On the morning of March 25, 2014, the minesweeper Cherkasy U-311 turned out to be the last military unit of the Ukrainian naval forces, which the national flag fluttered over. In the evening of the same day, the ship was taken by a bloodless assault unit of special forces of Russia.
The Ukrainian Navy essentially ceased to exist as some sort of organized military force. It was a rout like Tsushima. It seemed that after this they did not revive, but the Ukrainian fleet continued to exist.
Conditionally efficient hetman
Ukraine began to build its naval forces in 1992 on the foundation of the part of the Black Sea Fleet of the Soviet Union that had departed to it, on the basis of its ships, coastal infrastructure and personnel.
At the beginning of 2014, the Navy consisted of 15 thousand people (approximately 12 thousand military personnel and three thousand civilian personnel). The fleet included about 60 warships, boats and auxiliary vessels, in particular, the Getman Sagaidachny frigate, Konstantin Olshansky BDK, five corvettes, two sea minesweepers, a landing ship, a Zaporozhye submarine, a missile boat and a number of small combat units. Also about 30 planes and helicopters, about 250 tanks, armored combat vehicles and artillery pieces. All ships, weapons and equipment were Soviet-made.
Up to 80 percent of military units and objects of the Navy was located in the Crimea. Outside of it are the structures of the Western naval base and the division of river boats in Odessa, the 73 Special Forces Center (combat swimmers) and the arsenal in Ochakovo.
The Navy, like other branches of the Ukrainian armed forces, was in a deep degradation. Four units remained conditionally combat-ready: the frigate Hetman Sagaidachny, the corvette Ternopil, the Slavutych command ship and the Konstantin Olshansky BDK. The overall level of combat training of the Ukrainian Navy was extremely low, especially compared to the Russian Navy. At the same time, separate units of the marines were trained in NATO standards, and the Hetman Sagaidachny and Ternopil repeatedly made trips to the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean. The numbers of personnel of the Navy and the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation were comparable with the undoubted superiority of the second in the ships. In the Ukrainian fleet, there was a clear oversupply of senior commanders and control structures.
In essence, the Navy was an unsystematic remnant of the Navy of the USSR. For all the post-Soviet times, the authorities have not been able to clearly answer the question: which one, why and why does Ukraine need a fleet? Naval Forces, as well as in general, the country's Armed Forces, died out.
Most - for Russia
By March 26, 2014, units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in Crimea voluntarily, less often, were forcibly controlled by local authorities and the Russian Armed Forces. Cases of any resistance were isolated. All aircraft capable of taking off (three planes and four helicopters) of the 10th Marine aviation crews departed to Nikolaev. On March 24, the barracks of the 501st Marine Corps Battalion of the Navy in Feodosia were stormed, and even a hand-to-hand battle took place. Several ships of the Navy managed to maneuver until they were taken, along the waters of Lake Donuzlav, the exit from which was blocked by flooded ships.
Ukraine was lucky that its flagship Getman Sahaidachny was returning from the anti-piracy mission in the Indian Ocean at that time. The frigate remained under the control of Kiev and was redirected to Odessa.
According to the situation on 26 in March 2014 (the end of the resistance of the Ukrainian forces on the peninsula), the Getman Sagaidachny, the Skadovsk artillery boat and eight support ships were located outside the Crimea. 51 ship and boat remained in the Crimea under the control of the Russian Armed Forces.
The Naval Forces of Ukraine did not fulfill their functions, prescribed in the maritime doctrine of Ukraine from 2009, regarding “ensuring territorial integrity” and “inviolability of the state border at sea”. The servicemen who were in Crimea were offered a choice: to return to the “mainland”, go to the reserve or continue their service in the Russian Armed Forces. According to a number of estimates, the order of 3500 people chose the first option, but some of them later changed her mind. About eight thousand people chose to serve in Russia. Ukraine departed from Crimea demoralized personnel with personal belongings, without weapons and military equipment. Full coastal parts, ship crews broke up. For example, out of 80, the 801 group of the struggle against underwater saboteurs returned only seven to Ukraine. After the “Hetman Sagaydachny” arrived in Odessa, the crew left the 28 man, and later the commander of the captain 2 rank Roman Pyatnitsky. Out of 900, the personnel of the 10 Aviation Brigade’s personnel selected Ukraine as 250. Thus, in March, the 2014-IUU lost most of the personnel, 90 percent of the ships, almost the entire infrastructure and inventory, official and secret documentation, communication codes, etc.
