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TAKR - Cold War History - Kuznetsov

As is well known, the post-war program for the creation of a powerful surface fleet presupposed the existence of compounds of heavy shock ships such as battleships and heavy cruisers with artillery, and subsequently with missile weapons. Considering the experience of the Second World War, the program included the construction of aircraft carriers (4 large and 4 small). During the discussion of the development program of the fleet, taking into account the real economic possibilities of the country, Stalin excluded first large and then small aircraft carriers, leaving only the heavy shock ships.

At the end of the war the Soviets captured the incomplete German aircraft carrier Graf Zeppelín and they towed it to 1947 in the direction of Leningrad but it never arrived there. According to the different sources the ship was struck by a mine, or sank in a storm or was used in naval exercises to acquire experience in means of sinking an aircraft carrier.

In the late 1940s and early 1950s, in the USSR, as part of the development of the postwar program for the creation of the naval naval fleet, there began another revival in the design work domestic aircraft carriers. The commission created by Kuznetsov in early January 1945 to select the necessary types of ships for the post-war formation of the fleet came to the need primarily to create aircraft carriers of two types: squadrons (large) - for the Northern and Pacific fleets and small - for the Baltic and Black Sea. The sub-committee's report was 'Considerations on the Selection of Aircraft Carriers for the USSR Navy'. The commission presented 33 variants of aircraft carrier designs: 24 convoy carriers, 3 light carriers, 4 squadron carriers and 2 heavy aircraft carriers. These were the four classes of carrier the commission felt they needed. The Navy General Staff called for 9 large (6 Pacific, 3 Northern) and 6 small carriers (all Northern). The government wanted this number reduced.

Based on the findings of the commission, the Main Naval Staff, in developing proposals for a promising plan for the post-war development of the Navy, provided for the construction of nine large aircraft carriers (six for the Pacific and three for the Northern Fleet) and six small for the Northern Fleet. When considering the government, the number of aircraft carriers was reduced to four, and Stalin summed up the line: "Well, we'll build two small pieces."

But the final version of the plan disappeared and they: the leaders of the People's Commissariat of Industry stated that they "are not yet ready to build such fundamentally new ships." The paradox was that, without such ships, the construction of others lost all meaning. So the USSR began to build a meaningless fleet.

According to the plan of the great strategist, during the ten postwar years, it was planned to build four heavy and 30 light cruisers, and in 1953-1956 to lay three more heavy and seven light cruisers. At the same time, Stalin was going to continue the construction of one of the three battleships of Project 23, which had been laid before the war, and to begin in 1955 the construction of two more of a more sophisticated project. All over the world, such plans would be considered idiotic, in the USSR they were called genius.

Stalin decided to build a blue water navy, but would not build aircraft carriers. In the beginning of the 1950s the military-political management of the country annually raised the question about the creation of the domestic aircraft carriers of different designation. Stalin rejected the aircraft carrier, despite evidence from the Second World War of the importance of air power at sea. Admiral Nikolai Kuznetsov pleaded in vain with Stalin for aircraft carriers to cover surface forces from enemy air attack out to three hundred miles from naval bases.

In 1951, Kuznetsov was again appointed naval minister of the USSR and he again revived the carrier-related theme. But all his reports have no success either before or after Stalin's death. The only thing that he managed to achieve was the maintenance of a light aircraft carrier (Project 85) in terms of designing ships for the years 1955-1960.

At the beginning of the 1950s there was an attempt for the second time to develope an aircraft carrier. Following the end of the war, plans were approved for the construction of a new class of aircraft carriers, to begin before 1950. The pair of Project 72 aircraft carriers were projected to have a displacement of 23,700 tons, but were never laid down.

In 1951, the post of Minister of the Navy was again appointed Admiral N. Kuznetsov, an active supporter of the creation of domestic aircraft carriers. This time, Kuznetsov was able to prove to the leader the danger for the future of a powerful ocean fleet, the absence of aircraft carriers as part of his operational connections. Design work on aircraft carriers and aircraft for them began to intensify.

The model of the aircraft is "509". The aviation industry began work on several types of deck aircraft of various purposes, equipped with turbojets and turboprops. Preliminary calculations for deck aircraft with jet engines were carried out in aviation design bureaus, mainly on an initiative basis, from the end of the 1940s. And when the fleet began to order machines of this purpose, airplanes were able to present several promising projects of fighters and attack aircraft.

Since the beginning of the 1950's in the OKB-155 AS Yakovlev began work on a single-engine jet deck fighter project. By the spring of 1952, preliminary estimates for the future deckman took the form of a general technical assignment to this class of aircraft. According to the OTP from the country's aviation industry, it was required to create a decked jet fighter with a maximum speed of 1000 km / h, a maximum flight duration of 2 hours and a ceiling of m. Takeoff from the aircraft carrier was provided at the ship speed of 20 knots - without accelerators, and at low speeds - using accelerators [an onboard catapult].

The status of the project can be judged by the letter of the Minister of Aviation Industry M. Khrunichev to the Minister of Shipbuilding Industry V. Malyshev on May 24, 1952, in which, in particular, the following was noted: "In the presence of a decision of the Government of the USSR, MAP can develop a draft project in the 6- month period after receiving the assignment and clarifying the tactical and technical requirements for the aircraft.This task can be assigned to the chief designer Yakovlev".

It is generally accepted that Stalin underestimated the role of aircraft carriers in naval warfare, which resulted in his refusal of their construction. This is not entirely true. The construction of the Navy, which requires a lot of financial and coordinated efforts for a long time, can not be overlooked by the actual head of state. Stalin did not take decisions without first ascertaining all the circumstances connected with the matter.

In the leadership of the Soviet Navy, there was no unity of views on aircraft carriers both in the pre-war period and after the war. The maximum desired was to provide aircraft carriers with cover for ships in ocean theaters. The shipbuilding industry was delayed in development for 5-10 years, and aircraft carriers after the Second World War underwent a number of changes. The displacement has increased, artillery and radio-electronic weapons have become more complicated, Appeared jet deck aircraft. It is clear that before you spend money on the construction of new classes of ships, it was necessary to eliminate the backlog. There was no specialized design organization for the design of aircraft carriers. Thus, the decisions of I.V. Stalin relied on knowledge of the real capabilities of industry and the fleet.

After the death of Stalin and the arrival of a new political and military leadership program on aircraft carriers and deck aircraft at that stage gradually turned off.

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Page last modified: 09-02-2018 18:48:17 ZULU