I am finishing a series of articles on the state of affairs in our surface fleet. IN first material I talked about the strange sale to the Algerian Navy of two of our new corvettes of Project 20380, which have been under construction since 2015 at PJSC Shipyard Severnaya Verf for the Russian Navy, and explained what is the difference between this project and Project 20385. the second part it was about a breakthrough heavy corvette of project 20386, which will have to replace the outdated light frigates of the far sea zone of project 11356R.
In this final part, we will talk about a series of similar ships, speculate in which direction the domestic surface fleet will develop, and finally put an end to Algerian history. More precisely ellipsis ... So, I continue.
Just now I lamented that the Ministry of Defense and the General Staff of the Russian Navy could not agree among themselves on the concept of the development of the fleet, torn between large and small pennants, not knowing who to give preference to, heavy surface ships (BNK) rank 1-2 with a large displacement or small missile boats (MRK) of the 3rd rank with firepower equal to large pennants. So the decision has already been made, and not yesterday, and not even the day before yesterday. The preference is given to large pennants, not cruisers and destroyers, of course, but frigates of the 1st and 2nd rank of the oceanic zone and corvettes of the 2nd rank of the near and far sea zone. Of course, we will also build RTOs, but their lot is the near sea zone, and, thank God, that even from there we can threaten the Swede. But agree to show the flag and back it up with the fact of your presence. policies state to a ship without a jack is somehow stupid (and not by rank in the literal sense of the word). This will be done by heavy frigates of project 22350 / 22350M and corvettes of projects 20385/20386.
We will most likely say goodbye to light frigates of Project 11356R. We built them out of despair. We had nothing to threaten the Swede with, or rather the Yankees. We had sea-based weapons worthy of better use (the Polyment-Redut air defense missile system and the UVP 3S14, not counting the Paket-NK PTZ and the Caliber PLR), but there was nowhere to place it. In the 90s we abandoned our surface fleet to the mercy of fate (only the submarine was maintained in proper condition due to lack of money), we did not design new BNKs, so we had to launch a series of obsolete, but cheap and time-tested frigates of Project 11356R and diesel-electric submarines “Varshavyanka »Project 636.3, when after Munich 2007 (and the famous speech of the GDP) the situation in the world changed and the words had to be supported by arguments (nobody canceled the gunboat policy in the 21st century). But then Ukraine intervened and by refusing to supply its power plants slowed down the development of our surface fleet for at least 10 years. Now, 7 years later, the situation has changed, we have new BNK projects (22350 / 22350M and 20385/20386), equipped with domestic power plants, and the need for the construction of obsolete ships has disappeared. The light frigate of Project 11356R is being replaced by a heavy corvette of Project 20386, but I do not exclude that while the prototype of the lead corvette Mercury of this series will be tested and tested, the Admiral Kornilov, which is now freezing at the shipyards of the Shipyard, can still return to Project 11356R. Amber ", will replenish not the Indian, but the Russian fleet (but so far the command does not plan this, the emphasis is on corvettes and heavy frigates).
To reduce the cost of their construction, a series is needed. Big series! Serial ships reduce the cost of production. Small batch is more expensive. Until now, everything went in small batches in our country. But now the decision has been made. We are launching a series of heavy surface ships. As the basis of the fleet, do not be surprised, corvettes are chosen, not frigates. Stupid in order to save money. There is simply not enough money for everything at once, and our slipways are not made of rubber. Therefore, only 22350 heavy frigates of the admiral's series of project 10 are planned so far (PJSC Shipyard Severnaya Verf will build). Of these, 2 are already in service ("Gorshkov" and "Kasatonov"). The third - "Admiral Golovko" was launched, received Yaroslavl engines, and is preparing for mooring tests. The fourth - "Admiral Isakov" this year is preparing to launch. Another 4 "admirals" are under construction - "Amelko", "Chichagov", "Yumashev" and "Spiridonov". And two more have been contracted, serial numbers have already been issued, if everything goes according to plan, the bookmark will take place this year (the names of the admirals, and, accordingly, the names of future ships are not yet known). An even more powerful frigate of the modernized project 22350M (with a displacement of 8000 tons) is still in the R&D stage.
We are doing better with corvettes. A series of 29 units is planned. Of these, 8 are already in service. Another 5 are under construction at PJSC Shipyard Severnaya Verf and PJSC Amur Shipyard. And 16 more were contracted by the Ministry of Defense. Most of these are products of projects 20380 and 20385 (28 units), ships of the near sea zone, light corvettes with a displacement of 2250 and 2430 tons, respectively. Another corvette "Mercury" of project 20386, being built at "Severnaya Verf", is considered as a prototype. Based on the results of his tests, a decision will be made to continue the series. But this is a special corvette - a heavy, far sea zone, with a total displacement of 3400 tons, is considered as a replacement for the outdated light 2nd rank frigates of Project 11356R.