After the return of the Crimea to Russia, the question arose about the fate of the military equipment and property of the Ukrainian Navy that remained on the peninsula. Initially, there were plans to include the ship in the Black Sea Fleet. However, after a detailed study of the “inheritance”, a political decision was made to return the “scrap” to the former owner. Although a number of ships could be of interest to the Russian Navy. In April - June 2014, three warships and 32 support ships (about two thirds of its fleet) were returned to Ukraine, about 1400 units of vehicles and armored vehicles, 24 aircraft and helicopters. At first, auxiliary vessels and low-value warships were transmitted, and those that were better left for later. As a result, Ukraine has not received them. Interestingly, the warships returned without weapons.
In the middle of June, 2014, due to the “anti-terrorist operation” that began in the south-east of Ukraine, the transfer of military property was stopped. As a result, 17 ships and support ships, including essentially all combat (submarine Zaporozhye, control ship Slavutych, BDK Olshansky, minesweepers Chernihiv and Cherkasy, corvettes Lutsk, Ternopol, "Khmelnitsky" and "Dnieper"), remained in Sevastopol. Several ships discharged from the Naval Forces of Ukraine were scrapped to cover the debts of the fleet to the enterprises of the Crimea.
A full-scale civil war in the south-east of Ukraine became the starting point for the restoration of the country's armed forces and, above all, its ground forces, bearing the brunt of the fighting.
Initially, ships and vessels of the Naval forces of Ukraine were withdrawn from the Crimea to Odessa, where, even in Soviet times, the Soviet Naval Forces were based in the Practical Harbor. A little later, Ochakov began to be used in the interests of the Ukrainian Navy. Naval aviation relocated to the Kulbakino airfield near Nikolaev. In the same city were collected remnants of coastal troops and marines.
The command of the Naval Forces of Ukraine, relying on the help of the authorities and volunteers, began to actively settle in the designated territories, re-form and re-equip units and subunits. Company groups began to take part in the hostilities in the Donbass. According to 5 on July 2015 of the year, 15 seafarers died there, including several special forces from the 73 center. Subsequently, units of the marines and coastal artillery of the Navy took an active part in the battles of Mariupol.
The armored equipment received from the Crimea was restored and repaired. From the warehouses and from other parts, the gunners were armed with 152-mm 2А36 “Hyacinth-B” cannons (two divisions) and D-20 (division), MLRS “Grad”, 100-mm “Rapiers”. Marines were allocated tanks T-64, BMP-2, armored personnel carriers and Humvees from the United States.
The crews were quickly formed into more or less “live” ships. So, the remnants of the crew of the corvette "Ternopil" mastered the ship "Shostka", and the sailors from the minesweeper "Cherkasy" boarded the tug "Korets". Management bodies and headquarters were restored.
In the summer and autumn of the 2015, the NNUAX Coast Defense Brigade was formed as part of the Navy, including four infantry and one tank battalion, as well as self-propelled artillery, anti-aircraft and anti-tank divisions. In November, the 36 Battalion of the Marine Corps was formed in the Odessa region. It is possible that the naval forces will include air defense missile units deployed in the region. In December, the deployment of an artillery regiment (two divisions) armed with the Grad and Uragan MLRS began in Odessa. It is planned to expand the 137 group into an artillery brigade. In general, the development of the coastal component is one of the priorities of the Navy.
Volunteers bought several radar stations, equipment for marines and special forces. Tried to participate in the processes of military construction. In particular, last February a scandal erupted when volunteers accused a number of officers of the Ukrainian Navy of Ukraine for sabotaging.
In November, 2014 of the year passed information about the existing plans for the liquidation of the fleet, its transformation into a flotilla, the transfer of forces from Odessa to Nikolaev and submission to the southern operational command (which was not yet available at the time of writing). It must be assumed that in the acute conditions of the autumn 2014 — the winters of 2015 — when heavy fighting was fought in the Donbas, the land generals decided to squeeze the naval competitor from financial resources. This история It was further refuted.
After the transfer of the Ukrainian Navy to the territory of the Odessa and Nikolaev regions, the level of combat training has grown. Units of coastal troops in addition to participating in the ATO constantly conduct exercises and live firing. Especially practiced anti-airborne actions. Coast Guard units regularly parachute jumps. It is characteristic that the exercises are carrying out complex testing of the onshore, and marine, and air components.
Naval Forces ships take part in all activities of NATO forces held in the Black Sea. This is primarily Sea Breeze-2014 and Sea Breeze-2015, which have become the most ambitious in their history. In July 2015, the Navy took part in the NATO naval exercises "Sea Shield". Earlier, in March, the Hetman Sagaydachny and the vessel Balta conducted joint maneuvers with the Turkish Navy in the Sea of Marmara.
