The Russian Navy is not meant to compete with the US, but to counteract American forces within the framework of Russia's modern strategy of a powerful power, writes The National Interest. The Navy plays an important role in maintaining this strategy, despite all the shortcomings, and the West should not underestimate it.
The navy of Russia today is much more effective and active than before, although this is often not wanted to be recognized, writes the American analytical publication The National Interest. And although Moscow still uses some of the "remnants" of the ocean's navy, which it inherited from the Soviet Union, its place is gradually occupied by a new fleet, both underwater and above water. This fleet is significantly different from the previous one and has its own strategy, noted in the article NI, the exposition of which results in InoTV.
According to the authors, the United States should not "be afraid" of the new Russian Navy - but it should "respect" what Moscow does with its naval forces, and carefully study these actions. Otherwise, a misunderstanding of the opponent's capabilities and the logic behind his actions can present many unpleasant surprises on one ill-fated day, and quite often you have to pay for it with human lives.
In the analytical analysis of the Russian military potential, the armed forces of this country are usually represented either as a powerful giant or as a weak organism on the verge of dying. All such interpretations are essentially wrong and very harmful, underlines in the article: "That is why we study probable opponents - in order to understand their strategy, doctrine and fighting abilities, in which they invest money, and not to tell the authorities nonsense, but to offer a robust analysis And a vision of the future. "
The modern navy of Russia is not intended to compete with the US Navy, but to counteract it, the authors explain. In addition, it is called upon to provide the strategy of a "powerful Eurasian continental power" in the 21st century. And although Russia is not as powerful as the Soviet Union, it still remains a great power, and its armed forces are capable of creating numerical superiority at the borders of the country and strong enough to inflict significant damage to the enemy in the course of the conflict. In addition, Moscow has a powerful nuclear arsenal, which it will apply without hesitation if necessary, writes The National Interest.
The Russian navy plays an important role in this strategy, and it should not be underestimated, despite the shortcomings, authors urge. Of course, it would be "easier" for the West if Russia were engaged in "fruitless attempts" to compete with US naval forces, spending big money on ships that it can not afford, and setting unreasonable tasks in terms of geographic location and taking into account economic difficulties. In the recently signed Russian naval doctrine before 2030, there are "bold statements" about Russia's desire to maintain the status of the world's second largest naval power. Russia's nuclear submarine forces really occupy the second place in the world in terms of their capabilities, and, first of all, this applies to nuclear submarines with ballistic missiles. But at the same time, Russia has no plan to build ships that could turn its fleet into a global rival to the United States or China, the article says.
In fact, such statements are "traditional" for Russian leaders who, with the help of the Navy, demonstrate the strength and status of their country on the world stage, explains The National Interest: "The fleet is a notable symbol that shows that Russia is a great power capable of conducting a demonstration flag far beyond its geographical boundaries. We need to be skeptical of official statements designed to make the Russian fleet more fully aware of its importance (and was confident of receiving budgetary funds). " Instead, we need to analyze the "procurement strategy and process," which are the driving force behind changes in the fleet, the authors believe. In their opinion, the Russian navy is currently designed to fulfill four main tasks: protection of maritime approaches and coastal waters, high-precision strikes over long distances using nuclear and conventional weapons, demonstration of military power through the submarine fleet and the protection of nuclear deterrents sea basing on board Russian nuclear submarines.
But along with these tasks there is also a traditional need for "naval diplomacy", for which Russia will always have several large ships of the first rank, even if they will be "as unlucky and unreliable" as the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, article: "Maintaining the status of Russia in international politics is one of the most important tasks of its navy. Demonstration of status is no less important than the demonstration of force. In difficult times, like the 1990 and the beginning of the 2000-ies, the Russian navy did not do much anything, except for rare trips with proud flags and calls to foreign ports. Naval diplomacy, especially in the Asia-Pacific region, remains one of its main tasks. " In accordance with its concept, Russia plans to build a fleet that will successfully maintain the United States at a distance. It should combine in its composition the means of the echeloned defense, anti-ship long-range missiles, ground aircraft, submarines, coastal missile launchers and mines. In this way, Russia will try to "block" the US access to the sea and make their operations for a violent invasion very expensive, the authors explain.
The Russian Navy is also getting new opportunities for long-range attacks using conventional weapons on infrastructure facilities and is playing an increasingly important role in nuclear confrontation, if necessary. The new doctrine openly states that the fleet is "an important tool for firing non-nuclear long-range weapons and a means of delivering to the objective of operational-tactical nuclear weapons." Thus, it is designed to deter a likely adversary and influence his decision-making process in the event of a crisis. The number of launchers of cruise missiles from Russia is small, but the new state armament program for 2018-2025 provides additional allocations for missiles and their means of delivery, writes The National Interest.
