Jun 16, 2022
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Project 22160: Everyone will get Thor, but there will be no continuation of the series

The long-suffering patrol ships of the Vasily Bykov type found a lot of disapproving reviews, and the recent appearance of the Tor air defense system on board one of them spurred another wave of discontent. We recently talked about this situation, but in recent days it has received quite a few interesting twists, which we will now tell about.

Let’s start with the fact that the second series will not be built – the fleet is not satisfied with the small amount of weapons, which definitely “surfaced” in the current situation, which was solved by the modular air defense system on the helipad. Moreover, even despite the revision of the concept of the ship, the Navy, apparently, is not going to take risks, because the time for experiments is over and real combat units are needed that can solve the assigned tasks without the so-called “patches” that we observed quite recently. It turns out that the modular concept did not justify itself at this stage, and most likely the reason lies in the banal unavailability of the modules themselves, because some more interesting data about them surfaced, but more on that later.

So, now the question quite reasonably arises, what to do with the already built four representatives of the project and the upcoming two? It is quite logical that in terms of the OPV concept, they are quite good, if not the best, and will continue to be actively used within its framework. For example, to protect oil rigs from saboteurs and other problems. Engage in reconnaissance, target designation, ship security, anti-piracy activities – in general, everything that it is not entirely practical to drive large frigates or RTOs. However, this is not enough for the fleet and it is necessary to solve a fairly wide range of tasks with what is available.

There was a lot of news from various sources regarding the solution of the problem, and, apparently, the Navy wants to equip all available representatives of the project with Tor-M2KM modules in a similar way to what we saw and discussed earlier. Now there are four units in the fleet, and the fifth should enter the fleet by the end of the year, and it will be equipped with Thor initially. Five patrol ships with Tor air defense systems on board by the end of the year are not bad. An indirect confirmation of the success of this venture is the unexpected reclassification from patrol to air defense corvettes. It is worth noting that most likely the 22160-Tor-M2KM bundle has already been tested in a real battle and proved its effectiveness – otherwise, no one would risk doing such things if it were useless. In addition, Thor visited not only the 22160 project, but also, as we know, the 11356R frigate as part of the experiment, as well as civilian ships.

Let us briefly recall what Tor-M2KM is capable of. It is based on eight missiles capable of shooting down almost any target at a distance of up to 16 kilometers and up to 10 in height. The maximum target speed is 1000 meters per second, which means that all drones and anti-ship missiles of a potential enemy are subject to its influence. One way or another, the problem is solved to some extent, but this whole story has an interesting continuation.

It turned out that the sixth and last ship of the series, Nikolai Sipyagin, will enter the fleet with a different air defense system, but there are very few specifics here. It is only known that it is already specialized for marine conditions and that this is something completely new. It is difficult to guess what kind of complex this is, but there are two most suitable options. Firstly, this is still a finished either Redoubt or Pantsir in a container version, which the fleet has been waiting for a long time and now is the time to intensify work in this direction. Well, and secondly, this is a specialized marine Tor-MF, the development of which has been underway for some time and there is a certain backlog.

By the way, there is an opinion that tests on the frigate in 2016 were part of the development of this product. Information on it is available, but it is not enough. It is only known that the complex will be dispersed throughout the ship’s hull, and will also receive a serious upgrade in capabilities compared to the land version, where there are some limitations due to the specifics. But the most important thing here is that the Tor-MF is integrated into the “electronic brains” of the ship, which means it will be able to interact with its radar and this will dramatically increase its capabilities. The bonus is an increased BC to 16/32 or more missiles, as well as a rather simplified reloading.

Note that Tor-MF would fundamentally change the situation that arose with the corvette and, in fact, would close most of its problems (including the basing of the helicopter). We will find out how it will be in practice at the end of next year, when the Nikolai Sipyagin enters the fleet.

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