Nowadays, surface warships (if they are not aircraft carriers) are assigned a modest supporting role. Despite this, the leading countries of the world today are actively developing new destroyers, frigates and corvettes. Want to take a look at them?
"Zamvolt" - sea ghost
While Russia, China and the countries of Europe are only designing warships of the future, the Americans have come close to adopting the most futuristic ship of our time - the DDG-1000 destroyer. It was built at the Bath Iron Works shipyard in Maine. This is the first combat ship of the Zamvolt class. The DDG-1000 Zumwalt was launched as recently as October 29, 2013. It will be put into service this year.
The main trump card of DDG? 1000 is the use of stealth technologies. To make the ship unobtrusive, the developers decided to give its hull a unique shape. "Zamvolt" looks like it has descended from the pages of science fiction books. Outwardly, it resembles a sort of F-117 of the deep sea. To make it even less visible, the latest composite materials are used in the construction.
The destroyer turned out to be quite large - it surpasses other ships of its class. The displacement of the Zamvolt is more than 14,000 tons. The length is 183 m, the width is more than 24 m. However, due to high automation, the crew is only 148 people. Two Rolls-Royce MT30 gas turbines allow a maximum speed of 55 km / h.
The destroyer Zamwalt is named after US Navy Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, one of the most famous reformers in the history of the US Navy. In the second half of the 20th century, Zumwalt did everything possible to make life easier for American sailors. The admiral is also known for his active participation in the Vietnam campaign
Ships of the "Zamvolt" type are designed to combat enemy aircraft, submarines and ships. They can also deliver powerful missile strikes against enemy territory. To solve the main combat missions "Zamvolt" has twenty launchers and can carry 80 cruise missiles "Tomahawk" on board. The destroyer can also use anti-submarine missiles RUM-139 against ships and submarines. Zamvolta's anti-aircraft armament consists of RIM-162 missiles and two Mk. 110. Has a ship and large-caliber artillery: on board are two 155-mm AGS guns, designed specifically for destroyers of this type. The artillery mount can confidently hit targets at a distance of up to 100 km. Finally, the ship carries a Sikorsky SH-60 Seahawk helicopter and a small drone squadron.
Despite its innovativeness, Zamvolt is not without its drawbacks. Stealth requirements run counter to proven shipbuilding technologies. For example, the angular body of the Zamvolt makes it less resistant to the elements of the sea. In addition, the ship carries a smaller amount of weapons than some less "advanced" counterparts. Zamvolt also has one more, perhaps, the main drawback - its price. It ranges from $ 1.4 billion to $ 3.2 billion.
Given the sharp reduction in military spending, the Americans have long abandoned their original plans to acquire 32 such ships. First, the total number of Zamvolt-class destroyers was reduced to 24 units, then to seven. Now the order of the US Navy is even designed for the construction of only three ships of this type. However, there is no need to worry about the fate of the newest destroyers. The growing rivalry between the United States and China in the Pacific Ocean dictates to the Americans new conditions for the geopolitical game. A game in which a powerful and modern fleet plays an important role.The last of the Zamvolt-class ships should be commissioned no later than 2018.
The enormous cost of the Zamvolt forced the Americans to return to the production of fourth-generation destroyers of the Arleigh Burke class. These powerful ships can carry up to 56 Tomahawk cruise missiles. At the moment, 62 of these ships are in the service of the US Navy. In addition to them, the Americans want to build 10 more.
Harsh Russian ship
Today Russia is faced with the need to modernize its fleet. Indeed, many ships of the Russian Navy were built in the USSR and are outdated both morally and physically. The fleet management is hatching ambitious plans to create a destroyer that could replace several types of warships at once. The concept of the Russian destroyer of the future received the designation "Project 21956". The new ship will replace the Sovremenny-class destroyers, the Atlant-class missile cruisers and some large anti-submarine ships.
Relatively little is known about the new Russian ship. The destroyer project was presented in 2007 and nowadays exists only on paper. The public perceived his birth with a fair amount of skepticism. The concept was poorly developed and required serious adjustments.
Now one thing is known for certain - domestic developers decided to follow the path of foreign colleagues and make the destroyer inconspicuous. From a technological point of view, "Project 21956" will become less revolutionary than the American "Zamvolt". It is difficult to say whether this is good or bad: the Russian fleet in any case cannot afford spending comparable to that of the American fleet.
Project 21956 will be a versatile ship and will be able to operate as part of both small groups and large fleets.
The new ship will have a total displacement of 9000 tons. Its length will exceed 160 m, and its width will be 19 m. 300 sailors and officers will serve on board the destroyer.
The ship's main weapon will be the promising Caliber cruise missiles, which will be housed in 16 launchers. The maximum range of such missiles is 220 km. The destroyer will also receive an anti-submarine modification of this missile - "Caliber-PLE". The S-300F anti-aircraft missile system and the Kortik anti-aircraft artillery installation will be installed on board. The destroyer's large-caliber artillery is represented by one 130-mm gun.
It is difficult to judge the further fate of the project. The construction of the first destroyer of this type may begin as early as this year. However, the leadership of the Russian Navy is in no hurry to name any dates for the implementation of the project.
But the hopes of the Russian fleet are connected not only with this ship. Today the Navy is developing two types of the latest frigates with the same traditional unromantic names - "Project 22350" and "Project 11356". These ships have already been laid down and were supposed to be commissioned at the end of last year. The frigates of "Project 22350" are somewhat larger than the ships of Project 11356 (the latter was developed on the basis of the export frigate "Talvar").
