Are we in trouble again? Someone chops down “Ash trees” and drowns “Poseidons”

We are all accustomed to the fact that at the end of the year we usually start an assault. It is necessary to close contracts, agreements, supplies, and so on. Well, money …
Therefore, at the end of the year, the Ministry of Defense always pleases us with beautiful reports on the topic of how much new equipment has got into the troops. This is a good tradition, but, alas, not always.
At the end of last and the most difficult year, information came that three submarines, including the Poseidon carrier, had not only not been transferred to the fleet, but it is also not entirely clear how far to the right the deadlines for delivery would go.


Not that word. Even skeptics (such as the author) were always convinced that with what, and with nuclear submarines, we have complete order. We could, we can and will be able to build.

And then this is …

It became known that three boats at once, “Novosibirsk” and “Kazan” of the project “Yasen-M” and to them the carrier of special vehicles “Belgorod” will be accepted in 2021. Perhaps they will. Moreover, it’s scary to even think about Kazan, the boat was, as it were, launched in 2017, three years have passed, it’s already 2021, and the boat, excuse me, is still in an incomprehensible state.

If these were less significant warships, it would be half the trouble. And so …

In general, it is worth figuring out what is wrong.

Yasen-M is the main tactical submarine weapon of our fleet. This ship was born not so much in agony, but the birth of the project 855 “Ash”, which cannot be called easy, began in more than distant 1977.


And with “Ash” then, too, it was not just like that. “Ash” was planned to replace the boats of projects 949 and 949A. And there was also Project 957 “Kedr”, which was supposed to replace the boats of Project 971 “Shchuka-B”.

At that time, we generally had a lot of boats of different types. Unlike the US Navy, where everything was unified.

But an unpleasant thing happened: it didn’t work with “Cedar”.

In general, the “Kedr” was planned as a fairly simple and massive attack boat to replace the nuclear submarines of projects 971 and even older 671. And it’s not even a matter of financial problems that began in the 80s in the USSR, the fact is that there was a need for technical re-equipment enterprises of the military-industrial complex for these boats.

In general, they could not.

And then the “golden” idea came to the heads of the naval commanders: to universalize the Ash trees and entrust them with the tasks of the Cedars. Once the “Cedars” were too tough for the factories.

No sooner said than done, it was announced that “Ash” will replace ALL boats, except for strategic cruisers.

But then the complete collapse of the USSR came and something utterly out of the ordinary began. “Ash” was developed for the infrastructure of the Soviet Union, “Severodvinsk” was laid in 1993, when the Soviet system had not yet collapsed, but they began to adapt it already in Russian realities.

In the end, it turned out to be a very unsuccessful attempt. Even on the stocks it became clear that Severodvinsk, which was supposed to combine Ash and Kedr, was really overcomplicated. Very much.

And as expected, the ship had just a huge number of problems and shortcomings. That is why, with the still unfinished Yasen, work began on the Yasen-M project 855M. So to say, correcting mistakes?

Not. Project 855M, despite the similarity of numbers, is a completely different ship. The compartments inside are located differently, the body itself is smaller, there are fewer torpedo tubes and they are installed at different angles, but there are more missile launchers. A different composition of electronic equipment.

In fact, Project 855M is a completely different boat, strikingly different from Project 855.

And the ill-fated Kazan is the first ship of the project with all the ensuing consequences. And constant delays with Kazan and further with Novosibirsk are probably quite normal.

How normal is it to modify the imperfections and eliminate the shortcomings for a long time after the ships seem to have already entered service.

But today we have problems with missile boats, but what about the most complex nuclear submarines? Never mind.

There is no information about what is wrong with Ash-M. This is logical. There are a lot of rumors circulating around the network, which there is no point in repeating, but sometimes quite reasonable thoughts slip through.

For example, it was announced that the boats would be armed with anti-torpedoes “Last”. The “Lasta” complex has been created since 1989, the team of E. A. Kurskiy worked, the same team that worked on the “Packet-NK” complex and worked successfully.

However, there is no information about the shooting and testing of the “Fins”. One can only guess where the problem is, in the anti-torpedoes or in the boat’s systems that prevent the use of anti-torpedoes. Most likely, it is a matter of boats, because anti-torpedoes were successfully used back in the 90s, and “Packet-NK” was actually brought to mass production.

But I will emphasize this again, guesswork. Which are based primarily on the few reports that have been published in reliable sources.

Ash-M is smaller than Ash. Moreover, it is considerably less, by 9 meters in length. There are fewer torpedo tubes, 8 instead of 10, and there are more launchers for missiles, just 10 instead of 8. 40 Zircons instead of 32 for Ash, and if we talk about Calibers, then 50 of them can be placed.

There is information that a new sonar, much larger in size, was installed on the Yasen-M. This is indirectly confirmed by a decrease in the number of torpedo tubes and from the installation at an angle to the axis of the ship. Something rather big was actually placed there.