Ships of the Naval Forces of Ukraine regularly conduct artillery firing (however, there is practically no other weapons). So, for 2014, according to the White Book of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, there were about 200. They shot at sea and air targets. In the same year, the average surfacing of ships and boats of the Naval Forces of Ukraine was 34 of the day, which is significantly higher than it was before. Naval aviation flew 60 hours on the crew, carrying out bombing and landing.
Currently, the number of personnel of the Navy can be estimated at nine thousand people, of which three or four thousand are coastal troops.
The headquarters of the Ukrainian Navy is located in Odessa. Vice-Admiral Sergey Haiduk is commanding the fleet. His first deputy is Rear Admiral Igor Tymchuk, Chief of Staff is Rear Admiral Andrei Tarasov.
The fleet includes the Western (Odessa) and Southern (Ochakov) naval bases. The 1 brigade of surface ships (Odessa) includes the frigate Hetman Sagaidachny (1993), the training corvette Vinnitsa (1976, in reserve), the Priluki missile boat (1980), the demarcation ship Balta (1987), the diver ship Pochayev (1975), tug Kovel (1965), boats Skadovsk AK-01 and Rovno AK-02 (1975 and 1973). The 5 Brigade (Ochakov) has the Kirovograd (1971) KFOR, the Svatovo landing craft (1979), the Pereyaslav reconnaissance ship (1987), the Genichesk raid mine trailer (1985), the AK-03 artillery boat , tug "Korets" (1973), vessel of physical fields "Severodonetsk".
Auxiliary fleet of Naval Forces of Ukraine consists of four divisions. The 1 th division of the guard and support ships is based in Odessa and includes boats: anti-sabotage "Naked Pier" (1986), communications "Pivdenny" and "Korosten" (1963 and 1965), diving "Vladimir Volynsky" (1983) and RVK-258 (1977), towing BUK-239, U941 and Krasnoperekopsk (1974); road PK-1942 (1984) and U-001 (boat commander of the naval forces); training "Smila" (1985), "New Kakhovka" (1986) and "Chigirin" (1984); passenger "Illichivsk" (1976), as well as tankers "Fastov" (1981) and "Sudak" (1957). The 8 Division of Support Vessels in Ochakovo: Gorlovka Transport (1965); Netishin (1973) and Kamenka (1957) sea diving vessels; Dobropolye communication boat and Evpatoria fire fighting (1953); Zolotonosha floating warehouse (1986); tugboat Novoozernoye (1955). 28 Division of search and rescue vessels in Odessa: search and rescue ship Donbass (1970), Shostka kilometer (1976); Sokal ambulance (1983), Borshchev fire brigade (1954) and Romny diving boats (1983), Tokmak (1984); search and rescue ship "Izyaslav" (1962). The center of navigation, hydrography and hydrometeorology incorporates a small hydrographic boat MGC-1877 (1989).
The naval aviation of the Navy is represented by the 10 th Aviation Brigade (Kulbakino), which includes six Be-12 (of which only two are flying), two An-26 and one An-2. Helicopters: ten Ka-27 (three in flying condition), four Mi-14 (three). In storage, four Ka-29 and three Mi-8. In the future, it is planned to create a squad of UAVs in the brigade, and replace the aircraft fleet with patrol airplanes developed on the basis of An-148. It is also planned to get armed with attack helicopters.
Parts of the special forces are represented by the 801 squad of combat against saboteurs in Odessa and the 73 special operations center (sea swimmers) in Ochakovo.
The composition of the coastal and territorial defense troops of the Naval Forces of Ukraine include: the 36 Brigade (three battalions of the Marine Corps, a tank battalion, an air assault battalion, self-propelled artillery, anti-tank and anti-aircraft divisions) in Nikolaev; The 137 Battalion of the Marine Corps in Odessa and the 406 Artillery Group, which is deployed by divisions (two in the Odessa region, one in Ochakovo, and one with the command of the group in Nikolaev). The formation of a reactive artillery regiment. The coastal missile division is maintained, albeit without a materiel, in the hope that the coastal missile system with the Neptun anti-ship missiles will appear in service.
As part of the rear of the Ukrainian Navy, there is a Support Center in the Odessa region, 18-I in Odessa and 22-I - in Ochakov ship repair shops, other parts.
There is a center of electronic intelligence. The Navy provides the 37 regiment in the Odessa region with communications.
For training of private personnel there is a 198 th training center of the Navy in Nikolaev. Officers graduates Academy of Naval Forces. Now it is in the status of the Institute is a structural unit of the Odessa National Maritime Academy. But in 2018-m will become an independent educational institution. In Odessa, there is a naval lyceum.
