Tuesday, December 6, 2016

XLT: Rubin Designing Submarine Imitator for RF Navy

Surrogat submarine imitator
[credit: Rubin Central Design Bureau]

                                                      [Translation of TASS news article]

ROBOT CAPABLE OF IMMITATING ANY SUB BEING CREATED FOR RF NAVY
TASS
December 6, 2016

According to designer, vehicle will be notable for is simplicity of use and low maintenance and upgrade costs

MOSCOW, December 6. /TASS/. Specialists at Rubin Central Design Bureau have developed a draft concept of the Surrogat robotic complex to be used in RF Navy training. According to the design bureau, talks with the Navy about this project are in progress.

"Surrogat is equipped with a lithium-ion battery. The submarine imitator is capable of supporting training for up to 15-16 hours and will simulate a foreign submarine's maneuvers the entire time, to include at high speeds. Comparatively large dimensions (approximate 17-meter length) and an ability to employ various towed antennas will allow the vehicle to realistically simulate an enemy submarine's physical fields - acoustic and magnetic," says the Rubin Central Design Bureau.

The imitator vehicle's modular design allows for its functionality to be altered: Surrogat can imitate both a non-nuclear and nuclear submarine, as well as conduct mapping and intelligence collection missions.

Surrogat submarine imitator
[credit: Rubin Central Design Bureau]

"Today combat submarines must be used in exercises or testing, which takes them away from executing their primary missions. Using an unmanned imitator will help avoid this and lower the cost of training. Additionally, an unmanned submarine reduces risks while preserving a level of realism. This vehicle will be notable for its simplicity of use and low maintenance and upgrade costs. We are now consulting with RF Navy representatives to ensure the imitator fully satisfies the Navy's requirements," Rubin Central Design Bureau general director Igor Vilnit explained.

Rubin is not ruling out interest in Surrogat by foreign customers.

The Surrogat autonomous unmanned submarine displaces about 40 tons, has a range of about 600 miles at a speed of 5 knots, a maximum speed of more than 24 knots, and a maximum diving depth of 600 meters.

Monday, October 10, 2016

"Admiral Kuznetsov" & Friends to Deploy Soon

SU-33 Flanker and MIG-29K Fulcrum on board "Admiral Kuznetsov" -- August 2016

It now appears certain that the Russian Navy's sole aircraft carrier, "Admiral Kuznetsov", along with the nuclear-powered cruiser "Petr Velikiy" and destroyer "Severomorsk", are preparing to deploy within the next week.

"Petr Velikiy" -- May 2016

According to social media, "Petr Velikiy" was scheduled to transfer to a mooring position near Severomorsk today and depart from there on October 15 for a six- to eight-month deployment.

"Admiral Kuznetsov" performing final preparations -- October 8, 2016

"Admiral Kuznetsov" will arrive at a similar mooring position near Severomorsk on October 11. Interfax, citing an anonymous source, earlier reported the aircraft carrier would depart on October 15-20.

"Severomorsk" at 35th Shipyard -- July 8, 2016

"Severomorsk" is also scheduled to depart on October 15, based on social media.

Auxiliary support for the deployment will likely include salvage tug "Nikolay Chiker" and oiler "Sergey Osipov". "Nikolay Chiker" is currently moored near Severomorsk Naval Base. "Sergey Osipov" was noted underway near Severomorsk Naval Base on October 8.

KA-52 Hokum on board "Admiral Kuznetsov" -- August 29, 2016

The aircraft carrier is expected to deploy with a mixed inventory of KA-27/KA-29 Helix and KA-52 Hokum helicopters, as well as SU-33 Flanker and MIG-29K Fulcrum fighters.

Repairs of "Admiral Kuznetsov" began last spring, and it appeared they would continue until the end of this year; however, the repairs were completed earlier than scheduled. Following a number of underway combat drills and carrier flight operations, "Admiral Kuznetsov" returned to Rosta for final preparations before it transfers to its Severomorsk mooring position this week.

"Admiral Kuznetsov" & Friends to Deploy Soon

SU-33 Flanker and MIG-29K Fulcrum on board "Admiral Kuznetsov" -- August 2016

It now appears certain that the Russian Navy's sole aircraft carrier, "Admiral Kuznetsov", along with the nuclear-powered cruiser "Petr Velikiy" and destroyer "Severomorsk", are preparing to deploy within the next week.

"Petr Velikiy" -- May 2016

According to social media, "Petr Velikiy" will transfer to a mooring position near Severomorsk on October 9 and depart from there on October 15 for a six- to eight-month deployment.

"Admiral Kuznetsov" performing final preparations -- October 8, 2016

"Admiral Kuznetsov" will arrive at a similar mooring position near Severomorsk on October 11. Interfax, citing an anonymous source, earlier reported the aircraft carrier would depart on October 15-20.

"Severomorsk" at 35th Shipyard -- July 8, 2016

"Severomorsk" is also scheduled to depart on October 15, based on social media.

