Soviet ship as part of a rapid reaction force of the U.S. Navy

In the world market of civil and military cargo transport equipment takes a significant share of the Soviet and Russian origin. Regularly received the news related to the incidents with the AN-12 or Mi-8 somewhere in the jungle of the Congo. The Soviet Union disappeared 20 years ago, but the Soviet aircraft continues to fly in those regions in large numbers, showing the wonders of reliability: the planes operated contrary to all the rules and regulations, spent many years doing without the required maintenance. Their parts and components over this time have developed several resources, but "Ana" and "Elah" regularly freight service.

Pleased that the achievements of engineering thought the USSR respect to the present day, our sworn enemies

In the world market of civil and military cargo transport equipment takes a significant share of the Soviet and Russian origin. Regularly received the news related to the incidents with the AN-12 or Mi-8 somewhere in the jungle of the Congo. The Soviet Union disappeared 20 years ago, but the Soviet aircraft continues to fly in those regions in large numbers, showing the wonders of reliability: the planes operated contrary to all the rules and regulations, spent many years doing without the required maintenance. Their parts and components over this time have developed several resources, but "Ana" and "Elah" regularly freight service.

July 18, 2012 at the Pentagon site was published official information about the purchase of 10 Russian helicopters (http://www.defense.gov/contracts/contract.aspx?contractid=4835 — English language necessarily, everything is clear in the first line) . The exact amount of the contract — $ 171,380,636. Delivery of the Mi-17 (export version of the Mi-8) should be completed in 2016. It should be noted that the Russian equipment is not purchased at the price of scrap metal: $ 171 million over ten helicopters — for 17 million dollars for each car! Almost the same is an American multi-UH-60 "Black Hawk Down" — from $ 20 million per unit. Of course, the exploitation of Russian helicopters in the average cost is cheaper, but it is clear that the "helicopter adventure" The Pentagon has arisen not only because of the desire to reduce the cost of procurement of equipment. Helicopters Mi-8 impressed by the U.S. military for its simplicity and reliability, with the capacity of a "thick" Mi-8 is to be expected was greater than that of the "Black Hawk Down." And during transport missions in Afghanistan, high-tech equipment UH-60 was largely unnecessary — from a helicopter only required to take on board the cargo and deliver it to the specified point. The use of heavy-lift helicopters "Chinook" has led to an increase in transport costs, they are more vulnerable and less adapted to fly in the mountains.

There has long been a project related to the rental of AN-124 for the needs of NATO. Since 2002, the company "Volga-Dnepr" provides international cargo to Afghanistan, using IL-76 and AN-124 "Ruslan". In 2006, the NATO command has entered into a lease for six "Ruslan" — three Russian ("Volga-Dnepr") and three Ukrainian ("Antonov Airlines"). After the crash in Lashkar Gah, in 2006 it became known to use the AN-26 as part of the enforcement branch of the U.S. Air Force Special Operations.

The success of the former Soviet technology is logical, and evidence of this is our next story.

What may be unusual in the ship "Lance Corporal Roy Wit?" Only one of the twelve ro-ro belonging Sealift Command (Military Sealift Command). Like the rest of the U.S. Navy transport ships, ro-ro-sleek large container used to supply U.S. forces around the world. But the main secret turbine ro-ro USNS LCPL ROY M. WHEAT that originally it was "Vladimir Vaslyaev" — the beauty and pride of Black Sea Shipping Company.

 

He went to Igarka, in Rio, in Nagasaki … 

In 1979, in Nikolayev was launched a unique gas-turbine "Captain Smirnov" — the lead ship of the project in 1609 "Atlantic". The following year, the stocks came off the same type of "Captain Mezentcev" and "Engineer Ermoshkin." The latest in a series of gas-turbine, etc. 1609 was "Vladimir Vaslyaev", 1987.

Four large-ro-ro (English roll — roll) were intended for the carriage of cargo on a wheeled base (cars, trucks, machinery, etc.), and if desired, can be used as a container. Technique driven under its own power to the deck — it was in the stern of the ramp, a wide (flip-part stern). Three horizontal cargo compartment had a capacity of 54,313 cubic meters. Load meters located on 4 decks and on the second day. To move the cargo inside the ship on board ro-ro 14 trucks were produced by "Valmet" (Finland), and stationary internal ramp with a slope of 7 °, leading from one deck to another. 

"Engineer Emroshkin" with a peaceful cargo under the Soviet flag 

 

 

But the main feature of the gas-turbine-type "Captain Smirnov," there was a high rate of speed, unprecedented first for the civil courts — at full speed ro-ro huge displacement of 36 tons of easily developed 25 knots. The ship "Captain Smirnov," worked on the Black Sea — Vietnam and for 50 days visited 16 ports.

