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Project 1160 - Heavy aviation cruiser

The Kiev was a hybrid that overcame the hurdles put in its way by numerous opponents of aircraft carriers as a vessel class. The hybrid was designed for the deployment of vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft and helicopters, but with a cruiser's missile munitions and the size of an 'aircraft carrier'. With a 37,000 ton standard displacement, a 273 meter length, and a 180 thousand horsepower steam turbine propulsion system, Kiev could be placed somewhere between the French Foch and Clemenceau-class aircraft carriers with a standard displacement of approximately 30,000 tons and a length of 265 meters, and the 45,000 ton American Midways.

In contrast to those ships, Kiev lacked a full deck - its bow contained cruiser fighting equipment, which restricted its aircraft carrying capabilities to operating VTOL aircraft, just like the much smaller British Invincible-class ships, which were designed at that time.

The biggest problems of Kiev Project 1143 were related to the air group: the Yak-38, a subsonic VTOL plane with weak weapons and a relatively small action radius, looked odd on a ship equipped with anti-ship missiles with a range of up to 500 km. In fact, the Yak-38, officially classified as a strike fighter, could not perform any of the truly critical tasks: as a strike aircraft it was useless in anti-fleet operations since it did not have missiles that would allow it to attack ships, and as part of air defense forces its chances would be slim in a confrontation with the enemy's strike machines operating under supersonic fighter cover.

Kiev's shortcomings were obvious, so new alternatives were considered. The chief alternative was the project assigned the number 1160. It contained some compromise solutions, such as anti-ship missile launchers, but it was a full-fledged aircraft carrier project. Nuclear propulsion system, 72,000 ton standard and 80,000, full deck, an aircraft system that included an angled deck, four steam catapults, and arresting gear - all this made it a fully functional analog of American super aircraft carriers.

As for the air group, there were plans to use MiG-23A Molniya (Lightning) aircraft (the deck-based variant of the newest contemporary Soviet frontline fighter), Su-24K missile bombers (the deck-based variant of a strike aircraft that was being developed at the time), P-42 anti-submarine defense aircraft specially designed for aircraft carriers by the Beriev design bureau, as well as 'flying radars' based on the latter, and helicopters. As planes developed, plans changed: in 1973, there were suggestions to use deck-based variants of Su-27 and MiG-29 that were being developed then.

The creation of this ship required solving a number of process tasks, the chief of which was the development of arresting gear and steam catapults - devices that Soviet industry had not previously produced. There is no doubt that these systems could be produced in 1970s - the USSR already disposed of all the necessary technologies by that time.

The development of the advance design of Project 1160 was in contrast to those carried out by TsKB-17 in 1943-1960. Design and engineering work relied on a solid scientific foundation in the form of an integrated interdisciplinary research "Order" for the operational-tactical and military-economic feasibility of Project 1160, to which (in 1969-1972) the WMA was involved, The leading institutes of the Navy, Air Force and Industry, as well as the NPKB and OKB Minaviaprom - developers of aircraft and helicopters.

The scientific leader of the "Order" was the captain of the 1st rank AA Borisov. Based on its results, the role and place of AB in the Navy system was determined, it was once again convincingly proved that without the presence of such class of ships in its composition, in conditions of air superiority of enemy aircraft in remote areas of operation of Soviet forces, the combat stability of the Navy ships is insufficient and does not provide decisions by the fleet of their tasks.

The Project 1160 was a broad project study of eight variants of AB with different types of weapons, types of GEM, and displacement in the range from 40,000 to 100,000 tons. Due to the absence at the time of the developer of special aviation -technical devices (catapult, aerofinisher and emergency barrier) their advance projects were executed by the NPKB.

For the first time, with the participation of contractors, it was also the need for the development of industrial capacities, the selection of a construction factory, the provision of coastal and floating basing, the creation and development of special devices, the training of flight and technical personnel of ship aviation, etc., economic evaluation Of the total costs for the implementation of the program for the construction of a series of AB of three ships, prospect 1160. To shorten the time of creation of such AB, the depth of the study of the issues determining design and construction oitelstvo such complex ships avanproekt 1160 corresponded by volume conceptual design (about 900 documents were produced). At the same time, the design bureau of Minaviaprom developed airplane projects for this AB.