Auxiliary support for the deployment will likely include salvage tug "Nikolay Chiker" and oiler "Sergey Osipov". "Nikolay Chiker" is currently moored near Severomorsk Naval Base. "Sergey Osipov" was noted underway near Severomorsk Naval Base on October 8.

KA-52 Hokum on board "Admiral Kuznetsov" -- August 29, 2016

The aircraft carrier is expected to deploy with a mixed inventory of KA-27/KA-29 Helix and KA-52 Hokum helicopters, as well as SU-33 Flanker and MIG-29K Fulcrum fighters.

Repairs of "Admiral Kuznetsov" began last spring, and it appeared they would continue until the end of this year; however, the repairs were completed earlier than scheduled. Following a number of underway combat drills and carrier flight operations, "Admiral Kuznetsov" returned to Rosta for final preparations before it transfers to its Severomorsk mooring position this week.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Are Kalibr Ships Transferring to the Baltic Fleet?

"Zelenyy Dol" -- February 14, 2016
(credit: Yörük Işık)
This morning, shipspotters Alper Böler, Devrim Yaylali, and Yörük Işık photographed Russian Navy patrol combatants "Serpukhov" and "Zelenyy Dol" as they headed south through the Turkish Straits. The two ships earlier returned to Sevastopol on September 17 following a 38-day deployment to the eastern Mediterranean Sea. During that deployment, both ships launched 3M-14 Kalibr land-attack cruise missiles into Syria.

After a three-week break, "Serpukhov" and "Zelenyy Dol" are headed back to the Mediterranean Sea - possibly with a final destination in the Baltic Sea.

(credit: Main Intelligence Directorate - Ukrainian Ministry of Defense)

On September 16, the Main Intelligence Directorate of Ukraine's Ministry of Defense reported on its website that the two patrol combatants were scheduled to begin a transfer to the Baltic Fleet on September 24 using Russia's inland waterway system. Such a transfer would have required sufficient lead time to remove a portion of the ships' superstructures. With such a tight timeline (September 17-24), this option seemed unlikely. And the ships remained idle until they departed port yesterday.

"Serpukhov" and "Zelenyy Dol" could temporarily increase the Russian Navy's presence in the eastern Mediterranean; however, the Malta Ship & Actions Photos website claims the two ships will call in Valletta, Malta, in mid-October. According to the website, the ships will be supported by salvage tug "SB-36", which has been deployed to the Mediterranean Sea since last month. It should be noted that Malta Ship & Actions Photos reported last month that "Serpukhov" and "Zelenyy Dol" would visit Valletta on September 29-October 2, which did not occur. As the website has a good record of reporting on future Valletta port calls, the discrepancy in the Russian ships' port call dates is likely related to a scheduling change.

Having traveled that far west with a tug, it seems even more likely that "Serpukhov" and "Zelenyy Dol" will continue to the Baltic Sea. But the small patrol combatants will require several port calls (Ceuta? Lisbon?) and/or logistical support by a naval tanker.

The Baltic Fleet would benefit greatly from the introduction of Kalibr-armed warships. While Kalibr-capable ships and submarines are tested in the Baltic Sea before being transferred to the Black Sea Fleet, the Baltic Fleet currently has no Kalibr-capable ships or submarines in its own permanent inventory.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Klavesin-2R-PM to be Tested in Black Sea

Klavesin-2R-PM autonomous unmanned undersea vehicle
[courtesy: TASS]

Rubin Central Design Bureau of Marine Technology recently secured an insurance policy with SOGAZ (Gas Industry Insurance Company) to cover the loss of or damage to two Klavesin-2R-PM autonomous unmanned undersea vehicles, each worth RUB 300 million.

The first attempt to secure insurance began on February 10. Rubin announced it was accepting bids to insure the two vehicles during testing in St. Petersburg, in Crimea, and in the Black Sea, as well as for transportation between the locations. The insurance premiums (RUB 48 million) were unequally divided between the two vehicles: RUB 27 million for one (in 2016), RUB 21 million for the other (in 2017). Each vehicle being covered includes a load-bearing frame, propulsion system, containers with equipment and batteries, and other related components. The technical specifications provided for the Klavesin-2R-PM were:

  • length: approximately 6,500 mm
  • diameter: approximately 1,000 mm
  • weight: approximately 3,700 kg
  • maximum range: approximately 50 km
  • diving depth: approximately 2,000 m (due to the depth in the Black Sea test range, the diving depth will be 500 m)

Despite the fact that two companies bid on the contract (Ingosstrakh and SOGAZ), the competitive process was unexplainably stopped on March 4.

A second attempt began March 23. In the version of the documents published for this round, the vehicle's technical specifications were moved from the main contract document to an annex, which was not published. On April 6, the contract selection committee announced that the competitive process was nullified as only a single company (SOGAZ) had bid on the contract.

