Seemingly only a few months ago, only a hypothetical possibility of making use of Russia's foreign-built ships the Navy can now be considered real, not very distant prospect. From recent very unambiguous statements of the first of Russia's military establishment, particularly the Chief of General Staff and Chief of arms, it is clear that Russia is negotiating the acquisition of overseas amphibious assault ship, Helicopter. The most likely candidate for the replenishment of Russia's navy ship class is French Mistral.
In society, and many experts on the recent decisions of the Ministry of Defense procurement of foreign models of weapons and equipment have caused confusion and some discouragement. Like, still alive, the once all-powerful military industrial complex is no longer able to provide its own army. But the situation should not be dramatized. Modern military technology is so complex that even the most developed countries are not always able to single-handedly provide all the needs of its armed forces.
Meanwhile, a direct order to produce samples of weapons abroad, or purchase in the same licenses for their manufacture by domestic companies occurred in the pre-revolutionary era and the USSR as in the prewar and the postwar years. Legendary revolver Nagan, "gun" Maxim ", the cruiser" Varangian ", the most massive pre-war Soviet tanks of the family of BT and T-26 trainer aircraft L-39 - all of these samples weapons or manufactured abroad, or are an extension of the licensed designs. If a more detailed appeal to the naval theme, it is worth noting that in the late 30-ies of the USSR in Italy ordered the construction of destroyer leader Tashkent. After the war, the shipyards of Poland and Germany for the Soviet Navy large series built landing and small antisubmarine ships.
The reasons for the purchase of foreign weapons in most cases the same: domestic designers were unable to quickly create a compliant military and suitable for mass production samples.
In other words, the mere acquisition of samples of weapons and equipment for the Armed Forces should not be regarded as something shameful and unacceptable. In modern conditions it is rather a normal process. If the ship of this class, as the French Mistral, really needed by our Navy, the attempt to build its own forces would almost certainly result in another long-term construction.
Several reasons. First, there is no corresponding project, which would require some time. There is, of course, never realized in the Soviet time the project 11780 "Nevsky" PCB, developed as the national equivalent of U.S. amphibious assault ship class "Tarawa". However, according to experts, today it is already outdated and implement it in some form should be refreshed only as a last resort. Secondly, given the fact that updating the general-purpose maritime forces us while still financed on a residual basis, and modernization of the maritime component of the SNF, encountered a number of known problems, the construction of Russia's Helicopter will be carried out at least five years and, consequently, the lead ship Navy will not until the end of the next decade. In such a situation is really better to order the construction of the lead ship abroad with a condition subsequent license production of several similar Helicopter in Russian shipyards. In that case, the fleet will receive the first amphibious assault ship in 2-3 years. Another thing is that the very situation that has arisen around the potential purchase of these vessels, causing some serious issues.
The most important - on which procedure is going to Russia to buy foreign ships. Originally from the statements of representatives of the military authorities gave the impression that it was a straight purchase. However, in early September, the Navy Commander Vladimir Vysotsky said that the acquisition of Helicopter landing ship-dock (DVKD) will be on a competitive basis. From the words of Admiral Vladimir Vysotsky, apart from French companies DCN and ALSTOM, which carry out the construction of ships like Mistral, the competition will be attended by the Netherlands shipyard Damen Schelde and the Spanish Navantia. The latter two involved the construction of similar DVKD developed by the Dutch and Spanish engineers together. This class of ship Rotterdam (The Netherlands, built two units) and Galicia (Spain, also built two ships). Compared with DVKD Mistral Dutch-Spanish project has a smaller size (total displacement of about 12 500 tonnes against 21 300 tonnes from Mistral) and hence cheaper, but the functionality it below.
On the flight deck of the Dutch and Spanish ships can simultaneously operate only two helicopters, while on the flight deck DVKD class Mistral placed six rotary-wing aircraft. Moreover, in the finalization of the French project - equipping the flight deck springboard - the ship turns into a light carrier. And yet, despite all the benefits that promise to ship the purchase of foreign Project and the subsequent construction of its sistershipov in Russia with the development of advanced European technology, the competition for DVKD for the Navy of Russia should be involved and domestic shipbuilders, especially Nevskoye PKB.
In any case, the situation with the purchase of foreign ships for Russia's Navy must be transparent and comprehensible to the interested part of society and the expert community. Apparently, its position on the purchase of a foreign ship, given its unprecedented nature in the modern history of Russia, should make the head of the USC Vladimir Pakhomov, deputy prime minister Igor Sechin, who is chairman of the board of USC, his colleague in the government, Sergei Ivanov, the chairman of the Government, Vladimir Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev. It would make sense to devote the discussion of such a contract is one of the next meetings of the Security Council.
Regarding the conditions of the contract for the purchase of foreign DVKD, then with Russia by mandatory paragraph should specify the amount of technology transfer and the establishment of licensed production of a series of similar vessels in Russia. Fundamentally nothing new and the impossible in such a requirement is not: it is for this scheme is the selection of foreign partners to implement the program of short-medium range airliners new generation of MS-21.
What Western technology interest of Russia in the case of construction license DVKD? First of all modern western standards of naval systems, electronic control of the ship and its aggregates. One of the challenges that will confront DVKD in Russia's Navy - the headquarters ship. In this context, for Russia it would be important to obtain Western technology control land, sea and air forces, "electronic battlefield". Perhaps it all. Equip DVKD artillery and antiaircraft weapons in the state of Russia itself. Helicopters for DVKD also, of course, must be the national development. The most likely candidates for the deck look DVKD transport-combat Ka-29 attack and Mi-28N. During the air show MAKS-2009 "Air Force Commander Alexander Zelin mention that the" Night Hunter "will be interesting not only military, but Navy. Apparently, the possibility of basing the helicopter at DVKD had in mind.
Another important aspect of a possible contract for the purchase and license production of foreign DVKD. Given the realities of Russia, yes, indeed, global practice, too, should be eliminated or at least minimize corruption component of the potential transaction. People who lobby the interests of foreign shipbuilders should be taken in the operational development of the FSB. It would be monitored over the next 5-7 years, their financial status, and income of close relatives.
We also note that without waiting for completion of the acquisition DVKD, now must begin to explore the question of basing of ships of this type - that is, if Russia gets naval ship class Mistral, he will be the third in size after TAKR "Admiral Kuznetsov" and heavy atomic cruisers Project 1144. Need to develop tactics of DVKD, pick candidates for the naval group, within which will act Helicopter. In other words, until the issues associated with the new ship, more than answers to them. But in any case, the acquisition of a ship of this class will be a huge leap forward for Russia's navy.