Why the Russian Defense Ministry missed the opportunity to test its "aircraft carrier killers"

The other day it became known that Brazil, rather unexpectedly for everyone, decided to voluntarily sink its only French-built aircraft carrier called Sao Paulo, driving it to a safe distance from the coast. Now the old "toxic" ship rests peacefully at a depth of 5 kilometers in the Atlantic Ocean. We in Russia can only regret a little that the former French Clemenceau-class aircraft carrier ended its journey so ingloriously.

Target ships

Any weapon requires multiple field tests, including anti-ship. The problem is that you won’t find enough real ships on Caliber, Onyx, Zircons, Neptunes, Harpoons and other Tomahawks that it would not be a pity to shoot them. For these purposes, various countries are building a whole class of target ships equipped with special equipment and various simulators, which can be used for training launches of anti-ship missiles, bombing, artillery and torpedo firing.

In the USSR, project 1784 target ships were developed, of which about four dozen were produced. The displacement of such ships reaches 932 tons, length - 106,6 meters, width - 14 meters, there is no power plant. Outwardly, they are very reminiscent of some rusty pirate ships from the post-apocalypse with masts hung with strange, incomprehensible devices. They were built in the Far East, in Nikolaev and Tallinn. Several target ships of Project 1784 have survived to this day and continue to serve in the Black Sea.

Even more strange in appearance are the small ship shields (MKSH) of project 455. Structurally, they are catamarans of increased survivability and stability. The length is only 22 meters, width - 6,6 meters, displacement - 53 tons. At the tops of their masts, special corner radar reflectors are installed, and a steel net is stretched between them. There are special thermal emitters on the deck. All this makes it possible to practice targeting ship-based missiles and test artillery firing radars.

Of the modern target ships, one can recall the project 436 bis, which includes 436BA and 436BR. In fact, this is an enlarged copy of the 455 project: a steel catamaran with a displacement of 142 tons, a length of 68 meters and a width of 8 meters. Corner reflectors in the amount of 11 pieces are installed on the tops of the masts, and a steel net is stretched between them. Interestingly, these Project 436 bis target ships were used to protect the Crimean Bridge. It was assumed that the Ukrainian ammunition, using a radar guidance head, would take the reflector placed on the mast as the main target and hit not the bridge, but the barge that was structurally designed for this.

In general, this thing is useful, a specialized target vessel. But there is nothing better than to shoot a real ship from among those decommissioned. We once used the decommissioned Japanese cruiser Tsushima and the destroyer Ognevoy for these purposes. During the RIMPAC exercises near the Hawaiian Islands in 2018, the Americans did not spare their old landing ship USS Racine, firing a total of 15 missiles from destroyers and coastal missile systems at it. An Australian anti-submarine aircraft also dropped an anti-submarine torpedo, but the ship remained afloat. Only the Los Angeles-class submarine of the US Navy was able to finish it off with a Mk 48 torpedo. But even after the fatal blow of the USS Racine, another hour remained afloat.

Invaluable practical experience that clearly shows what weapons are really worth, and what is only attributed to them, and what should be paid attention to when designing warships.

"Aircraft Carrier Killers"

That is why it is worth regretting that the Brazilian aircraft carrier was simply sunk peacefully, and did not become a unique target ship on which Russian anti-ship missiles could be tested in practice.

It is probably not an exaggeration to say that our entire naval doctrine is built around "aircraft carrier killers", which refers to various types of anti-ship missiles. Now our everything is the Zircon hypersonic missiles, which are considered irresistible by the existing sea-based air defense / missile defense systems. There are also Onyx anti-ship missiles and Caliber-NK missile launchers, which are carried, for example, by the Project 22350 frigate Admiral Gorshkov, currently located somewhere in the western part of the Atlantic Ocean. There, he conducts training firing with Zircons, demonstrating his determination to sink the US Navy AGU.

