I continue a series of articles devoted to the state of affairs of our Navy. IN previous section I talked about the fuss that was arranged around the promising multipurpose attack corvette URO of the far sea zone of project 20386 developed by the Almaz Central Marine Design Bureau, its competitors and critics of this project, and also discussed general problems of the fleet.
In this part, you will find out what they offered in return, and why the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation did not take advantage of their proposals.
Construction wars for cutting the budget. Nobody wants "Breeze"
The first shot into the milk was KGNTs. In the framework of the traditional forum "Army-2017" held in August 2017, the Krylov State Scientific Center presented to the general public the results of its conceptual study of the project of a promising new generation combat ship. Their concept surprised even seasoned specialists. None of them have ever seen such firepower per unit area and displacement. The product, passing in the documents under the code "Breeze", having a displacement of 2 thousand tons, belongs to the class of corvettes. The ship is designed to conduct combat, security and demonstration operations in the near sea zone. When developing this conceptual project, the KGNTs performed a justification of the possibility of placing strike missile weapons in universal vertical launchers (UVPU) on ships of limited displacement. The developers hope that their brainchild will be in demand and will be able to replenish the combat strength of the Navy in the coming decades. The corvette's armament is represented by 24 UVPUs for surface-to-surface missiles, 16 TLUs for increased and 32 short-range anti-aircraft missiles. The artillery is represented by a 190 mm A-100 turret mount, a pair of AK-630 rapid-fire assault rifles with a rotating block of six 30 mm barrels and one Duet with two blocks, 324 mm torpedo tubes, and a helicopter can be accommodated. The normal displacement of a promising corvette is 1000-1980 tons (depending on the version). Full speed - about 30 knots, cruising range - from 3500 to 4000 miles. Autonomy - 15 days. The main power plant is of the CODAG type with a capacity of 20000-31600 liters. from. (depending on option).
Summary: The Krylov boat turned out very decent. Attack multipurpose corvette URO rank 2. With the minimum displacement for such weapons (up to 1980 tons) - very sharp-toothed (tactical missile armament even surpasses the armament of the heavy frigate of Project 22350, which has 8 missiles less ammunition - 16 instead of 24), the air defense is also at the level, the only PLO is weak, therefore helicopter in question. Why in the near sea zone there is such power, I do not know, apparently, high officials in the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation do not know this either.
Two years later, at the exhibition of promising projects of the Navy, held in January 2020 in Sevastopol, the Zelenodolsk Design Bureau, which is part of the Ak Bars SC, a promising corvette of Project 11664, presented its novelty. the Zaliv plant. Probably, it is this enterprise that is considered by the developers as a site for the construction of new ships. This ship is a deep modernization of the 2nd rank SKR BMZ project 11661 "Cheetah", created by the Zelenodolsk Design Bureau back in the early 1990s and is still operated by the Russian Navy (2 ships in the KFL) and the Vietnamese Navy (4 ships). The new corvette of Project 11664 differs from the previous "Gepard" in increased size and displacement. The length has grown to about 110 m, the displacement - up to 2,5 thousand tons. The developers claim to be a transitional class ship between corvettes and frigates (conventionally, a light or small frigate). The main differences from its predecessor are in a different layout of electronic weapons, increased ammunition for the main strike weapons and more powerful air defense. The permanent basing of a carrier-based helicopter, designed to carry out anti-aircraft missiles, was also ensured.
The proposed "small frigate" has advantages over other ships of the existing types. So, he bypasses the Cheetah predecessors in the number and effectiveness of weapons. Also, the project 11664 is compared with the patrol boats of the project 11540 (code "Yastreb"). With comparable armament, the new corvette has almost half the displacement, which has a positive effect on the cost of construction. According to the SK "Ak Bars", in general, in terms of the ratio of the main characteristics, the corvette "11664" has no equal. I would note that the comparison with the Hawks does not stand up to criticism here, since this project, created at the end of the Soviet Union, was cut short, and did not start, at the moment only two Hawks are serving in the Navy (in the Baltic) ("Undaunted" and "Inaccessible", later renamed "Yaroslav the Wise"), the third building, called "Fog", it was decided not to finish building, is preparing for disposal due to the exhaustion of modernization possibilities. Comparing the new "Cheetah" with the obsolete "Hawk" is not entirely correct, it is better to compare it with the corvettes of projects 20380/20385, with which it is comparable both in size and in displacement.
The type of power plant is not specified. A combined unit with diesel and gas turbine engines is used at the Cheetahs. Probably, a similar architecture will be preserved in the project 11664. The composition of the corvette's weapons is interesting. An artillery turret is located on the tank in front of the superstructure. Behind it, on the superstructure, is the Palma air defense missile and artillery complex. Next to the hangar are two six-barreled anti-aircraft guns. The central part of the superstructure contains a universal vertical launcher with 16 cells for various types of missiles (Onyx, Caliber and, probably in the future, Zircon).
