The Russian media report more trouble for project 11711 LST Ivan Gren (BDK 135). During state trials, the new tank landing ship has been unable to run astern (reverse engines and go backwards). [Did Yantar shipyard really not discover this issue during its factory underway testing?] This comes atop Gren’s earlier degaussing problem which kept the Russian Navy from accepting the ship before the end of 2017.
Ivan Gren (BDK 135)
Yantar announced on February 20 that it might launch unit two, Petr Morgunov, in the second half of May. It’s also sticking to its promise, however unlikely, to deliver the completed LST to the Russian Navy before the end of 2018.
Yantar indicated the second unit’s port and starboard 16ChN26/26 (aka 10D49) diesel engines will be swapped to see if this remedies the astern running problems Gren experienced. But the work on Morgunov has to be done by late April to keep to its launch schedule.
If the swap works, the same [actually, perhaps even more] difficult process will be performed on Gren. But it will apparently be accepted into the fleet in May before its engine trouble is fixed.
Flotprom.ru reports the engine swap will alter the turning of ship’s propellers and eliminate the astern running problem. Any naval engineers out there are invited to explain how this could work to the rest of us! The shipbuilding industry site indicates trading engine places is complex and can consume several months.
The media also report that Gren now lacks good seakeeping qualities due to the many design changes made during its protracted construction. They even claim that the Russian Navy will forego further ships in this class, basically a modification of the Soviet-era project 1171 Alligator-class LST. How Moscow would fill the gaps in its small and rapidly aging landing ship force is anyone’s guess.
Gren and Morgunov are 5,000 tons displacement and 120 meters long, and can cruise at 18 knots. They have a 100-man crew, and can carry 13 tanks or 36 armored vehicles and 300 troops. They are outfitted with AK-630 30-mm gun systems and a landing deck for a Ka-27 or Ka-29 helo.
Yesterday First Deputy Defense Minister Vladimir Popovkin gave RIA Novosti more details on Russia’s procurement plans under the State Program of Armaments (GPV), 2011-2020. He said 78-80 percent of the 19-trillion-ruble Armed Forces portion of the GPV will go to procurement.
Popovkin said Russia plans to develop a new liquid-fueled heavy ICBM to carry up to ten warheads, and having a service life of up to 35 years. Former RVSN Commander General-Lieutenant Andrey Shvaychenko talked about a new liquid heavy as far back as late 2009, and the issue’s been debated in the Russian military press since.
Popovkin said the Defense Ministry plans to accept the Bulava SLBM and the first two Borey-class SSBNs this year. There will be 4-5 Bulava launches this year. Recall to date only 7 of 14 Bulava tests have been successful. Addressing the missile’s past failures, Popovkin said there were many deviations from the design documentation during production. He also said Russia plans to build eight SSBNs to carry Bulava by 2020. He was unclear if this includes the first two Borey-class boats.
Popovkin said work on a new strategic bomber is ongoing, and he claimed a technical design will be complete in 2015. He said this work isn’t being rushed.
Popovkin told RIA Novosti the Air Forces will receive more than 600 new aircraft and 1,000 new helicopters by 2020. In 2011, Su-27SM, Su-30M2, Su-35S, Yak-130, and Su-34 aircraft are to be procured. More than 100 helicopters, including Mi-26 transports and Mi-28N and Ka-52 combat helicopters will be acquired this year, according to Popovkin.
Popovkin said a contract for the first ten experimental PAK FA (T-50) aircraft will be signed in 2013, with serial production of 60 aircraft beginning in 2016.
The GPV includes the purchase of ten S-500 air defense systems. Popovkin said this system will begin testing in 2015, initially with missiles from the S-400. Fifty-six S-400 units will also be purchased by 2020. This sounds like seven 8-launcher battalions.
Popovkin said the GPV will buy 100 ships – including 20 submarines, 35 corvettes, and 15 frigates – for the Navy. He didn’t specify types for the other 30 ships, and it’s unclear if new SSBNs are included in these numbers. Popovkin reconfirmed Russia’s plan to buy two and build two Mistral amphibious ships. Recall also the Black Sea Fleet alone is supposed to get 18 new ships including proyekt 636 diesel-electric submarines, proyekt 11356 and 22350 frigates, and proyekt 11711 LSTs.
