difficult to penetrate even with high-speed anti-ship missiles with a flight speed of around 2 M.
Actually, no one hides that one of the types of operational warhead anti-ship missiles was “cumulative-high-explosive”. The characteristics are not advertised, but the ability of the Basalt RCC to penetrate up to 400 mm steel armor is known.
Let's think about the figure - why exactly 400 mm, and not 200 or 600? Even if you keep in mind the thicknesses of armor protection that Soviet anti-ship missiles could meet when attacking aircraft carriers, the 400 mm figure seems incredible and redundant. In fact, the answer lies on the surface. Rather, it does not lie, but cuts the ocean wave with its stem and has a specific name - the battleship Iowa. The armor of this remarkable ship is strikingly slightly thinner than the magic figure of 400 mm. Everything will fall into place if we remember that the beginning of work on the Basalt anti-ship missile system goes back to 1963. The US Navy still had solid armored battleships and cruisers from the WWII era. In 1963, the US Navy had 4 battleships, 12 heavy and 14 light cruisers (4 LK Iowa, 12 TC Baltimore, 12 LK Cleveland, 2 LK Atlanta). Most were in the reserve, but that was the reserve, in order to call in reserve ships in the event of a world war. And the U.S. Navy isn't the only battleship operator. In the same year 1963, there were 16 armored artillery cruisers left in the USSR Navy! They were in fleets other countries.
The battleship of the past and the missile tins of the present. The first one could become a symbol of the weakness of the Soviet RCC, but for some reason went to eternal parking. Did American admirals make a mistake somewhere?
By the 1975 year (the year of the adoption of "Basalt" in service), the number of armored ships of the US fleet was reduced to 4 battleships, 4 heavy and 4 light cruisers. Moreover, the battleships remained an important figure until the decommissioning at the beginning of the 90-x. Therefore, one should not doubt the ability of the BS “Basalt”, “Granite” and other Soviet “large” RCCs to easily penetrate the 400 mm armor, and have a serious armor effect. The Soviet Union could not ignore the existence of "Iowa", because if we assume that it is not capable of destroying this battleship with RK, then it turns out that this ship is simply unbeatable. Why, then, the Americans did not put the construction of unique battleships on the stream? Such a far-fetched logic forces the world to be turned upside down — the designers of the Soviet anti-ship missiles look liars, the Soviet admirals are careless cranks, and the strategists of a country that won the cold war are fools.
Cumulative Armor Penetration Techniques
The design of the warhead "Basalt" is unknown to us. All the pictures published on this issue on the Internet are intended to entertain the public, and not to disclose the characteristics of secret items. For the combat unit, you can give it a high-explosive version, designed for shooting at coastal targets.
However, a number of assumptions can be made about the true content of the “cumulative-high-explosive” warhead. Most likely, such a warhead is a common cumulative charge of large size and weight. The principle of its operation is similar to the way an ATGM or grenade launcher hits its targets. And in this regard, the question arises, how is a cumulative ammunition, capable of leaving a hole of a very modest size on the armor, able to destroy a warship?
To answer this question, you need to understand how cumulative ammunition works. The cumulative shot, contrary to misconceptions, does not burn through the armor. Penetration is provided by a pestle (or, as they say, “impact core”), formed from the copper lining of a cumulative funnel. Pestle has a fairly low temperature, so it does not burn anything. The destruction of steel occurs due to the "washing out" of the metal under the action of the shock core, which has a quasi-liquid (i.e., has the properties of a liquid, while not being a liquid) state. The closest household example to understand how this works is the erosion of ice by a directed stream of water. The diameter of the hole obtained by penetration is approximately 1/5 of the diameter of the ammunition, the penetration depth is up to 5-10 diameters. Therefore, a grenade launcher leaves in armor tank a hole with a diameter of only 20-40 mm.
In addition to the cumulative effect of this type of ammunition have a powerful high-explosive effect. However, the high-explosive component of the explosion with the defeat of the tanks remains outside the armor barrier. It is caused by the fact that the explosion energy is not able to penetrate the reserved space through the hole with a diameter of 20-40 mm. Therefore, inside the tank only those parts that are directly in the path of the shock core are subject to destruction.
It would seem that the principle of action of cumulative ammunition completely eliminates the possibility of its use against ships. Even if the shock core pierces the ship through - only what is in its way will suffer. It is like trying to kill a mammoth with one blow of a knitting needle. The high-explosive action in defeat of the viscera cannot participate at all. Obviously, this is not enough to turn the inside of the ship and cause unacceptable damage to it.
