COMPACT OR VERSATILITY?The idea to create a small but powerfully armed ship fired the minds of generations of admirals and engineers shipbuilders. And this is understandable: the fact that a small ship is cheaper great, for a long time it was considered axiomatic. So, for the same money marine budget could build a more powerful and numerous fleet. In practice, however, the attempt to implement this plan rarely lead to positive results. Overloaded heavy weapons compact boat, usually worked malamerenda, cramped, had insufficient cruising range and inferior to their larger brethren in survivability… all The more so as the steady appreciation of e-filling and missile weapons saving on steel box was quite unjustified. It would seem that the enthusiasm for “minimalism” in the military shipbuilding should finally disappear.

But in reality this did not happen. The desire to design a multi-purpose Corvette with similar armament missile frigate, but having a much smaller size, has not lost its relevance in our days. Particularly attractive the idea looks for countries with limited Maritime theater of military operations, constrained by Islands, sherami and Straits. Here seaworthiness and autonomy of a ship without importance; much more important are its advantages, such as low visibility, small sediment, good maneuverability, ease of maintenance and docking at ill-equipped locations. Therefore, the construction of corvettes for the last two to three decades has not stopped, but rather expanded.
The first and perhaps the most outstanding representative of a new generation of multi-purpose corvettes of the 90-ies of XX century became the Israeli “Eilat”. His project was developed in the United States private engineering firm John Macmullen in cooperation with the company “Ingalls Shipbuilding” and immediately attracted the attention of specialists. Still, a compact trendy vehicle architecture with distinctive elements of the concept of “stealth” with a displacement of just over 1000 t were carrying the same weapons that tracedirectory frigate or destroyer! In the project of a Corvette failed to push even a full hangar for a light helicopter “Dauphin” — many professionals such seemed impossible. All in all, under the placement of weapons was given to 37.4% of the volume of the interior of the ship — for this indicator, “Eilat” was the consummate champion.
The hull is made of steel, superstructure and mast is of light alloy. Inside the housing divided transverse bulkheads into 12 main water-tight compartments; all the space was divided into six fire zones isolated power unit includes one gas turbine LM-2500 and two high-speed diesel, working through the gearbox on two of the propeller controllable pitch. All the mechanisms mounted on shock-absorbing Foundation; outside in the underwater part of the hull was protected by a special bubble curtain that absorbs noise well. It is believed that the Corvette can use their weapons, including the helicopter at sea up to four points.
Project arms “Eilat” was to consist of 16 anti-ship missiles (8 American “Harpoon” and many of the Israeli “Gabriel-2”), two 32-container vertical launchers (CPG) SAM “Barak-1”, two three-pipe anti-submarine torpedo tubes, an Italian 76-mm gun mount, “OTO-Melara” and pedestaling two 25-mm guns, and one helicopter. The composition of electronic equipment for the project was part of a combat information management system of Israeli production, a full set of radar, electronic warfare, satellite communication system and two hydroacoustic stations, including one towed.
The contract to build three corvettes of the “Eilat” for the Israeli Navy was signed in February 1989. The ships were built at the shipyard “Ingalls” in Pascagoula (USA), its course crossed the ocean, and finally equipped with weapons and electronics in Israel. Although formally “Eilat”, “Lahav” and “Hanit” was put into operation in 1994 -1995 years, in fact, they become fully combat-ready only in the summer of 1997.
The process of building and testing the Israeli Corvette was widely covered in the international media — apparently for the purpose of advertising designers and firms “Ingalls”. However, flashing on the pages of the naval publications enthusiastic evaluations of the “Eilat” should be treated with caution. Attempts to create a “rearmed” the ship is designed to be the strongest in its class in world history have met more than once, but almost always lead to negative result. Was no exception and the story of the Israeli corvettes.
When a noisy advertising campaign subsided, appeared in the press more credible information about the fighting qualities of the “Eilat” and his fellows. As expected, eretailing ships had serious problems with stability which had to abandon mounting the feeding module SPM “Barack”, ASM “Gabriel” and one optical control fire… Later on all vehicles the number of missiles “Harpoon” reduced by half (in the end the ship was only 4 instead of 16 RCC project), and 76-mm guns were replaced by 20-mm anti-aircraft artillery complex “Vulcan-Phalanx”. Very eloquent fact: from the construction of the fourth ship of the type “Eilat” Israeli Navy refused. Anything over and talks with the leadership of the shipyard “, Ingalls” about delivery of similar ships for Greece. Customers wisely decided not to risk it, believing that the excessive compactness of the project “Eilat” had a negative impact on its combat performance.
