Those who do not want or cannot accept criticism and listen to the opinions, delusions or mistakes of opponents, please - immediately switch to something else.
Let's take a close look at the highest achievement of domestic military shipbuilding, without touching the submarine fleet, project 22350 frigates, and share our opinions, doubts, assumptions.
The table (below) summarizes the performance characteristics of four ships - real probable opponents of our frigate in four theaters of operations corresponding to our naval formations.
Norway - the choice is obvious, an active NATO member, the land border next to the strategic bases of the Northern Fleet, the contact of the maritime border and the economic zone extends to the North Pole, in the event of a military clash even in another region it will be drawn into a conflict with us against its will in fulfillment of allied obligations …
Germany is the main NATO member in Europe, the country's navy dominates the Baltic, a traditional enemy for a century and a half.
Turkey is the largest NATO army in Europe, it controls the strategic Black Sea straits and a dynamically developing fleet.
Japan - the absence of a peace treaty with Russia since the Second World War, open territorial claims, the most modern, technological and balanced fleet in the region.
The sampling was carried out according to the principle of a similar displacement, the presence of a national classification as a frigate and not from the last century.
The main justification for the existence of the fleet as a branch of the armed forces is to ensure strategic nuclear deterrence of a potential enemy. Directly in the fleet, this task is performed by nine SSBNs with SLBMs. And with the advent of the Kalibr long-range cruise missiles, which can carry nuclear warheads, into service with the Russian Federation, the second most important task was hung on the fleet - to become their main carrier.
The INF Treaty banned the placement of launchers of this class of missiles on land. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the competence for the production of strategic aviation aircraft was lost, and now the SALT treaty has been extended for five years. But the fleet began to receive new ships and submarines at an accelerated pace, burdened with the task of being carriers of long-range cruise missiles (project 11661K; project 21631; project 22800; project 20385; project 22350; project 06363; project 885). The naval witches even came up with a term - "calibrating" everything and everyone.
The height of the flight of imagination and creative thought of shipbuilders is characterized by the answer to the mocking question "do crocodiles fly" - "yes, only low-low."
They are indulged by the naval authorities, who approve projects, push their embodiment in metal and go out of their way in attempts to effectively solve naval problems with ships unsuitable for them.
In short: all three projects of Russian RTOs are inferior in speed to the Soviet "Gadfly". With an increase in displacement up to 2200/949/870 tons versus 730 tons for the "Ovod" with a weight of 35 tons of missile ammunition on board, they are significantly inferior with the load of "Onyx" in the UVP 3S14 with a weight of 24 tons. And only the last Karakurt hulls with Pantsir-M, 76-mm AU and Igla MANPADS on board can compete in the effectiveness of air defense with the Gadgets, which have on board the outdated Osa MA air defense systems, 76-mm AU, 30-mm AK-630M and 40-year-old Strela-3 MANPADS.
Regular readers are aware of the Varshavyanka torpedo armament without VNEU and lithium batteries from the publications of comrades Klimov and Timokhin, but the submarines designed to guard bases, conduct reconnaissance and escort the deployment of SSBNs can now also strike deep into enemy territory.
The most promising long-suffering project of the air defense corvette and PLO 20385 also fell under the general “calibrating”, but here one can still speak of a successful combination of peacetime combat capabilities (4 anti-ship missiles and 4 anti-aircraft missile launchers) for OVR and strike capabilities in combat (anti-ship missiles or CRBD).
I will join the majority opinion that Project 22350 frigates are good ships. And I even agree with the opinion that this is the pinnacle of what the Russian shipbuilding industry has been able to achieve in the post-Soviet period. But the worm of doubt and non-obvious shortcomings, as they say, from the devil, who is always hiding in the little things, make you think that the best frigate for today may turn out to be superfluous tomorrow.
First advantage as disadvantage
The ship carries a 130-mm A-192M "Armat" naval artillery mount.
In the pseudo-patriotic yellow press, material could well have appeared about a case "unparalleled in the world", the placement of a powerful 130-mm gun on a frigate-class ship. And they wrote the truth, and they have nothing to argue.
NATO, the Americans and the Pacific pro-Western satellites bypass the destroyer-cruiser class ships with only 127-mm guns. The overwhelming majority of Japanese destroyer frigates (according to the classification of the Land of the Rising Sun, these representatives belong to escort ships) are armed with artillery of this caliber. And the destroyer "Akizuki" accepted for comparison in the table is not the largest ship in terms of displacement, but still significantly surpasses our frigate.
European frigates modestly make do with single 76-mm gun mounts. Traditionally, the emphasis is on the versatility of modern large-caliber naval artillery capable of striking coastal, sea and air targets.
