Russian Tiger will rule in Asia
Project 20382 corvette Tiger became the focus of attention of the just finished 3rd international naval salon in St. Petersburg IMDS-2007. This ship also exploded a bomb in the media when after the event it became known that Spain is going to build Russian corvettes of this type for Indonesia. This precedent puts the situation which formed after the disintegration of the USSR upside down. According to the well informed sources of PravdaRu in today’s globalizing shipbuilding it is quite common that a “weaker” economy builds hulls of ships and the shipyards of more advanced countries finish the assembly. In the above deal Spain will build hulls of Russian ships and Russian Severnaya Verf will install arms, equipment and engines.
“Tiger” creates a precedent. Never ever before a European shipyard built Russian military ships for the “third world”. This is a ship of the latest generation. Since it was first presented by the designer (CMKB Almaz), it has always stayed in the top lines of the military news reels. Experts forecasted a big future for this ship, especially in the Asian Navies. It seems that it’s no more future, it is right now. This piece of news was so astonishing for the foreign experts that Rosoboronexport had to officially confirm the deal after it appeared in the news reels. Acknowledging quite complicated legal and organizational procedures of arranging a manufacturing project of this level, which is supposed to take some time, it has been said that in a time not only Spain will build Russian ships. At different time the following countries expressed interest in the details of “Tiger”; India, China, Vietnam, Iran, Indonesia, Kuwait, Qatar, Algeria, Egypt, Malaysia and some other. Russian analysts believe that the 20382 corvettes may take 25% of the international market in this niche. Corvettes and frigates are the classes of ships were Russia has traditionally strong positions and few competitors.
It is worthwhile taking a look at technical characteristics of the Russian “Tiger” which is to ensure peace and stability in Asian seas. The design of the ships is based on a huge volume of the research on hydro dynamics and economical power stations. Today the Tigers constructed for the Russian Navy are powered with the diesel engines made by Kolomna Plant. Each of the propeller’s shafts is moved by the twin engines system of the D-49 series (ChN26/26). Two engines work at cruise speed, two more are switched to gain the maximum speed of 26-28 knots. German MTU diesels may be regarded as an option. However, Russia is ready to suggest to the new customers also gas turbines now made independently of the Ukraine by NPO Saturn.
Tiger was created under Stealth technology. It has the constructions made of plastics capable of absorbing and dispersing radio waves. Tiger is a universal ship for fighting surface ships and submarines with advanced air defense capabilities. It has 8 X-35E missiles of the complex Uran-E or CLUB, 100mm artillery unit, air defense complex Kashtan-E and anti sub helicopter. For anti-sub operations the ship has hydro acoustic station in the bulb and the towed active radar station which “sees” the subs at the distance of 50km. Interestingly, CMKB Almaz thinks it is possible to fit heavier Yahont missiles. It means that these corvettes will be also an ideal platform for Brahmos missiles, the most ambitious Russian-Indian project of supersonic cruise missile rapidly growing and with excellent marketing opportunities in Asia. Tiger retained traditional Russian advantages from the point of view of cost-efficiency ratio.
Export ship has few differences from the Russian version. Actually the difference depends on the customer’s choice. The ship has basically the same construction and architecture of systems. The peculiarity of the ship is that it is built according to the so called module system. This is a totally new principle in the Russian shipbuilding which allows for fast and easy repair / upgrade. CMKB Almaz suggests different options of the same ship. Instead of the Russian artillery unit 100mm AK-190M it is possible to fit Otto-Melara 76mm. Corvette can carry 12 tons helicopter. The ready options are Ka- 27, Ka-28, Ka-31. However, today Kamov is working on a lighter, 5-6 tons multi role helicopter.
Project 20382 corvettes may be a platform for the unique system of monitoring littoral waters, what is particularly interesting for the South-Asian customers. Apart from purely military means of fighting piracy in coastal waters Russian designers suggest a combined monitoring system based on the principle of combining the opportunities of the technical means of different origin: ships’ traffic control, naval infrastructure, customs and rescue services as well as of other interested parties. It is advantageous because the costs are divided among different budgets and the total cost goes down by 20-25%.
Absolutely indispensable condition for the success in the world military market is commissioning the same hardware with the Armed Forces. In the past decade there have been too many precedents when foreign customers are afraid of buying the newest Russian developments because the latter were not used by the Russian Armed Forces. This is not the case with the corvettes. According to the State Arms Program before 2015 Russian MoD is buying 20 project 20380 (home code) corvettes. Four are under construction.