However, there are a number of conditions under which the picture of the action of a cumulative ammunition described above is disturbed not for the best for ships. Let's go back to the armored vehicles. Take the ATGM and release it in the BMP. What picture of destruction will we see? No, we will not find a neat hole with a diameter of 30 mm. We will see a piece of large-area armor ripped out with meat. And behind the armor, the burnt-up, twisted entrails, as if the car had been blown up from the inside.
The thing is that the ATGM shots are designed to defeat tank armor with a thickness of 500-800 mm. It is in them we see the famous neat holes. But when exposed to off-design thin armor (like the BMP - 16-18 mm), the cumulative effect is enhanced by the action of high-explosive. There is a synergistic effect. Armor just breaks out, not withstanding such a blow. And through the hole in the armor, which in this case is no longer 30-40 mm, but the entire square meter, the high-pressure high-pressure front freely penetrates along with fragments of armor and the products of burning explosives. For armor of any thickness, you can pick up a cumulative shot of such power that its action will be not just cumulative, but a cumulative high-explosive. The main thing is that the desired ammunition had sufficient excess power over a specific armor barrier.
The ATGM shot is designed to hit an armor in 800 mm and weighs only 5-6 kg. What will do with armor, just 400 mm thick (2 times thinner), a giant ATGM, weighing about a ton (167 times heavier)? Even without mathematical calculations, it becomes clear that the consequences will be much sadder than after the ATGM hit the tank.
The result of hitting an ATGM in the Syrian Army BMP.
For the thin armor of the BMP, the desired effect is achieved by firing an ATGM with a weight of just 5-6 kg. And for shipboard armor, 400 mm thick, you need a cumulative high explosive warhead weighing 700-1000 kg. Exactly such a weight warhead stand on the Basalts and Granites. And this is quite logical, because the Basalt warhead with a diameter of 750 mm like all cumulative ammunition can penetrate armor, more than 5 thick of its diameters - i.e. minimum 3,75 monolithic steel meters. However, the designers mention only the 0,4 meter (400 mm). Obviously, this is the limiting thickness of the armor, at which the warhead of Basalt has the necessary excess capacity capable of forming a large area break. The barrier in 500 mm will not be broken, it is too strong and will withstand the pressure. In it we will see only the famous neat hole, and the volume reserved - almost does not suffer.
The warhead of Basalt does not pierce the even hole in the armor with thicknesses less than 400 mm. She breaks it out on a large area. In the resulting hole flies the products of burning explosives, a high-explosive wave, fragments of knocked-out armor and fragments of a rocket with the remnants of fuel. The shock core of a cumulative jet of a powerful charge clears the road through a variety of bulkheads deep into the hull. The sinking of the Iowa battleship is the worst, most severe case possible for RCC Basalt. The rest of her goals are at times smaller booking. On aircraft carriers - in the range of 76-200 mm, which, for this CRP, can be considered just a foil.
As was shown above, on cruisers with a displacement and dimensions of the “Peter the Great”, the occurrence of 80-150 mm reservation is possible. Even if this estimate is incorrect, and the thickness will be greater, there will be no insoluble technical problem for RPC designers. Ships of this size today are not a typical target for the RCC TH, and with the possible revival of armor, they will simply be permanently included in the list of typical targets for RCC HE with cumulative high-explosive warheads.
However, other variants of overcoming armor are possible, for example, using a tandem design of a warhead. The first charge is cumulative, the second is high explosive.
The size and shape of the cumulative charge can be completely different. The sapper charges existing since 60-ies eloquently and clearly demonstrate this. For example, a KZU charge with a weight of 18 kg pierces 120 mm of armor, leaving a hole 40 mm wide and 440 mm long. The charge LKZ-80 with a weight of 2,5 kg punches 80 mm of steel, leaving a gap, 5 mm wide and 18 mm long. (http://www.saper.etel.ru/mines-4/RA-BB-05.html).
Appearance charge KZU
The cumulative charge of a tandem warhead can have an annular (toroidal) shape. After exploding the shaped charge and penetration, the main high-explosive charge will easily penetrate into the center of the “donut”. At the same time, the kinetic energy of the main charge is practically not lost. He will still be able to crush several bulkheads and explode with a slowdown deep inside the hull.
