The Largest Security-Cleared Career Network for Defense and Intelligence Jobs - JOIN NOW


NEWCON Hospital ship

By nid-2020 the authorities were discussing the renewal of the hospital fleet, and the government is discussing the purchase of hospital ships. The question was raised by the head of the Ministry of Defense, Sergei Shoigu: the ministry proposed to buy two ro-ro vessels (for rolling cargo) in China and convert them into hospital ones in three years, which would cost a total of 8 billion rubles. But the Ministry of Industry and Trade insists on building ships in the Russian Federation. The cost will be higher, and the construction time will be longer, but the vessels will be new. The report with two positions, according to Kommersant, was sent to the president. Experts consider building their own hospital fleet the best option, but they assume that in this case the project may be delayed.

As sources familiar with the situation told Kommersant, the head of the Ministry of Defense Sergey Shoigu came up with the idea to buy two hospital ships, discussing the situation around the coronavirus pandemic in the Russian Federation.

The ministry was considering the possibility of acquiring two used RO-RO vessels in China (primarily used for the transport of vehicles) and refitting them. According to Kommersants interlocutors, it may take about three years to rebuild them at the shipyards of the PRC, and in general, the purchase and reconstruction will cost about 8 billion rubles. President Vladimir Putin instructed the government to work out the proposal of the Ministry of Defense, sources said. At the same time, the need of the Russian Navy is at least three large hospital ships and, possibly, a slightly smaller displacement.

In turn, the Ministry of Industry and Trade suggested building these vessels in the Russian Federation, which would allow loading the shipyards, Kommersant interlocutors say. The project, according to their data, would take no more than four years, and if you wish, you can meet three years. The construction price will be higher, but the Ministry of Defense will receive new vessels, and not second-hand ones, Kommersant sources stress, referring to the position of the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

In April-May 2019, several domestic design bureaus submitted to the Russian military department their designs for new hospital ships for the Navy. Two design bureaus are part of the United Shipbuilding Corporation. In June 2019, media reported that Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu raised the issue of the purchase of hospital ships. The topic was discussed in the government, while the Ministry of Industry and Trade insisted on the creation of such vessels in Russia.

Two designers from large Russian design bureaus stated that even with a small series, it would be more logical to build such vessels from Russian components and at domestic shipyards. According to them, in the context of the transition to life cycle contracts, servicing Russian equipment will ultimately be cheaper and, most importantly, will work for the native economy.

The deepest study of the hospital vessel was performed by the Nizhny Novgorod Design Bureau Vympel. As Mil.Press FlotProm reported in 2018, the vessels technical design based on a single modular platform was created as part of the Platform-DTO development work. He is awaiting a customer decision. The hospital ship from Vympel was created in several versions, differing in the number of beds and the complexity of medical equipment.

The Nevsky Design Bureau also presented its studies. There were a number of projects based on landing ships. These developments differ in displacement, equipment and capabilities. The number of beds in the proposed military projects is 50, 150, 500 and 1000. In this way, all the needs of medical services are covered. Russian designers and shipbuilders are certainly capable of fulfilling the task of designing and building domestic hospital ships, a senior source in one of the design bureaus belonging to the USC emphasized in an interview with a journalist. In this case, seriality and timely financing are important.

In October 2018, Fleet Admiral, former Commander of the Russian Navy (2005-2007), Vladimir Masorin, told the newspaper that the hospital ships had not been updated for a long time: A series of modular auxiliary fleet ships is something we could only dream about at one time.

Another interlocutor familiar with the situation said that between May holidays, representatives of the United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC) have already submitted to the President of the Russian Federation a report on the possibility of building such ships.

Another source of Kommersant said that Vympel Design Bureau and Nevskoye Design Bureau were engaged in the development of the project in the corporation; options for building hospital ships for 500 and 1000 people were considered.

The interlocutor of Kommersant in the government apparatus confirmed that the report with two positions went to the Kremlin. The office of Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov, the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Industry and Trade and USC declined to comment. A Kommersant source notes that three years ago the issue of building hospital courts was already raised, but no decisions were made.

Hospital ships are used to provide medical support to force groupings in the far sea zone, to provide assistance in humanitarian disasters in hard-to-reach places, as well as for medical and psychological rehabilitation of the naval aviation flight personnel during long trips.

Now, according to information from open sources, the Russian Navy includes three hospital vessels. The fourth vessel was disposed of in 2007. All ships of this type were built in Poland.

In December 2018, the head of the medical service of the Navy Commander-in-Chief Igor Mosyagin said that all three vessels should undergo major repairs by 2022 and be used at least until 2030. In addition, the issue of building new hospital courts, as well as the use of new logistics support vessels in the interests of the medical service of the fleets, is being studied, he added.

As wrote on March 26, of the three vessels, only the Irtysh goes to sea, it was modernized in 2016, and at the beginning of 2020 it was equipped with the latest telemedicine complex for online consultations in diagnostics and surgical interventions. Yenisei and Svir have been standing idle for many years and are mainly used as clinics and hotels for business travelers, the newspaper noted.

Senior researcher at the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, Mikhail Barabanov, believed that one vessel each in the Black Sea and Pacific Fleets would be useful if necessary to deploy forces in the event of a local conflict that is more serious than the Syrian one. Of course, its better to build hospital ships ourselves, the expert believes, although it is obvious that USC will be guaranteed to be unfinished.

At present, the Russian Navy has three hospital ships of Project 320 out of four built in Poland. They went into operation in 1980-1990, while the lead ship Ob was decommissioned in 1997. In total, the USSR Navy planned to receive five vessels of this type, but the last vessel was not completed.

Join the mailing list

Page last modified: 13-09-2021 17:21:57 ZULU