MOSCOW, (BM) – Talk about cutting defense spending has long since moved into a practical plane, and the recent announcement by the Minister of Finance to reduce the state defense order (SDO) by five percent in 2021 was quite expected, learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing Russian news agency VPK.
A very difficult question arises: how can this reduction be ensured, especially since earlier such cuts were too often carried out not within the framework of the “most unnecessary”, but those directions that do not have high-ranking pushers? At the same time, topics and programs that were critical for the country’s defense capability were often cut (this primarily concerns R&D), but openly dubious ones remained.
It should be noted that the current approach was significantly different from what it was in the 90s, when everything that can and cannot be cut was cut. The armed forces frankly lived from hand to mouth, but the corresponding structures of the Ministry of Defense then ensured a number of promising R&D projects that made it possible not to lose potential and to enter the serial production of modern weapons and military equipment.
Just one example is the anti-torpedo of the “Packet” complex. The key success factor was the introduction of the preliminary project stage into the R&D project, during which a series of brilliant experiments and tests was carried out in the summer of 1998 with the actual aiming of experimental anti-torpedo models at small targets – this is something that the developers of the USA and Germany cannot repeat until now.
And now a good question: when was the last time the preliminary design stage was included in the development work (ROC) of the Ministry of Defense? How many years ago was that? Ten? Fifteen? Or more?
In contrast to that period, during the Serdyukov reform at the end of the 2000s, they “optimized”, and practically to zero, research work (both in the form of independent work and as part of the ROC). There was an opinion that the Ministry of Industry and Trade “is obliged to finance them”, and the Ministry of Defense only to pay for the ROC and the series.
The “promising research projects of the Ministry of Industry and Trade” were very different, ranging from those really done at a very decent level and ending with outright “use of budgetary funds.” However, for the tasks of the Ministry of Defense, the withdrawal of R&D meant, in fact, the loss of their control and management, a break in the justified chain of AME development: “exploratory R&D” – “applied R&D” – “ROC” – “series”. Immediately, the quality of the development of technical specifications fell sharply, and this is actually a directive document for R&D and the spending of funds, the quality of R&D has failed.
“It is necessary to eradicate the practice of opening ROC without carrying out appropriate research and development work (R&D). Conducting research and development guarantees us against mistakes in the future, reduces the risks of unsuccessful completion of the development work. In the process of performing research, in addition to preparing a scientific and technical report, if necessary, prototyping is carried out, according to the results of which the contractor must convince the customer of the possibility of implementing certain technical solutions. And only after that, on the basis of objective data, a draft technical assignment can be formed, a feasibility study of future R&D projects can be carried out,” this is from the speech of the Deputy Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation Yuri Borisov to the participants of the general meeting of members of the Russian Academy of Rocket and Artillery Sciences on December 7, 2012.
How to save the military budget?
First. Universal landing ships (UDC), laid down on July 20 in Kerch at the Zaliv plant. The decision on them was extremely hasty and not only not fully worked out, but also frankly questionable. And the point is not that we do not have a normal deck and transport, and multipurpose helicopter [dreams of the Lamprey will come true no earlier than a dozen years later], but only “powered” Soviet Ka-29s. The main thing is that the amphibious operations of the UDC level require reliable air cover and powerful floating rear.
The first is “Admiral Kuznetsov” with all its problems, and the second is the Department of Transport Support (ATD) of the Ministry of Defense, whose maritime activities are best characterized by the “strategic resource” of military transport aviation knocked out to Syria, while almost everything could be there quickly and cheap to carry by sea.
With what we have today, the UDC are objectively “white elephants for parades,” and this is at best. At worst, an attempt to use them as intended. Now it only remains to regret that instead of our very interesting and balanced analogue of the Rotterdam DVKD [with a displacement of about 15 thousand tons, the development of the Nevsky Design Bureau], in Kaliningrad, there were undersized in the form of a “modified” project 11771, and in Kerch – extremely dubious UDC.
