What you should pay attention to at the President's "defense" meetings
On November 10, 2020, Vladimir Putin opened the traditional annual meeting with the heads of the Military-industrial complex and the Armed forces. Such meetings have already become a tradition, but this time the agenda was very acute problems that need to be urgently addressed.
The fact that the allocation of money for new weapons for the Armed forces will be reduced, was announced a long time ago. As a basis for this, it is usually stated that the rearmament of the army is basically finished. This is not entirely true, because there are a number of critical positions for the country's defense capability, where it did not really begin.
Is it possible to reduce the cost of " defense»
Russia has a shortage of long-range radar weapons, a minimum of modern air-to-air missiles, there are no fifth-generation fighters in the ranks, anti-submarine aircraft for naval aviation, modern non-nuclear submarines, torpedoes and much more are not produced.
On the other hand, the reduction in spending does not mean that new weapons will not be developed and entered into the Armed forces at all, but the pace will decrease.
The reasons for reducing spending on the Armed forces are mainly economic-there is simply no money, at least because of the coronavirus epidemic that hit consumers of Russian resources and ricocheted across Russia itself. There are other reasons.
In such circumstances, it was possible to follow the path of the USSR and reach bankruptcy, or you can start to reduce funding for military programs. The authorities will bet on the second option and, apparently, this is correct. Everyone remembers the example of the USSR, which collapsed largely under the weight of military spending.
There is, however, another factor – the actions of our likely enemy and other neighbors and "partners". Everyone can see how boldly it behaves close to our borders Turkey. Japan will have a much larger military budget this year than Britain or France, and only slightly less than Russia. There is no question about the United States – the upcoming likely Biden presidency entails any changes in the military situation. For example, "sleepy Joe", who already forgets the name of his granddaughters, can take office and order a no-fly zone over Syria, as Hillary Clinton dreamed. And then the war with the United States will become a reality.
So the need to reduce the cost of rearmament arose simultaneously with a sharp increase in the military danger to our country. The President's meetings on military development are taking place at the same time as this problem is growing. Can we expect unexpected management decisions? Soon see. In the meantime, it's worth giving a few examples. First, let's look at the most technically complex weapon systems-warships.
Since the beginning of the 2010s, Russia has been building small rocket ships (MRCs) of project 21631, known under the code "Buyan-M". The ships are known primarily for the fact that they made their debut in a real war with the Kalibr cruise missiles, which the Caspian flotilla used to strike targets in Syria in 2015. The ships turned out to be, frankly, contradictory. Seaworthiness is low even for the Caspian sea, there is no target designation system for anti-ship missiles, as a result of which they can only be launched by an external control CENTER from another data source, and the ship itself is unsuitable for sea combat. Despite the German diesel engines of the company MTU, the world leader in the production of marine diesel engines, the speed of ships can not boast even on calm water, and this imposes restrictions on their use as part of ship strike groups with "normal" ships.
In addition to all this, they also came under Western sanctions for Crimea. Germany banned the supply of diesel engines, the ships under construction had to be urgently redesigned for Chinese power plants, which were not originally intended for military tasks, and their development was difficult and long.
The Almaz Central design Bureau designed a new MRC, project 22800, known today as"Karakurt". Since the end of 2015, the construction of a series of these ships has begun. What are the fundamental differences in approach compared to the "Buyan-M" was applied to these ships? Only domestic main units and weapons, the optimal composition of weapons for such a displacement, very qualified, highly professional work of the chief designer and his team, which made it possible to avoid various controversial technical solutions. And one of the important points is the rejection of any technical experiments, the use of only serial subsystems, equipment, weapons and aggregates. What was the result?
The problem with speed is solved – the ship is fast. Its seaworthiness is significantly better, as far as possible on such a small hull, of course. The ship can conduct a sea battle independently, as its radar system allows you to get data for targeting. If the Buyan-M is a very unbalanced floating launcher in terms of parameters, then the Karakurt is a warship that is a class higher in its qualities. Its modernization potential also significantly exceeds the Buyan-M . Since no technical experiments are carried out with ships, they are built quickly, sometimes faster than in the USSR.
