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Navy: Marines under a big question

ВМФ России: Морской десант под большим вопросом

Last Friday, on the Baltic shipyard “Yantar” (Kaliningrad) was launched on a large landing ship “Peter Morgunov”. This is the second BBC built by the project 11711 developed in the Nevsky PKB at the end of the last century. The first ship “Ivan Gren” — was founded in 2004. Really work on its construction began 4 years later.

But since then, the shipbuilders was not particularly in a hurry, which was associated with both subjective and objective reasons. So, the Navy command of four times adjusted requirements for the ship in connection with which work was suspended, and designers have begun to make changes to the documentation. And this is no accident. It seems that the command of the fleet still does not articulate clearly how it should be amphibious ship the marine zone. However, more on that below.

“Ivan Gren” was launched in 2012. His transfer of the Northern fleet is to be held this year. At the end of last year during state testing had discovered some problems with reverse and the stability of the ship, but, according to the plant “Yantar”, they managed to cope.

The second ship, launched on Friday may be the last BBC of this project. Though originally planned to build six. Command of the Navy will decide whether the Navy these ships, which, in fact, it is already difficult to call the new due to the fact that they were developed long ago. Moreover, during construction in order to save money has been weakened their defense capabilities and fire support of landing. The fact that now there is the option of equipping the fleet of amphibious assault ships (UDC), which was two French “Mistral”, the delivery of which was blocked by France.

So, what are the BDK project 11711? The tonnage of ships of 5000 tons. Length — 120 m, width — 16,5 m, Speed — 18 knots. Cruising range — 3,500 miles, autonomy — 30 days.

The ship is able to deliver to the place of landing 13 tanks or 36 armored personnel carriers/infantry fighting vehicles, or 300 Marines. Transport-combat helicopter Ka-29.

Adopted in the current abridged version is presented of a 12-barreled anti-aircraft machine gun 30 mm caliber AK-630М2, two six-barreled artillery installations of caliber of 30 mm AK-630, two heavy machine guns caliber of 14.6 mm and a range of shooting passive interference “Peresvet-M”.

At the design stage of the ship it was assumed the installation of two launchers multiple rocket launchers “Grad-M”. Now they are not, that is not the best way affects the preparation of a bridgehead for landing. No and planned before anti-aircraft missile and artillery complex. And that means, according to the BBC it is necessary to give the ships that protect them from air attacks. Well, and struck a massive blow to the shore before the landing of troops. Presumably it should be a frigate with missile weapons, capable of operating in sea area. The Navy’s only two modern frigates. So the prospect of BDK “Ivan Gren” and “Peter Morgunov” is quite vague. And, apparently, the Navy will limit myself to these two ships.

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And this is all the more BBC we will not, because there is no other, except for project 11711, development. And this despite the fact that this segment of ships, first, small—, and 16 of them, and, secondly, all of them Soviet-built, that is worn out.

Thus, a serious landing operation by two battalions, which may be placed on the “Ivan Gren” and “Peter Morgunov”, defending against a powerful enemy practically impossible. If we take into account that Marines should accompany armored vehicles in the form of APCS and IFVs, it turns out one battalion on two ships.

However, the Navy found the original application of the LST ships used as transport vessels. That was the work of the “Syrian Express”, when almost all BBC that can go into the sea (16 of 19), carried out the delivery to Syria of military equipment in the preparation in the country of operation videoconferencing. This led to the fact that the planning exercises of the landing started with the use of anti-submarine ships instead of BDK, which “all went to the front.”

BDK according to the Western classification of tank landing ships. They still operated, but all of them more closely amphibious assault ships. They are carriers and armored vehicles, and personnel equipped with fast means of landing the type of hovercrafts. On them is a very serious aviation wing. As a rule, helicopters in quantities of several dozen. But there may be aircraft with vertical takeoff and landing.

In this case UDC, unlike the BBC, no need to get close to shore, risking to get under a massive bombardment. Maintained spend attack helicopters and assault aircraft carrier-based orientation. This also involved the naval and artillery, and rocket launchers. Space for all is enough, because the displacement of UDC is in the range from 25,000 to 40,000 tons.

This concept of amphibious ships, of course, and effective and promising. However, shortly after France refused to supply us the “Mistral”, numerous articles have appeared in major publications, which are built on the principle of Krylov’s fables “Fox and the grapes”. Where it was argued that Russia does not need a UDC that Russia has its own become.

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However, Krylov state research centre took the initiative and began designing UDC “Avalanche”. Did the same, and Nevskoe PKB, his project called “Surf”.

The possibility of “Avalanche” in comparison with the BDK has increased significantly. The ship is able to deliver to the landing from 500 to 800 Marines and 50 armored personnel carriers/infantry fighting vehicles (or 25 tanks). The air group consists of 16 helicopters attack Ka-52K “Katran”, transport-combat Ka-29 anti-submarine Ka-27. Provides 6 high-speed boats with helicopters will make landings.

The armament includes 100-mm gun mount A-130, the range of which exceeds 20 km, and 5 SPAR “Broadsword” and “Pantsir-M”.

Of course, the dimensions of the “Avalanche” much more solid than the “Ivan Gren”. Displacement — 24,000 tons. Length — 200 metres width — 33 metres. Maximum speed of 22 knots. A cruising range of 5,000 miles, autonomy — 60 days. The crew of 320 people. Geometry add-in is chosen so as to reduce the radar signature of the ship.

All this, of course, wonderful, because UDC “Avalanche” should greatly facilitate the conduct of amphibious operations. But it will have to pay. Krylov state research centre estimates the cost of one such ship in 40 billion. This is roughly the equivalent of four nuclear submarines, because it maximized their production. As for the “Avalanche”, a 40 billion includes not only the production costs of the vehicle, but the cost of design work and preparation of production.

There is another “aggravating” element. Plant “Yantar”, which specializiruetsya on the BBC, are not able to build an Avalanche. Since his capacities do not allow to form the housing with a displacement of more than 14000 tons and a length of 160 meters. Therefore, the construction can be deployed on another plant, for example, in Severomorsk.

But “Surf” would be “Amber” is quite capable, because this ship is modest, its displacement is 14 thousand tons. Accordingly, a smaller number of paratroopers and armored vehicles it can carry. Less and aviation group — 6 helicopters. But, of course, and the cost of its construction will be cheaper.

However, the Navy is in no hurry to decide on amphibious ships Maritime zone, though, and the BBC is clearly not enough, and more than half of them in need of best renovation. Therefore, the project companies do not give the go-ahead for the transformation of the preliminary designs into working drawings. It is, of course, of course — little money. However, even in their absence it would be possible still to define, what is it amphibious ships required by our Navy.

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