Gas-turbine, as its name implies, is driven not by conventional fuel efficient diesel engines, and powerful gas turbines. The power plant of "Captain Smirnov" betrayed the shaft 50 thousand liters. s. This unexpected choice of the type of power plant for ro-ro raises some doubts about the destination of the vessel. The fact that the gas turbine, ceteris paribus, to yield diesel efficiency and speed of 25-26 knots for commercial vessel obviously redundant. For comparison, a modern container highest ice class "Norilsk Nickel" (29 thousand tons, built in 2006) is driven azimuth thrusters type «Azipod» capacity of about 18 million liters. s.

Indeed, the "Captain Smirnov" never went at full speed — the main gas turbine units in the basic operation of working in the "cross-over mode," in which the work was GTE and one side of the heat recovery boiler and steam turbine with the other side. This allowed a few to reduce fuel consumption, speed, "reduced" to 19-20 knots, and fuel consumption per mile was 210 kg.

Strange design ro-ro means: "Captain Smirnov" was created as a warship! Let me explain my idea: ro-ro had a dual purpose — in case of the need for "peaceful Soviet transport" could be promptly converted into a high-speed transport supplies. Nor could it be otherwise in the Soviet Union, even if the diameter of cigarettes and macaroni met caliber ammunition.

Fleet supply ship — a great tool for fighting on foreign shores. A few days after receiving the order, "Captain Smirnov" dropped to its stern ramp on the dock in the port of Tartus, and with her under the warm Mediterranean sun on the beach would have moved out a hundred or two of the APCs with armor, densely covered with paratroopers. High-speed ro-ro can be successfully used for the delivery of essential goods — on shore instead of armored vehicles can move out, for example, several battalions of S-300.

USNS LCPL ROY M. WHEAT — surprisingly graceful ship

 

 In comparison, large landing ships, etc. 775 ("Caesar Kunikov") have a displacement of 4,000 tons, the maximum stroke of 18 knots, cruising range — 6000 miles to 12 knots. (With ro-ro "Captain Smirnov" — 16,000 miles on the 20 kt.). Of course, the ocean compared directly with gas-turbine tank landing ship properly — they have completely different structure and tasks. But I hope that readers get the idea — a high-speed ro-ro could deliver 20 tons of cargo to any destination in the world.

Another confirmation of my conclusions about the military mission of the ship: an unrealized project antisubmarine helicopter Ave 10200 "Halzan" was created on the basis of a "civil" ro-ro "Captain Smirnov"!

Whether it was an effective solution: instead of real military and commercial ships to build hybrids dual? As is known, a universal means always inferior to the specialized and naval shipbuilding standards have bad impact on the characteristics of commercial vessels. However, the ro-ro honestly worked in the Baltic and Black Sea Shipping Company and remained profitable even through wit ship "innovators" like "cross-regime" of the power plant. In 12 years of operation, the crew of "Captain Smirnov" introduced 100 rationalization proposals, which in itself is alarming. In the end, the ship is becoming increasingly common features of commercial vessel.

As for the possible issue of the Conversion ro-ro type "Captain Smirnov" in the ersatz-carrier (helicopter), then it is most likely fiction. To be based aircraft on the deck of the ship will need radical restructuring. Where to store aviation fuel? Where to place a few hundred personnel (regular ro-ro crew — 55 people).? Spent a few months on the upper deck kill helicopters — aircraft carriers necessarily require hangar. Mount any removable designs on the flight deck? — Easier to replace spoiled airplanes. To equip the underdeck hangar? Most likely, the helicopter will enter in height — will have to cut the entire vessel. Plus one or two lifts. And can anyone send completely unprotected vessel into the zone of possible military action? The need to install multiple systems of self-defense, the replacement of radar and electronics. As a result, we get a very expensive hybrid with reduced performance.

 

 New Life

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, all four ro-ro got to Ukraine and have been privatized. Not knowing how to dispose of honestly acquired property, their owners have sold four large firms handsome Global Container Lines and Marianna Shipbuilding Ltd. In 2001-2002, three of them were on the scrapyard in India. The remaining "Vladimir Vaslyaev" joined the ranks of the U.S. Navy.

The Americans had a radical modernization of the ship: the hull apart and extended by inserting an additional section. Full ro-ro tonnage increased to 50,000 tons. Has been replaced by ship's power plant — U.S. equipment is designed for the frequency of 60 Hz. In other construction of ro-ro has not changed — its unique propulsion system remained the same. Even with the increased displacement of 1.5 times the USNS LCPL ROY M. WHEAT now able to reach 20 knots. With the introduction of more automated crew ro-ro decreased to 29 people.

Due to its unique characteristics former Soviet ship was selected among 30 other ships in the group of the rapid reaction force — an elite unit Sealift Command.
What can be said in conclusion? In U.S. Navy admirals, great taste — among the thousands of ships left to the Soviet Navy, they were able to choose the most valuable.

 

Flag of independent Ukraine? No, it's just a symbol of the rapid response team. Form sailors finally dispelled all doubts

 

Note:
The author has some doubts about the successful discharge ro-ro type "Captain Smirnov" in the port of Tartus. For example, the aircraft carrier "Admiral Kuznetsov" during a visit in 2012, was unable to dock because of its enormous size and standing in the roads. 

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