Russia is resuming the construction of corvettes of projects 20380 and 20385. The parameters of the contract are now being specified, Izvestia sources in the military department said. The ships will be released taking into account the experience of previous operation and will be able to perform missions in regions with difficult hydrographic and weather conditions. Initially, the construction of these corvettes was not planned to be resumed. For what reasons the Navy changed its mind and why the ship of the 20380 series will become one of the most massive in the fleet, military historian Dmitry Boltenkov figured out.
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On October 30, the Navy reported that two corvettes of Project 20380, which are currently under construction, will become part of the 114th brigade of surface ships of the command of forces and troops in northeastern Russia. And about. Mikhail Borovskaya, general director of the Amur shipyard, said that the enterprise is number one in the list of those where new ships will be laid – a contract for them was signed at the Army-2020 forum with the United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC). Currently, the question of how many corvettes out of 10 ordered will be built at this plant.
Military shipbuilding is a cyclical thing, however, like the process of creating any type of military equipment. While the designers are drawing the design of the ship on computers, the shipbuilders are building a new one, and the sailors are using the modern, obsolete, meanwhile, they are preparing for disposal. The first two stages are the most difficult. If it were not for the collapse of the Soviet Union, now the Russian Navy would have completely different warships and submarines. The 1990s dealt a serious blow to the domestic military shipbuilding. It is only a miracle that it survived at this time, helped by export orders for China and India.
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Solemn meeting from a three-month long voyage in the Asia-Pacific region of a detachment of warships “Loud” and “Perfect” at the military pier of the Pacific Fleet on Korabelnaya embankment in Vladivostok
Photo: RIA Novosti / Vitaly Ankov
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At the beginning of the 21st century, the question of replacing the ship composition of the Russian fleet arose sharply. It was decided to go from simple to complex: first we develop and build small warships (corvettes), then frigates, then destroyers.
So, for actions in the near sea zone, protection of the water area and convoys, patrolling and other tasks, a project 20380 ship appeared. It became the first post-Soviet project for the sea zone. Already during the creation of the corvette, the Navy and the gunsmiths put on it almost all conceivable modern weapons and electronic equipment. But it turned out that the collapse of production in the country after the 1990s was more than they imagined. As a result, the construction and development of the first four ships of the series by the personnel dragged on.
Initially it was planned that four corvettes would be built according to the project 20380, then four – according to the project 20385, and after them they would start the innovative series – 20386. The ships of the project 20385 are larger and better armed than the representatives of the 20380 series. there is a universal shipborne firing complex (UKSK), which can use a variety of missiles, including “Caliber” and “Onyx”. 20386 is an even more innovative project with the so-called transforming stern – it houses these or those additional systems or weapon complexes.
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Transport and launching dock “Zeya” with a corvette of project 20380 “Hero of the Russian Federation Aldar Tsydenzhapov” in the Golden Horn Bay in the water area of Vladivostok
Photo: RIA Novosti / Vitaly Ankov
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However, the plans had to be revised. The head corvette “Perfect” was under construction for 11 years. After the intervention of the state, the second corvette “Loud” was built in six years, and the third – “Aldar Tsydenzhapov” – in five. Its entry into the Pacific Fleet is expected this year. In 2021, the Pacific Fleet will also join the Rezky corvette. Taking them into account, the Pacific Fleet will be replenished with six corvettes. This will ensure the safety of the deployment of nuclear-powered submarines based in Kamchatka with ballistic missiles on board and will enable operations in the North Pacific Ocean without attracting the forces of the Primorsky Flotilla from Vladivostok.
Sanctions on the supply of equipment that can be used for military purposes also played a role. As a result, we had to confine ourselves to the construction of only two corvettes of project 20385 – “Thundering” and “Provorny”. These ships had a large percentage of imported components. As a result, instead of two 20385s, two more corvettes of the 20380 project were ordered.
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While the ship is being built, the current achievements of the defense industry are being implemented on it. As a result, almost all large ships and submarines of the USSR Navy were different, even within the same series. But a side effect of this is the ongoing problems with repairing Soviet-era ships. Each of them has to develop its own documentation and select its own equipment.
Currently, the corvettes of the 20380 family have been brought to mind, have become full-fledged combat systems and have proven themselves well in various campaigns. So, the existing pair of Pacific Fleet corvettes this year went to the southern seas of the Pacific Ocean and the Arctic waters of the Bering and Chukchi seas. The sailors’ comments on these ships are only positive. Therefore, it is not surprising that the Navy decided to continue the construction of this series, having signed a contract on the sidelines of the Army-2020 forum with the USC for 10 corvettes (eight – project 20380 and two – 20385).
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Launching ceremony of the corvette “Zealous” in St. Petersburg
Photo: RIA Novosti / Alexey Danichev
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But there is still no news about the continuation of the construction of the 20386 series of corvettes, which were supposed to become the basis of the Russian Navy for operations in the near sea zone. Apparently, the Navy is waiting for the completion of the construction of the only corvette of this project “Mercury”, testing and further decision of its fate.
Meanwhile, the lead ships of this series are also waiting for the Black Sea Fleet. “Zealous” should become the first corvette for the Black Sea Fleet in 2021.
The question arises why the Navy has not yet tested a single corvette in the Barents Sea region. So far, only “Thundering” has tested its missile weapon – the “Caliber” complex. In this regard, it is not yet clear which corvettes and when will go to serve in the Northern Fleet.