Vympel Design Bureau to Complete “4 in 1” Support Vessel Project By the Yearend
By the end of 2018, Vympel Design Bureau (Nizhny Novgorod, Russia) will develop a technical project of the multifunctional support vessel for the Russian Navy’s auxiliary fleet, two industrial insiders told Mil.Press Today. Specifications for the new lifting-and-mooring ship were drafted in the middle of 2017. Such companies as Spetssudoproject, Baltsudoproject, Pella and Vympel competed for the ship’s designing. The project was finally assigned to the latter.
Although the Vympel’s officials confirmed they were designing the project, they refused to give any details. Neither the project number nor the codename of the prospective support ship are known yet. In the industrial circles, it is dubbed "four in one" ship because it combines functions of a lifting-and-mooring vessel, a tanker, a floating workshop, and a multirole bulk carrier. The towage and rescue options are included as well. Besides, the ship will be capable to accommodate a helicopter.
The vessel is being designed under the modular principle. Estimated displacement is over 7,000 tons; ice class is Arc4 with possible improvement to the higher class.
"The idea to renovate the Russian Navy with this kind of vessels is topical due to hopeless ageing and slow renewal of auxiliary fleet", the insider told Mil.Press Today. As for him, another factor is the ‘Syrian express’ practice: for logistic support of the Russian troops deployed in Syria, the Navy used bulk carriers and large-size landing craft, misfit for such missions. Alongside with that, the Navy’s aspiration for combining an array of functions in one ship will complicate its designing, building and operation, said the expert. Thus, it is more reasonable to make several types of ships based on a single platform, he summarized.
According to another insider interviewed by Mil.Press Today, the Navy wants to get 4-6 auxiliary ships: two for each of the Northern and the Pacific fleets, and one ship for each of the Baltic and the Black Sea fleets.
It has not been reported yet about the shipyard to build the future "four in one" vessels.
In 2017, Leningrad shipyard Pella expressed readiness to build such auxiliary ships and offered the Project 21310M: it was planned to build the lead ship within three years, and serial ships – within one year each. The same type of support ship could be also keel-laid at Yantar shipyard in 2017 or 2018, though the shipbuilding contract was not signed. Still there is no a corresponding agreement, the Yantar’s spokesman told Mil.Press Today. According to available information, Pella has not obtained the contract to build such a vessel either.