Shortcomings of “Eilat” to a large extent managed to avoid the draft another ship of the same class, designed by the famous English firm “vosper’s-thornycroft”. Corvette “the Governorate-al-heart of Amwaj”, built for the Navy of Oman, looks less ambitious, but much more balanced. With slightly more displacement it has no helicopter hangar (the designers decided to limit the outdoor landing pad) and simple diesel has more energy. However, the armament of the Corvette is very diverse and includes RCC “Exocet” a new modification of SAM “Krotal”, and it is modern electronics. ASW is no but if necessary, can be installed at any time (the place under three-pipe, two 324-mm torpedo tubes reserved). Of course, not without new-fangled technology “stealth”: angular superstructure of the ship have a significant slope and is covered with a special radar absorbing material. Only by order of Oman, the British built two such corvettes — “the Governorate-al-heart of Amwaj and al-MASSAR”.
On the growing popularity of the corvettes is illustrated by the fact that by the middle of 1990-ies in the world under the flags of different countries sailed about 150 ships of this class, more than half of which were aged less than 15 years. However, it has to be stressed: the modern multipurpose ships can be assigned to a particular class is very conditional. So, almost the same combat units of the fleet in some countries, officially referred to as corvettes in the frigates, in the third, guard or patrol ships. So, one should dwell on large missile boats, so as to distinguish between them and the corvettes is becoming increasingly difficult.
121. Corvette “Visby”, Sweden, 2003.
Built at the shipyard in Karlskrona (Sweden). Full displacement 640 t maximum Length 72 m, width 10.4 m, draught 2.5 m. Capacity twin-shaft diesel-gas turbine 25 300 HP, speed 35 knots. Armament: 8 RCC RBS-15, one 57-mm gun mount “Bofors”, four 400-mm torpedo tubes, 2×4 universal reactive mortars “SAAB-Bofors”, one helicopter. Just until 2007 it is planned to build 6 units.
122. Corvette “the Governorate-al-heart of Amwaj”, Oman, 1996
Built at the shipyard “vosper’s-thornycroft” in England. Full displacement 1450 t, the Length of the longest 83,7 m, width 11,5 m, draft 3.6 m, Capacity-shaft diesel installation 28 160 HP, speed 28 knots. Armament: 8 anti-ship missiles “Exocet” MM-40, PU 1×8 SAM “Krotal”, one 76-mm gun mount “OTO-Melara”, two 20-mm machine gun “early-game”. Only in 1996 and 1997 built 2 units.
123. Corvette Goteborg, Sweden, 1990
Built at the shipyard in Karlskrona (Sweden). The standard displacement of 380 tonnes, 420 full t maximum Length of 57 m, width 8 m, draft 2 m. the three-shaft diesel Power install 8700 HP, speed 30 knots. Armament: 8 RCC РВ5-15, one 57 mm and one 40-mm gun mount, “Bofors”, four 400-mm torpedo tubes, antisubmarine rocket launcher 4×9 “SAAB-Elmo”. Only in the 1990 — 1994 built 4 units.
124. Corvette “Eilat”, Israel, 1994.
Built at the shipyard “Ingalls” in the United States. Displacement standard, t 1075, 1227 full T. maximum Length 86,4 m, width 11,9 m, draught 3.2 m. Capacity twin-shaft diesel-gas turbine 36 600 HP, speed 33 knots. Armament: 8 RCC “Harpoon”, 1×32 vertical PU SAM “Barak-1”, one 76-mm gun mount “OTO-Melara”, two 25-mm machine gun “C Volcano”, three-pipe, two 324-mm torpedo tubes, and one helicopter. Only in 1994— 1995 built 3 units.

It is appropriate to remember that missile boats (RCA) first considered the successors of the torpedo “mosquitoes” and were perceived as cheap and therefore mass combat units. So, the first RCA domestic fleet (183r type) were cheaper missiles P-15, which they carried. But the rapid increase in the cost of fire control systems and other naval technology led to the fact that RCA considered only as a means of delivery of missiles to the launch site (and means that is very vulnerable to any kind of enemy weapons) has become an unaffordable luxury. The boat was covered with defensive weapons — first anti-aircraft and then anti. That is, in fact, they have evolved into small multi-purpose ships and in many countries have been reclassified as corvettes — the benefit of their displacement often now exceed 400, and even 500 tons And the construction of a conventional missile boats in 1990-e years all over the world practically stopped.