And what about the enemies?
It is difficult for us to compete with our enemies in this component. But it's worth looking at their example. The largest batch ship in the US Navy is the 4th generation URO destroyer of the Arleigh Burke class. Since 1988, they have already riveted 68 pieces. The first of them entered the fleet in 1991, the last in September last year. At the moment, 6 more units are under construction and 15 more are planned. The total will be 89, but I think the Americans will not stop there. They are being built by only two factories, but they work like clockwork, launching 2-3 destroyers a year from the stocks. This is a very formidable ship with guided missile weapons (URO), capable of carrying from 56 to 96 of the very same Tomahawk cruise missiles with a range of 2,5 km, which can also carry a nuclear warhead. During this time, he has already gone through three upgrades (I, II and IIA series), each heavier than the previous one in displacement (8448 tons, 9073 tons and 9648 tons, respectively) and more advanced in armament. Since 2016, the production of a new improved fourth modification - series III has begun, according to which another 24 ships will be laid. At the same time, the Americans do not stop there, they are designing new ships for the future, even more advanced, but also just as expensive.
So the logical continuation of the 4th generation URO destroyers of the "Arlie Burke" type were the URO destroyers of the "Zumvolt" type, these are the 5th generation destroyers, sharpened for the destruction of coastal and ground targets, and equipped with the same Tomahawks (80 pieces). With a displacement of 14797 tons, its crew is half that of the Arleigh Burke (148 people versus 380 people on the IIA destroyers). At the same time, the price of the lead destroyer exceeded $ 4,4 billion (Burks are 2 times cheaper - $ 1,7 billion for the serial and $ 2,2 billion for the lead in the series), so Congress cut appetites of the military department, and instead of the planned 32 pieces, only 3 were built (more precisely, two, the third is under construction), and 29 were canceled. And although the Pentagon insisted, drawing attention to the fact that on new destroyers it is working out new Technology and weapons, and "Zumvolt" is a testing ground for them, but the Congress was adamant - there is no money, the budget is not rubber (and the Americans have it!). And the argument was rolled out in reinforced concrete - old submarines of the Ohio class, with higher stealth, can carry 2 times more missiles (154 versus 80) and their conversion for these purposes costs 2 times cheaper. Therefore, the vaunted Zumvolt covered itself with a copper basin, and the Pentagon had no choice but to extend the service life of the old 4th generation destroyers, which will form the backbone of the US Navy until 2035 (before the start of the massive withdrawal of series II destroyers from the fleet). But the destroyers, I must say, are very good, tested technology, a promising platform that allows you to upgrade the project all the time. At one time, in the late 80s, they were ahead of their time with him, they built the ship of the future.
There, they have 22 more Ticonderoga-class URO cruisers dangling in the Navy, the head of which, which gave the series name, was laid down in 1980 (scrapped in 2004), and the last one, built in 1994, will be decommissioned only in 2045 (in the venerable age of 51!). Also a terrible weapon with a displacement of 9800 tons, carrying up to 122 Tomahawks. True, they don't build them anymore, they only extend the resource to the rest. Also, the pockets are not bottomless. And these are the Americans! Sea robbers. How can we compete with them in the number of ships? Only in quality. We will sink their destroyers from our "inflatable mattresses". But with supersonic Onyxes and hypersonic Zircons. And the first "mattresses" are already in the fleet. Cheap and very angry. And even with modernization options. More on this below.
The modular principle of the architecture of projects 20380/20385/20386 allows, during the construction of new and modernization of existing ships, to install new systems of weapons and electronic weapons on them, which reduces production costs and provides a high modernization potential during the minimum 30-year life cycle of the ship (which after overhaul extended). This principle was already implemented on the 20380 project, when, starting from the second building (the first serial and subsequent ones), changes were made to the project. Thus, the Kortik-M air defense missile system was replaced by a new medium-range Redut air defense missile system with vertical launch installations (12 cells - 3 modules of 4 cells each), and from the eighth building the 3S24 Uranus anti-ship complex will be replaced with Onyx "Or" Caliber "also with UVP (universal shipborne shooting complex UKSK 3S14). Starting from the ninth hull, a new foremast is installed on the ships of project 20380, structurally similar to that installed on ships of project 20385. On the surface of such a structure, there will be three antenna blades of the air defense system.
