Reading the article about Municipal defense order, every time I am convinced that the Russian media are working in the genre of "news later time", telling about events and plans, which will most likely never be realized destiny, but now they have become the news and imposed on society as a subject for discussion. And now, in the midst of these information phantoms, February 1, there was information about a real event — the tab in France amphibious assault ship helicopter "Vladivostok". On this day at the shipyard in Saint-Nazaire started cutting metal for the first Russian UDC type "Mistral".
"Mistral" only from the outside looks like a classic ships, docks, helicopter carriers or amphibious assault ships. In fact in their laid even greater potential. It is no accident the French allocated to a separate class — "force projection and command vessel" (shock-scale ship or, literally, "the ship of power projection and management"). Distinctive features of these structures are located along the length of the housing flight deck and aft docking camera. Also on the "Mistral" command center located at 150 operators, and kitted out with modern equipment, hospital with 70 beds. The concept of these vehicles is not new — in the days of the Vietnam War, the U.S. Navy faced with the problem of managing heterogeneous naval amphibious groups involved in the assault landing. And then the idea was born to combine them into one design.
Compared with his contemporaries — the South American LPD type "San Antonio" — «Mistral" looks more presentable: French ship operated by a team of just 160 people, while the South American landing ship docks required 350-man crew. The future Russian ship has an advantage on the composition of the air group and 16 helicopters to 4 helicopters and 2 konvertoplanov "Americans". Summarizing all the above, it is possible to give a concrete answer: UDC type "Mistral" is a modern, having the highest combat potential landing ship, one of the best representatives of their class in the world.
About that "Mistral" does not fit into the concept of fighting the introduction of Russian Navy, about his discretion and in which actions of the Russian Navy, its vulnerability and difficulties with the service has already been written a lot of articles, publications and research papers. Indeed, we need a similar ship of the Russian Navy? For example, extensive clear statement that this, similar to the ferry, the design was created by civilian shipbuilding standards and is not able to withstand the hydrodynamic blow at close underwater explosion. As I understand such payment is required in the design of ships for the Russian Navy. Hard to say how true this myth, but it leaves a nasty residue.
I will not bore the reader with a listing of untested (or, conversely, very recognizable) numbers, facts and rumors. I, as an amateur, to motivate more trivial moments:
Visit of the "Mistral" in November 2009 in Saint-Petersburg was not without embarrassment. Russian Mil helicopters Ka-52 and Ka-27 without problems sat on his deck (of course! Length of the flight deck, "Mistral" — 199 meters, width of -32 meters), but, as it turned out later, Russian helicopters in size does not fit into the lumen elevator, because they could not be lowered into the hangar. The scandalous story has not received much publicity, but the attention of the society not slipped away.
Then — even more fun. In connection with basing on the "Mistral" Russian helicopter with coaxial propellers have to increment the height below deck hangar at least a meter in comparison with the unusual design, which naturally lead to growth "side" of the ship. Excessive wind resistance has always been one of the drawbacks of "Mistral", and the "Russian series" it will increase further. Also, it will inevitably entail a reduction in metacentric height. What is the danger when fully loaded and in storm criteria? It is true rollover.
As previously mentioned, the helicopter lifts that lift the equipment from the hangar to the flight deck, do not apply to transport the Ka-29 with a suspended arms. Will either have to buy from France helicopters Eurocopter, or radically restructure lifting gear.
In this task with AMEs are terminated. Fuel for the refueling of helicopters supplied from 2-tanks, which are located below the waterline in the stern of the ship — the fuel lines are drawn from a distance through 3 decks filled with men, ammunition and equipment. Very strange decision to the French, affecting the vitality of UDC most naughty manner. It may be necessary to change the whole system of refueling and storage of fuel, according to Russian demands.
Transport deck for Russian armored vehicles does not meet requirements. It is for mass not exceeding 32 tonnes for each combat unit. In turn, this means that a transport deck "Mistral" there will be no Russian main battle tanks. Only the ship will fit less than 5 MBT: three on the ground in front of the camera and the docking on two assault boats, etc. 11770 "Serna".
