By TASS Russian news agency
The construction of green-water Leader-class nuclear-powered destroyer of project 23560 has been postponed for a long time. The conclusion comes from the documentation of the designer. The Vzglyad business newspaper explains the decision of the Defense Ministry.
Nuclear-powered warships enjoy a higher speed, faster deployment and unlimited range and the adversary will have to engage a major force to fight them and sustain big losses. It will considerably ease the situation for Russia in other theaters of warfare. Moreover, the warships will have a chance to survive despite overwhelming adversary forces. A combination of circumstances gives them a modest chance to defeat an aircraft-carrying force provided submarine and aircraft support.
A question is whether such a war is real. Is it possible that Russia will fight the United States without engaging nuclear weapons? The scenario is unlikely. It leaves little chance for the Leader destroyer to be a critically important and irreplaceable force for the national defense. Should we waste billions on it?
Project 22350M warships will cope with the missions of missile ships, excluding the ocean war with the USA. They can replace destroyers of project 956, big antisubmarine ships of projects 1155 and 11551, as well as missile ships of project 1164. They are the ships which the Leader has to replace. No wonder project 23560 is being forgotten. Media reports about it have radically reduced since 2018.
President Vladimir Putin told a conference on military shipbuilding on December 2, 2019 it was necessary to mount combat capabilities of the Navy in the coming years. “It mostly depends on scheduled supplies of frigates and submarines designed to fire hypersonic Tsirkon missiles (which are important for strategic stability), as well as destroyers and landing ships,” he said.
Time will show whether he meant an abstract destroyer or a gas turbine missile ship (e.g. future project 22350M frigate can develop into a destroyer). At present, there is no need to build costly project 23560 in contrast to project 22350M.
However, the latter stalled several months ago, according to the statement of the design bureau. It may be due to organizational reasons. Four months are much shorter than a many-year delay of the Leader whose construction chances are next to nothing. The Defense Ministry is unlikely to have the destroyer built, the Vzglyad said.