Analysis: Russia to change laws to renew Navy strength

The Arbitration Court of Moscow said in December 2019 the Defense Ministry filed a claim to Pella Shipyard worth 2.93 bln rubles for breaching the deadline to deliver the lead Karakurt-class corvette of project 22800, the Military-Industrial Courier writes.

Analysis Russia to change laws to renew Navy strength 925 001Russia hosting main naval parade in St.Petersburg (Picture source: Russian Embassy)

As project 22800 implementation was successful despite problems with engine supplies, the news triggered a scandal. Pella gave an unprecedented pubic answer and provided documents of the Defense Ministry. They explained that a two-month delay was due to the engagement of the warship in the main Navy parade and events related to the Football World Cup. It was agreed and confirmed by Defense Ministry officials.

However, Pella said the acceptance act was signed on February 25, 2019, although it was actually inked in December 2018 earlier than the agreed delay caused by the parade and football.

The scandal added a fly to the ointment of relations between the ministry and the defense industry. Some private designers and producers said they no longer want to deal with the ministry. Project 22800 is not only successful. Something incredible happened, as the lead warship was commissioned in a shorter time than Soviet small missile ships of project 1234. It became clear that Russia can build modern warships rapidly, with good quality and cheap. Even the problem with diesel engines for which Zvezda producer is to blame is being rectified after the Russian president interfered.

Are there questions to project 22800? Yes, there are. The main one is its narrow specialization of an assault missile ship. The fleet badly needs a renewal of worn-out brown-water ships with new multirole ones. Project 22800 corvettes can offer a replacement, but the initial project stripped them of antisubmarine warfare capabilities. However, they have a major modernization potential and can develop into effective multirole brown-water warships after an upgrade.

A discussion emerged whether a corvette is better than a coastal weapon. Objectively, both are necessary. A major tactical feature of the new ships is the ability to track adversary naval forces and keep them in missile sight. It is an important and confirmed deterrence in a crisis situation.

There is an opinion that project 22800 success was due to the private ownership of Pella, as shipyards of the United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC) constantly drag construction. Private enterprise is often more effective than government-owned entities. However, the Almaz designer of the project is government-owned and belongs to USC. There are claims that warships could be constructed faster by Almaz Shipyard. Project 22800 corvette was the first warship to be built by Pella, which mastered military shipbuilding from scratch.

It confirmed that production time can be observed at a reasonable price and trials held successfully. The secret is simple. In most cases, the success of a project depends on shipyard management.

Surprisingly, the most successful project of a Russian warship received no state awards and prizes. It is desirable to restore justice to builders and designers of project 22800 and thus offer an example to the USC.

The Defense Ministry has to analyze the success and problems of the project and introduce the necessary changes into the normative base according to the reality and necessity to quickly renew the Navy strength, the Military-Industrial Courier said.

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