Popovkin also mentioned plans to buy a limited number of French FELIN soldier systems, with the intent of Russia producing its own version by 2020. He looks for it to equal the advertised capabilities of U.S. and German equivalents.
Posted in Force Modernization
Tagged Acquistion, Borey-class, Bulava, Corvettes, FELIN, Frigates, GPV, ICBM, Mistral, PAK FA, Procurement, Proyekt 11356, Proyekt 11711, Proyekt 22350, Proyekt 636, S-400, S-500, SLBM, Soldier Systems, SSBN, State Program of Armaments, T-50, Vladimir Popovkin
Defense Minister Serdyukov today said Moscow still plans on acquiring four Mistral amphibious assault ships. He said Russia is talking not just with France, but also Spain and the Netherlands, about Mistral.
According to RIA Novosti, Serdyukov said:
“At present, we’re in pre-contract negotiations on this type of ship with three governments. They are Spain, the Netherlands, and France. We plan to sign a contract for four of these ships.”
He also said one ship would be completely foreign-made, but Russian shipbuilders would participate in building the other three. And the fourth ship will be built, to the maximum extent, in Russia.
Serdyukov reiterated that the Defense Ministry is working on this acquisition according to President Medvedev’s decision. And the Defense Minister added:
“We are now occupied with the issue very seriously.”
He concluded that the issue of buying the ships will be resolved positively “if there aren’t any revisions, including in the financing question.” And finally Serdyukov noted:
“We understand now that the Northern and Pacific Fleets need these ships.”
Meanwhile, Baltic Shipbuilding Plant ‘Yantar’ is trying to tout its proyekt 11711 large amphibious ship Ivan Gren as an alternative to buying or building foreign ships. VPK.name published a version of this story based on an earlier Interfaks report.
Writing in Friday’s Nezavisimaya gazeta, Viktor Litovkin talked about the procurement of proyekt 20380 corvettes from Piter’s Northern Wharf. The second unit Soobrazitelnyy was just launched, and three more have been laid down, but it’s not clear when they’ll enter of the order-of-battle. A total of 20 are planned, but the specialists say everything depends on financing.
Then Litovkin turns to last week’s reports of imminent decommissioning for Ochakov, Kerch, etc. He says this’ll leave the BSF with about 40 ships (12 of which are either in repair or a ‘conservation’ status). He puts the average age of the remaining fleet units at 25-30 years, and the youngest are its proyekt 1239 small air cushion missile ships.
As far as capabilities go, the BSF is still stronger than Ukraine and Georgia (at least), but there is a question as to whether it can defend the country’s interests. But maybe it doesn’t have to be so powerful when the country still has the RVSN, and the BSF wasn’t really challenged in the August 2008 war with Georgia, and it can still show the flag in the Mediterranean, defend the country’s economic zones, and participate in antipiracy operations off the Horn of Africa. No one would take it into their head to compare it with the U.S. 6th Fleet.
But still Litovkin wants to answer why the BSF reached its current state. Because the ‘Orange Revolution’ Ukrainians wouldn’t permit Moscow to renew the BSF’s potential in ships, aircraft, or personnel. And Moscow was busy trying to modernize and preserve parts of the military other than surface ships. He says:
“It built them for India, China, Vietnam. Only now is it beginning to launch new corvettes and frigates for the Navy. But by a drop (by one) per year. And this is for all four fleets and a flotilla.”
“According to experts’ assertions, in the coming 10-15 years there are no possibilities for renewing the composition of the surface fleet. Despite even the fact that today two frigates for the distant naval zone are laid down (proyekt 22350), five corvettes of proyekt 20380, three small gun ships of proyekt 21630, large landing ship of proyekt 11711… But even if the program of their construction is successful, they won’t under any circumstances compensate for the ships withdrawn due to age.”
“Even the Mistral won’t help here.”
Posted in Arms Sales, Defense Industry, Naval Modernization, Navy
Tagged Black Sea Fleet, BSF, Kerch, Ochakov, Proyekt 11711, Proyekt 1239, Proyekt 20380, Proyekt 21630, Proyekt 22350, Soobrazitelnyy, Viktor Litovkin