Further, Russian explorers fail to excellent use of the space docking camera. "Mistral" — a French ship and its Dock camera was designed in accordance with the parameters of landing craft NATO. Because, despite the decent size camera dock (57.5 mx 15.4 mx 8.2 m, area 885m.kv.), it shall be placed only two landing craft, etc. 11770. A landing craft air cushion, etc. 1206 "Squid", etc. 12061 "Murena" generally fail to be based on the "Mistral" — hoverborne assault landing ship did not pass the gate docking camera on top! It turns out, will have to create a "Mistral" new amphibious landing craft.
French engineers have prepared a nice surprise for the Russian sailors. In particular, "be glad" Severomorsk, as all those who try to exploit the "Mistral" in the northern Pacific Ocean. The fact that the record French UDC have wide openings that allow ventilation of the helicopter and transport decks. Good idea for the tropics is transformed into fear northern latitudes — the entire technique of glaciation guaranteed. So just bricking up these gaps can not, at first you need to design a complex system of forced ventilation.
Continuing the "ice theme", I would say that the case "Mistral" has no ice strengthening, and that, taking into account the conditions in which acts Russian Navy, virtually eliminating the basing of French ships in the Baltic Sea, the Pacific, and even more so in the North. In particular, a lot of problems with the nose bulb, which is designed to improve traction properties. That is, normal thickening of the board will not get out. According to experts, this means the development of a new ship design.
Separate discussion is motor-propulsion system "Mistral" with the introduction of embedded core motors. Screw and steering columns such as "Azipod" make it easy to maneuver, but this system has serious flaws and:
— First, this low rate of speed (18 knots compared with 22-24 knots at the UDC type «San Antonio» U.S. Navy);
— Operation of ships "Azipod" asks permanent drydock for inspection rudder propellers. And there is a world view, docks for big ships in Russia, especially in the Pacific Ocean today, no. I can imagine that the "Russian Mistral" will get the classic propellers and rudders.
ot armed and did not unsafe
Yes, "Mistral" is actually quite absent defensive weaponry. Machine guns and two twin MANPADS "Mistral" (this is not a typo, of course the French love this title), which are analogues of Russian "needles" or South American "Stinger" can hardly be taken seriously.
On the one hand, it can not amuse me as adept carrier-based aircraft. Purchase UDC type "Mistral" means changing the paradigm of the Russian Navy shipbuilding. Simply put, the Navy aircraft carrier fleet takes the concept of the western standard. Use the "Mistral" in landing operations can be only in the presence of a massive air cover, otherwise the whole landing will turn into a bloody pulp. The offshore option attack helicopter Ka-52 is effective only against ground forces. Neither the radius acts for no combat abilities, he will not be able to change the carrier-based fighter-bomber. Accordingly, for this entire strike force needed escorts and supplies. It turns out that our homeland is planning to make the most powerful and the equilibrium water navy.
If it is not, then buying a "Mistral" something of a gamble. Or the Navy does not mean to use the French ships in amphibious operations, that is, for its intended purpose.
Funds for the wind?
Mistral — the French title of the cool wind blowing in the valley of the Rhone. Will the UDC with the release of the title means "the wind" in the literal and figurative sense? According to the views of the 1st structurally configured user web, Russian admirals bought for himself two foreign cars, the price of 2 billion dollars either.
It seems weird: for the Russian Navy acquired in general useless ships that there is no place in the modern concept of the introduction of Russian Navy, with no escorts, and most of principle, without the presence of countless Marines and means of departure.
Maybe I should not exaggerate. With the purchase of "Mistral" Russia's shipbuilding arm will have access to new world technologies. Maybe this is really so, but then it is not clear why in handy as much as 4 ships of this type.
In principle, the conversation is not that bad to get a foreign military equipment. It just did well, what we're trying to borrow the best solutions and design. Refers to the fact that these could izderzhat billion more effectively by buying instead of UDC other standards of European ships, the fleet is really necessary. As an option — the Spanish frigate "Alvaro de Bazan." Even without a system of "Aegis" (the sale of which is not out of the question), they are a powerful and modern complex naval guns. Most likely, here played dimensions — "Mistral" looks even more impressive than a frigate displacement of 6000 tons.
In my personal opinion, the Naval Fleet at the moment is in such a condition that it is worth at least some combat ship. It is better to let the sailors get "Mistral" than the money will go to offshore.