My thanks to Roger Sanger, the copyright holder, for granting me
permission to host this article on my web site. To quote him, "I was looking
for a new home for DGP's 2300 AD articles, and naturally I picked the best fan
sites on the Web for that purpose. Kudos to Pentapod's World! Enjoy!"
- Kevin Clark
- January 24th, 2000.
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The Tula design is one of the clearest manifestations of the RSFR's long-standing conviction that its just place is among the superpowers, and of its vivid national memories of past glories and military strength. After years of license-producing -- or more usually, adding the finishing touches to -- French warship designs, the Russian government finally decided in 2288 to develop an indigenous military vessel. The naval shipyards at Moscow Trinity orbital docks had long been involved in the fitting and modification of the Fleet's ships and it seemed a logical step from building domestically conceived civilian vessels such as the Maxim long-haul transport to the launching of an all-Russian warship.
The main Russian design bureaux ( OKBs) of Gulushin, Korolev, and Morokov were invited to tender proposals to a committee chaired jointly by senior officials of the Bureau of Industry and the Space Navy Logistics Command. Gulushin presented the Alexander Nevsky, a militarized variant of their Maxim; Morokov offered an advanced patrol cruiser known as the Red Star which incorporated a number of leading-edge design features; and Korolev suggested a far more modest frigate, the October-class.
The Red Star emerged as favored candidate in 2290, but it soon became clear that, far from providing a basis for the development of Russian space industries, it was far too ambitious. Projected service dates began to slip further and further towards the horizon. The Navy had been fighting a running battle with the Bureau of Industry to keep the project alive, but once it became clear that it would take over a decade even to get the prototype in service they transferred their allegiances to a more realistic course.
The design priorities and constraints revolved around the divisive issue of pragmatism versus ambition. Pragmatism dictated the use of reliable but venerable license-built French engines and stutterwarps rather than more expensive modern equipment, and a simple synthetic hull. On the other hand the military authorities, only too well aware of the few maintenance and refueling facilities open to them and the indifferent speeds the old drive units could attain, were prepared to sacrifice firepower for endurance. This was less because there was a real need for long-range patrols than because of a perception that the Russian Fleet would ultimately need ships able to operate without the elaborate infrastructure which supported its colonial rivals.
Although the Bureau of Industry favored the Alexander Nevsky due to its use of established and proven technologies, a compromise was reached based around the October, soon renamed the Tula-class, as the best balance between realism and national aspirations.
The result was a light frigate able to cruise for a month between refueling and with no less than 6 months' life support. The problem was that this involved some three-quarters of the hull being devoted to fuel tankage. Considering how rarely non-colonial Russia would need to send her fleets out on such an odyssey, this seemed too high a price to pay.
The eventual solution was crude and simple, but it met the Tula's needs. Sufficient hull space was set aside to fuel the ship for two weeks' operation. When a Tula was expected to need longer endurance, an inflatable drogue could be attached to the rear of this ship, containing up to another 4 weeks' supply. This disposable synthetic-and-polymer 'spare tank' provides endurance at the expense of a dramatically increased signature, significant degradation in performance, and a very ungainly and cumbersome profile. The correct tactical usage, then, is for the ship to use drogue fuel first, jettisoning the tank once it is empty. Similarly the tank is jettisoned if the ship is likely to become involved in a combat situation.
The hull is a simple spin hull massing 1,418t and with a volume of 3,114m3 ( 3,096m3 internal space, 18m3 hull). An 11m diameter core 17.7m long houses the bulk of the fuel and engineering systems, with command and life stations in two rings 2.5m deep mounted on three pylons each, out to a 20m diameter spin radius, both 4m 'long' ( each with an internal volume of 706m3). The hull spin provides artificial gravity necessary to the crew for extended duration patrols. Flywheels are used to start and stop the spin for docking.
The stutterwarp is an aging French 2-megawatt design, license-built as the Litvinov-2211-x-34. This produces a respectable drive efficiency of 1.80 but with a full drogue tank ( 2,000t) this falls to 1.34. This is the minimum the Russian navy was prepared to accept, so space and tonnage have been sacrificed for a power plant able to keep the drive at full strength even when the lasers and active sensors were in use during combat. Hence the selection of a 5-megawatt MHD turbine.
The Tula is only lightly armed, with two French Guiscard LL-98s, purchased in kit form and assembled in orbit. They are mounted in single turrets, each twinned with TTA, on opposite 'sides' of the vessel, one each on the two rings. This is only light armament, though, so a fairly modern RSK-3836 fire control computer was installed as part of the command suite to maximize their effectiveness. The real teeth of the Tula, though, are the 6 Silka attack missiles in a bay at the front of the core, each packing a 5x2 detonation laser.
The vessel is equipped with both active and passive military sensors, the P-L6 "Zerkalo" ( Mirror) passive array and the more widely used K-M91 "Gorizont" ( Horizon) active sensors.