Russia's needs in the transfer of forces and assets over long distances are small, since its armed forces do not conduct exercises far from their territory and are intended primarily for conducting combat operations near their homes. This is where the key interests and priorities of Russia are concentrated, the authors state. Its long-range aviation is capable of delivering missile strikes at a considerable distance from Russian borders, and the submarine fleet is simply obliged to defend the bastions of sea-based ballistic missiles and create a serious threat to the United States. "Of course, this is easier said than done, but Russia is perhaps the most technically advanced enemy of America under water. Incidentally, it has the world's second underwater nuclear fleet, "the article notes.
To "carry out the plan," Russia began with a program of building corvettes and frigates. Partly this is due to the fact that its shipbuilding plants have a rich experience of such construction. In the long term, Moscow hopes to move to the creation of larger ships, and this is a logical approach to the revival of military shipbuilding, which suffered the greatest losses in the Russian defense industry complex, reports The National Interest. And in already built ships "a lot of things that do not strike the eye," the authors emphasize.
First, in Russia it is well understood that the ship does not need a large displacement to install powerful missile systems on it. The organizational and staffing structure of the surface fleet is built not on the basis of combat platforms, but on the principle of integrated combat capabilities, and includes vertical launches with rockets "Onyx", "Caliber", ship anti-aircraft missile and gun systems "Pantsir-M" for object air defense, surface-to-air missile complexes of vertical launch "Redut" for air defense, as well as anti-torpedo protection complexes "Package-NK". On larger ships, the Polimen-Redut anti-aircraft missile systems, phased array antenna radar will be installed, and these ships will perform a wider range of tasks. Russian corvettes will receive guns of caliber 76 or 100 millimeters, a short-range weapons system and eight rocket launchers of vertical launch. These ships will have a short duration of autonomous navigation, but the "firepower-price" ratio is very good for them, and they will be able to carry out their tasks calmly, as soon as they leave the base, the article says.
The Russian shipbuilding program "has already survived the most difficult times", caused by delays in construction due to sanctions and the cessation of military cooperation with Ukraine, the authors are sure. And although the shipbuilding industry as a whole is still going through a rather difficult period of recovery after the 25-year break, it would be wrong to say that this unpleasant past will necessarily be reflected in the future, the authors are sure. For example, Russia is building a large shipyard "Zvezda" in the east of the country with the help of the Chinese. This shipyard is designed for commercial production, and there already installed a crane with a lifting capacity of 1 200 tons, which is necessary when creating modular structures. This is a significant breakthrough in the Russian shipbuilding industry, emphasizes The National Interest.
At the same time, "old" Russian ships can still fight, the authors recall: "Today's views on the Russian naval potential are clearly outdated. In reality, the Russian Navy did not see such pace of construction and the level of combat readiness from the middle of the 1990-ies. Russian ships, including frankly unreliable ones, such as destroyers of the "Modern" type, make hikes for ever greater distances, and the Navy as a whole spends much more time at sea than in the previous two decades. A significant part of its fleet Russia inherited from the Soviet Union, and these ships are still on the go. "
And although for the reliability of the campaigns, detachments of aging ships are necessarily escorted by towing vessels, but this supposedly "rusting" fleet still retains its powerful presence, and Russian submarine forces are no less active. Most of this is evident in the example of the resurgent Black Sea Fleet in the Crimea and the constant rotation of ships in the eastern Mediterranean. For example, Russia provided all its ships with the help of four second-hand Turkish merchant ships, bought, most likely, for pennies, evidently refuting all allegations that the Russian Navy was allegedly incapable of conducting long expedition operations without specially allocated forces and funds, notes The National Interest: "Necessity is not always the driving force of procurement. Sometimes the fleet shows ingenuity ... Often they do not want to admit it, but the Russian navy is much more effective and active than ever before. "
But the best ships of the Russian Navy, as in Soviet times, are submarines, the authors are sure, although today they are about five times smaller than Russia's. The structure of nuclear submarines includes 10 missile submarine cruisers of the project 971 "Pike-B", eight boats of the 949 project "Granite" and "Antey", three boats of the project 671RTM (K), and probably three boats of the 945 project. The fleet of strategic submarine cruisers (with ballistic missiles) includes six 667BDRM Dolphin boats, three boats of the 667BDR Kalmar project, and three of the eight planned for construction boats of the 955 Borey project. Diesel-electric submarines are represented by 14 boats of the 877 project and six boats of the 636.3 project in the Black Sea fleet, and six such boats are being built for the Pacific Fleet, the article says. Currently, many Russian submarines, including those equipped with cruise missiles, are in shipyards, undergoing modernization. Many boats are not very active, and because the Russian naval strategy is based on the protection of maritime approaches and coastal waters, they do not need to go far from home, writes The National Interest.
