Last year, the Russian fleet was characterized by a hyperactive demonstration of the flag. This is not a whim, but an important part of the foreign policy of an influential state. And our fleet copes with the task set before it more than worthily - this is the case when the facts speak for themselves.
Some might think that the naval presence of Russia in the World Ocean, the demonstration of the flag, the visits of warships and ships to ports of foreign states is a circus, vanity, the whim of admirals and a waste of people's money. However, such a point of view, characteristic primarily of people with a "social" and overland thinking, is very far from reality. That is why the listed tasks of the Navy appear in the recently approved Fundamentals of the state policy in the field of naval activities for the period up to 2030.
Surprisingly, in the 600 years that have passed since the beginning of the era of the Great Geographical Discoveries, almost nothing has changed in the matter under consideration. In order to make a proper impression on the indigenous population of remote territories with subsequent colonization (in former times) or by establishing partnerships (nowadays), it is necessary to demonstrate their technical level and the ability to deliver its fruits over long distances. In the 15th century, caravells and caracles bristling with cannon were enough convincing demonstration material, today - immeasurably more powerful, but almost as leisurely cruisers, destroyers and other combat ships of the main classes.
Of course, progress does not stand still, and modern strategic bombers are capable of flying to foreign airfields located for many thousands of kilometers from the airfields of bases (for example, visits of Tu-160 to Venezuela and Tu-95MS to Indonesia). But this requires a trusting relationship, because not every country will agree to let in its airspace and to its air base foreign "strategists". At the same time, the other side of the risks is even greater. First, the "strategists" intended to use weapons outside the zone of foreign air defense, when entering such a zone, become practically defenseless. Secondly, on board the Tu-160 or Tu-95 it is impossible to deploy an anti-terror group, as a result of which the security of a particularly important facility is delegated to the guard service of a foreign air base.
The base at the military aerodrome also implies a limited publicity of the visit, while visits to a foreign port of warships under the Russian flag have the opportunity to observe a lot of people - yachtsmen, townspeople, tourists, correspondents, shippitters, sailors. As a rule, free visits to ships are organized by all those who wish, representatives of the naval command of the host party, military and naval attaches of other countries, and sometimes heads of state are brought on board. When entering the foreign military naval base with the crew of the ship - the host of the visit, sports competitions and exchange of visits are arranged. Finally, during the call, the seaside town is flooded with sailors in Russian military uniforms (at the BNP Avenue 1155 near 290 people, at RRC Ave 1164 - 480), which make purchases, inspect the sights and demonstrate the flag of Russia that flaunts on their chevron on the left sleeve in 8 centimeters from the shoulder seam.
The importance of a worthy demonstration of a flag in a foreign port, on crossing by sea or in any other form, is difficult to overestimate, as for a single ship foreigners judge the country to which it belongs. Military seamen fully understand the importance of the representative function of the Navy, as the interview of the deputy commander of the Primorye flotilla of the diverse forces of the Pacific Fleet, Rear Admiral Eduard Mikhailov, given by him on board the BDMK Admiral Panteleev in Shanghai.
Let's look at the statistics. In 2017 22 combat surface ships of the main classes of the Russian Navy carried out 34 combat services (long-range march), including those that were started in 2016 and not completed with the new 2018. At the same time, Admiral Grigorovich has four combat services, the corvette Boykiy-three (both of which are among our few newbuildings), the Severomorsk shipbuilding complex, the new Admiral Essen missile defense corps, the Corvette Sobrazitelny and two others . The total time spent away from their shores was 1920 days - an average of about two months for one combat service and three months for one ship.
The leader of 2017 is the Severomorsk shipyard (212 days), which was in charge of Kuznetsov at the crossing and during the entire combat operation of the carrier group off the coast of Syria, made a unique African "round-the-world" (clockwise, from Limassol to Limassol via Suez Canal, making a small detour to Karachi to participate in the international exercises of AMAN 2017 and tickle the nerves of some nervous accomplices - Americans, British, Australians), and finally led the 6-Arctic arsenal of the surface forces of the Northern Fleet. It is followed by the guards "Admiral Grigorovich" and "Admiral Essen", corvettes "Boykiy" and "Sobrazitelny", recorded at their own expense from 169 to 102 days (so active use of the ships of new projects can not but rejoice).