The sample presented by the Zelenodoltsy surpassed the Almazov corvettes of projects 20380/20385 in terms of striking power (it has 8 more tactical missiles - 16 versus 8 on project 20385) and equaled in this indicator with the heavy frigates of Project 22350. In terms of air defense capabilities it is inferior (ZRAK "Palma" versus SAM "Redut"), if "Palma" is changed to ZRPK "Pantsir-M", then for BMZ it will be optimal and it will still be possible to save on the cost of air defense.
Summary: Air defense is weak, and 16 UKSK are superfluous for the BMZ corvette. The location on the ZRAK tank is extremely unfortunate for our latitudes - it will flood and freeze over during winter storms. The capabilities of the ASW (anti-submarine defense) are not reflected in the presented armament, but in the presence of the "Packet-NK" and the towed GAS, a decent ASW ship of the near sea zone could well have turned out. Everything will depend on the price of the product, if it turns out to be significantly lower than 17-18 billion rubles, which are now costing us BMZ corvettes of project 20380, then this project could apply for a universal PLO corvette with patrol and escort functions, to replace the outgoing the age of the IPC (small anti-submarine ships) of the project 1124M, which is responsible for the OVR when deploying our SSBNs from the basing areas. But even here the RF Ministry of Defense will still think, because earlier it had already made a choice in favor of another project of the Zelenodol residents to protect the water area, which I will discuss below (the IPC based on the trimaran, where they even bypassed the Almaz Central Design Bureau).
At about the same time as ZPKB, TsMKB "Almaz" also proposed its own version of a promising multipurpose corvette. So, at the expanded board of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation in December 2019, he presented before a high meeting a project of a new multipurpose corvette, created on the basis of a small missile ship of project 22800 (code "Karakurt)", which has proven itself well both in production (on its own element base) , and in further operation.
The developers took the path of reducing the cost of the product relative to the already adopted and in service with the Navy BMZ corvette of project 20380 of their own design. The price of the project 20380 corvette varies between 17-18 billion rubles. with a production cycle of 5-6 years. The estimated estimated price of "Super-Karakurt" does not exceed 10 billion rubles. with a production cycle of 1-2 years. And I'm not kidding here. Since the ship does not have systems with a long production cycle, this makes it possible to build it even two units per year. And this is a very real figure - a Pella-type contractor could easily master such rates of production. And when it is launched into series production, even three ships a year will be launched. Taking into account the production base established at the "Karakurt" project 22800 and technological processes ("Karakurt" itself passed the way from a drawing to a finished product in the minimum possible 3 years), one can hope that "Super-Karakurt" can handle such terms.
For those who have forgotten, let me remind you that in 2014 the Almaz Central Marine Design Bureau (developer) and the Leningrad Shipyard Pella (a private plant that won a production tender) proved that a warship can be created quickly and inexpensively. Only three years passed from the decision to start construction to the launch of the ship for testing. In our recent history, a warship has never been built so quickly. The ship is notable for the fact that during its creation, no accompanying R&D was carried out. The customers set the task - to use only serial equipment mastered by the industry. They used what has letters, or developed according to the completed ROCs of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, that is, already existing samples that only needed to be accepted by the military. Therefore, in such a short time, everything worked out. One of the highlights of the project is almost complete import substitution. All serious equipment is domestic.
"Super-Karakurt" was developed in the same way exclusively on a domestic production base with the maximum possible import substitution. The ship's hull is made on the basis of the Karakurt MRK hull, with an elongated central part. A combined diesel-gas turbine power plant of domestic production is used as a power plant. Armament includes two 8-charge universal vertical launch launchers UKSK 3S14 for launching anti-ship, anti-submarine and long-range cruise missiles; anti-aircraft missile system SAM "Redut" with anti-aircraft guided missiles of the 9M100 series in vertical launchers on the stern superstructure; two 4-charge launchers of the "Packet-NK" anti-torpedo protection complex; one 76-mm AK-176MA artillery mount at the bow and two modified 30-mm AK-630 anti-aircraft artillery systems at the stern, responsible for the ship's air defense from the aft corners. The "Positive-M" was used as a radar, which reduces the cost of the product, since with such a radar the "Redut" air defense missile system, inside the zone in which the "Positive-M" can detect air targets, will work better than on the corvette 20380, where there is more expensive radar "Furke-2".
Of the visible shortcomings of the project, one can only note the absence of a towed GAS (the developers limited themselves to a subkeeping one), which reduces the ship's PLO, and the complete absence of a helicopter (not even a platform for it is provided). Among the minuses, one can also note a very mediocre seaworthiness and low resistance to lateral roll, which follow from the structural features of the prototype ship - MRK "Karakurt", which was not structurally adapted for long-distance campaigns and combat work at high waves (and the hull of the "Super-Karakurt" is an elongated version of the MRC with a slightly increased mass, which only exacerbates the situation).
