A nationalist military expert criticizes the decisions to purchase ships for the Ukrainian Navy, which, in his opinion, will become "white elephants" and will spend time at the pier, and not at sea. Instead, he proposes to redirect budget funds for the modernization of the ground units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine... waging war in the Donbas.
2020 was the year of the Navy in Ukraine - contracts and memoranda were signed for the purchase of 5 corvettes, 8 missile boats, 39 patrol boats and 1 coastal division of anti-ship missiles for a record amount of about $ 3.7 billion. Colossal procurement figures have been announced, but there are no figures for how much it will cost to put into operation and operate.
But this should be known to all ordinary citizens - who still spend their money on the purchase of military vehicles, tablets, drones and ammunition, sights, sensors, machine guns, and covers many other needs of the war, which the Ukrainian leadership prefers not to notice. But how beautiful it is to be photographed in foreign capitals and sign under the flashes! In fact, a huge bias has been created in the direction of naval weapons to the detriment of other branches of the armed forces, and especially the active army, which remains on the sidelines of world technological progress and does not have many mandatory weapons systems today. This requires detailed consideration.
And now in order: In 2020, Ukraine announced five global procurement projects for the Navy.
1. USA: contracts for the purchase of new Mark-6 patrol boats (up to $ 600 million) and a contract for the purchase of Island-type air patrol boats.
2. France: contract for the purchase of patrol boats FPB-98 Mk. 1 ($160 million) for the State Border Service.
3. Turkey: contract for the purchase of corvettes of the ADA project (up to $ 1.3 billion).
4. Great Britain: a memorandum on a loan for the purchase of missile boats and infrastructure development (up to $ 1.6 billion).
5. Ukraine: the purchase of a division of anti-ship missiles "Neptune" (according to estimates and unofficial data, the division on armored vehicles "Tatra" plus a few dozen missiles will cost the budget approximately 75 million dollars).
Unfortunately, the analysis of purchases shows a discrepancy between the real tasks in the war, a lack of understanding of the scenarios for the use of the fleet in combat operations.
So, let's look at:
A) what we bought and what's good about it
B) what are the problems
1. American Mark-6 boats:
A) According to the foreign Ministry of Ukraine, the contract provides for the purchase of 16 boats of the same type of "mark-6" produced by SAFE Boats International LLC with a total value of up to $ 600 million, to build two boats has already begun. 6 boats under the program of gratuitous assistance, and 10-at the expense of the budget of Ukraine. Patrol boats are armed with optical-location stations, 25 mm cannons and 12.7 mm machine guns, they are designed for operations in coastal waters with a special forces group on board, for ship inspection, landing on motor boats and directly on the shore. The weight of 65 tons allows you to deliver boats by land to the Sea of Azov.
Ukraine also continued to purchase Island-type patrol boats under the program of gratuitous military assistance. We already have two such boats, and in 2020 we ordered three more Island boats. The advantage of these ships is greater displacement, seaworthiness, autonomy and relatively low cost, since they are transferred to us from the reserve, not new ones. But the weapons here are just as light-except against small trespassers and light boats, and the operation of the old one requires resources.
B) Patrol boats are not designed for naval warfare against warships, of course, the Mark-6 is much more effective for coastal operations in the Black Sea than the Gyurza type boats, but how to explain such a large volume of purchases of such highly specialized boats, if the United States bought only 12 Mark-6 for its entire fleet? Why spend such huge funds of the aid program and the state budget? This is clearly an ill-conceived scale.
2. French boats FPB-98 Mk. 1.
A) The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine has signed a contract for the purchase of 20 boats produced by OSEA in the amount of $ 160 million in the interests of the State Border Service. Patrol boats are designed for the same purposes as American ones. Displacement of 100 tons, armed with a 30 mm gun. These are boats of the same class as the Mark-6.
