The head of the USC: after the repair, the aircraft carrier "Admiral Kuznetsov" will serve at least 25 years
Alexey Rakhmanov spoke about the implementation of the state defense order, the prospects for serial equipping of ships with Zircon missiles and the possibility of strengthening the armament of diesel submarines
Moscow. August 15. INTERFAX.RU - General Director of United Shipbuilding Corporation JSC (USC) Alexei Rakhmanov, in an interview with Interfax columnist Pavel Koryashkin, spoke about the corporation's plans at the military-technical forum "Army", the repair of the only Russian aircraft carrier, fifth-generation submarines and the decision of the Ministry of Defense to stop on one frigate project.
- How many ships, vessels and submarines will USC hand over to the military this year?
- This year it is planned to transfer 11 ships to the fleet - eight new and three after repair. We have already handed over to the Russian Navy a new minesweeper (we will hand over another one after repairs) and a diesel submarine.
Recently, the flag was raised on a ship you know (On July 8, USC handed over to the Russian Navy a special-purpose nuclear submarine "Belgorod" - IF), two more submarines at Sevmash are in the final stages of testing (the Pacific Fleet reported that it would receive a strategic nuclear submarine this year " Prince Oleg" and multi-purpose "Novosibirsk" ). We hope that they will also join the Navy this year.
- In your office, cameras show several shipyards in real time. Here is the dock with the Admiral Kuznetsov under repair. Is it true that the transfer of the aircraft carrier to the fleet has been postponed to 2024?
- Dock repair will proceed within the framework of the existing schedule. All this time, work on the ship did not stop, active preparations are underway for the installation of cable products, the installation of a large amount of modernized equipment. We must give the ship to the military in the first quarter of 2024. As a result of fault detection, a significant part of the equipment required replacement or repair in the factory. These are objective difficulties, there were also subjective ones. In addition, decisions have been made on the ship, which I cannot comment on, but I will note that after the repair, the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier will serve for at least 25 years.
- "Admiral Kuznetsov" will receive new boilers, new flight systems and communication systems, new weapons ...
- There's a lot of new stuff.
- In principle, USC is ready to build such large warships?
- Of course. We are in full swing modernizing "Severnaya Verf". As soon as the installation of the slipway is completed, it will be the tallest industrial building in St. Petersburg - 75 meters high, 125 meters wide and 250 meters long. This is more than enough to build virtually any large-capacity vessel. And even if a decision is made to build a new aircraft carrier, the lion's share of the work can be done at Severnaya Verf.
- In May 2021, Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy Nikolai Evmenov announced that the Baltic Fleet would receive new diesel submarines. Still, now there is already an understanding of what kind of submarines we are talking about - 636.3 or 677 ?
- I can't comment on it. Let me just say that we have worked out projects - 677 and adapted 636, which we learned to build at the Admiralty Shipyards in large series.
Ready to fulfill orders of the Ministry of Defense.
By the way, I am glad that one of the Project 677 submarines will finally complete the main part of the tests, and the frequency of construction and delivery of such products will already be clear to us. It is likely that the Navy will say which it would prefer - 636.3 or 677, and for which fleet. Both submarines turned out to be good, and we are confident in their effectiveness.
- Now USC is fulfilling a contract for a series of diesel submarines of project 636.3 for the Pacific Fleet. Still, there are plans to continue the construction of these submarines?
- These submarines were designed at the end of the last century. Given a number of upgrades - and there are quite a lot of them - we get an effective weapon that is definitely better than the old diesel-electric submarines that are now in service. With rhythmic financing, we can promise the construction of two such diesel submarines per year. And then - already the decision of the fleet, what kind of submarines are needed by type, for which fleets and, accordingly, at what speed the construction should go. Now we are building one such boat a year, but this is not our shortcoming, but the planned pace of construction within the framework of the existing order.
- Project 636.3 submarines can be upgraded to carry more Kalibr cruise missiles?
- We have at least six versions that we offer for modernization. And the one that offers an increase in armament power is also being considered by us.
- Last December, you said that the USC would make a technical design for the Leader nuclear destroyer, and that the Defense Ministry's wishes were understandable. At what stage of the technical project?
- I would not become attached to a specific project now. I can say one thing - the Ministry of Defense decided that the ships of the "frigate" class of the far sea zone should be based on one project. The technical project is currently under development. As soon as it is approved, we will announce what kind of project it will be, its qualifications and so on. We understand the logic and strategy of the Ministry of Defense for the development of the Navy. Our task is to design and offer various kinds of options. The task of the customer is to choose and bet on certain projects.
- Does this mean that the nuclear destroyer project was abandoned?
- No, until the decision is made, I would not reject any options.
- According to the military, the Project 22350 frigates, in particular the Admiral Gorshkov, performed well ?