Data on the number of miles traveled is not available, since the Ministry of Defense does not always report this, and the sea route calculated at known points of stay of the ship (detachment) is at times different from the real one. However, if one "Varyag" for 74 days of its "cruise" on the APR (less than 4% of the total surfacing) has passed half the length of the equator, it is easy to imagine how many "equator" recorded at its expense the Russian Navy last year only in long voyages ( 12,5).
The sixth arctic expedition of the squadron of ships and vessels of the Northern Fleet, it would seem, does not fall under the definition of "demonstration of the flag" - this military service was held in our tornado and exclusive economic zone, foreign nationals could not observe it. However, we live in the era of information technology, and our flag over the uninhabited expanses of the Arctic was clearly visible between the lines of media reports, in photo and video reports, and so its demonstration still was.
In the modern Russian naval vocabulary, there are two most common terms denoting the fact that a military ship visits a foreign port - an "unofficial visit" (as opposed to a strictly formalized "official") and a "business call", which is performed to replenish fuel, water, provisions and recreation of personnel. In the language of international communication, which is still English, it is customary to call such events more poetic - "visits of goodwill" (goodwill visits).
Last year, combat surface ships of the main classes (BNC OK) of the Russian Navy made 46 visits and visits to 28 ports of 27 foreign countries: Angola, Brunei, Egypt, Indonesia, Greece, Djibouti, Egypt, Indonesia, Cape Verde, Cambodia, Cyprus, China, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Oman, Pakistan, Portugal, Seychelles, Singapore, Thailand, Tanzania, the Philippines, Equatorial Guinea, South Korea, South Africa, and Japan.
Despite the clearly unfriendly relations with the countries of the Western world, the list includes NATO members Greece and Portugal, the European Union Cyprus and pro-American Japan and South Korea. Nine other countries belong to the Asia-Pacific region, the remaining 13 to Africa, the Middle East (Oman) and South Asia (Pakistan). Such a geography of visits and visits eloquently speaks about with which regions of the world Russia intends to build economic and military-political relations in the near future - and this is not the West.
The absolute record holder for the number of countries visited is the Severomorsk (12), which deserves the title "The best combat surface ship 2017 of the year". It is followed by SRC "Varyag" (7), BCP "Admiral Panteleev" (7) and "Vice Admiral Kulakov" (4). On projects with a large margin, the "workhorses" of our navy - BKP pr. 1155 (28 visits and visits to 22 countries) are leading.
Statistics of the number of visits to foreign ports, which the press service of the Defense Ministry says, may differ from the one given in this article due to the inclusion of not only BNC OK, but also marine support vessels (for example, the Admiral Vladimirsky oceanographer and the Kola tanker) .
In addition to the traditional, most effective and effective way of demonstrating the flag, there are others, without mentioning which the picture of the foreign policy activities of the Russian Navy in 2017 would be incomplete.
1. An excellent opportunity to demonstrate the flag is provided by the English Channel, the Strait of Gibraltar, the Malacca and Suez Canals with their intensive traffic from all over the world, and the passage by any of them may well be equated with a visit to a foreign port. Due to the fact that Western countries pay special attention to all movements of the Russian Navy BNK, the majority of such passes (in 2017, they were 34) becomes the property of the media and social networks. In addition, the BNC OK made 64 passages by local straits (58 - Black Sea and 6 - Baltic), and these passes are counted in pairs - because of their "locality" and a short time between "there" and "back" (8-17 days). This group includes short BSs (cargo flights on the route Novorossiysk - Tartus) of large landing ships, not accounted for in the "combat services".