Plus an increase in the automation of the entire ship. “Ash” has a crew of 90 people. The Yasene-M has a crew of only 64 people. What does this mean? That there are more computers, more sensors, more ACS. In a smaller boat.

It turns out that the main enemy of Ash-M is simply a huge lack of space filled with vital systems and mechanisms.

But this is normal for any submarine, from the earliest to the most modern. There was never enough room. But in our case, the compactness of systems creates problems with their debugging, debugging and repair.

Do you remember how a Chinese diesel engine that “suddenly” went out of order was changed at one of the Karakurt? I had to cut the side to remove the engine.

It is quite possible that all the problems of “Kazan” (in particular) and “Novosibirsk” were caused precisely by these factors, namely, the difficulty in eliminating all the shortcomings and imperfections. They can crookedly assemble it from us, but how can we fix it all … Well, it’s not for nothing that Kazan spent three years at the plant more time than on tests at sea?

The question arises: how sad is everything? In fact, yesterday it seemed that the construction of nuclear submarines is something so unshakable. And the “Ash” together with the “Boreas” will become, as intended, our underwater shield.

Source: Russian Ministry of Defense

But we will postpone the answer to this question for now and go to the third participant in our review.

K-329 “Belgorod”.

The host of the Poseidons was also not accepted. There is no information on it at all, since the boat is very highly classified. In fact, it does not belong to the Navy, but to the Main Directorate of Deep-Sea Research of the Ministry of Defense. That is, the head of the General Staff of the Russian Federation himself is in command of the boat.

This already says a lot, but says almost nothing about the boat.

But there is already a lot of information about the “Belgorod”, it took too long to build this boat. Initially, the boat was built according to Project 949A, as an Antey-class SSGN, that is, a boat armed with cruise missiles from Granit to Caliber.

The “Belgorod” was laid down in 1992, in the month of June. And they were “building” until 1994, when the K-329 was decommissioned and mothballed. And they remembered about it only in 2000, when the Kursk died. The boat was reactivated and began to be completed.

In 2006, the construction was stopped again.

In 2009, they began to consider a restructuring project for the 995M project, that is, “Yasen-M”. But in 2012, they re-mortgaged an unknown project 09852.

As a result, “Belgorod” was supposed to enter service in 2020, but it did not happen. What could be the problem?

It’s worth starting with the hardware. The boat has no missile weapons now, the head does not hurt about it. The boat was lengthened, behind the wheelhouse they made a compartment for the “Harpsichord”, an unmanned underwater vehicle, the carrier of which was the boat.

In the lower part of the boat, a lock and grips were made for a deep-water station of the AS-31 type, now notoriously known as Losharik.

There is nothing supernatural, except that the “Harpsichord 2R-PM” is not yet, and “Losharik” is no longer there.

What remains is Poseidon, which is also carried by Belgorod.

With “Poseidon”, too, peace and quiet. At least, no news of successful tests was carried out, despite a decent number of announcements and promises from various persons of the Ministry of Defense, as information was not reported. There were announcements and advances, there were loud statements, but there were zero reports.

And some conclusions can also be drawn from this.

“Harpsichord” and “Losharik” cannot be called new devices. These are all well-known underwater systems. Unlike Poseidon, around which questions really swarm.

How is this rather large apparatus, twice the size of any ballistic missile, stored?
How is the radiation safety of a nuclear reactor on board a boat ensured?
How is the warhead of this super torpedo positioned and stored?
How is the Poseidon reactor serviced and launched?
What are the requirements for the “torpedo tube” itself?

There may be three times more questions, just what’s the point? “Poseidon” is a new weapon, structurally very complex and unsettled. Accordingly, there simply cannot but be overlaps and errors that can delay the commissioning of Belgorod. Unfortunately.

And here optimism melts before our eyes, because today we have problems with well-developed technologies. What can we say about the new underwater vehicle? Everything is logical.

But there is one more thought that haunts. And she, too, has the right to life.

Belgorod has been under construction for almost 30 years. More precisely, with all the delays and “shifts to the right” of the timeframe, it really will approach the thirty-year line. The construction took place far from the best years for the country’s industry. And how it was built in the 90s is probably not worth explaining.

It is highly probable that Belgorod started having problems not with the newest Poseidon, but with the old parts and mechanisms of the boat, which were created before and immediately after the conservation.

And here we run into the “ash” rake. That is, the boat is actually built, but the failures of already physically obsolete parts and mechanisms, which are from 20 to 30 years old, begin. And here there will be no other way out but again to apply the tactics of “Trishka’s caftan” and try to replace everything that is needed by any means.

This is even more unpleasant than the failure of Poseidon and everything connected with it.

In any case, 2020 has shown that we have problems, even in the construction of submarines. And this does not inspire optimism, since the majority really believed that at least we had order with the submarine fleet. Alas, it turns out that not quite.

The assumptions that have been made here are, of course, based on certain speculations. But the fact that three nuclear-powered submarines “hovered” indefinitely and will not get into the fleet in any case only indicates that not everything is as good as we would like.

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