- Yes. The development of this project is one of the options.
"Admiral Gorshkov" can become, relatively speaking, a "donor" of this platform of ships of the far sea zone in terms of its optimal size, seaworthiness without restrictions and its geometric dimensions, the likelihood of some kind of correction in case a larger number of strike ships need to be placed there and defensive weapons.
- You said that one basic frigate design would probably be selected. Are there any plans to equip it with more Kalibr missiles?
- We count on it.
- Does this mean that the military will choose the modernized project 22350M as the base?
- Probably yes. But since the question is still within the competence of the Ministry of Defense, I can only speculate here.
- The Ministry of Defense reported on successful tests of the Zircon hypersonic missile from the Admiral Gorshkov frigate. On Navy Day, the President of Russia announced that the delivery of Zircons to the Armed Forces would begin in the coming months. When can serial equipping of surface ships with these missiles begin?
- We go in the wake of the wishes of the customer.
The fact that the tests went well inspires confidence that we are finally going in the right sequence: first the weapon is tested, and then the carrier adapts to it. We are very glad that we have found a common understanding with the Ministry of Defense. As soon as they place an order, these missiles will be installed on the appropriate ships, on launchers. So everything is going according to plan here.
- Is the creation of fifth-generation submarines - strategic and multi-purpose - not stalling?
- There is always a temptation to complain that our design bureaus are working slowly, and the military is slow to make decisions. But fifth-generation submarines are actually a serious challenge. Due to the tasks that the customer has set for us, a number of technical solutions must be revised radically.
We do not want to run into long-term construction. By and large, we build for a long time only in the case when, as the so-called hidden R&D projects, undeveloped technical solutions get on our lead ships. Wherever we are talking about the creation of new weapons, and not serial samples, the increase in terms is caused by the need to refine or refine either weapons systems or ship control systems. By doing this ashore, we save a huge amount of time when the product goes on combat duty.
We made our conclusions jointly with the fleet. To date, fundamental technical solutions are being developed, each of which entails additional tests, the creation of additional prototypes, and their testing. As soon as these works are completed, we will be able to assemble what will be called the fifth generation submarine from a set of technical solutions.
In general, work is progressing according to schedule. I hope that in the near future we will be able to finally agree with the Ministry of Defense on a pragmatic final work schedule for fifth-generation submarines.
- Are you satisfied with the way "Sevmash" fulfills contracts for "Yasen" and "Borey"?
- In general, yes. Last year we commissioned three nuclear submarines.
Three nuclear submarines a year by one plant have not been surrendered for a very, very long time, since 1991. This suggests that the plant has increased the necessary production capacity, was able to cope with the training of the necessary personnel and did everything to ensure that the products were of high quality and worked reliably.
Of course, we would very much like to deliver not three, but four nuclear submarines last year. But there were objective reasons why we had to conduct additional series of tests.
- In 2020, Deputy Defense Minister Alexei Krivoruchko said that Sevmash's capacities were fully loaded with orders until 2027. What's next?
- "Yasen" and "Borey" have already been modernized, the modernized submarines of the Yasen-M and Borey-A projects have already been put into service. If you are interested in whether there will be a modernization of the next order or whether we will immediately switch to the fifth generation, then on this issue we are deciding with the military. They decide what will be more effective, including in terms of the pace of rearmament of the Navy.
- Have you completed the relocation of the USC main office to St. Petersburg?
- Yes, successfully completed. Here we live and work for two cities, in trains and planes. Of course, all those who are directly involved in production management are in St. Petersburg. Of course they are more comfortable. They are very close to the factories, to the technical and tactical decisions made there.
The strategic office is still the same as it was and remains in Moscow. Simply because the government, the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, and all the federal ministries with which we have to work - they are all here.
- You said that about 1.5 billion rubles would be spent on moving the main office to St. Petersburg. Did you get this amount?
Plus or minus yes. Of course, there are some nuances associated with adjusting the budget, because during the period of repair, design work, something became cheaper, something more expensive, but in general, we managed to accurately predict the costs of moving. We closely monitored both the budget and the fundamental technical and design decisions that influenced the performance of the work.
- The West is tightening sanctions, how noticeable is this for USC?
- In terms of military shipbuilding, we practically do not feel any sanctions. The small "tails" that we have left are closed or are being closed by alternative supply channels. The work of our partners and contractors is to completely remove dependence on foreign components.
In military shipbuilding, the level of required localization significantly exceeds 95%. The remaining less than 5% - electronic component base, some small products. If these 5% are suddenly blocked, we have the competence to create such components, assemblies and assemblies. They relate rather to the convenience of being on board and do not affect the combat properties of the ships that we build. But in the end, the Navy orders the equipment for us, and, as they say, we take it under the hood.