2. Participation of our ships in international naval exercises during long voyages does not make sense to consider separately, since the presence is demonstrated by the very fact of arrival in the country - hostess exercises. However, more and more often Russia itself acts as a host country of the IMU. In 2017 there were six: two stages of the "Sea Interaction" in the Baltic and the Far East with the Chinese, the Contest "Sea Cup" (ARMI) with them off the coast of Primorye, "West-2017" with Belarusians with the active participation of ships BF, Indra with the Indian Navy and "Sarex" with the Navy of Japan (the latter two - in the Sea of Japan). All these exercises (especially in the Baltic) were closely monitored by naval intelligence and the media of the United States and NATO countries, so the fact of the demonstration of the flag is obvious.
3. In addition to fulfilling the tasks of combat service, the BNK of the Russian Navy has to perform interflot transitions (FIP) to the place of permanent basing, testing or maritime parades. The MFPs of the newly built ships from the Baltic to the Black Sea Fleet are compulsorily combined with the BS in the Mediterranean with passages of the English Channel, Gibraltar and the Bosporus-Dardanelles, and the BDK SF and BF transitions for participation in the "Syrian Express" and back by definition are stages of combat service with the passages of the same straits. MFP in its pure form last year was nine to five BNK Northern Fleet for the parade in Kronstadt and back and four not yet transferred to the customer "Gorshkov" on the route Severnaya Verf - Severomorsk (for state testing) and back (to remove comments). In this case, the ships also demonstrated a flag to our western colleagues - in the Norwegian and North Seas, in the Baltic Straits and in the Baltic. The inter-service crossing was one - the Arctic expedition of the Northern Fleet, during which two ships reached Dixon and Dudinka, and two others - to the Novosibirsk Islands.
4. International exhibitions of naval products regularly held in Russia can be called "visits to foreign ports on the contrary", since if BNK OK participates in them, these ships display the flag without departing from their own berth, while observers, on the contrary, come from all over planets to see them live. In 2017 at three events (IMDS in St. Petersburg, the Army-2017 MITF in St. Petersburg and Vladivostok and conditionally included in this group VEF-2017 in Vladivostok) four ships were presented:who has not yet completed the state testing of his Admiral Makarov missile system and the drill "Stoic", "Smart" and "Perfect".
5. The main naval parade in St. Petersburg and Kronstadt on the Day of the Navy (for the first time since the 300 anniversary of the Russian fleet in 1996), as well as the parades in Vladivostok and Sevastopol, are also similar to "visits to the contrary" because of their accessibility for tourists, abroad and correspondents of foreign media. The events in Severomorsk, Baltiysk and Tartus (closed naval and naval bases) were of a chamber nature, but they were also widely covered in the press and presumably took place in the presence of foreign military attaches. In total, 31 BKK OK was observed on raids of seven seaside towns on barrels and on the move, three of which had not yet been transferred to the Navy (Gorshkov, Makarov and Gren), and two were in reserve.
Impressive result with small forces
Thus, last year on 40 combat surface ships of the main classes of the Russian Navy (37 combat and 35 combatant), 207 facts of the flag demonstration in one way or another: 46 visits and calls to foreign ports, 34 passages and channels of world importance, 64 pass the straits of the local value to the minimum and 120 to the maximum (taking into account double passes during one BS), 14 facts of participation in international naval exercises, 13 interflot and interbase transitions, 5 facts of participation in international exhibitions and events minds and 31 - in Marine Parade.
Given that 40 BNC OK, who participated in the demonstration of the flag in 2017 (the submarine for obvious reasons remain off-screen), account for 78% of 51 - 49 registered in the Navy at the end of the year and two almost ready to transfer fleet (without accounting "Lazarev", "Fearless", "Burning" and "Kharlamov", which are in sludge with dubious views of the future, but taking into account "Gorshkov" and "Grena"), we can talk about the very active use of the existing ship's composition. At the same time, 22 ships (43%), going to the BS, and 13 (25%), who made visits and visits to 27 foreign countries, indicate that the foreign mission assigned to the Russian Navy is quite successful, with small forces.
As Rear-Admiral Mikhailov stated in his interview, "the relevant task is put to us every year, and, in my opinion, the fleet decides adequately." No doubt - decides adequately.