It is in this sequence that we will consider its effectiveness on our frigate.
What can our frigate gouge on the enemy coast of the countries presented in the table with its 130-mm cannon?
Naval bases, large ports and administrative-industrial centers on the coast are reliably covered by both the power of fleets and mine laying, and coastal anti-ship missile systems and aviation. I doubt very much that our frigate or KUG will be able to come up to a "pistol shot" of an artillery gun at such objects.
There is also the option of artillery support by a frigate of a landing on a wild unequipped coast in some fifth point of the world. But if we recall history, then even the ammunition and the power of the onboard salvos of the battleships of the Second World War did not guarantee the suppression of the enemy's coastal defenses.
What if an Abrams / Leopard with a 120-mm cannon or, even worse, a self-propelled gun in a trench with a 155-mm cannon was disguised somewhere on the shore?
Is it not a gamble to send in the 21st century a few expensive frigates without armor in dueling situations? Yes, and how to conduct reconnaissance of targets on the shore, guidance, assessment of the impact results? The fire control system 5P-10 "Puma" with a television sighting device with a radar and an external optical-electronic module is sharpened for more contrasting sea and air targets. It remains to apply the good old square-socket method until the ammunition is completely consumed.
It will be more justified to lift a fire support helicopter from the side without entering the zone of destruction of coastal missile systems and artillery. The dream of sailors who have watched movies about pirates of the Caribbean, to come to the coast opposite the village of islanders in loincloths, to anchor on two anchors and flatten the reed huts to the sand with a side salvo, is broken forever.Roughly speaking, modern naval commanders do not have the size of the laurels of the canonized Admiral Ushakov, who stormed the bastions with ships.
Further - more interesting, a classic sea battle. To the legendary alternatives "Bismarck" against "Richelieu" or "Iowa" against "Yamato" for modern participants, as to Australia on foot. But still. It seems to me that the most likely enemy of our frigate in a naval battle will be the American "Arleigh Burke" or one of its Japanese clones. Well, it is more objective to compare the 130-mm gun with a 127-mm gun, and not with the European three-inch guns.
Remember the saying?
When might a paratrooper need hand-to-hand combat skills? - When he runs out of cartridges and grenades, when he loses his machine gun and breaks a bayonet-knife, and when he meets another one of the same gouging.
It so happened in modern reality that the main anti-ship weapons of aviation, submarines and warships have become guided anti-ship missiles. They are necessarily present in the arsenal of both universal destroyer-cruisers and on board anti-submarine corvettes and air defense frigates. Their number can range from four units to theoretically possible 128. And at the same time, artillery from 40 to 130 millimeters is necessarily present on the ships-carriers of anti-ship missiles.
How to explain the existence of this superstition?
Lack of confidence in the power and the declared probability of hitting the enemy with a specific anti-ship missile system? The desire to insure the ship that fired a salvo of anti-ship missiles into the world as a pretty penny? The notorious economy, according to the logic of which it is not rational to spend anti-ship missiles on every purpose, can you get by with an art or a torpedo? Just unwillingness to abandon the traditional method of naval combat and the ability to have a choice of means to achieve the goal?
I would venture to suggest the validity of the totality of all the arguments given, but the main one of all remains - the unknown or the very case of His Majesty.
There have been no full-fledged examples of the collision of fleets and squadrons of ships in a military confrontation since the Second World War. The Falklands and the Persian Gulf were so ambiguous in terms of the composition of opponents and so diverse in terms of the means of struggle used that they only once again emphasized the factor of uncertainty.
The maximum development of artillery systems is probably already in the past. The widespread rejection of full-fledged armoring of warships is the main argument in support of this thesis.
We leave aside the preliminary uncertainties of mutual detection of enemies, methods of determining the parameters of movement and methods of target designation, the struggle for the advantage of the first salvo and the problems of parrying it, the expediency and priorities of using anti-ship missiles or missiles on a surface target.
Let's turn our attention to a hypothetical artillery duel between our best frigate and a regular enemy destroyer.
Almost the same caliber of guns (130 mm / 127 mm, the difference is within 2%); comparable weight of the most common projectiles (F-44 high-explosive projectile weighing 33.4 kg / Mark 80 HE-PD projectile weighing 30.7 kg); gun ammunition (ready to fire) (478 (22-60) / 680 (20)); rate of fire, shot / min. (30/20) and firing range at sea targets (23 km / 23 km). It would seem that in a noble duel, the Russian ship has a slight advantage, which is supported by its smaller overall dimensions. But among the descendants of noble pirates, as always, a dagger is hidden behind the bootleg in the form of an ERGM active rocket projectile with a cluster warhead in the ammunition load, flying to a distance of up to 140 kilometers, and targeting is carried out by an inertial system using GPS navigation, which provides shooting accuracy up to 10 meters.
