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064 Varan - Nevskoye PKB - 45,000 tons

The Nevsky Design Bureau (PKB), part of the United Shipbuilding Corporation, has developed two new projects of universal ships, in particular the Varan universal sea ship (UMK = universalnyj-morskoj-korabl) and a new universal landing ship (UDC). This was stated in the materials of the PKB dedicated to the 90th anniversary of the enterprise. Nevskoe PKB is one of the largest domestic developers of universal ships and the only designer of aircraft carriers and training complexes in Russia.

After the end of the Cold War, the universal amphibious assault ships (UDC) turned from a means of supporting large formations of the naval forces into independent units capable of performing not only combat, but also humanitarian missions. This type of ship is used for the transfer of troops, naval patrols and support for larger ships. In recent years, the domestic shipbuilding industry has focused on the development of this class of naval technology. According to experts from the Nevsky PKB, - "The ship's design provides for the formation of the hull by a modular method, which will ensure a high rate of construction. In order to minimize the time and cost of repairs during the operation period, equipment has been used that is already built into the main units of the UMK."

The Nevsky Design Bureau named it the Varan universal naval ship (UMK). The division of ships into classes, subclasses and ranks is determined by the "Guidelines for the Classification of Ships and Vessels of the Navy", although this subclass of ships (as a "universal sea ship") does not exist. In the opinion of the naval source, the leadership of the Navy realized that the domestic shipbuilding industry was not ready to build expensive warships of large displacement. “Domestic shipyards will be able to build a light aircraft-carrying ship, it will cost less and will be quite capable of keeping the Navy's carrier-based aircraft. And this is very important today!”

In terms of displacement, the design is analogous to the American class of helicopter landing craft 'America'. The US Navy has two ships in service (USS America and USS Tripoli) with another (USS Bougainville) under construction. Each of them cost 3.3 - 3.4 billion dollars. China, which is active in the construction of new warships, is currently building the Type 075 amphibious class with three warships in various stages of construction. Beijing intends to increase that number to eight. Their displacement is slightly smaller (40,000 tonnes compared to 'Varan' 45,000).

The shipyard Nevsky seems to want to hit a lot with one shot , projecting the new 'Varan' design , for a multi-mission and form ship that can be a family of large support ships on the high seas. According to shipbuilders, the ship can be the basis for many categories of ships, from light aircraft carriers, landing helicopters, floating hospitals, etc. With the end of the Cold War, amphibious assault ships were transformed from means of supporting large naval formations into independent units capable of military and humanitarian operations. These ships are now operating to display the state flag, long-range patrols and support larger ships. The Russian shipbuilding industry is precisely developing such a class of ship.

"This is a new approach to domestic and international shipbuilding. The plan will represent a new class of warships for multiple missions in marine environments ", notes the Nevsky design office. The offices say the 'Varan' is distinguished by its design flexibility that can be easily modified to match other types of surface ships, such as aircraft carrier, landing craft, floating hospital, and even Arctic support ship.

Nevskoe design bureau presented the project of the universal sea ship "Varan" 18 January 2021. It can carry 24 multipurpose aircraft, six helicopters and up to 20 unmanned aerial vehicles. "The air wing will include MiG-29K fighter jets and future available aircraft, including vertical take-off and landing jets. The work is being carried out on an initiative basis, which is to say, it is financed on internal resources rather than with Ministry support. A report on it was presented to Defense Minister Shoigu. Proposals for a prospective IAC were presented to the Supreme Commander for consideration. The project appeared to be Nevskoe's response to the 44,000 ton LMA [Light Multipurpose Aircraft Carrier] proposed by the Krylov State Research Center (KGNC) in 2018.

UMK "Varan" is an aircraft-carrying complex, characterized by a high degree of automation and the possibility of using robotic systems. It can carry 24 multipurpose aircraft, six helicopters and up to 20 unmanned aerial vehicles. The ship's displacement is about 45,000 tons, length - about 250 meters [815 feet], beam about 65 meters [210 feet], draft at the structural waterline about 9 meters [30 feet]. "Varan" is capable of speeds up to 26 knots. According to the Nevsky office, the ship's hull will be modular in architecture to meet the high-speed shipbuilding schedule. The equipment will be assembled inside the main areas of the ship to reduce shipbuilding time and reduce construction costs.

Judging by the sketch, the deck of the "Varana" will house 24 multipurpose aircraft, such as the MiG-29K, there may be other prospective developments from aircraft designers. So the UMK will carry 6 multipurpose deck-based helicopters of the Ka-52K Katran type and up to 20 UAVs, possibly a naval version of the already famous C-70 "Okhotnik", the so-called "Sea Okhotnik" C-70 M.

There are no chimneys visible, so it might be assemed that the propulsion is nuclear. For Russia, paradoxically, it is now more convenient to build large ships with nuclear power plants. Considering the high energy consumption of the electromagnetic catapult and the absence of a chimney, some concluded that the Universal Sea Ship will be equipped with a nuclear power plant, or some other one based on different physical principles. After all, while this ship is designed and built, one can expect the appearance of serial nuclear installations.