Project 20385 relative to the eighth corps of project 20380 also underwent changes that strengthened its armament, in addition to the UKSK 3S14 with its family of missiles for various purposes ("Caliber-NK", "Onyx", "Zircon"), it also received an additional module for 4 cells of the SAM " Redoubt ", now he has 16 of them (4 x 4 instead of 3 x 4 on the project 20380).
As a result, the corvettes of this family have turned out to be the most innovative and technically advanced ships of our Navy. The modular principle turned them into a kind of transformer ships, when each subsequent ship may differ from the previous one, depending on the tasks that are in front of it. So, corvettes serving in the Baltic and equipped with the most powerful at the moment sea-based air defense systems of the Redut air defense system (this is the naval version of the famous S-400), have become the most formidable weapon in the region, surpassing all the opponents available there by a head in this component ( all sorts of Swedes, Danes, Norwegians, Dutch and other different Poles). Having turned into floating air defense fortresses, they multiplied by zero all the claims of these greatest dwarf states to the Russian Federation in our 200-mile economic zone. In terms of fire efficiency, only air defense cruisers allocated to NATO in a separate class of ships can compete with them, which neither the Swedes, nor the Danes, nor the Norwegians, nor the Dutch, not to mention the Poles, have.
Corvettes, on the other hand, serving in the Pacific Ocean, are forced to perform tasks not only of sentinel and security services within a 200-mile coastal zone, but also to go out into the distant sea zone for single patrolling, for which they are equipped with shock functions by replacing the Uranium anti-ship missile system on UKSK 3S14 with the possibility of using the Kalibr-NK missile launcher, the Onyx anti-ship missile system, and, in the future, the Zircon missile launcher, which turns them into universal multipurpose URO attack corvettes. The plans of the command were to equip all four of our fleets with them, six corvettes for each (24 in total). But already now, judging by the ships contracted for production, we are exceeding these plans (at the moment the series is already 29 units). And given the fact that they have the same platform, this allows us to increase the series of these ships as needed, reducing the unit cost and production costs. What corvettes will go to the Northern Fleet and the Black Sea Fleet, we'll see. But judging by the Algerian contract, Project 20380 corvettes will definitely not go to the Black Sea Fleet.
The secret of the Algerian project
To close the issue with Algeria, I can only say that, apparently, the command decided to sacrifice two corps (7th and 8th), originally intended for the Black Sea Fleet, in favor of the Algerian Navy for some objective reason, we do not famous. Most likely, this is due to the weapons installed on them. Indeed, from the 8th corps, it is planned to replace the 3S24 "Uran" anti-ship complex installed on the corvette, equipped with subsonic Kh-35U anti-ship missiles, with the UKSK 3S14, designed for supersonic "Onyx" and winged "Caliber-NK". This is exactly what the Algerians should have received (and do not be confused by the name "Yakhont" - these are the same "Onyxes" only in export version). True, as an air defense defense, the Algerians will get the outdated Kortik-M air defense system (in the export version, referred to as “Kashtan-M”). This air defense complex was equipped only with the head corvette of this series, all subsequent ones were armed with the already deadened version of the S-400 - the Redut air defense system.
There are generally more questions than answers with the Algerian project. It became clear from the Algerian press that they were expecting from two to six ships (half in the air defense version, half in the PLO version). The "Tiger" they chose will be 300 tons heavier than their Russian counterparts and 10 meters higher (on the last point I have questions, maybe due to the foremast?). The time-tested German diesel-diesel plant, consisting of two MTU 16V1163TB93 diesel engines and one RENK gearbox for each of the two units included in it, will be used as a power plant. In terms of armament, in addition to the Kashtan-M air defense missile system, they also ask to install the Shtil-1 air defense system (no question - any whim for your money), and a long-range surface-to-surface missile for each of the ships. I am writing, as indicated in the press, there may be inaccuracies in translation, but what kind of "ground-to-ground" on the ship? Maybe surface-to-surface? I have already said about the strike missile armament, they will get the export version of the Onyx and the Caliber - 1 x Caliber-NKE missile system (8 missiles) or the Yakhont complex (8 anti-ship missiles). I don’t know which helicopter they will choose, options are possible - 1 Ka-28 anti-submarine helicopter or a Ka-31 radar patrol helicopter or a Super Lynx type helicopter in hangar storage. Everything else, as on our ships, is only in export performance. From what is published on the Almaz Central Marine Design Bureau website, they will get very good boats, no worse, and even better than ours.
