Are Ada-class corvettes necessary for Ukrainian Navy?
Recently, news emerged that a second corvette of the Ada class was being constructed in Turkey for the Ukrainian Navy. While this might appear positive, there's been a surge of criticism questioning the wisdom of building a €250 million ship during an ongoing war, which might not be deployable before the conflict's end
Let's delve into the rationale behind building these corvettes.
Over time, I've noticed a recurring pattern when official or inside information about acquiring foreign-made weaponry surfaces. Ukrainian experts often criticize these choices. This happened with Turkish Bayraktar TB2 strike UAVs, Brazilian EMB-314 Super Tucano turboprop attack aircraft, and even with Dana wheeled self-propelled guns. Skepticism is common, including my own doubts about Leopard 1 tanks. However, when it comes to Ada corvettes, costing slightly over €500 million combined, could these funds have been better used elsewhere?
Critics often overlook that the first "Hetman Ivan Mazepa" Ada corvette's construction began in September 2021 under a contract for two ships. The second corvette's recent laying took place with some hull segments pre-built. This means money has already been spent according to the contract, even before the full-scale conflict started.
So, do we really need these ships?
Discussions about Ukraine's naval structure began long before the ongoing war, particularly during the hybrid period from 2014. Concepts like the "mosquito fleet" and "wolf pack" were discussed, but the consensus emphasized the need for ships up to 1,000 tons. Ada-class corvettes fit this requirement well, ensuring comprehensive maritime security. They can engage surface and underwater targets and possess some air defense capabilities.
But there's more.
We're aware that during the conflict, deploying and securing the ship would be challenging. It would be a prime target for Russia. Nevertheless, the war will eventually conclude, and the Russian Black Sea Fleet might not emerge unscathed. Ukraine, with its combat-ready fleet, could be in a better position.
Keep in mind, we're not just getting two Ada corvettes from Turkey. We expect two Sandown-class minehunters from the UK and P50U speed boats armed with Neptune missiles. The US is contributing Island-class patrol boats and Mark IV vessels. This forms a solid foundation.
Moreover, after Crimea's liberation, there could be naval trophies.
Considering victory's potential and the future of the Ukrainian Navy, Ada-type corvettes are necessary, though not for immediate deployment. The foresight lies in their importance for the future.
About the author: Oleksandr Kovalenko, journalist
The editors do not always share the opinions expressed by the blog authors.