For the latter, at least it is advisable to suspend the construction of the second ship until the completion and testing of the first one, especially since many experts declare inevitable and significant excess of project costs.
At the same time, work on our only aircraft carrier “Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Kuznetsov” should not only be continued, but it is also necessary to form a full-fledged operational formation of the Navy with a combat-ready aircraft carrier and an air group, which can actually solve combat missions as intended [“Kuznetsov” has many years “].
Second. Subplating. Without conducting comprehensive research, primarily on issues of stealth in the new conditions of submarine warfare [low-frequency “illumination”, multi-position network and unconventional search tools] and new weapons, special tests and firing to ensure this, there is no need to talk about any promising submarines [“Submarines for slaughter”].
When the Supreme Commander-in-Chief as a fifth generation submarine is presented with a model with an outdated propulsion unit and torpedoes “Physicist-1” that passed state tests back in 2008, very serious questions arise about the quality of the previously conducted research and development work to ensure the creation of a “promising” “Laika” of the Navy. What we are building today – projects 955A, 885A, 6363, 677, will simply be shot in a real war.
Third. Alternative NSNF “Status-6”. The Borey-Bulava program has become the largest defense program in the modern history of Russia; it turned out to be a weight on the neck of the Armed Forces in a very difficult period of their history. At the same time, there are very serious questions and doubts about the real effectiveness of the Bulava and Boreyevs, including due to the complete failure in the Navy in terms of their anti-submarine and anti-mine support. Today, the Navy has 11 SSBNs, but only four Specialized mine action vehicles on four minesweepers-seekers, none of them in the North and the Pacific, where NSNF is deployed.
Under these conditions, we are starting a “second NSNF” no longer with ballistic missiles, but with extremely dubious torpedoes. But even a single ballistic missile is extremely difficult to shoot down, and the anti-submarine defense of the United States of the 80s would have coped with the defeat of the publicized “Statuses”.
The question arises: do we really have money in the Ministry of Defense nowhere to spend? We probably already have a hundred or two Su-57s in combat strength? Or, perhaps, relatively new AWACS aircraft, of which we have not five, but fifty?
Fourth. “Modular” ships of projects 22160 and 20386. The Navy needs ships that can actually solve problems, and not Lego toys. Especially when they have already shown their negative design and tactical features both in the US Navy and in our country.
Fifth. WIGs and verticals. In the conditions of absolutely insufficient financing of our aviation, they are trying to wither us into the next projects. An ekranoplan is, first of all, a bad airplane, and it has aerodynamic structural elements as a “consumable element” and is ripped off by waves.
It is a pity that the supersonic “vertical” Yak-141 was not brought to the end of the USSR, but now this project has no military or technical sense. Moreover, they are again trying to launch it in defiance of normal aircraft, which the “vertical” loses very significantly.
What should not be reduced?
First. Aviation and air defense systems – new aircraft (Su-35, Su-57, weapons, electronic warfare, AWACS, tankers). The situation with them is far from ideal, especially for the Su-57 and AWACS aircraft.
Second. New weapons. Modern means of destruction should be in the troops in sufficient numbers and mastered. So far, there are serious problems with this, for example, all official video and photographic materials about the exercises of the Russian Aerospace Forces demonstrate the use of only old, Soviet air-to-air missiles. It should not be forgotten that with the beginning of the mass equipping and use of new missiles in the USSR Air Force, serious design flaws were revealed [specifically, we are talking about the R-60 and R-27].
Third. Surface shipbuilding. We have a critical situation with the naval personnel. At the same time, a line of projects has developed that can be mass-produced – 22350, 20385, 22800, 12700. Yes, they have a number of disadvantages, but their elimination is quite possible in a series, without new R&D.
And finally, the main thing is R&D.
It is not necessary to reduce them, but to significantly increase, primarily in the direction of experimental and exploratory research, because in a number of areas we have practically eaten both the Soviet scientific and technical groundwork and the one obtained in the nineties or two thousandths. We will not do this today, tomorrow we will have a complete collapse with modern weapons and military equipment [AME].
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