With such an alignment, the probability of our ship being destroyed is very high, and the impact of the quality of ammunition on the outcome of the battle in this mini-Tsushima will be absorbed for a hundred years to come.
What conclusion will our naval commanders draw: will they ask for a 152-mm caliber gun for the frigate 22350M for an analogue of the Krasnopol corrected ammunition adopted by the ground forces in 1995?
Now let's consider the most likely use of a large-caliber artillery gun on a Russian frigate - air defense.
On the VO recently there was an article "Use of captured German 105 and 128-mm anti-aircraft guns", which along the way mentioned "Efficiency" with a capital letter on the use of these guns:
“So, on average 3000 128-mm shells were spent on one downed enemy bomber. 88-mm anti-aircraft guns Flak 36 to obtain the same result spent an average of 16,000 rounds."
Take into account: what kind of object was a huge non-maneuverable subsonic aircraft, that the guns were used, as a rule, by a battery, that they were installed on concrete stationary positions, and that the main tactic of their use was barrage fire.
And transfer all these features to a modern supersonic fighter-bomber or a supersonic anti-ship cruise missile attacking modern transport or a UDC that covers our frigate with a single 130mm cannon.
It moves at a speed of 14 knots and experiences pitching and rolling in rough seas of 3-5. The question is, will he have time to release at the target all the ammunition ready for firing, not to mention the likelihood of hitting that very air target with a continuous burst of 30 shells?
Maybe we will simplify the situation and increase the degree of responsibility.
Directly our frigate-carrier 130-mm gun, used as an anti-aircraft gun, is attacked by four subsonic anti-ship missiles, fired in a salvo with an interval of 3 seconds. The frigate detection radar at a height of 16 meters will detect attacking anti-ship missiles at an altitude of 9 meters at a distance of 28 kilometers from the ship. The missiles travel 15 km / min at a speed of 900 km / h. or 1 kilometer in 4 seconds. The Puma control radar will turn on in emergency mode for one minute, during which time the first anti-ship missile in a salvo will overcome the line 15 kilometers from the ship and enter the zone of conducting the so-called "effective fire" of a 130-mm gun against air targets.
Now let's take a closer look at the radar antenna.
Its dimensions, frankly, are not impressive, which means that we can draw disappointing conclusions. If the AFAR radar of the Su-57 fighter has comparable dimensions and operates in the range of 8-12 GHz (wavelength 3, 75-2, 5 cm), then its radiation pattern width can be assumed within 2-2, 5 degrees, which is sufficient for guidance of guided missile weapons of the "air-to-air" class at targets comparable to anti-ship missiles. Even if we assume the Puma control radar range of 12-15 GHz with a radiation wavelength of 2-2.5 cm and the size of the AFAR slightly exceeding the fighter one, it is possible to estimate the AP width in the range of 1-1.5 degrees at best. In this case, the chord of this angle at a distance of 15 kilometers (in fact, the width of the BP) is in the range of 260-390 meters.
Let me remind you that the radius of reliable destruction of the aircraft by 130 mm anti-aircraft projectiles is estimated at 15 meters from the point of detonation and only 8 meters for an anti-ship missile.
We can now draw preliminary conclusions based on reliable facts, logical reasoning and educated assumptions.
Whatever the pointing accuracy of the A-192M gun mount itself, it could hit a target commensurate with the chord length at a distance of 15 kilometers with one shot with a rather low probability. A commensurate target can be considered a warship of a class not lower than a corvette, but not an anti-ship missile.
Perhaps, the creators of the predecessor, the AK-130 gun mount, argued in a similar way, providing for a double-barreled scheme to increase the likelihood of defeat, and a rate of fire of up to 90 rounds per minute (versus 30 for the A-192M), and placement on more stable and stable platforms of projects 1144, 1164, 1155.1 and 956.
The A-192M gun mount with a rate of fire of 30 rounds per minute is capable of firing a projectile at an attacking anti-ship missile only every 2 seconds, and the anti-ship missile itself overcomes half a kilometer during this time. A projectile fired with an initial speed of 850 m / s will take at least 18 seconds to cover a distance of 15 kilometers! During this time, the moving target (our frigate) and the attacking anti-ship missile, corrected in the direction by the signals of its own seeker, approach each other along an unpredictable trajectory. Indeed, in order to hit a rocket at a distance of 15 kilometers from the ship, you need to calculate its flight from the point where it was 18 seconds ago (that is, according to the information of the detection radar at a distance of 15 + 4.5 km).
