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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia to build nuclear-powered 60,000-ton aircraft carrier

RIA Novosti

27/02/2009 19:02 MOSCOW, February 27 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's new-generation aircraft carrier will be nuclear powered and have a displacement of up to 60,000 metric tons, a United Shipbuilding Corporation executive said on Friday.

Vice Adm. Anatoly Shlemov, the company's head of defense contracts, said the new carrier was still at the drawing board stage, but its blueprint and basic specifications have already been defined.

He said the carrier will serve as a seaborne platform for new-generation fixed- and rotary-winged aircraft, in particular, a fifth-generation fighter that will replace the Su-33 multirole fighter aircraft currently in service, as well as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV).

"It will be a fifth-generation aircraft with classic horizontal take-off and landing capability," the admiral said.

Shlemov said, unlike in the past, the new aircraft carrier would not be armed with cruise missiles, which were not part of its "job description."

He said that at least three such carriers were to be built, for the Northern and Pacific Fleets.

The executive offered no timeline on the project, saying it was not as yet clear which shipyard would get the contract.

The new carrier has an estimated price tag of $4 billion.

So far the Russian Navy only has one aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov Project 1143.5, built in 1985, with a displacement of 55,000 metric tons, a crew of 1,500, and capability to carry more than 50 aircraft.

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