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Navy Commander: Russia Needs Advanced Aircraft Carriers

Navy Commander: Russia Needs Advanced Aircraft Carriers 26.11.2012
Text: Vzglyad
Photo: RusNavy.com
Russian Navy needs up-to-date aircraft carriers; project design of a prospective aircraft carrier for Russian Navy will be finished by 2020, said Russian Navy Commander-in-Chief Admiral Viktor Chirkov on Friday.

"In my personal opinion, designing of a new aircraft carrier is vital for us", reports Interfax citing ADM Chirkov.

As for him, "development of the project is in progress". "We must conceive what kind of an aircraft carrier we need, and the main thing, understand the necessity of having such ships", emphasized Chirkov. He specified that development of conceptual design of the carrier would finish by 2020.

According to Vzglyad, ADM Viktor Chirkov accompanied Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu in his working trip to Eastern Military District. Shoigu visited some assets of Pacific Fleet there.

It is noteworthy that Chirkov said in July that certain research institutes had been already tasked to develop a project of aircraft carrier. The money has been appropriated for that purpose as well.

In 2009, sources in naval headquarters said that the Russian Navy Development Concept provided shaping of five or six carrier strike groups by 2050-2060. It was planned to start construction of aircraft carriers in 2012.

However, the then-defense minister Anatoly Serdiukov said Russian defense ministry had no money for building aircraft carriers and their supply ships till 2020. "So far, there is no money for that purpose within arms procurement program until 2020", said Serdiukov commenting plans to build new aircraft carriers for Russian Navy.

According to him, defense ministry "not so much imagines design of a prospect aircraft carrier and her technical capabilities".

By the way, Russian Navy currently operates one aircraft-carrying cruiser, Admiral Kuznetsov. In the Soviet era, the only carrier-building facility was Chernomorsky Shipyard (Nikolayev, Ukraine).

That is where five Soviet aircraft carriers were built, namely, Kiev, Minsk, Novorossiysk (projects 1143 and 11433), Baku (project 11434), and Tbilisi (project 11435). Having served less than 15 years, the first three ships were decommissioned and then sold abroad. After the breakup of the Soviet Union, the two latter ones were named Admiral Gorshkov (later gifted to Indian Navy as Vikramaditya) and Admiral Kuznetsov still in service at Northern Fleet.

Other two ships, Varyag and Ulyanovsk were not completed. Hull of the first one was sold to China and became the first Chinese aircraft carrier named Liaoning. The second ship was dismantled.

Meanwhile, quays for two Mistral-class amphibious assault landing docks are being prepared in Vladivostok. Chirkov said on Friday that both of the ships would be stationed at Pacific Fleet. "First two Mistrals will serve at Pacific Fleet. Department for special construction is retrofitting 33-rd quay in Vladivostok. We're checking them, the works are going on in full play", he said.

As for Chirkov, new infrastructure is being constructed for Mistral-class helicopter carriers in Vladivostok, and for new submarines Ц at Kamchatka Peninsula.

Russian Navy Main HQ earlier reported that two Mistral-class amphibious assault ships will be commissioned into Pacific Fleet in 2014 and 2015 and have the names of Vladivostok and Sevastopol.

Moscow and Paris signed the EUR 1.2-bln contract for two Mistrals in June 2011. The first ship for Russian Navy was laid down early in Feb 2012; it is believed to join Russian Navy in 2014. Reportedly, Russia will receive the second Mistral in 2015.

A Mistral-class landing ship displaces 16,500 tons. Full displacement is 21,300 tons; loaded-dock displacement is 32,300 tons; length overall is 210 meters; max speed is over 18 knots; operating range is up to 20,000 miles.

Standard complement is 160 men. The ship is capable to accommodate 450 marines, 13 main battle tanks or 70 wheeled trucks. Mistral's air wing comprises 16 helicopters (eight transport and eight attack ones), including six on the flight deck.

The contract for two Mistral-class helicopter carriers for Russian Navy was signed by JSC Rosoboronexport and DCNS (France) in June 2011. JSC United Shipbuilding Corporation is involved as a subcontractor of French shipyard STX France in Saint-Nazaire.

Baltiysky Zavod shipyard is to build 24 hull units (stern parts of both ships) which makes 40% of their hulls. Then the units will be sent to France for complete assembling. The first ship is to be commissioned into Russian Navy in 2015.

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