本帖最后由 JSTCVW09CD 于 2012-2-4 10:48 编辑 |
The tendency of the Russian military to save costs and unify the fleet’s missiles is worth a separate comment. In the Soviet days, the Navy went on a spree of producing “unique” strike missile systems with incompatible launchers and missiles. In each case the adoption of one or another system was absolutely justified by tasks at hand. But it all produced a monstrous zoo full of combat weapons in the Navy. The defense industry, accustomed to spending freely, also lent a hand: sometimes military experts, who were practically-minded, combined a new missile with an old launcher. The result was self-evident.
Take, for example, the saga of Project 670 and 670M submarines, which were to be equipped with one missile system (there were plans to arm older submarines with the new Malakhit missile with an extended range). The upshot, however, was that each project retained its original armaments – until the boats were decommissioned in the early 1990s.
But times change and the money, not a lot even in the glorious era of Fleet Admiral Sergei Gorshkov, came to an end. The concept of a multi-purpose ship firing system became overriding: all ships in the basic classes – including Projects 20385 and 22350 and their likely cousins (ocean-going destroyers) – are now to be equipped this way.
In effect, it is a group of unified vertical launchers which offer a wide range of configurations. A ship equipped with this multi-purpose system can carry anti-ship Oniks cruise missiles or missiles from the all-purpose Kalibr system (in three configurations: supersonic anti-ship, subsonic for engaging ground targets and anti-submarine). Future plans contemplate extending this armory by including surface-to-air missiles, although for the time being the new system is employed only in strike systems.
The West will help us
The delay in commissioning Project 22350 vessels (the first ship was laid down in 2006) suggested a simple solution. It was decided that the amount of time needed to start the construction Gorshkov class ships could also be spent on a simultaneous commissioning of Project 1135.7 frigates.
This frigate is a very interesting ship. It is based on Project 1135.6 – a distant descendant of Soviet Project 1135 patrol ships developed for the Indian Navy (known as Talwar-type frigates). The Baltic shipyard has already delivered the first three vessels of this class to India. Three more are under construction at the Yantar shipyard in Kaliningrad.
The Russian Navy, which badly needs new ships, has requested a “domestic” version of the Talwar, code-named 1135.7 instead. The projects turned out to be so similar that many systems adopted for the 1135.7 turned out to be systems developed for overseas customers and until recently they lacked the authorization for use in the Russian Armed Forces.
The Russian Navy has now placed orders for six Project 1135.7 frigates with Yantar. Two of them are already laid down: the Admiral Grigorovich in December 2010 and the Admiral Essen in July 2011. For 2012, plans call for the start of two or three more ships, and one or two in 2013.
But the feeling is that six frigates are not the limit: Project 22350 is costly and needs to be brought up to date. The current brass, badly shaken by the 1990s disaster, is holding to the maxim: “If it works, don’t fix it.” So if the 1135.7 is accepted by the Navy, a large series will be built – perhaps in an upgraded configuration.
This will be the Russian surface fleet for the 21st century: tight-fisted, pragmatic and knowing its limits. Public opinion seems abashed to see its military in this light – but it will have to get used to it.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.