If such a game on computers would have cost even how much these candles, then the air defense forces might not have given up so categorically long-range anti-aircraft artillery guns at the peak of their perfection in favor of anti-aircraft missile systems that were just born in the mid-fifties of the last century.
Naturally, there can be no question of "barrage fire" of a single gun, which is forced every two seconds to move the point of detonation of the ammunition 500 meters closer to its own ship. And of course, all meaning is lost in the ability of the gun to transfer fire in a narrow sector to the second target assigned to fire for a second.
I will take the liberty of asserting that 15 130-mm anti-aircraft shells were fired with a predictable zero result within 30 seconds after the opening of fire (the start of the anti-ship missile attack at a distance of 15 km and before its approach at a distance of 7.5 km).
So, the first of the attacking anti-ship missiles is already at a distance of 7.5 kilometers from the ship. 1 minute 20 seconds have passed since the attack was detected. The commander of the ship had to give the necessary orders for counteraction, choose the optimal tactics and course.
Oddly enough, but time has played in favor of our weapon. The width of the directional diagram of the control radar has narrowed to 130-193 meters, the spread of angular accuracy has decreased, the front of missiles reaching the same target has narrowed, detection in the optical range and adjustment of fire becomes possible, the flight path of missiles is more predictable, and the projectile to the point of explosion is only what about 9 seconds!
There are 30 seconds left until the best Russian frigate receives a warhead from anti-ship missiles, we will, with perseverance worthy of better use, shoot the remaining 7 shells (if the ammunition load was 22 ammunition ready for firing) or, without stopping sacredly believing in the power of 130-mm anti-aircraft shells, we will not stop a continuous burst (up to 45 shots) (if the ammunition ready for firing was 60 shots).
The author is sure that at least one of the four missiles will break through and do what it should.
Will our ship need the remainder of about 400 shells further?
Let's draw a line under theoretical inferences. We were convinced that the use of the 130-mm gun of the frigate pr. 22350 against coastal targets is impractical because of the extremely high risks of losing the ship itself. The advantages that a 130-mm gun gives the ship in opposition to comparable opponents are offset by the technological lag in the development and use of modern "smart" ammunition. When responding to modern challenges in the field of air defense of a ship carrying a 130-mm universal gun, the latter has a near-zero efficiency.
A simple solution
Given the current state of affairs in the Russian military-industrial complex, is it possible to eliminate the lack of equipment of the country's best frigate, which was mistaken for an advantage?
If we overcome group stereotypes and harmful traditionalism, then the solution lies on the surface, and it is simple, like everything great.
When ordering subsequent hulls of Project 22350 frigates, it will be necessary to abandon the 130-mm universal gun mount, which is heavy for it, in favor of the no less universal 100-mm gun mount A-190-01.Today it is still the best choice from what exists in metal and is mastered in production.
With the dubious advantage of a 130-mm gun in a firing range of 23 kilometers versus 21 kilometers for a 100-mm gun, the difference in the weight of the gun mounts is beyond doubt (25 tons versus 15). The weight of a minute volley of a 100-mm gun 1248 kilograms (projectile weight 15.6 kg at a rate of fire of 80 rounds / min.) Was higher than that of a 130-mm gun - 1002 kilograms (projectile weight 33.4 kg at a rate of fire of 30 rounds / min.) min.), which is undoubtedly preferable in any of the considered confrontations.
If the figure of the installed ammunition on the ship for the A-192M gun is correct at 478 rounds (weighing 52.8 kg), then this will pull another 25.2 tons with the corresponding volume. Suppose that on the updated frigate with the faster-firing A-190-01 gun, twice the ammunition load will be installed (956 shots, each weighing 26.8 kg), but even then this pleasure will cost only 25.6 tons.
Gun mount A-190-01 with a rate of fire of 80 rds / min. has 80 rounds of ammunition ready to fire. On MRK pr. 21631, the total ammunition stock of 100-mm rounds is 320 pieces, that is, four reloads. The limit of reasonable ammunition sufficiency on a first rank frigate is proposed to consider 640 ammunition or eight reloads, which will weigh 17, 2 tons. Thus, having saved, in fact, when replacing 10 tons with a lighter artillery mount, we will also add savings on the weight of unitary rounds of ammunition - 8 tons. How to properly dispose of the existing weight reserve of 18 tons and volume - we will consider later.
There is no hope of resorting to common sense from the silent naval leadership.
When arming frigates of the first rank with the 100-mm gun mount A-190-01, superiority over European opponents will be preserved, and with larger Americans and Japanese, it is necessary to fight not with artillery, but with anti-ship missiles and missiles, which are enough on board the frigate.
Otherwise, simply retreat to the base to replenish ammunition to save the unit.