Analysis: Russian Navy trains new antisubmarine tactic

The Russian Navy trained a new tactic to fight submarines and defend its naval bases. A group of warships now includes several small antisubmarine ships and one latest corvette of project 22160. It can carry any set of hardware, including towed and stationary sonars and radars. Ka-27 helicopters will help the corvette to find submarines. Project 22160 ships will provide guidance to small antisubmarine ships which will engage torpedoes and depth bombs. Experts believe the new tactic will improve the defense of SSBN bases, the Izvestia daily writes.

Analysis Russian Navy trains new antisubmarine tactic 925 001Russia's Project 22160 Patrol Vessel Vasily Bykov (Picture source: Russian MoD picture)

The new tactic was drafted in 2019, but was only recently tested by antisubmarine forces, Defense Ministry sources said.

All the elements to protect the exit of submarines from the bases were tested in the Black Sea in April. The Vasily Bykov corvette of project 22160 used a sonar to search the assigned area for adversary submarines. It transmitted target coordinates to the Yeisk and the Kasimov small antisubmarine ships which delivered a combined strike with torpedoes and depth bombs.

The Vasily Bykov was also in charge of air defense of the warships. It was armed with Gibka antiaircraft complex capable of attacking airplanes, helicopters and drones at a range of 6 kilometers and an altitude of 10 meters to 3.5 kilometers.

The corvette operated in a single force of the base and reported target coordinates to S-400 launchers on the coast. It engaged two onboard drones in reconnaissance.

The deployment of warships and submarines is an important combat element, expert Igor Kurdin said. "Submarines are specifically vulnerable at the moment. Adversary aviation and mines are most dangerous and can block the exit from the base. A whole operation is necessary to let a submarine sail out. The submarines follow minesweepers which clear the route of mines. An attack force also sails out to search for adversary submarines," he said.

The submarines have to be properly defended from air strikes. Warships and coastal air defense, as well as aviation are engaged in the mission. Upon alert all warships have to rapidly leave the base and disperse and submarines have to submerge. The maneuver should not trigger losses, former Navy Chief-of-Staff Admiral Valentin Selivanov said.

"In peacetime, they constantly train the actions of antisubmarine forces to ensure the exit of warships and submarines from the base. The crews excellently know their actions. They search for adversary submarines in the fairway and adjacent waters," he said. Specific attention is paid to the defense of SSBN bases, he added.

The Vasily Bykov and the Dmitry Rogachev corvettes of project 22160 operate in the Black Sea fleet. They were designed to defend warships at sea and naval bases. The corvettes have a modular scheme to rapidly install arms necessary for a specific mission. New modules with weapons and auxiliary equipment are being tested.

Project 22160 warships are equipped with modern sonars to detect submarines, torpedoes, and underwater combat swimmers, the Izvestia said.

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