Orlans are and probably will be for a long time their biggest combatants, there would be plenty of space within them for such missiles, if they would adapt the Fort system. Maybe they are not thinking about suing their navy for strategic ABM roles, unlike USN.
First of all I agree though obviously the Kuznetsov and the new helicopter carriers, and of course any new CVNs would be bigger I agree and don't think they will build new cruisers that are bigger than the Orlans... it was the size it was to carry the sized missiles it carried... not just Granit, but also Metel in a reloadable system and of course the original Rif launcher is relatively big and clumsy despite being the first deployment of vertically launched missiles on a ship.
I suspect the work with the UKSK-M and possibly an all new Redut missile system that takes the 250km and 400km S-400 missiles might radically change things.
The whole point of a multi missile launcher is that you can replace dedicated launchers with multi use launchers... take the Udaloy upgrades... they replaced two launchers with 8 launch tubes that could only launch one type of missile, with first four and then six launchers... two and four of which can only launch Uran type missiles, but two other universal launchers that turn the ship into a much more flexible multirole ship.
Their core problem is that if the multi missile system only offer on missile per tube then the loadout becomes less interesting... given the choice between a 9M96 missile or a 400km range S-400 missile, the extra range might be useful, but if the choice is one 400km range missile per tube or four missiles of 60km or 150km range then choosing the smaller missile gives you advantages.... and of course having 80 UKSK tubes does not mean 80 Zircons will be carried... they will always mix the loadout for flexibility.
But the interesting point is that when they have a universal missile launch tube that can carry one Zircon or perhaps one S-500 missile... or it can be stacked with multiple layers of multiple missiles with say 24 9M100 missiles, or maybe 8 9M96 missiles of the 60km range variety, then it starts to make sense to replace the smaller existing SAM launcher that can only fit 4 missiles of the 9M96 type.
This means for say an Orlan upgrade instead of replacing the 20 Granit tubes with 80 UKSK launchers and the 96 missiles of the Rif-M system with 96 missiles of the S-400 250km and 400km range type, and the Metel reloadable launch system at the front of the ship with say a Redut launcher for 32 or 36 missile tubes... they could just replace the whole front section with say 240 UKSK tubes.... so the 10 UKSK launchers and the Rif launchers and the Metel launcher could be replaced with say 30 UKSK launchers... and that is just the front section.
The size of the Orlan is quite big because it was made in the late 1980s... if you imagine the level of electronics at the time we are talking about probably a high rise building worth of main frame computers... and it is not just that... the improvement in electronics is also effecting the sensors too so the huge old radar and EW equipment replaced with modern much more capable systems that are multi use and fully networked so instead of ten different radars scanning for each system, you could have one sophisticated system collecting information and sharing it amongst the systems...
There would be lots of places on board a ship that size where a dedicated mount for some S-500s could be placed... they don't need dozens... half to one dozen should be plenty.
As to the vessels you mention, I only know the 22350M, which would be considered a destroyer in the West, and the Lider which would be a cruiser and for which two possible designs (conventional propulsion ca. 12kT or nuclear ca. 18kT) had been proposed.
I think the 22350M is just an improved Frigate... at best a heavy Frigate... essentially an upgrade based on the limited experience with the original... that is intended to be the standard production model.
Their new destroyers are likely to be nuclear powered and as such will likely be more than 10K tons each... and the power available I would expect them to take advantage and make them 12K or so... I think they will probably make 24 odd ships but probably over a period of the next 40-50 years.
With the cruisers, I really don't think they will be as big as the Orlans are now, because improvement in weapons and equipment and systems mean that a from scratch design they don't have to be that big.
Think of it in terms of the Su-57... it is not much bigger than a Mig-29/35 but its performance is Flanker level...
Don't remember those remarks about space defence
They have updated and upgraded their land based air defence to protect Russia from long range ballistic weapons and gliders... which will likely form the basis of their defence from hypersonic manouvering threats... it includes missiles but also high power lasers... do you think they will neglect their navy? Their access to world trade and foreign markets... maybe the US Navy will play nice and let them trade with anyone they please... ????
Yes, indeed it seems they will keep the Fort M (is it what you mean by Rif?)
That is what they call the naval S-300F and improved models. The first Orlans had Rif... with 90km range missiles and that was later replaced by Rif-M with 150km range missiles in later ships AFAIK.
A few other things changed too like the two 100mm gun mounts of the first ship was replaced with the twin 130mm mounts in later ships and a few other changes...
The issue with placing 9M100 in a VLS meant for the Fort missiles is that it does not use up the depth of the system. Short range missiles can be place in other places of the ship, the big VLS should use the 9M96 at least.
From the description it sounds like the Granit tubes are being replaced by UKSK launchers, the Rif system is being kept and presumably modified to take new 250km and 400km range new S-400 missiles of the same number.... 96 missiles replacing 96 missiles, but it sounds like Redut is being mounted where the Metel system was fitted and the RBU-6000 in front of that is being kept, so the Redut system can take smaller shorter ranged missiles to backup and support the Rif-M with the long range missiles.
On a brand new ship I would expect a new model Redut that could take the bigger missiles would replace both systems but they clearly are not ready with such a new system... it is like a Sovremmeny upgrade that keeps the Shtil arm launcher but uses new missiles... you don't benefit from being able to launch rapidly, but you do get the range and performance improvements of the new missiles.
This suggests this is a cheaper upgrade... if they are working on new systems for heavier new build ships then perhaps the next upgrade they could test them with that upgrade... in the mean time this will get into the water and increase the air defence range of the Russian Navy significantly.
The capability vs. swarms is given by the several CIWS, gun mounts and short range missiles operating in parallel with a very serious firepower, though I don't exactly know the details about the fire control and how many targets can they attack simultaneously. The double 130 mm gun with guided rounds should be extremely effective against dense attacks of relatively light targets, even at a serious distance.