The principle of operation of a tandem warhead with a ring shaped charge
The method of breaking through described above is universal and can be used on any RCCs. The simplest calculations show that the ring charge of a tandem warhead as applied to the Brahmos ASM will eat only 40-50 kg of the weight of its 250-kilogram high-explosive warhead.
As can be seen from the table, even the Uran missile can be given some armor-piercing qualities. Opportunities to penetrate the armor of the remaining RCC without any problems block all possible thickness of the reservation, which may appear on ships with a displacement of 15-20 thousand tons.
Actually, this would end the conversation about booking ships. All you need is already said. Nevertheless, you can try to imagine how a ship could fit in with a massive armored reservation in the naval system.
The above was shown and proved the futility of booking on ships of existing classes. All that the armor can be used for is the local booking of the most explosive zones in order to prevent their detonation when the RCC is undermined. Such a reservation does not save the RCC from a direct hit.
However, all of the above applies to ships with a displacement of 15-25 thousand tons. That is, modern destroyers and cruisers. Their load reserves do not allow equipping them with armor with thicknesses greater than 100-120 mm. But, the larger the ship, the more load articles that can be allocated for booking. Why so far no one thought about creating a rocket battleship with a displacement of 30-40 thousand tons and booking more than 400 mm?
The main obstacle to creating such a ship in the absence of practical need for such a monster. Of the existing maritime powers, only a few have the economic, technological and industrial power to design and build such a ship. In theory, this could be Russia and the PRC, but in reality only the United States. Only one question remains - why does a US Navy need such a ship?
The role of such a ship in the modern fleet is completely incomprehensible. The US Navy constantly fights with obviously weak opponents against whom such a monster is absolutely not needed. And in the event of the outbreak of war with Russia or China, the US Navy will not go to hostile shores at mines and under torpedoes of submarines. Away from the coast, the task of protecting one's communications, where not several super-battleships are required, but a lot of ships is simpler, and simultaneously in different places, will be solved. This task and solve the numerous American destroyers, the number of which goes into quality. Yes, each of them may be a not very outstanding and strong warship. These are not protected by armor, but fleet workhorses debugged in serial construction.
They look like the T-34 tank - also not the most armored and not the most armed WWII tank, but it was produced in such quantities that the opponents, with their expensive and super-powerful Tigers, did not have to be sweet. Being a piece goods, Tiger could not be present on the entire line of a huge front, unlike the ubiquitous Thirty-Fours. And pride in the outstanding successes of the German tank-building industry did not in any way help the German infantrymen, who were carrying dozens of our tanks, and the Tigers were somewhere else.
It is not surprising that all projects to create a super-cruiser or rocket battleship did not go further than futuristic images. They simply do not need. Developed countries do not sell third world countries such weaponwhich could seriously shake their firm position of the leaders of the planet. Yes and no, third world countries have such money to buy such sophisticated and expensive weapons. But for some time now, developed countries prefer not to arrange disassembly among themselves. There is a very high risk that such a conflict will develop into a vigorous one, which is completely unnecessary and no one needs. They prefer to beat on equal partners by proxy, for example, Turkish or Ukrainian in Russia, Taiwanese in the PRC.
All conceivable factors work against the full revival of the ship's armor. There is no acute economic or military need. From a constructive point of view, it is impossible to create a serious reservation of the required area on a modern ship. Unable to protect all vital ship systems. And, finally, in the event that such a reservation does appear - the problem is easily solved by the revision of the RCC warhead. Developed countries quite logically do not want the cost of worsening other fighting qualities to invest in the creation of a reservation, which in principle does not increase the combat capability of ships. However, the widespread introduction of local reservations and the transition to steel superstructures is extremely important. Such a reservation allows the ship to more easily transfer the CRP hits and reduce the amount of damage. However, such a reservation does not save the direct hit of the anti-ship missiles, so it’s simply pointless to put such a task before armor protection.
Information sources used:
V.P. Kuzin, V.I. Nikolsky "USSR Navy 1945-1991"
V. Asanin "Missiles of the Russian Navy"
A.V. Platonov "Soviet monitors, gunboats and armored boats"
S.N. Mashensky "The Magnificent Seven. Wings" Golden Eagles "
Yu.V. Apalkov "Ships of the Navy of the USSR"
A.B. Shirokorad "Fire sword of the Russian fleet"
S.V. Patyanin, M.Yu. Tokarev, "The fastest fire cruisers. Light cruisers like" Brooklyn "
S.V. Patyanin, "French warriors of World War II"
Sea Collection, 2003 #1 "Iowa Type Battleships"