How great it would be if Moscow agreed with Brasilia in a timely manner that the restless Sao Paulo would not only be quietly sunk, but would become a target for Russian missiles. The displacement of the French aircraft carrier Foch R 99 of the Clemenceau class, as Sao Paulo used to be called, is over 32 thousand tons, length - 265 meters, width along the waterline - 32 meters, along the flight deck - 51,2 meters. The ship was equipped with two steam catapults and could carry up to 40 aircraft. It is clear that he is far from the American "Nimitz", but it was a real warship, and not some kind of imitation.

Sao Paulo had to go to the cut because of the strong wear and tear. His hull took on water, the ship lost its own course. In Turkey, it was not accepted due to the fact that asbestos, recognized as toxic, was widely used during construction, which was used by the French for fire safety. The Brazilians drove the decrepit aircraft carrier to a safe distance from the coast and sank at great depths. But what an absolutely unique experience of full-scale use of Zircons, Onyxes and Calibers would have turned out if our Ministry of Defense had agreed to “finish off” the ship with Russian anti-ship missiles!

Unfortunately, this is not the first time that the opportunity to demonstrate the power of our missiles to the whole world has been missed. The old Kerch BOD was also peacefully disposed of in 2020, although it could have been a target for Onyxes and Calibers in the Black Sea.
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  1. Constantine N Offline Constantine N
    Constantine N (Constantin N) 6 February 2023 14: 12
    recently there was news that they were decommissioning a submarine, what prevented them from shooting at it?
  2. viktor goblin Offline viktor goblin
    viktor goblin (viktor goblin) 6 February 2023 14: 49
    The whole bottom is covered! There are targets! Who fired? And we don't know..
  3. Sergey Latyshev Offline Sergey Latyshev
    Sergey Latyshev (Serge) 6 February 2023 15: 36
    What nonsense.
    Where is Brazil and where is Russia with daggers? And who else will? even for money?

    And secondly, it is easy to disgrace yourself with a foreign court ... Which happens quite often. Tests!
    When ours were testing and sinking a decommissioned Syrian destroyer (sort of like that) - there were 2 explosions on the video. One is like "beside". I had to beat it.
    On a video test, a small anti-ship missile took out a meter of the superstructure of an unarmored tug. Even the neighboring portholes survived ....
    So yours is better. How many old "Galosh" (according to GDP) rot in septic tanks?
  4. Old Skeptic Offline Old Skeptic
    Old Skeptic (Old Skeptic) 6 February 2023 16: 49
    Who will test combat systems in foreign waters under the supervision of all intelligence agencies? And what's the point? With the same success, you can flood the old barge in your waters. What is the difference between an old, lonely and defenseless aircraft carrier from a barge? He is not defensive. Then why? Give enemies the opportunity to remove information?

    One from you.....
    Shame on the king
    Embarrassment to the ambassadors,
    I've been interested for a long time.
    Are you not sent to us?
    1. Kuramori Reika Offline Kuramori Reika
      Kuramori Reika (Kuramori Reika) 7 February 2023 00: 04
      Yeah. Even if you take the minimum - the analysis of the metal alloy.
  5. Grei grin Offline Grei grin
    Grei grin (Gray Grin) 6 February 2023 17: 19
    Here the question should be put like this, but what has it not yet missed to do on time!
  6. Raymond Online Raymond
    Raymond (Raymond) 6 February 2023 21: 18
    Sinking a cruiser in wartime with a drone and a torpedo has more impact than sinking a defenseless aircraft carrier with a specially designed missile.
  7. Flight Offline Flight
    Flight (voi) 1 March 2023 15: 02
    Apparently, there is some difference between missiles on paper and in stock. Yes, and there is no time for them to track who drowns what there. There are more important things to do here, we need to build houses in Mariupol, the water supply system, again, will not build itself.
  8. Vladimir Tuzakov (Vladimir Tuzakov) 19 March 2023 12: 40
    To sink a modern ship of the first rank, multiple hits of the CD are needed, and then they are often flooded with torpedoes - from the experimental actions of the United States. Even the cruiser Moskva sank due to the detonation of ammunition and storm impact, and not 2 Neptunes. on board. Therefore, an aircraft carrier is unlikely to be significantly damaged by one or two Zircons. Conclusion: just to temporarily disable an aircraft carrier, you will need at least half a dozen Zircons.