Vladimir the Great, modest budget
Ukraine has not built “from scratch” a single ship, but only took advantage of the Soviet backlog, launching the corvettes “Lutsk” and “Ternopil”, “Hetman Sagaidachny” and “Slavutych”. As shown above, the average age of the marine component of the IUD is 38 years.
In 2010, the Ukrainian authorities decided to improve the naval fleet. It was planned to build 2026 – 10 corvettes of the 12 project before 58250, but later their number was reduced to four. In May, the 2011-th in Nikolaev was laid the lead ship "Vladimir the Great". However, in 2014, its construction was halted. The corvette itself is an international project in which weapon systems were to be purchased in NATO countries, and the hull, engines and electronics would be made in Ukraine.
Another program was the creation of artillery boats project 58155 "Gyurza-M". In October, 2012-th in Kiev were laid two boats. However, in December, the 2013-IUU refused them. The following summer, the command faced the problem of the lack of a suitable ship structure. The conditions did not allow to allocate sufficient funds for the repair of existing ships or for the purchase of new ones. But after the end of the active phase of the ATO, the search and rescue ship Donbass, the tanker Fastov, the shoktor Shostka and a number of others were restored. “Balta”, boats “Svatovo” and “Sokal” were repaired. The diving ship Pochayev was restored by the crew and volunteers. It is possible that the training corvette "Vinnitsa", which is in extremely poor technical condition, will be able to be returned to service. However, in the near future we can expect the cancellation of a number of vessels. This spring the restoration of the Priluki boat is completed. It is possible that in the future a new Neptune missile system will be tested on it.
To increase the combat capabilities of their ships, the command of the Naval forces of Ukraine armed with DShK and Utes machine guns Balt, Korets and Pochayev. Two boats transferred to the category of artillery. Barge "Svatovo" became a landing craft.
In the spring of 2015, the command of the Naval Forces of Ukraine was expecting to receive used ships from the NATO fleets, even if they were built in the Soviet Union, and due to this they would somehow increase. But now these ideas have been abandoned. It is not only the high cost of operating outdated samples, but also the unwillingness of NATO to transfer them to Ukraine. Nevertheless, the countries of the alliance supply Kiev with various kinds of non-lethal equipment. So, 30 January 2015, the United States under the program of material and technical assistance transferred five high-speed inflatable motor boats of the type Willard Sea Force 730 and Sea Force 11M to the Navy.
In 2014 – 2015, the command of the Naval Forces of Ukraine counted on the return of ships from the Crimea. In 2016, it was understood that it was better not to receive them: they are outdated, we would have to spend large amounts of money on restoring technical readiness, forming crews and training.
The bet is made on preserving the core of the existing forces and building new ships and boats. The base of the fleet is assumed to be several Vladimir Vladimir the Great corvettes (at the moment, the technical readiness of the lead ship is 32 percent), but the prospect of their construction seems unrealistic. It was decided to resume the completion of two Gyurza-M artillery boats. In January, 2016, they (called allegedly BK-01 "Belgorod-Dniester" and BK-02 "Ackermann") arrived in Odessa for testing. It is planned to build more than 2020 boats by 20, such as the Gyurza-M artillery (18 units), the Lan rocket (three pieces) and the Assault Aid Centaur (about eight). In general, these ideas can be considered rational. Less reasonable are the wishes, regularly voiced by the leadership of the Navy, to have submarines in the fleet.
Ukraine inherited from the USSR the powerful shipbuilding industry, but the main difficulty in the independent development of the industry is the lack of production of naval armament. Moreover, in the difficult economic conditions of the present time, the authorities cannot allocate sufficient funds for the implementation of such complex systems as a corvette. So we should expect the development of precisely the cutter component of the Navy.
The naval command adequately understands the capabilities of the country and the tasks facing the naval forces. The main direction of development of the Naval Forces of Ukraine is the creation of a combat-ready component of troops to protect the coast in the event of a possible naval landing operation. Another task is to preserve the core of personnel and training personnel for future Naval Forces of Ukraine.
In 2016, existing naval bases could be disbanded and sea areas created instead of them, one in the north-west of the Black Sea and the other in the Azov region. There are plans to deploy a number of units, primarily coastal defense, in the Sea of Azov, where previously neither naval forces, nor Ukraine, nor the USSR had any naval forces.
At present, a real chance has been opened to create the fleet that the country needs without relying on the Soviet legacy, which, frankly speaking, all the years of independence hindered its development. It should be recognized that the directions chosen by the command of the Naval Forces Command are quite correct: the reconfiguration of forces, the creation of full-fledged units, the formation of coastal troops, and the transition to NATO standards in various fields. However, at present, the number of units of the IUD is too large, and the control structures are extremely exaggerated.