Project 22350 is a frigate for the far sea zone. The latest composite materials, which reduce radar signature, have found their way into its design. Three ships of this type are currently under construction, and the Russian fleet is interested in purchasing eight such ships.
The concept of another frigate of the far sea zone - "Project 22356" is being worked out today. The promising ship is planned to be equipped with Kalibr missiles, as well as S-300F and Shtil anti-aircraft missile systems. If the concept gets a start in life, the Project 22356 frigate could become the most powerful ship of this class in the world.
In the future, the role of aviation in the fleets of the world's leading powers will grow. But unmanned aerial vehicles will also be added to the usual carrier-based aircraft. In the 21st century, warships may completely lose offensive weapons, since the strikes will be entirely given to deck drones
The development of the "Project 21956" testifies to a radical change in the equipmenting policy of the domestic fleet. If in Soviet times a huge number of various warships were built, now a course is set for maximum unification. This approach can be considered correct, because servicing a large number of different ships is a very difficult task
British lion and gallic cock
Even if you strain all your imagination, it is unrealistic to imagine what the warships of the distant future will look like. The Americans are spending billions of dollars on the design of the military equipment of tomorrow, and the Europeans are doing everything to keep up with them.
Great Britain does not want to finally part with the status of "mistress of the seas". Not so long ago, the British presented their vision of the frigate of the future to the public. The concept has so far been named Type 26 GCS. It is being created as part of the Global Combat Ship program, designed to provide Her Majesty's fleet with the latest warships. The well-known British company BAE Systems, one of the world's largest arms manufacturers, took over the development.
The Type 26 frigate is being created taking into account the modular armament concept that is popular in our time. Depending on the task at hand, the ship will be equipped with different weapons and other payloads. The British have not forgotten about the stealth technology: the Type 26 will become one of the most inconspicuous warships in the world. And the ship is also designed to carry out amphibious operations. Even heavy military transport helicopters can land on its deck. The displacement of the vessel will exceed 5000 tons, its length will reach 150 m. The British want to purchase 13 such ships.
The French also intend to compete for the naval arms market. The Fifth Republic is funding an ambitious Advansea program. The warships built within the framework of it will not only move using electricity, but also have fundamentally new types of weapons: laser and electromagnetic. The first will be used to combat air targets. Electromagnetic weapons will become the ship's main caliber. The advantage of such an original approach is that laser and electromagnetic installations do not require heavy ammunition, and therefore the ship's board will be freed up for other needs.
But in order to realize their plans, the French will have to answer a key question: where to find the energy for all this. The developers themselves plan to equip the ship with a 20 MW power plant. There are also problems with the level of technological readiness of weapons. Today, only laser installations are being actively tested so far. But the first serious tests of electromagnetic weapons will begin only in 2018. But even if promising weapons have to be abandoned, the ship may still see the light: in addition, conventional guided missiles can be placed on board the Advansea.
The displacement of the vessel will be 4500 tons, length - 120 m. Most likely, the project will begin after 2020.
Nowadays, destroyers and frigates are the most demanded types of large warships. Of course, in terms of their potential, they cannot be compared with aircraft carriers, but not all countries can afford to have aircraft carriers. But large cruisers, such as "Peter the Great", are conceptually outdated today. With a much smaller size, destroyers can carry a load commensurate with the weapons of the sea giants
Now in the West, ship laser systems are being actively developed. As a rule, they are created to prevent a missile threat and to combat enemy aircraft. One of the most famous projects of shipborne laser systems is TLS (Tactical Laser System). This complex is capable of effectively hitting targets at a distance of 3 km. More powerful laser systems will soon be able to destroy enemy equipment at a distance of over 50 km
"Diving" frigate and combat robots
One of the most amazing concepts in recent years is the SMX-25 surface submarine.It was developed by the French company DKNS. The French miracle combines the advantages of a surface ship and a submarine: stealth and mobility. The "diving" frigate will be able to very quickly reach any point on the planet due to its high surface speed. But a blow to the enemy will inflict from a submerged position.
In a non-combat environment, the SMX-25 will be on the surface and act as a frigate. Above the water, it will move with the help of a gas turbine engine, and under water - with the help of electric motors.
The ship will receive armament, consisting of 16 missiles and torpedoes, placed in four torpedo tubes. Its displacement will be 3,000 tons, and its length will be 109 m. The high level of automation will replace unnecessary hands, so the number of crew on the ship should not exceed 27 people.
Attempts to create something similar have been made before. But it was the French who came closer to the implementation of the idea than anyone else. DKNS representatives say they are ready to start building the diving frigate today. However, the most optimistic construction completion dates are 2016-2017.
Another incredible concept is currently being developed by the British company BAE Systems. The British borrowed the idea of creating the UXV Combatant from the now popular drones. But the ship is not just a promising project. Perhaps the British have created a new class of warship: a specialized carrier of combat unmanned aerial vehicles. With the size of a destroyer, the ship, in terms of its combat potential, will be able to come close to small aircraft carriers. The idea of the ship's design echoes the newest British destroyer Type 45, which has already been put into service. The UXV Combatant will also become an inconspicuous ship. In addition to drones, its armament will include long-range missiles and guns of various calibers.
One of the features of the concept is its versatility. Depending on the task at hand, the ship will take on board the necessary equipment, and also carry out combat missions without drones at all. UAVs will be delivered on board the ship only if they are needed.