Hypersonic missiles “Zircon” will receive impenetrable protection from submarines. The newest frigates of the “Admiral’s series” – Project 22350 of the “Admiral Gorshkov” type – will be equipped with unique weapons to combat submarines. These ships will be the first in the Russian Navy to carry such powerful torpedo missiles. Unlike other means of fighting “steel sharks”, these ammunition can hit targets within a radius of tens of kilometers, experts said.
Frigates against boats
The command of the Navy decided on which ships to equip with the latest development to combat submarines – anti-submarine guided missiles (PLUR). The first to take them aboard are Project 22350 frigates of the Admiral Gorshkov class, Izvestia sources in the military department said. It is possible that the novelty will replenish the arsenals of ships of the “admiral’s series” next year.
PLUR is the most dangerous weapon for submarines. Depth charges have low accuracy, and torpedoes have a relatively short range. The rocket can be launched for tens of kilometers. When it hits a given area, a small torpedo is separated from it, which independently searches for an underwater object and hits it.
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In August last year, Izvestia reported that the development was in a high degree of readiness. Later, the Deputy Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation Alexei Krivoruchko said that the promising complex was launched in pilot production, and its tests are planned to be completed in 2020. On October 18 this year, the press service of the Northern Fleet reported on the successful test launch of an anti-submarine missile from the frigate Admiral Kasatonov in the Barents Sea. The shooting was carried out as part of the qualification tests and was recognized as successful.
Mikhail Kofman, a leading expert at the Center for Naval Analysis, told Izvestia that there is nothing more deadly for a modern warship than a submarine. And there is no quicker way to lose a ship than to let the submarine come within torpedo range.
“No matter how large, sophisticated and technologically advanced surface ships are, submarines remain the main predators of the ocean,” the expert noted. “After all, submarines carry cruise missiles on board.
According to Mikhail Kofman, such weapons are most effective when the ship works in conjunction with anti-submarine aircraft. Aviation scatters hydroacoustic buoys over the area, which “listen” to the underwater situation. When one of them detects the noise of a submarine, the ship fires a torpedo along these coordinates.
The Soviet fleet still had such a weapon, but then there was no such perfect detection means as it is today, noted the former chief of the main headquarters of the Navy, Admiral Valentin Selivanov. The ships, he said, took coordinates from planes or from another ship.
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“Project 22350 frigates have a large detection range, which allows them to effectively use torpedo missiles,” the expert told Izvestia. – When you find a boat at a distance of 100 km, you need to use this advantage. For a torpedo attack, she needs to approach a distance of 20 km, and you anticipate the actions of the submarine’s crew. If on frigates of the Admiral Gorshkov series the hydroacoustics will conscientiously serve, and the missilemen use their weapons correctly, then such a ship will always defeat the submarine.
Torpedo missiles will be installed on various ships of the near and far sea zone, and in the future a modification will be created for placement on anti-submarine aircraft, believes the chairman of the St. Petersburg club of submariners, captain 1st rank Igor Kurdin. If necessary, such a product can be used not only against a submarine, but also against a torpedo launched into the ship, the expert noted.
“Entering the far zone of anti-submarine defense, the submarine commander believes that the surface ships are still far enough away,” Igor Kurdin explained to Izvestia. – He still does not have such a keen sense of danger as at the distance of a torpedo attack. And when you still do not even hear the noise of anti-submarine ships, and suddenly a torpedo is moving at you, then in such a situation there is not even time to evade.
In the air and in the sea
PLUR is placed in a universal transport and launch container. It houses two modules – launch and combat control, as well as a power supply and a number of auxiliary systems.
The container layout makes it possible to equip coastlines, naval bases, warships and vessels of various classes, railway and automobile platforms with such missiles. Preparing a transport and launch container for a shot takes very little time, since contact with a submarine often lasts minutes, and the system itself is quite simple to use.
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The guided missile can be integrated into the automated control systems of combat ships and even mixed air-ship formations. This makes it possible to use planes and helicopters as scouts, who find submarines and give target designation to the ships – carriers of the new complex.
Project 22350 frigates are currently under construction. The lead ship of the Admiral Gorshkov series has already entered the Navy. The second – “Admiral Kasatonov”, from the board of which the PLUR took off, is completing state tests. The third and fourth – “Admiral Golovko” and “Admiral Isakov” – should be commissioned in the next two years. “Admiral Yumashev” and “Admiral Spiridonov” are planned to be transferred to the Navy in 2025–2026.
Representatives of the “admiral’s series” are among the most powerful in the Russian fleet. The new universal shipborne firing complex (UKSK) 3S-14 allows them to use the Caliber cruise missiles and the Onyx anti-ship missiles. And besides, these frigates will become carriers of unparalleled Zircon hypersonic missiles.