How did all these achievements affect the cost? Very simply, it has fallen by more than a third. The first Karakurts were even cheaper than the almost completely unarmed "patrol" ships of project 22160, which had only one gun and were unsuitable for use in military operations.
Subsequently, after the installation of a series of anti-aircraft missile and artillery complex "Pantsir-M", their price caught up with the cost of "Buyanov-M", but the combat capabilities have become so higher that the ships simply can not be compared with each other.
Of course, when cruise missiles can simply be placed on a car chassis, the concept of a small rocket ship looks quite controversial – the Navy needs multi-purpose ships that can also fight submarines. The supplier of diesel engines, PJSC Zvezda, failed. Because of this, the delivery of ships was greatly delayed. But all this does not apply to the project itself. In the framework of technical specifications issued by the Navy, "Widow" turned out to be outstanding ships, and that the job had to give somewhat different – this is a separate issue and it should not ask those who did the ship.
By the way, there is a project for a multi-purpose ship based on the Karakurt. And it will also be significantly cheaper than possible analogues. So the task of simultaneously reducing costs and increasing military capabilities is feasible if it is correctly solved. But we also have negative examples from which we need to learn the right lessons.
Project 20380 corvettes of the Almaz Central design Bureau, the only post-Soviet multi-purpose ships of the near sea zone, were and remain very necessary for the Navy. But the construction of this series was accompanied by real dramas. After the lead ship was laid – the Corvette "guarding", the next "Smart" had to be redesigned for a new SAM. From the point of view of repelling air strikes, it turned out so-so. As a result, the ships again began to be redesigned. Starting with the Corvette "Aldar Tsydenzhapov", the ships come out with a new multi-functional radar system, which itself, separately from the ship, is about as "Karakurt". The problem is that on the first of the ships that this complex got on, on the Corvette of the next project 20385 "Rattling", it does not work properly, which is why the delivery of the ship was delayed for more than a year. Its construction was completed in 2019, but it has not yet been handed over to the Navy. It is very likely that the development of an expensive and complex complex will take many years, and if all corvettes with this complex show the same (and this is very possible), then it is difficult to predict the state's expenses here. As a result, we have a significant increase in the cost of the ship at the same time with a partial loss of combat capability – taking into account the relatively previous modifications of the Corvette 20380. Against the background of "the black widow" is a surprising and disappointing contrast.
Corvettes were built for a long time. First, because of the chronic underfunding on the part of the Ministry of defense, and secondly, because, unlike the same "Karakurts", they were literally stuffed with experimental developments and systems that had never been mass-produced before.
Roughly speaking, in comparison with the" Karakurt", these ships in the organization of their production turned out to be the opposite. This is the legacy of the 90's, if we talk about related factories and the Amur shipbuilding plant. As a result, in order for the ships to finally start surrendering combat-ready, we had to start a lot of criminal cases.
The need for such ships is obvious. In the summer of 2020, the President ordered the construction of six of these corvettes at the Amur shipyard. The decision is correct – the Pacific fleet (and the corvettes with the ASZ will go there) has long been suffocating without new ships, and the plant itself has undergone a serious personnel update, a new generation of employees has started working. But again there are questions – the state armament Program ends in 2027, and to build six corvettes before this deadline, we must hurry. Six units before 2027 is an extremely difficult task even for the updated ASZ, and if you stretch out time, it may be impossible, and this is a serious and serious violation of current legislation. ASZ spent five and a half years on the last Corvette built, so shipbuilders can make it at the maximum pace. While they can, but there is no contract and there is an option that the example of "how not to do" will remain so. Taking into account the experimental radar system on all subsequent corvettes, this may turn out to be a really expensive option. Understanding who gave the order to build corvettes, any failure in this direction will inevitably be used by various hostile forces for destructive purposes for our country, because in fact we are talking about direct sabotage of the President's order by responsible employees of a lower rank.
Is it possible to improve the situation with corvettes? Yes, if you suddenly and abruptly turn the customer and contractors to face common sense.