B) Patrol boats are necessary to replace worn-out Soviet-built boats. There is nothing to analyze the combat value, the boats of the border guards can perform very narrow tasks for the coast guard and the protection of the economic zone. If the patrol boats were used in a coordinated manner with the military, it is likely that the total number could be reduced.
3. Turkish corvettes
A) Contract for the purchase of ADA-type corvettes manufactured in Turkey under the military agreement of October 16, 2020. The contract involves, according to media sources, the construction of 5 corvettes with an estimated cost of more than 260 million dollars for each ship with a displacement of 1 thousand 500 tons. Four such corvettes are already in service with Turkey.
Financing - at the expense of the budget of Ukraine. These are ships optimized to deal primarily with submarines, as well as surface ships in the Aegean and Black Seas. They have anti-submarine torpedoes, sonar, and even an S-70B Seahawk anti-submarine helicopter, a universal 76 mm Melara missile launcher, Harpoon anti-ship missiles, and a RIM-116 self-defense anti-aircraft missile system. Corvettes are quite large ships, but they do not have any serious air defense system, do not provide long-range detection of aircraft and missiles, the characteristics of the outdated air defense system developed in 1987 with a range of up to 10 km do not allow you to defend yourself against modern means of air attack. It is important to note that most of the ship's weapons systems, engines and electronics are manufactured in the United States, Italy, Germany, and France, and this creates great risks for the Turkish project. On December 14, the United States imposed sanctions on the entire leadership of the Turkish defense industry, and on the same day, the Ukrainian Defense Minister announced a contract with the Turks. What kind of corvette can we talk about, if without cooperation with the United States and NATO, the Turks will not be able to complete it?
B) Corvettes of the ADA type are a project that, unfortunately, does not rely on a realistic technical task and which are going to be purchased for unknown combat tactics. The Turks built ADA corvettes for operations in the eastern Mediterranean, they have a powerful aircraft and an advanced air defense system. Ukraine does not have all this. But to act effectively, corvettes must operate in the range of air defense radar, long-range SAMs and fighters, because the enemy with its radars, missiles and aircraft fully controls all our ports. The question arises - what kind of battles will the sailors on the corvettes prepare for, who will they shoot at if we cannot ensure their effective use? In order to make launches from the base, it is better to buy coastal anti-ship systems that are cheaper and operate covertly, and to simply symbolically show the flag, corvettes are excessively expensive. Without effective air defense and air superiority, it is simply unwise to conduct combat operations in a closed sea.
4. The British rocket ships
A) Signed a memorandum on the conclusion of a contract with the United Kingdom for the construction of 8 missile boats worth $ 1.6 billion manufactured by Vosper Thornycroft. The company has developed the Super Vita project, six of these boats are built for the Greek Navy. The boats are essentially missile ships with a displacement of 670 tons, with advanced electronics, three radars, 8 French Exocet Block 2 and 3 anti-ship missiles with a range of up to 200 km, developed self-defense means - the Italian Melara 76 mm GRT artillery installation, two 30 mm artillery installations, the RIM-116 self-defense missile system. The ship does not have anti-submarine capabilities, but unlike the corvette, it is optimized for sudden missile attacks and actions in the island zone of the Aegean Sea.
B) The problem of missile ships is that the Ukrainian part of the Black Sea is seriously different from the Aegean. We do not have a large number of islands that are convenient for ambush operations of missile ships, the enemy has bases close to our ports and fully controls all activity in them. Super Vita ships are less visible than corvettes, but they will not be able to operate covertly and independently, their use must be calculated in conjunction with the provision of intelligence and air defense. And we even have naval bases that are not covered by modern air defense systems, and we lack long-range naval intelligence and target designation for targeting long-range missiles.
5. Neptune coastal anti-ship missile system
A) On December 30, a contract was signed for the production of one division and several dozen missiles. This will provide coastal defense and support for our forces in the coastal zone. The complex will have high mobility - it will be mounted on the Tatra chassis (more than 50 percent of the cost of the contract for the Neptune division is the cost of armored tractors of the Czech company).