I suspect a few SAMs with nuclear warheads could also be a simple solution to a swarm attack.... assuming it only destroys drones I would expect that could be considered an acceptable use for tactical nuclear weapons.
It is not that you cannot use the Ka-31 close to the carrier or integrate the radar picture of airborne fighters, but it is still not a really effective way to have a 24/7, 360 deg radar picture at a safe distance from the fleet.
Being an air defence carrier I think having Ka-31s is a little limiting but not the worst thing in the world... they are not thinking of invasions deep into enemy airspace with manned aircraft so having a clear picture of the airspace down to sea level including surface targets 250km around perhaps two or three helicopters operating perhaps 20-50km away from your carrier should be pretty good and much better than having none.
There are a range of belly pods being developed for the Su-34 that include EW and recon including ground mapping side looking radar equipment... how hard would it be to develop a 360 degree belly mounted radar system for an Su-33 or MiG-29K that could fly around the place when tensions are high... it could carry its own air to air weapons and be able to look after itself.
The talk of assisted takeoff systems being added during the upgrade are intriguing too... what would need such assistance?
I mean a Flanker with full fuel an a full weapon payload would benefit from assistance, but perhaps they have a new plane that needs assistance to get airborne... we have recently seen a jet powered Chinese design... is it impossible they might have developed something for themselves?
In a confrontation vs. USN, the later would have a serious advantage in that regard.
I don't agree... I think Russian aircraft operating within a Russian surface based IADS are well protected and likely have quite a few information gathering options to allow them to have rather good situational awareness... if there is conflict it wont be Su-33s bombing US carriers... Zircons can get their target information from space or subs or other platforms.
The Flanker platform is superior to anything the USN has, but it is technically not anymore up to date, not numerous on board the K and lacks the decisive stand-off weapons needed to attack the CBG(s) without having to face a much more numerous, more modern and better coordinated air wing.
I would think a surface launched Zircon has a better tactical radius than an F-35, and I think the Kuznetsov will not be operating alone anyway.
There is enormous future scope for upgrades to Su-33s and MiG-29Ks (to Su-35 level and MIG-35 level respectively... but also their twin engined stealthy lighter carrier fighter that MiG are showing models of suggests further upgrades likely too... not to mention a whole new range of specialist aircraft weapons designed for internal carriage by stealthy fighters and also bombers...)
Russian carrier groups are about assuring access to SLOC and ports... I can't see the US Navy ramming anyone or opening fire on targets carrying S-400 and Zircon type weapons... unless given no other choice.
VMF will find a solution, no question, but projecting power was not yet high enough in the list of priorities and therefore it does not even seem that they have a defined plan to address most of those topics. That should happen within this decade from what we know.
The coming rejection of Russia as a peer power will lead to a turn away from the west and focus will shift to naval interests and power projection... I doubt the Army and Air Force will suffer... for instance Sukhoi will still be making new planes, but more money for a naval Su-57 might suddenly appear just as an example.
Ship production rates should start to take off now the prototypes and testing are mostly done and it just remains to make the new light ships... serial production is much easier than problem solving new ship designs.
I expect them not only to ignore the West, but to actually "contain" them, using one the US' favourite euphemisms for screwing other countries over.
I don't see them trying to actively harm the west, but equally it wont do anything to help unless it benefits from the process.
The West will try to isolate the multipolar world and use financial might (or rather privilege) and their ability to project soft and hard power to start a new colonial era and secure a resource basis that needs to be bigger than that of China and Russia.
I think that will be a huge bonus... every time they try to use their power with US dollars or international orgs they control they essentially weaken and undermine those powers and risk losing them.
The west getting all colonial is a good set of reasons for most of the victims of colonialism to look for something new and different.
In desperation the west might even start being nice to its third world victims hoping to create new powerful allies... essentially like they did with Germany and Japan... they went from enemy to ally very quickly because it was useful for that to happen.
During the cold war the west was able to get over its BS regarding communist countries to be able to use better relations withcommunist China against the perceived bigger threat of communist Soviet Union... but being logical... if the Soviets were the bigger threat then why not decide to have better relations with them and the problems are solved.
I guess it should be possible to warn the animals of the presence of such vessels so that they can move away, before leaving them deaf using the sonar at full power without previous notice...
Water is a funny thing... it does not compress. When you see in movies some diver or some person underwater getting shot at and the bullets going through the water all around them... in actual fact the easiest way to deal with any human under the water is a hand grenade. The fragments are useless so an attack grenade instead of a defense grenade should be used, but their effect is brutal.
A hand grenade effectively sends shockwaves through the water... it travels fast and when it reaches a human... who is mostly water, the effects are quite lethal because the air pockets we like to call lungs collapse and you die.
Famously using dynamite to go fishing has the same effect, but with fish they have ballast sacks they store gas in to change their buoyancy... the shock wave from an underwater explosion stuns them and they float to the surface.
A sonar powerful enough to actually create cavitation have been reportedly used to set of incoming torpedoes... the effect on any living thing in the water would be catastrophic.
The speed sound moves through water is four times faster than in air... so we are talking about roughly 1.2km/s which is rather fast to swim away from... if you started out with low power pulses and gradually increased them over time I suspect most marine life that could move probably would but giving away your position like that would make the whole concept redundant anyway.
I think the core principle is no open discussions to prevent the save the whales lunatics from finding out... of course such things are very damaging to ocean life there obviously wont be any independent studies on the effects, and humans rely a lot on the ocean despite treating it as a toilet... a lot of CO2 is removed from the atmosphere by creatures in the oceans.
Not something we should be mucking around with.