A classic example of the compact Corvette “raised” from the missile “mosquito” — the Swedish “Stockholm”. Leading descended from the torpedo boat “Spica”, it was created under the concept of the small combat vehicle with removable arms. So, depending on the task, on the deck can be placed eight RCC RVB-15, or the same 533-mm or 400-mm torpedo tubes, mines, or fences, or all the weapons at once in any combination. With a small displacement (335 t) “Stockholm” equipped with a fairly powerful artillery (one 57-mm and 40-mm automatic cannon “Bofors”) and anti-submarine warfare (four deletestring grenade “SAAB Elma”) weapons, and advanced electronic systems and two hydroacoustic stations (podlinnoi and towed). Of course, such weapons the ship was too small, so the initial project, the Swedes built just two corvettes. And the project has the following four units of the type “göteborg” has been revised significantly increased dimensions of the case and the volume of the superstructure, is the lattice appeared solid pyramidal mast made of light alloy… Externally “Gothenburg” in their, in General, modest size still became more like a ship, not a boat.
It should be noted that in the early 1980-ies of the Navy of Sweden said goodbye to their last major warships and focussed on boats and submarines. However, this concept has not justified itself. The need of the fleet in the multi-purpose combat units were preserved, and in relation to ships compactness and versatility of the concept, as a rule, incompatible. Therefore, the Swedish corvettes of new generation—type “Visby” — again grown in size and now with the boats had nothing to do. However, they are so unusual that they should tell some more detail.
The creation of a series of corvettes of the “Visby” of Swedish designers came up with all seriousness. The development of the project took more than 10 years, and a number of technical solutions were worked out on full— scale model-testing tank are proposed specially built boat with a displacement of 140 tons But the costs are paid off: the new Corvette was so successful that he has all the reasons to be considered most perfect in its class.
The first thing that involuntarily draws attention in the appearance of the “Visby” — its unusual architecture. Although today the image of military equipment in the style of “stealth” is no surprise, the Swedes still managed to bring this idea to the limit of the possible. Thus, the superstructure is made of laminated glass-reinforced plastic and the top have a special radar absorbing coating. All weapons systems and detection equipment hidden in the add-ins, radar antennas are covered with radio transparent caps. Even the barrel 57-mm automatic cannon in the stowed position retracted inside the tower and out just before opening fire. All this has yielded its results: “Visby” is truly a ship invisible. According to reports Swedish experts, the detection range of the radar in the Corvette Shtil is only 12 miles, at sea 2 — 3 points— 7 miles. “Visby” is so imperceptible that it had to be equipped with special pull-out reflectors— so that under the action of the group it would not have lost their ships.
Did not remain without attention of designers and other physical fields of the ship. Fiberglass materials were selected in such a way as to absorb the internal heat radiation. The exhaust gases are diverted to the stern, on the waterline. And the periscopes and other devices that can give glare made retractable and have glare protection
Futuristic image of the Swedish ship corresponds to its power plant. Four gas turbines and two diesel engines do not work on propellers and two water jets, and main propellers were made not of steel but of carbon fiber. The maximum speed is 35 knots, and the range of detection on the Wake and hydrostatic pressure from “Visby” is noticeably lower than a similar vehicle with a conventional Pro-pulsive installation.
The main weapon of the Corvette is considered anti-ship missiles RVB-15 new modification, which has a flight range of about 150 km, Eight transport-launch containers with missiles installed at the Board under the deck. Also the inside of the case cleaned and four 400-mm ASW torpedo tubes.
“Visby” was the first in the history of the Swedish Navy combat ship with a hangar and a full-time helicopter. However, here suddenly there is a problem — it turned out that the presence on Board the rotorcraft is strongly unmasks the Corvette. So, the magnetic field of the helicopter has appeared hundreds of times (!) higher than the ship. A way out of this situation — the creation of a new, unmanned, fully consistent with the concept of “stealth”. However, this costly idea can be carried out very soon, and while the Swedish sailors will have to use only the serial light helicopters — AB-206A, purchased in Italy.
Anti-aircraft weapons are represented only 57-mm automatic cannon, it is considered that due to the low radar visibility of the Corvette air enemy not threatening him. Nevertheless, the draft provides for the possibility in the future to install the module of anti-aircraft missiles “sea Sparrow” with the so-called “cold start” when marching rocket engine is activated at a distance of 100 m from the ship.
From the original weapons systems used on the “Visby”, not to mention a new 127-mm rocket mortar “SAAB-Bofors”. This weapon is truly versatile and can fire on submarines, torpedoes, coastal targets, and to fire illuminating shells, put sonobuoys, used for the production of passive radar interference. In addition, the Swedes have equipped the Corvette with a set of tools to fight bottom mines, including the Autonomous remotely controlled submersible “Double Eagle”. Low levels of physical fields of the ship allows efficient use of the “Visby” in the role of a minesweeper — seeker min.
And one more stroke. Corvette “Visby” was the first in the Swedish Navy (and possibly in the world) combat ship, which is completely absent on paper. All materials, including tactical form, codes, instructions, battle schedules, etc., are stored electronically on a dedicated server, and they can be read only on the screen. The fact is, at first glance, to be insignificant, however, clearly characterizes current trends in naval technology.

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