From independence to Crimea
The annexation of Crimea to Russia was a colossal blow to the Ukrainian Navy, already experiencing difficulties with funding and combat capability since the country's independence. After the Crimean events, the country lost 75% of the fleet personnel and 70% of the ships, as well as key infrastructure.
The Ukrainian Navy still has its flagship, Hetman Sagaidachny, which was commissioned in 1993. This "frigate" was laid down in 1990 as a Project 11351 Nereus patrol ship. Obviously, we can talk about its limited combat capability. In May 2020, he fired in the Black Sea from artillery mounts AK-100, AK-630, using also the PK-16 electronic suppression complex, however, everyone understands that the ship is outdated both morally and physically.
One of the few new ships that the Navy received are the Gyurza-M river artillery boats. Now the fleet includes seven such units: BK-02 Ackerman, BK-01 Berdyansk, BK-03 Vyshgorod, BK-04 Kremenchug, BK-05 Lubny, BK-06 Nikopol and BK-07 "Kostopol". Their combat effectiveness raises questions.
Back in 2019, the deputy chief of staff of the Ukrainian naval forces for European integration, captain of the first rank, Andriy Ryzhenko, said that
"The boat" Gyurza-M "cannot perform tasks in the Black Sea with waves of three points or more and has very limited fire capabilities."
In the latter case, it meant that the missile system planned for installation was never installed.
It was clear for a long time that Ukraine would not receive a fleet comparable to the naval forces of the leading countries of the Black Sea region. On the other hand, the length of the sea borders (and the very fact that Ukraine is the largest European state) forces it to move in this direction.
Its main and, in fact, the only ambitious naval project was and remains "Vladimir the Great" - a ship of project 58250, which was developed by specialists of the "Research and Design Center for Shipbuilding" (KP "IPTsK") in Nikolaev.
Design work began in 2005, and the ship was laid down on May 17, 2011. Now few people remember, but initially the country wanted to get four such corvettes. At the moment, these plans sound almost fantastic, however, if you think about it, this is the very necessary minimum that would allow speaking about the Ukrainian fleet as something really combat-ready and meeting modern challenges.
There is no point in retelling the entire history of "Vladimir the Great": it is long and very characteristic of an independent Ukraine. We only note that the ship was manufactured by the Black Sea Shipbuilding Plant.
In July 2021, the economic court of the Nikolaev region approved a report on the final liquidation of PJSC "Black Sea Shipbuilding Plant", which was declared bankrupt. All economic and entrepreneurial activities of ChSZ were completed, as well as all technological cycles of the enterprise. The plant had no property left: it was inventoried and sold. The funds received from the sale were used to pay off debts.
One would think that this is where the story of "Vladimir the Great" and the entire project 58250 ended.However, apparently, on the eve of the 30th anniversary of independence (Ukraine celebrates its Independence Day on August 24), new "successes" were needed.
On August 12, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense announced that the ship could be completed.
Already at another unnamed enterprise. The components of this ship will be moved there in order to preserve them and further build them.
Now, together with the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the issue of completing the ship already in the "frigate" class is being worked out. In this format, in the future, "Volodymyr the Great" will be able to replace Hetman Sagaidachny in the combat composition of the Naval Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, - said the Minister of Defense of Ukraine Andriy Taran.
The ship is only 17% ready. Blocks 1-7 of the main hull of the ship and block 8 of the superstructure of the ship were manufactured, part of the equipment of domestic and foreign production was purchased. At the moment, more than 71 million dollars have already been spent on the ship (with the previous exchange rate - 1 dollar for 8 hryvnia). It is estimated that the completion will cost another billion.
Taran also noted that the possibilities of completing the construction of the Vladimir the Great ship are closely related to the ADA program and cooperation with the Turkish side.
The international cooperation
It is pertinent to recall that the Ada is a type of corvettes developed primarily for the Turkish Navy.
The Turkish fleet has already put into operation four such ships, and last year Ukraine and Turkey signed a contract for the construction of new corvettes, but their number and the timing of the contact are not known for certain. It was reported that the construction will be partially carried out at the Ukrainian enterprise "Ocean".
In the summer it was announced that the first ship's hull for Ukraine had been laid in Turkey. Later it was reported that the first Ada corvette will arrive in the Armed Forces of Ukraine no earlier than 2025-2030.
This program looks quite expedient: as, indeed, the cooperation between Ukraine and Turkey in the defense sphere.
But the completion of "Vladimir the Great" seems pure speculation.
“The completion of the corvette“Vladimir the Great”is not expedient at the moment,” the Ukrainian newspaper “Dumskaya” quotes the words of its source in the Ukrainian Naval Forces. - We will not be able to allocate funds for its completion. Now we have to pay Turkey for the construction of four corvettes of the ADA type, British minesweepers and American patrol boats are next in line, this requires a lot of money, which is not there."
The only reason they still remember about the corvette (frigate?) Is not so much in the military as in the political plane, which we have already discussed above.
The incident with this ship is very similar to the recent (I must say, no less indicative for Ukraine) story with the Oplot tank.
Recall that after a long break, the Malyshev Kharkiv plant still produced one BM "Oplot" tank, which is to take part in the military parade for the Independence Day. At the same time, which is significant, vehicles of this type are still not in service with the Ukrainian army, although earlier fifty tanks were delivered to Thailand.
Let's return to the ships.
It must be assumed that the end of Project 58250 will not be the end of the Ukrainian Navy. They will exist at least as long as the West supplies Ukraine with ships and vessels that it no longer needs. This, as practice shows, can last for a long time.