Some argue that the Russian submarine fleet to 2030 years as a whole will reach the service life limit, and in time it will not be possible to replace it. However, if someone harbors plans for a violent invasion, believing that he can easily overcome the bastions of the Russian nuclear fleet, he "should take with him more lifeboats and rafts," the authors recommend.
Despite the problems in Russian shipbuilding, and the construction of new submarines is not bad, the article says: Russia can build a diesel-electric boat project 636 in about a year and a half and quickly enough to fulfill an order for six such submarines, and for 8-10 years it can replace its entire fleet of diesel-electric boats with improved submarines of the 636.6 project. These are inexpensive and low-noise boats, and their Caliber missiles in their range can hit a significant part of the most important infrastructure in Europe. Russian engineers are not able to achieve great success in creating an air-independent propulsion system, but the construction of 677 Lada project boats continues, as is the process of modernization of the 636 project. The modernization of the Shark and Anteev will make the Russian submarine fleet multi-purpose and versatile, and these boats will be able to perform new tasks.
At the same time, Russia is designing a fifth generation submarine, which will become the basis for new nuclear submarines. These ships will have a modular design and will be quite cheap in production. At present, 12 nuclear submarines have already been laid or are being built. Assuming that the first fifth-generation boats will be laid down for 2023-2025 years, Russia will be able to begin replacing the Soviet submarines to be written off already at the beginning of the 2030, predicts The National Interest.
Especially it should be noted the boats of the project "Ash", as they are an integral part of the Russian strategy to create a threat to the continental United States in the event of a conflict. According to official statements, this boat is the most technically advanced enemy among those with whom American forces can collide in the depths of the sea. Yes, Russia can build only a small number of such boats, but this is not a reason for fun and complacency, the article stresses. One single boat project "Ash", while in the Atlantic, can inflict on the eastern coast of the United States a nuclear strike 32 rockets "Caliber". So such submarines will not need much.
Russia has another fleet, which is rarely heard of - the General Directorate of Deepwater Research (GGI). As part of this fleet, there are submarines of special purpose, created on the basis of converted Soviet boats. For example, the submarine submarine was converted from the 667BDRM missile carrier. Some submarines of this type are bases for smaller boats, others are designed to accommodate uninhabited submarines, new weapons systems, or to participate in innovative forms of operations to prohibit enemy actions underwater. At present, for these purposes, a modified Belgorod boat of the Antey class is being built. "You hardly think about this very GUGI, but HUGI probably thinks about you," notes The National Interest.
The Russian military industry still has a lot of problems that need to be addressed, including inefficient air defense missile systems that can not be integrated, and air-independent propulsion systems that refuse to work. Nevertheless, there are interesting trends that have emerged in recent years in the process of shipbuilding, the authors state. Classes of Russian ships remain unchanged, but only by name. In this case, the ships themselves become larger, and the corvettes gradually turn into "heavy" corvettes with a displacement of 3 500-4 000 tons. The program for the construction of Russian frigates will continue when it will be possible to solve problems with gas turbine engines. Most likely, it will undergo significant changes, and although all this time in the Russian fleet "there will be confusion", but gradually there is an order, writes The National Interest. The "calibrating" of Russian warships will continue, there will be more "Caliber" launchers with a large number of cells and a large stock of missiles. Russia will continue the serial production of diesel and nuclear submarines, as well as the re-equipment of some Soviet platforms, installing there new generation shock systems in order to save money.
In the coming years, the Russian Navy will deal with the integration of weapons systems and the solution of shipbuilding problems. At the same time, the development of weapons of a new generation, for example, hypersonic rockets, has already begun. "Despite all its troubles and misfortunes, the Russian fleet is in much better condition today than at any point after the end of the Cold War. Today, the crews of ships and submarines are fully manned by contract servicemen, and seamen of urgent service carry out tasks on the shore. In general, this type of armed forces has not yet recovered from the worst period in its history, but the Navy command has reason for cautious optimism, "the authors are sure.
Of course, one can point a finger at the "huge number of shortcomings" available in the Russian Navy, but the Russian fleet itself will not disappear from it. And if you look at the trends of the near and medium-term outlook, they look very positive, the article says. Russia is creating a fleet that best suits its strategy: it builds forces designed to operate in coastal waters and simultaneously invests in systems that will allow it to contain and frighten more powerful maritime powers for many decades. "Therefore, when you once again hear that the Russian fleet is disappearing, that the population is dying out in Russia, money is running out, and there is no work, and you want to test this theory, we very much advise you to take a life-course with you," concludes The National Interest .