Why they threw the Black Sea Fleet, I have not figured out this secret, it remains covered in darkness. Maybe the ships of the project 20385 will go to the Black Sea Fleet, after all, they will work in Syria, and this is far from the near sea zone for which the project 20380 is sharpened. You still have to swim to it, but we have problems with the Kolomna diesel engines. In the open press about this not gu-gu, but in public commentators, devoted to the details of the operation of these unique (in the literal sense of the word) devices, say that they are regular customers of repair plants, and they cannot sail far from them. Maybe our Moremans are waiting for the results of the work of a new gas turbine unit based on the Yaroslavl M90FR gas turbine engines installed on the lead corvette of the project 20386 "Mercury", but it has not even been launched yet (I do not even stutter about sea trials).
Personally, only one fact surprises me, the 7th and 8th buildings were laid down at the Severnaya Verf shipyard under the names Zetivy and Strogiy on 20.02.2015/1007/1008 (serial numbers 7 and 8), as a result they have not yet been built ( Hull 22.07.2015 has been launched, is preparing for mooring trials, Hull 9 is just preparing to launch in May this year). At the same time, the 2103th corps was laid down at the Amur Shipyard six months later on July 5, 6, which was named Hero of the Russian Federation Aldar Tsydenzhapov (serial number XNUMX) - it is already in service, serving in the Pacific Ocean. It took XNUMX years to build, but the Zealous and the Strict were not even XNUMX years old. At the same time, this business was put on stream at Severnaya Verf, and for the Amur people it was only the third ship of this project. It is clear that the problem is not with the producers. And no one knows what the matter is. So do I.
Thundering fire, sparkling with brilliance of steel ...
Let me summarize briefly. If the Algerian Navy received the most armed ships in its class and are happy about this, becoming the most formidable naval power in Africa, then for Russia there are completely different tasks. Do not forget that Algeria got Project 20380 corvettes, and these are ships of the near sea zone. For Algeria just right - they have nowhere to swim especially. We need to convey our weighty word with a small pennant far beyond the seas that wash our power along the perimeter, we need ships of the oceanic zone. But the pockets of the Motherland are not bottomless. Therefore, we are going to solve the set task by saturating the 2nd rank ships with fire, but capable of operating autonomously in the distant sea and oceanic zones. As you may have guessed, we are talking about corvettes.
Corvettes. In the Soviet Union, even the class of such ships did not exist. This is all a tribute to the newfangled Western gadgets. According to the NATO classification, they have corvettes, frigates, destroyers, cruisers, and even aircraft carriers. We had MPK (small anti-submarine ships) and BOD (large anti-submarine ships) for anti-submarine defense; TFR of the 3rd rank (small patrol ships of the near sea zone) and TFR of the 2nd rank (patrol ships of the far sea zone) for carrying out patrol service, escort, solving problems of air defense, anti-aircraft defense, participation in landing operations; We had, of course, cruisers, destroyers, and landing ships, there were not only aircraft carriers, we called them aircraft-carrying cruisers (now there is only one left - the flagship of the Navy and Northern Fleet TAVKR "Admiral Kuznetsov"). Now life makes us build frigates and corvettes instead of aging and retiring Soviet cruisers and destroyers, saturating them with the firepower of heavier ships in displacement, and forcing them to perform their functions, which were previously unusual for them. And cruising and raiding (in autonomous solo voyage); and on combat escort and escort of a group of ships (as part of ship formations); and on the demonstration of the flag and the power of the Russian fleet in different parts of the oceans (I'm just talking about the surface fleet now, with the underwater fleet, thank God, not everything is so bad, there is more to threaten the Swede, or rather the Yankees). So, instead of patrol boats of the near and far sea zones, corvettes and frigates appeared, but with expanded functions and tasks of application.
We can say that we have finally made up our minds and have chosen a strategic vector for the development of the surface component of our Navy. In the coming years, we are focusing on saturating rank 2 ships with fire and increasing their range. We are creating a heavy oceanic corvette (you can call it a light frigate or even a light destroyer) and launch it into production. In parallel, we are working on improving the power plant of the gas turbine type. BNK of the 1st rank will also be present here, but there is no need to talk about large series. For the next 30-40 years, the corvette will become the backbone of the Russian fleet.
By the way, our enemies are also following this path and are in no hurry to churn out new destroyers and cruisers, focusing on multipurpose universal strike frigates. The cost of our project 20380 corvette is around 17-18 billion rubles. Project 20386 will cost us almost 2 times more - 29 billion rubles. But this is the lead corvette, the serial one will be cheaper, in the region of 24-25 billion rubles. And with him we will threaten the Swede, or rather the Yankees. Get ready, comrade. imperialists! There are hundreds of ways to drive a bear out of a den, but there is no single way to drive it back. If Americans want to test this statement for themselves, then welcome to hell!
That's all for me. Sorry if I'm tired of anyone.