The Tula carries a maximum crew of 36, including a squad of 12
Orbital Marines, and has a total of 6 months' life support. A small
specialized recreation center was included to improve conditions for the
crew on long hauls. The presence of the Marines may seem an unlikely
feature for a non-colonial power to require in a ship, but three considerations
lay behind the provision of troop quarters. One is that if the ship
is to make any use of its endurance, it will have to use many foreign facilities
and this poses security problems not encountered in the colonial powers'
navies. In addition, the long-ranged Tula is a logical choice
to use for official visits and the provision of 12 extra berths allows
for some flexibility -- a six man official party, for example, in more
spacious accommodation. The third factor is that on long journeys
the marine contingent can be omitted and their space used for the rest
of the crew, bringing the total accommodation to about 40m3 per crewman.
Quarters, though spartan, are kept at 1G through the hull spin, and extensive
facilities for the use of recreational tapes and games are provided to
try to alleviate the psychological consequences of long journeys.
The Tula has a crew of 24 plus 12 Orbital Marines. There are a total of 16 work stations: 6 on the bridge, 5 in the Tactical Action Center, 3 devoted to monitoring the engineering functions, one in the Sick Bay and one at the disposal of the marine detachment.
Personnel Station Rank Where? Captain Command Station Captain Bridge First Officer " 1st Lt " Navigation Officer Astrogation lst Lt " Second Nav. Officer " Ensign " Signals Officer Communications Ensign " Asst. Signals Officer " 1/Crew " Helmsman Helm 2nd Lt " Asst. Helmsman " Cadet " First Computer Officer Comp-1 2nd Lt " Second Comp. Officer " 1/Crew " Monitor Officer Comp-2 2nd Lt " Second Monitor " Cadet " Station Engineer Eng-1 2nd Lt Engineering Damage Ctrl Engineer " 1/Crew " Station Mech-Engineer Eng-2 2/Crew " Dmge Ctrl Mech-Engineer " 2/Crew " Station Electroengineer Eng-3 1/Crew " Dmge Ctrl Electroengineer " 2/Crew " Sensor Officer Active 1/Crew TAC Sensor Officer Passive 1/Crew " Fire Ctrl Officer Laser/1 Ensign " Fire Ctrl Officer Laser/2 Ensign " Fire Ctrl Officer Missiles Ensign " Medical Officer Medic Ensign Sick Bay Platoon Commander Ship's Troops Ensign Troop Bay Platoon Sergeant " Sgt " First Soldier (2) " 1st Sldr " Trooper (8) " Marine "
The total establishment is, therefore, a Captain, two 1st Lieutenants, four 2nd Lieutenants, six Ensigns, two Cadets, six Crewmen 1st Class, and three Crewmen 2nd Class, along with a Marine Ensign, a Marine Sergeant, two 1st Soldiers and eight Marine Privates. This is quite officer-heavy, in keeping with Russian practices which regard most significant functions as officers' duties and tend to promote able non-coms swiftly into the ranks of the officers.
One computer station -- the Monitor's Comp-2 -- also doubles as a command
station for the drogue tank when one is used and controls the explosive
decoupling bolts which would jettison it before combat.
Number Name Constructed Status VC-201 Tula 2298 1st St. Basil Home Stars Squadron VC-206 Yaroslavl 2298 1st St. Basil Home Stars Squadron VC-207 Smolensk 2299 3rd Iron New Stars Squadron VC-211 Kazan 2301(proj) 2nd Leningrad Home Stars Squadron VC-216 Borovichi 2302(proj) 1st St. Basil Home Stars Squadron
View the starship's control sheet.
Width: 23m maximum
Height: 23m maximum
Tonnage: 418t empty, 1418t fully fueled
Volume: Core: 1,808m3, 2 rings: 1,288m3
2x LL-98 laser weapons in single turrets, one mounted on each ring
6x Silka Attack Missiles in single bay at bow with single remote pilot station
Ruka-4611 Navigation Sensors
PL-6 Zerkalo Passive Array
K-M91 Gorizont Active Sensor System
RSK-3836 Fire Control System
Power Plant: 5MW Mozhno-Puli 2j4u MHD turbine
Fuel: 2000t (3,300m3)
Drive: 2MW Litvinov-2211-x-34 Stutterwarp
Maximum Radial Area: 415m2
Lateral Area: 280m2
Cost: MLv17.039 (includes 6 missiles)
Component Volume(m3) Powerplant 70 Stutterwarp 16 Drogue 10 Sensors, Nav 5 Sensors, Act 10 Sensors, Pass 10 Missile Bay 72 Fire Control 1 Work Sts, Bridge 48 Work Sts, TAC 40 Work Sts, Eng 24 Work Ste, Troop 8 Work Sts, Med 8 CrewAccom 900 RecArea 78 Life Support 32 Gyros 13 Fuel 1,650 Cargo Bay 100 Cargo Bracing 1 Total 3,096
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