Summary: The developers have got an enhanced shock version of "Karakurt", cheap and very angry. In fact, at the exit, they received a light URO corvette of the near sea zone, designed to solve shock missions, air defense and combat enemy ships. Not a competitor to the corvettes of projects 20385/20386 in the far sea zone, but with project 20380 it can only compete in price, losing to it in versatility and combat capabilities. To be used as an anti-submarine ship and to protect the water area, the deployment of our nuclear submarines requires additional equipment of a towed GAS, and without it, even to replace the aging fleet of the MPK of the Albatross project is not suitable. The absence of a helicopter narrows the range of its capabilities and allows it to work only in the coastal zone (in the area of availability of coastal PLO helicopters) or as part of a group of ships equipped with similar means (we are talking about helicopters). Guess three times what the choice of the Ministry of Defense will be, although the developers have their own lobbyists in the middle echelon there as well.
Epic from the IPC. The case when even TsMKB "Almaz" lost the competition
In the 2000s, the Almaz Central Marine Design Bureau proposed a new version of the small anti-submarine ship (MPK) of project 23420. The MPK was intended to conduct hostilities against an underwater, surface and air enemy, to guard ship basing points, to destroy coastal objects with artillery weapons, to guard the state border and 200 mile economic zones. The owner of the ship is unknown. The ship's displacement was 1300 tons, length 75 meters, width - about 13 meters. Main power plant: 1 x diesel or diesel with electric propulsion or 1 x diesel-gas turbine. Armament: 1 x AU AK-176MA of 76 mm caliber (152 rounds) or 1 x AU AK-306 of 30 mm caliber (500 rounds), 1 x turret mount 3M-47 "Gibka" (20 missiles ammunition). Anti-submarine: 1 x Packet-E / NK MPTK (2 x PU, 8 x torpedoes) or 1 x RPK-8E complex (1 x RBU-6000, 48 x 90R anti-submarine missiles and RGB-60 depth charges), 1 x unmanned aerial complex "Horizon-AIR-S-100" (2 x UAV).
In 2010, the main command of the Russian Navy decided to hold a tender for the project of the so-called corvette for the protection of the water area (OVR). These ships were supposed to combine the capabilities of the IPC, missile boats and minesweepers. The task, frankly, is not easy, if not impossible. But the Russian admirals focused on the US Navy, where the development of littoral warships with modular replaceable weapons had just begun. Looking ahead, I will say that the Americans have still not succeeded with this venture. The Russian design bureaus that participated in the tender for the OVR corvette proposed a number of original options. Among them was the proposal of the Almaz Central Marine Design Bureau for the construction of missile, anti-submarine, anti-mine and patrol ships on a single base platform. Thus, unification would be achieved in many systems, devices, equipment of premises and complexes of weapons and technical means. At the same time, the costs of creating and maintaining ships would be reduced, especially in terms of conducting research and development work and production technologies. Substantial savings could be achieved by the massive construction of buildings at one plant and their saturation with weapons and armaments at other enterprises. On the other hand, it would simplify the process of training crews that would be "sharpened" to perform specific tasks, and would not be the servants of several masters at once. It was proposed to use the Project 12700 Alexandrite PMO ship as a base platform. And the IPC of project 23420, undoubtedly, was the development of one of the directions of the concept of four ships on one platform.
However, the proposal of the Almaz Central Design Bureau did not captivate the command of the Russian Navy. He wanted something completely opposite. In the conclusion of the expert council of the Navy on February 25, 2011 it was said:
The OVR Rusich-1500 corvette proposed by Zelenodolsk Design Bureau with outrigger-power modules meets the requirements of the Navy to the greatest extent in comparison with the single-hull corvettes proposed by other Design Bureau.
We are talking about the trimaran corvette exhibited by ZPKB for the competition, made according to the architectural and structural scheme of the vessel with outriggers (SAR). Such combat trimarans really have outstanding qualities. They can stay at sea 2,5-3,5 times longer than single-hull counterparts, since their seaworthiness is much higher. On waves, the side roll of the ATS decreases by 3-4 times, and the pitching in amplitude - approximately two times. And all because when entering a wave and during a roll, an additional lifting restoring moment arises. Thanks to this, "Rusich-1500" can successfully use weapons in waves of 5-6 points, which is inaccessible to single-hull corvettes.
Since then, 10 years have passed, and things are still there. And we did not have OVR ships, and we still do not. There is nothing to change the aging Albatross Park. Who is to blame, I do not know. PLO specialists are not in vain sounding the alarm. Soon there will be nothing to cover the areas of deployment of our underwater atomic strategists. How they will go to the patrol areas from the bases, I do not know.
I have to put an end to this. The end follows.