B) The problem of "Neptune" is that it is a new technique, and in the process of mastering it, shortcomings will be revealed that require further development and debugging. Also a problem is intelligence and target designation, for this the division must be provided with radars and electronic intelligence stations, as well as cover with mobile air defense systems. It is necessary to prepare qualified calculations, retain specialists on long contracts.
1. We have no doctrine of naval warfare. The deployment of large-scale fleet construction requires first of all clear defense planning, otherwise dozens of purchased ships and boats will become "white elephants" who spend time at the pier, and not at sea. Which have a very limited combat value, since they were bought for a war at sea, which, in fact, Ukraine will not fight. To achieve parity or superiority over the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation is not a priority for us at the moment, because the enemy primarily has superiority in the air, in the means of reconnaissance and target designation. For us, it is important to first build at least a capable coastal defense, and to control our communication routes, to involve NATO forces as much as possible.
The expansion of military operations at sea is a potential threat, and the expansion of military operations in the Donbas is an active threat! The naval arms race will simply consume our very modest resources and will not change the situation strategically. The real war is going on in the Donbass. And whether there will be a war at sea, and whether we will shoot at sea targets at all-this question must be answered after we answer the main question: "When will we liberate Donetsk?" The signed contracts are political decisions of Vladimir Zelensky and his entourage, but those who have accepted them do not understand the consequences, what a huge complex of expensive obligations they hang on the state by ill-considered actions. This reminds me, on a small scale, of the ambitious political projects of the Russian Empire and the USSR for the feverish construction of fleets on the Black Sea in the 20th century, which are known in history as an example of the incompetent and useless expenditure of huge resources.
2. The naval contracts of 2020 show the lack of coordination in the state. We simultaneously purchase three different types of patrol boats of the same class for the same tasks! All these boats have different weapons, different engines, and different electronics. Wouldn't it be logical to buy boats of the same type, with the same set of weapons, in order to reduce operating costs? The life cycle of the ship will be much more expensive than the purchase itself, maybe it would be worth calculating this? And what expenses are required for the selection and provision of crews of such expensive combat units? For the construction of housing, exercise equipment, expensive exits to the sea? The fleet is not just about buying ships! The ship is just a part of a huge infrastructure, a long long-term work, education and training. We must develop the defense forces in a balanced way, we must decide on priorities, otherwise the purchase of ships will leave them without a budget for combat training, and their combat value will be close to zero even after the purchase.
3. Priority number 1 - the war in the Donbass. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian army still lacks a combat information system at the tactical and operational level! None of our tanks have an electronic fire control system! Our army still uses volunteer tablets to control artillery fire, which are not even accepted for service! To understand our level of readiness for maneuver warfare, we need to watch a video from Karabakh. Our artillery still cannot be re-equipped with 155 mm caliber, the necessary number of shells is not purchased - so give them a loan of a billion dollars, we can buy excellent Archer self-propelled guns instead of boats. We do not provide housing and dormitories for the professional army, and we do not raise the very modest salaries of the military. Our volunteers and the military use their own money to buy drones for the war, bombs for them, sights, cars - why does the country's leadership not pay any attention to these blatant facts? Instead of solving real problems on the strongholds of the Donbass, we are focusing the latest weapons at sea. Where is the logic?
The state is obliged to allocate the main budget funds and foreign loans for arming the troops with the most modern electronic fire control and command systems, saturating the troops with the most modern sensors, mass equipping with drones-air and ground, intelligence means, we need air defense, which is simply in a critical state, we need purchases of modern transport, so that not volunteers, but the state finally thought of buying elementary jeeps. That's why we need a defense policy to determine priorities. And when there is no such policy and no one wants to think at the top, but only wants photos with foreign politicians, then no money in a poor country will be enough to satisfy all good ideas, ambitions and wishlist.…