The third and final attempt began on April 6 with no changes made to the contract documentation. On April 21, after reviewing bids from two companies (MAKS and SOGAZ), the contract selection committee chose SOGAZ; the contract was signed on May 4. A few weeks later, SOGAZ released a statement on its website confirming that it had won the contract.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Simultaneous Exercises by Black Sea Fleet, Caspian Flotilla Kalibr Ships

Patrol combatants "Zelenyy Dol" (left) and "Serpukhov" (right)
On August 9, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced that three Kalibr-capable Caspian Flotilla combatants will take part in an exercise in the southwestern portion of the Caspian Sea on August 15-20. The frigates "Tatarstan" (not Kalibr-capable) and "Dagestan", along with the patrol combatants "Grad Sviyazhsk" and "Velikiy Ustyug" will conduct gunnery and missile drills during the exercise.

On August 11, defense officials announced that the Black Sea Fleet's two Kalibr-capable patrol combatants, "Serpukhov" and "Zelenyy Dol", had departed Sevastopol en route to the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Those two ships, together with other ships assigned to Russia's Standing Mediterranean Sea Task Group, are scheduled to begin a "graded tactical exercise" on August 15. As with the Caspian Sea exercise, this exercise will include gunnery and missile drills.

Flight bans for Russian Navy exercises -- August 15-20, 2016
Flight bans have been announced for the eastern Mediterranean Sea exercise:
A0837/16 - RUSSIAN NAVY EXERCISE (ROCKET TEST FIRINGS) WILL TAKE PLACE IN AREA BOUNDED BY: 344400N0345800E, 351300N0345800E, 351300N0353300E, 344400N0353300E. SFC - FL660, 0500-1700, 15 AUG 05:00 2016 UNTIL 20 AUG 17:00 2016.
A0838/16 - RUSSIAN NAVY EXERCISE (ROCKET TEST FIRINGS) WILL TAKE PLACE IN AREA BOUNDED BY: 351900N0300000E, 350500N0302500E, 350900N0304400E, 354300N0300000E. SFC - FL660, 0500-1700, 15 AUG 05:00 2016 UNTIL 20 AUG 17:00 2016.
These two exercises are likely linked to next month's scheduled "Kavkaz-2016" operational-strategic exercise.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Russian Pacific Fleet Launches Bastion CDCM

Bastion coastal defense cruise missile launch -- July 22, 2016
[credit: Russian Pacific Fleet press service]

On July 22, the Eastern Military District press service announced that a Pacific Fleet Coastal Troops unit had launched a Bastion (SSC-5 Stooge) coastal defense cruise missile. Although the press service did not mention when the launch occurred, the target wasn't in place until July 22, and metadata from pictures taken of the launch indicate the launch date was July 22.

An area closure, two flight bans, and three flight route restrictions were announced for the missile launch activity:


NAVAREA XIII 51/16
ZALIV PETRA VELIKOGO
CHARTS RUS 62071 60300
1. MISSILE EXERCISES FOR 11 HOURS FROM 2300 UTC 21 22 24 AND 25 JUL IN AREA BOUNDED BY 41-33-18N 132-22-48E 42-10-48N 131-42-48E 42-45-00N 131-15-00E COASTLINE 42-51-12N 131-25-00E 42-32-00N 132-10-12E 42-03-12N 133-02-06E
2. CANCEL THIS MESSAGE 261100 UTC JUL 16.

P6757/16 - 21 2300-22 0300, 22 0500-1000, 22 2300-23 0300, 23 0500-1000, 24 2300-25 0300, 25 0500-1000, 25 2300-26 0300, 26 0500-1000
TEMPO DANGER AREA ACT WI COORD: 422430N 1322400E-420312N 1330206E-413318N 1322248E-421048N 1314248E-421747N 1313715E-422430N 1322400E.
SFC - FL280, 21 JUL 23:00 2016 UNTIL 26 JUL 10:00 2016.

P6758/16 - 21 2300-22 0300, 22 0500-1000, 22 2300-23 0300, 23 0500-1000, 24 2300-25 0300, 25 0500-1000, 25 2300-26 0300, 26 0500-1000
ATS RTE SEGMENTS CLSD: B355 LUPAS - VATIS, B356 GALDI - KESAN, G705 BISUN - RIVAT.
SFC - FL280, 21 JUL 23:00 2016 UNTIL 26 JUL 10:00 2016.

P6759/16 - 21 2300-22 0300, 22 0500-1000, 22 2300-23 0300, 23 0500-1000, 24 2300-25 0300, 25 0500-1000, 25 2300-26 0300, 26 0500-1000
AIRSPACE CLSD WI COORD: 425112N1312500E-423200N1321012E-422430N1322400E-421747N1313715E-424500N1311500E-425112N1312500E.
SFC - FL080, 21 JUL 23:00 2016 UNTIL 26 JUL 10:00 2016.


Area closure, flight bans, and flight route restrictions -- July 21-25, 2016

Although the Bastion has a range of 600+ km (324+ nm), the target was located a mere 53 km (29 nm) from the launch point. According to the press statement, the missile successfully impacted the target based on reports by observer ships and aircraft. The target was subsequently towed back to Bukhta Abrek for re-use in future missile launch exercises.

The Ministry of Defense's Zvezda television station broadcast video of the launch on July 22.