Russia Moves Closer to Building New Aircraft Carrier
After decades-long efforts to restore its shipbuilding industry following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia finally seems to have obtained serious capabilities.
As soon as 2019, Moscow will be able to build aircraft carriers and amphibious helicopter carriers at domestic shipyards, military analyst Dave Majumdar wrote in his article for The National Interest.
Currently, Russia has only one aircraft carrier in service – the Admiral Kuznetsov. It was built in the Ukrainian SSR, at the Nikolayev shipyards. After the USSR collapsed in 1991, Russia lost access to the facilities which built all Soviet aircraft carriers. As a result, Moscow was forced to create its own aircraft carrier industrial base.
'We'll be ready to begin construction of helicopter carriers as well as aircraft carriers,' Alexey Rakhmanov, president of Russia's United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC), recently told Rossiya 24 new channel.
'If you take up the technological capability for building aircraft carriers, we hope to acquire it by the beginning of 2019 as long as modernization works are completed,' he added.
Rakhmanov did not reveal details regarding where Russia would build its new aircraft carriers. But Moscow's next generation flattop is likely to be built at Sevmash Shipyards, in Severodvinsk. It is the only facility to have recent aircraft carrier building experience. It refurbished and modified the Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier into the Vikramaditya for the Indian Navy.
'Previous reports had suggested that Russia was preparing to start building its first post-Soviet era carrier in 2025, at the earliest. It would also take roughly ten years to build the massive warship,' the author wrote.
While the new Russian flattop is a decade away, in 2015 the Krylov State Research Center and Nevskoye Planning and Design Bureau showed off a model of a prospective 100,000-ton displacement aircraft carrier, designated as Project 23000E Shtorm. The massive aircraft could carry as many as 90 aircraft.
Russia has also been preparing the groundwork for the new aircraft carrier, the article read. For instance, Russia has started work on an electromagnetic catapult launch system.
In addition, Moscow hopes to build new amphibious assault ships to replace the two French-made Mistral-class ships. They had been ordered from France, but later due to anti-Russian sanctions and rising tensions between Moscow and the West over the Ukrainian crisis the contract was cancelled.
'It's not clear when or even if Russia is proceeding with the project, but available information suggests Moscow is interested in a vessel capable of hosting a dozen helicopters and 450 naval infantrymen. The ship could have a displacement of roughly 16,000 tons,' Majumdar wrote.
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