Monday, August 24, 2020

Russian Shipbuilding "Suitcases Without Handles" - Sounds Familiar

For reference, Project 20280 is the Steregushchiy Class Corvettes. From a distance and looking at her lines and weapons capability, she seems at sexy, teethy beast ... and she is. 

As we have been our own worst enemy in surface ships this century, it is easy to despair as we see what other people are building ... but we should take some comfort in this; they are having troubles too. 

Take some time to dig through the google translation of an article from a on the challenge the Russians have had with where they were and want to be with their near shore surface fleet. 

Old Cold Warriors like myself still twitch at the thought of Russian/Soviet submarines prowling the northern latitudes ... but that threat is but a shadow of itself. What we can forget is that from the Russian point of view ... the threat from Western submarines never left. 

Walk a bit in the Russians' moccasins;
2016 was a landmark year in the Navy's approach to anti-submarine defense. This year, the last diesel corvettes 20380 and the lead corvettes 20386 were laid down. Since then, no other BMZ ANTI-WATER SHIP has been laid down in Russia. Four years later, in Russia, three (!) Corvette vital for the fleet remained in the construction, except for 20386, namely "Strict" project 20380, "Agile" project 20385 at the "Severnaya Verf" and "Sharp" project 20380 at the ASZ. And that's it! And this is in a country whose potential adversary's power is based on nuclear submarines of outstanding combat qualities. It's just unthinkable. 6 units of 20380 were delivered to the fleet, two more corvettes of project 20380 are being prepared for mooring (“Zealous” at “Severnaya Verf” and “Aldar Tsydenzhapov” in the Pacific Ocean). At the same time, the money for shipbuilding was quite allocated. "Monument of project 20386" has already spent huge amounts of money on itself, and, perhaps, "will ask for more." At the same time, the time of the ship's readiness is unknown and cannot be predicted, but the budgets for it have been mastered. A series of "suitcases without handles" is under construction - patrol ships of Project 22160. They are under construction with very limited combat capabilities of MRK. In general, these three undertakings were very expensive for the country: they could completely upgrade the surface fleet at BMZ with multipurpose ships. These expenses cannot be called rational. But the fleet developed without any intelligible strategy, and what happened was happening. The anti-submarine defense was weak before our eyes, but there was a feeling that this did not bother anyone.
"Suitcases without handles." I couldn't help but laugh at this problem we share with our Russians in trying to successfully run shipbuilding programs in the 21st Century ... and I can feel their frustration. We built Little Crappy Ships that seem to go few places and when they get there can do so little ... about as helpful as "suitcases without handles." Yes, I shall use that nice Russian phrase. 

I also can feel this sense of relief that - like our upcoming FREMM-based FFG(X), there may be relief on the way;
Corvette project 20380 in any of its options is not at all ideal. He has a lot of shortcomings. But today we have a choice between "nothing" and 20380. In such conditions, the renewal of the 20380 series is absolutely correct and uncontested. However, the question of what the corvette should actually be for the forces of the near sea zone, what weapons and capabilities it should have, has not lost its importance. And in the near future, an analysis of the possibilities of building such ships in the form in which they are needed will be done. In the meantime, let us congratulate the Navy on returning to the right path. Let's hope that this victory of common sense will be far from the only one.
Anyway, give the whole thing a read and give a nod to our Russian friends. At least we don't have their problems.

H/t SJS.

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