After consideration at the presidium of the NTS of the Ministry of the Interior and the joint NTS of the Ministry of Justice, Minaviaprom, the Navy and the Air Force (with the participation of the leadership of all defense industries, whose enterprises were involved in the creation of AV, the development of ship, aircraft, aviation and other weapons for it) Version of the atomic multipurpose AB displacement of about 80 000 tons, which had the best indicators of combat and economic efficiency, with ejection aircraft (fighter Su-27 type anti-submarines, anti-submarine type P-42) and Ka-27 helicopters with the total number of shipborne aircraft (LAC) up to 70 vehicles, anti-ship missile system Granit, anti-aircraft guns and radio-electronic weapons.

However, in addition to the confirmation of the Navy and the Air Force, the need and expediency, and industry - the technical feasibility of creating AV and shipborne aviation catapult take-off for the construction of such ships, it was required to make a political decision at the highest level, to which the country's leadership was unprepared.

At the suggestion of DF Ustinov as an alternative to the proposal of the SME, MAP, the Navy and the Air Force to build up to 1986 a series of three Project 1160, in the fall of 1973 it was decided to create in place of them modernized anti-submarine cruisers of the "Kiev" type, starting in 1975 the construction of the third ship of this type (Ave P 43 M, then - 11433), based on Supersonic VTOL-fighters (Yak-36 MF, Then Yak-41), the design of the following (from the fourth ship), taking into account the basing on them of light aircraft of catapult take-off (types MiG-23K and Su-25K) with a corresponding increase in their displacement.

Nevertheless, any detailed development of Project 1160 was never started. Instead of a new aircraft carrier, it was decided to continue Series 1143. In 1972, another Project 1143 ship was laid down - the heavy aircraft-carrying cruiser Minsk, and in 1975 - Novorossiysk.

The main designer of TAVRK, Arkady Marinich, declared to the apparatus of the CPSU Central Committee that he was ready to solve the same problems for less money by putting catapults on TAVKR and re-equipping them for the MiG-23K and Su-25K bases. This project was supported by Dmitry Ustinov, then secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU on defense issues. As a result, instead of the 1160 nuclear-powered aircraft carrier after Minsk, the modernized TAVKR of the 1143M Novorossiysk project was laid down, with the promised already based supersonic VTOL fighters Yak-41. However, with a more detailed study of the proposal, it turned out that Marynich did not fit in the deadlines, nor in the dimension of ships like "Kiev". The only thing that he could achieve is the termination of the development of the project 1160.

The Navy did not abandon attempts to obtain a ship capable of taking Conventional Take-Off And Landing [CTOL] aircraft. Supporters of the aircraft carrier idea, with the backing of ministers of defense and shipbuilding industry and the interest of the Commander-in-Chief of the Russian navy, continued to propose new variants.

In 1973, on the basis of the groundwork done on Project 1160, the Nevskoye design bureau started developing Project 1153 - an atomic CATOBAR (Catapult Take-off But Arrested Recovery) aircraft carrier similar to Project 1160 - with catapults and arresting gear but smaller in size and cheaper, with two catapults instead of four. This project, however, was also supposed to carry anti-ship missiles, and the air group was supposed to consist of 50 aircraft (at 60,000 ton standard displacement.

"The building of the ship was supposed to start in 1978, but in 1976, the aircraft carrier lobby lost two of its major figures: the minister of defense Andrey Grechko died on April 26, and the minister of shipbuilding industry Boris Butoma on July 11. At the insistence of the new head of the military department, Dmitri Ustinov, Series 1143 was extended with the fourth ship - heavy aircraft-carrying cruiser Baku.

Displacement80 000 t full
Length:N.a. [probably about 1050 feet (320 meters) viz Kitty Hawk]
Power plantA type: AEC
Number of shafts:N.a.
Engines IAS
Travel speed30 knots
Range of navigationNot limited
  • 16 6 30 mm art. Flak Installations
  • 16 PU "Granite" SCR Missile
  • 2 SAM ultra- short range Missile
  • 2 short-range SAM Missile
  • 4 12 RBU Antisubmarine weapons
  • Aviation Group 60-70 aircraft and helicopters

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