Yak-201: Why is it much more dangerous for the US than the su-57
The us naval Institute gave a detailed analysis of the operation off-35B fighters (with a short takeoff and vertical landing — ed.) on Board the amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD-2) class «Wasp» («Wasp»). As part of the 13th marine expeditionary unit of the US Navy, this transport participated in long-term missions in the Pacific ocean and the Middle East. He returned on March 1 to San Diego, where Chandler Nelms, commander of the expedition, said that America will rapidly develop a fleet of mini-aircraft carriers.
Apparently, it will be so.
First, the sheepskin is clearly worth the candle. The last three «Wasp» cost us Treasury about $ 750 million per ship (or about 50 billion rubles), and the construction period took 2.5 years, and about 2 years were ship tests. On the deck of a mini aircraft carrier can accommodate 20 fighters F-35B, or 6 F-35B and 12 convertiplanes MV-22B Osprey, as well as 6 helicopters. For comparison: aircraft carriers «Gerald Ford» are 12 times more expensive — about $ 9 billion, put into operation 8 years after the bookmark, and carry 90 aircraft and helicopters.
Secondly, to drive «airfield on water» to the far away seas for the solution of local military tasks as it often happens, it is simply unreasonable. After all, after two or three trips overseas giants are on a very expensive repair. And the very preparation for a long mission on the «Gerald Ford» takes incomparably more time than on the same «Wasp». Plus on Board, the latter are placed up to 2 thousand Marines. As the saying goes, the most the, to project force far from the metropolis. Full-size aircraft carriers with a displacement of 100 thousand tons and with a wing of 90 carrier-based fighters are unaffordable cargo for almost all States, except for the first and second economies of the world — the United States and China. However, even in the United States, the voices that «Gerald fords» will be mass graves in case of war with Russia or China are louder. They’ll bombard them with missiles.
Russia, being after the collapse of the Soviet Union without shipyards in Nikolaev (now Ukraine), where the Soviet Union has accumulated experience and technology of aircraft carriers, was forced to start from scratch. It is also no secret that in the 90s when the country was ruled by figures headed by Boris Berezovsky and Yegor Gaidar, stopped public investment in shipbuilding, which was the reason for the current almost 20-year backlog of the Russian Federation from the United States in this area. As a result, today the Russian Federation lacks not only technical knowledge but also management procedures and tactics to build giant ships.
We also note that the USSR didn’t really want to rivet the huge aircraft carriers. For the war with America, floating airfields were impractical, unlike nuclear submarines, which could actually block us access to Europe. To do this, our submariners did not even have to sink the warships of the allies, it was enough to focus on transports and convoys to block the access of soldiers and equipment from the New World to the Old.
And yet aircraft carriers today need Russia, as evidenced by at least the Syrian campaign and the policy of support for Venezuela. In this regard, the American experience of mini-aircraft carriers with twenty aircraft on the deck can become a real lifesaver for the Russian Navy.
Although the Wasp class amphibious assault ship has a huge displacement of 40,000 tons by our standards, it is assembled from 5 hull blocks and an add-on module, each of which is made separately and in parallel. This part accounts for about 75% of the work in relatively small docks.
In Russia, there are already capacities where modular Assembly is possible — this is the Zvezda plant in the city of Bolshoy Kamen. The cost of 50 billion rubles for the ship is also quite lifting, even for a modest Russian budget. But it is terrible to imagine how much the multi-purpose heavy aircraft carrier of the project 23000 «Storm» will cost in reality, and how long it will be built and put into operation, if, for example, the repair of the aircraft carrier «Admiral Kuznetsov» is estimated at 65 billion rubles and will last at least 4 years.
However, to take advantage of the American experience, Russia needs a vertical/short takeoff and landing aircraft. As you know, in Soviet times, the design Bureau «Yakovlev» developed exactly such a strike fighter Yak-38 for aircraft carriers of the type «Kiev», by the way, with a displacement of 41 thousand tons, as well as ships of the class «Wasp».
And although the Yak-38 was limited in its capabilities due to the huge fuel consumption for takeoff and landing, nevertheless, it gave impetus to the development of deck aircraft vertical/short takeoff and landing. After 11 years, the Yak-38 was replaced by the Yak-41, which made its first flight in 1987. The new machine already met the requirements of the 4th generation fighters. And in September 1991, just a few months before the collapse of the USSR, the new Yak-141 made the first vertical landing on the aircraft carrier «Admiral Gorshkov» class «Kiev».
With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the subsequent decline of more than 40% of the Russian economy, Yakovlev lost funding to continue the project. And despite the fact that there was already four working prototype. Worse: the ideas and principles of the Yak-141 formed the basis of the very F-35B, which today becomes the basic carrier-based fighter American mini-aircraft carriers. Now it is no secret that in the early 90s was the drain of Soviet «critical» technologies concern Lheheed Martin in the short-term cooperation.
I must say that now in Russia there seems to be an understanding that it is necessary to develop the concept of mini-aircraft carriers with short take-off and vertical landing fighters. However, it is not clear what is happening with the program of the revival of the Yak-141 (and later Yak-201) — with the one that, in fact, will provide solutions to the problem of aircraft carriers of the Russian Federation.
Yes, conversations on the Yak-141/Yak-201 are conducted at the top, but in conditions of the limited defense budget, all blanket on itself pulls the development of su-57. However, from the point of view of the marine application, the 5th generation «Drying» will require the carrier of the project 23000 «Storm», whose cost may exceed 1 trillion. rubles’.At the same time, as mentioned above, it is not clear when this giant will be in combat missions. If you start the production of Yak-141 even sample 90-is, but to equip it with missile R-77 with a range of 110 miles, the safety zone around the vehicle can reach a decent 500 km.
And, if we evaluate the export potential of the still raw su-57 and Yak-141/Yak-201, the second is much more likely to be in demand. Mini-aircraft carriers are available to many countries, but, in fact, the only limiting factor for their development is an inexpensive short take-off and vertical landing aircraft. In this regard, «Yakovlev» for America is much more dangerous than «Dry».
In General, the delay in the Yak-141/Yak-201 program, without any doubt, is already turning into a significant loss of combat capability of our Navy, while the US, on the contrary, is actively increasing the grouping of small aircraft carriers. Of course, much depends on the military budget, which due to the weak Russian economy has no money for the development of a number of really promising programs.
As you know, the people have already squeezed all the juice, so the obvious way out of this bleak situation is the introduction of a progressive tax. But this seems not to be included in the plans of Amateur Medvedev’s Cabinet, supported by President Putin may not cause regret.