And again we return to the invisible "fourth battle for the Atlantic". Already out last week publication, which described in detail how the US Navy, together with NATO allies, are conducting large-scale military exercises in order to prevent Russian nuclear submarines from entering the Atlantic Ocean, from where they can break through to the American coast at a missile range. It's time to talk about what the Russian Defense Ministry can oppose to this.
The Atlantic is a strategically extremely important region, since in the event of a large-scale war in Europe (between Russia and the NATO bloc, of course), the United States will be forced to send sea convoys across the ocean to help its allies. Those will become a natural target for ships and submarines of the Northern Fleet of the Russian Federation, therefore, to counter it, the Pentagon recreated its Second Fleet in 2018. Due to the extremely small number of Russian surface forces, it is our nuclear submarines that pose a real danger to the "hegemon". They are capable of stealthily approaching a missile strike distance and hitting both enemy ships and ground targets. The primary task of the Alliance's anti-submarine defense forces is to detect, escort and, if necessary, destroy them.
So, what are we able to oppose to this? How will the Russian fleet be able to resist the American, huge in size and power? The problem is extremely difficult, especially considering the difference in the "weight category", but still something can be done.
At firstFirst, enemy ships must be detected and identified in a timely manner. A few of our AWACS aircraft are not able to constantly monitor the entire World Ocean. To this end, the RF Ministry of Defense is forming the Liana radar reconnaissance system (RLR) in orbit. It will include two "Lotos-S" satellites and two "Pion-NKS" satellites, which will be located at an altitude of up to 100 kilometers. Thanks to this, in no more than three hours with an accuracy of three meters, any object the size of a car can be detected: armored vehicles, aircraft and, of course, ships and military convoys, as well as the enemy's AUG. After that, the coordinates for target designation will be transferred to the command post.
Secondly, it is necessary to have some conditionally irresistible weapon. Floating airfields are reliably covered by many URO ships, the Aegis missile defense system, as well as a carrier-based aircraft wing. Only hypersonic maneuvering missiles launched in bulk, for example, the Zircon, which accelerates to Mach 8, are capable of overcoming the Aegis. Initially, the declared range of the Russian missile was from 400 to 600 kilometers. She was successfully tested from the board of the project 22350 frigate "Admiral Gorshkov", having flown 450 kilometers. American anti-missile missiles Standard SM-3 and SM-6 are not able to effectively counter the "Zircon". Also, the real threat to the US Navy AUG is the air-launched Dagger hypersonic missile and the Kh-32 anti-ship missile, but this is a topic for a separate conversation.
Thirdly, it is necessary to solve the problem with the launch of the carrier at the distance of an effective missile strike. Take the worst case of a US aircraft carrier strike group. It is extremely problematic, or rather impossible, to safely approach a surface ship at a distance of 400-600 kilometers to the AUG. He will be sunk by carrier-based aircraft or an escort of an aircraft carrier. The F / A-18E / F Super Hornet carrier-based fighter-attack bombers are capable of providing air cover to a depth of 600 to 700 kilometers, and the new F-35Cs - for all 1100 kilometers.
Only multipurpose nuclear submarines of projects 885 and 885 M, for example, the K-560 Severodvinsk or the new, more advanced and better armed K-561 Kazan, can actually covertly approach the strike group. The latter has ten launchers for five "Caliber", "Onyx" or "Zircon", respectively. In other words, one modernized "Ash" under a successful coincidence of circumstances can, if not sink an entire AUG, then firmly pat it with its five dozen missiles. Destroying the convoy will be a much easier task for the Russian nuclear submarine.
Another interesting thing. It is reported that the developers have increased the flight range of "Zircon" to 1000-1500 kilometers. And this is a completely different alignment, much more beneficial for the Russian fleet. From a distance of 1500 kilometers, even a simple Project 22350 frigate "Admiral Gorshkov" and its brothers begin to represent something against a much more powerful enemy.