The 'Varan' will be propelled by gas turbines that will be connected to existing propulsion units of the Russian Navy. "The military will use existing core systems to reduce construction costs," the office said. The size and displacement of the 'Varan' is within the capabilities of the Russian shipyards without the need for conversions and the cost of expanding the facilities. The cost of 'Varan' will not exceed the cost of today's ships of corresponding displacement, the announcement noted.

On striking feature of the picture is the absence of the springboard / ski jump, a characterisitic feature of Russian carriers. There appear to be a pair of bow catapults, with a takeoff run of only 60-70 meters. The type of catapult is not specified, but might be presumed to be Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) which is quite the fashion these days.

The oblique landing deck is almost the size of a large aircraft carrier. At the same time, it intersects with the launch catapults, which do not complement each other but rather interfere. So the vessel can launch aircraft, or recover aircraft, but not both at the same time.

The Rubka (from the Dutch.roef - cabin) is the closed structure for special purposes on the deck of a surface ship, also known as the island. The deckhouse on a ship (vessel) has a width that is clearly less than the width of the ship's hull. Designed to accommodate command posts and combat posts, systems and control devices for the ship, weapons and technical means of the ship. The design of the deckhouse suggests the designer have seen too many Japanese anime - otherwise why would they have an aerodynamic tower on the aircraft carrier. One observer asked "Just tell me what should happen to the brain in order to put the aerodynamic cabin on the ATOMIC AIRLINE CARRIER ??? !!!"

If it used electromagnetic catapults it should have a powerful power source. If it is steam, there are not eveident chimneys even if it is for a combined cycle. If it is diesel they do not give the power needed. It has two elevators but it does not have an adequate radar or air defense system. It would be more of an aircraft transporter than an aircraft carrier. They were used in the Second World War in the Pacific to replace aircraft lost by aircraft carriers.

According to the design bureau, which develops the program on its own initiative and at its own expense, the 'Varan' program is a balanced platform that sets a serious bid as a multi-mission international ship while meeting all the requirements of the Russian Navy for offshore businesses. The program is tailored to Russian needs in order to be economically feasible, effective as a war platform and to promote the country's prestige at the political and military levels.

The claim that this represents a "universal naval ship" is difficult to understand, since the 45,000 ton displacement of the medium aircraft carrier is several times larger than what might be associated with a hospital ship, for instance, and is about twice that of the prospective amphibious assault ship. What has been published is too preliminary.

064 Varan - Nevskoye PKB 064 Varan - Nevskoye PKB 064 Varan - Nevskoye PKB

064 Varan - Nevskoye PKB 064 Varan - Nevskoye PKB 064 Varan - Nevskoye PKB

"Varan" Nomenclature

A "Varan" is the Komodo monitor lizard (Varanus komodoensis). Monitor lizards are the largest lizards in the world. In size, some of them are not inferior to crocodiles, although they are not related to them. Systematically monitor lizards are closer to snakes than other lizards. These reptiles are separated into a separate family of monitor lizards, including 70 species. The largest lizard has a body length up to 3 m and more, weight up to 140 kg. It was the gigantic size of this lizard that prompted people to call this species a dragon. In addition to their large size, monitor lizards differ from other lizards by well-developed muscles, their paws are not only tenacious, but also strong, the stomach is expanded in the middle part, the tail is muscular, scourge-shaped and very long. The limbs are well developed. Coloring in juveniles is grayish-chestnut with red-orange spots, in adults it is monophonic dark brown. Distributed in Vost. Indonesia on the islands Komodo (hence the name.), Rinja, Padar and in the western parts of Flores.

It can swim quite far out to sea, visiting neighboring islands. The habitats of monitor lizards are diverse; according to their ecological preferences, they can be divided into two groups. Some monitor lizards prefer arid desert areas; they are found in dry scrub thickets, woodlands, savannas, semi-deserts and real quicksand. Other species prefer to stay close to the water, they live on the shores of water bodies in tropical forests.

Varans live alone, their character is quarrelsome. Having met at the prey, they immediately engage in a fight. The lizards threaten the rival with a loud hiss, swell their belly and whip their tail. In large species, the blow of a thin but strong tail is similar to that of a whip. Monitor lizards are active predators. They are not picky about their food and will catch almost any animal of a suitable size. The monitor lizards smell prey at a great distance and accurately determine their source. Even a light bite of the Komodo monitor lizard is fatal, which gave rise to talk about the toxicity of this species. However, these monitor lizards have no real poison, but there is a unique substitute for it. The saliva of Komodo monitor lizards is very viscous and pathogenic bacteria multiply in it.

Varan is a Toho monster that has only been in two movies, [not counting stock footage in Godzilla: Final Wars] : Varan, the Unbelievable (1958), and Destroy all Monsters (1968, cameo). The monster movie Varan " possesses a single-minded lust for destruction, attacking military formations and structures until nothing is left intact. Total annihilation appears to be the only thing which will satisfy Varan. Nor does the size or aggressiveness of a target appear to figure into the beast's ferocity, "

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