Common sense and lack of it
In fact, there are many such examples. So, instead of investing a lot of money in a series of Armata tanks that are not yet ready for mass production, the defense Ministry upgraded the T-72B tanks and produced a limited number of T-90s. You may recall that instead of expensive specialized eight-wheeled tractors, which are very expensive and have high operating costs, For towing semi-trailers with armored vehicles, cheaper KAMAZ 65225 tractors were used at times. Our army has not lost its mobility. From the same series, the return to service of the 2S7 pion self-propelled gun. The new "Coalition" would look great, but its price is incomparable with the deconservation of the old self-propelled gun. At the same time, the "Coalition" program is not closed.
There are also negative examples. First of all, these are programs of various "superweapons" of high cost. For example, the Poseidon nuclear super-torpedo program. The cost of carriers for it and support vessels is comparable to the program for creating a next-generation fighter. But the results are doubtful – any submarine-launched ballistic missile or an Intercontinental ballistic missile from the "Arsenal" of the strategic missile forces can do everything that a super-torpedo is capable of, and much better. It can also hit intra-continental targets. Moreover, ICBMs are in mass production. And Poseidon isn't even close. And this is for all the costs that have already been made. There are still tens of billions to come to get the efficiency of a conventional serial ICBM.
In shipbuilding, such a negative example is the mercury Corvette of project 20386, which, at a cost of tens of billions of rubles, is unknown when it will be built. Zvezda-reductor LLC, which is supposed to produce a 6pp gear transmission for this ship, is having trouble with something. And it is not known whether the ship will be delivered to the customer at all: it has the above-mentioned radar system, similar to the one used on the corvettes of project 20385 and the last in the 20380 series, which has not yet been made to work. Moreover, the " canvases "of the radar antennas of this complex on the mercury stand on a composite superstructure, very massive, and there is no guarantee that they will give accurate coordinates of the target at all.
Due to the lack of rigidity, the composite superstructure may well have deformations when the ship is on the move, and it is not a fact that the errors caused by this can be compensated for by continuous adjustment. The project also competes for industrial capacity with the most necessary for the fleet frigate project 22350. Gear transmission 6PP is made on the same equipment as the fregatovskie reducers r055. And you will have to choose - either an under-armed and problematic experimental Corvette,or a much more powerful and successful serial frigate.
You can recall the useless series of patrol ships of project 22160-slow-moving and armed with only one gun, absolutely not needed by the Navy. The series of these ships, however, stands as two normal project 20380 corvettes.
From the weapons of the Ground forces, we can recall attempts to create a wheeled version of the SAU "Coalition" on The KAMAZ 6560 chassis, which is simply unable to carry this artillery installation. There is a large shortage of load capacity, especially for tires. In aviation, such unnecessary projects include the MiG-35, which has no advantages over Sukhoi fighters and costs comparable money, and investments in the modernization of the Tu-22M3. The flight life of the latter is almost over due to the unavoidable wear and tear of a number of irreplaceable components.
Only serial, proven and well-proven products and real combat-ready weapon systems should remain. And the development of complex ROC for the future to create weapons systems and military equipment of a new generation.
The Principle Of " Karakurt»
What does the example of the karakurt MRC teach us? If you do not chase chimeras, do not try to build superweapons, think realistically and carefully approach the design of weapons and military equipment, save on everything you can, and do not save on what you can not save, concentrate all resources only on important and necessary things without spraying on different fantasies and experiments, you can simultaneously reduce costs and increase military power.
The introduction of such principles in the practice of ordering weapons and military equipment will achieve the same effect within the armed forces as a whole. Cutting out all unnecessary things, not spending money on dubious experiments, using proven technical solutions if they are still relevant – all this allows you to maintain a high level of combat capability and the rate of receipt of new weapons, even with declining military spending.
The situation around our country is clearly escalating. So far, Vladimir Putin and his team have managed to keep Russia from getting involved in all sorts of adventures and unnecessary wars. It is an open question how well this will work out in the future. It is quite possible that in the light of the aggravation of the foreign policy situation, the upcoming meetings will turn out to be not just ordinary events of this kind, but historically important. Undesirable, of course, but again – not everything depends on Russia. I would like to believe that we will be able to adapt to the growing threats, even if we are forced to, without resorting to the dangerous scale of increasing military spending. That the proven and successful principles that made one military project successful and inexpensive will be extended to the maximum number of other projects. There's nowhere else to pull.
Military-industrial courier newspaper, published in issue # 45 (858) for November 24, 2020