Russia Develops Aircraft Carrier as Key National Security Element
Photo: Western Military District Press Service
For two years Russia has been developing a prospective nuclear-powered aircraft carrier which is to be one of the key elements of national security at sea, reports ITAR-TASS referring to a source in the government's military industrial commission.
"Russian Navy needs an advanced aircraft carrier being decades ahead of her time but not only an analog of current carriers available to the US and other countries", said the interviewee.
"Basic requirement is that the ship must be capable to operate in all domains Ц space, air, sea, land, and under water", stressed the source.
"Such aircraft carrier must combine functions of a command ship and a powerful attack asset but not be just a platform for airplanes. It must control actions of interbranch forces at coastal, sea and ocean theaters. To accomplish that task, the aircraft carrier will have to interact with the satellite fleet receiving intelligence and targeting data and distributing it amid surface and underwater forces, naval aviation, coast defense troops, air force, including strategic bombers, land troops, and so on", explained the source.
Speaking on attack missions, the prospective aircraft carrier must be capable to "deliver strikes upon sea surface and land targets by deck-based aircraft and shipborne missile systems", said the interviewee. If needed, the ship will have to take part in various armed conflicts, primarily in the 'sea-coast' operations.
The source added that amid requirements for the prospective aircraft carrier would be unlimited endurance thanks to nuclear reactors (limited only by the need to change crew), all-weather capability, and high combat sustainability. "The aircraft carrier will act not all alone but within a carrier strike group with at least six warships and one or two submarines as escort assets", specified the source.
As for the interviewee, the ship will displace over 50,000 tons which is larger than the Russia's only aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov but less than American carriers. The ship will carry about 80 deck-based airplanes.
Conceptual design of the prospective carrier is being developed by a bunch of shipbuilding institutes and design bureaus led by Naval Academy's research center and the Krylov State Scientific Center, both located in St. Petersburg. "The work is intensively going on without breaks. The ship's designing must finish by 2018, and then construction phase will begin", pointed out the official.
Russian Navy Commander-in-Chief Admiral Viktor Chirkov said on Nov 23 that Russia was in need for up-to-date aircraft carriers. He specified that the project development held under the state arms procurement program must be completed by 2020. Chirkov mentioned about the Navy's carrier building plans in July. "Design bureaus are tasked to develop a new aircraft carrier project. These works are well-financed", specified the Navy Commander then.
Currently, Russian Navy operates only one aircraft carrier, Project 11435 Admiral Kuznetsov stationed at Northern Fleet. According to Chirkov, that ship will continue performing her tasks. Moreover, Admiral Kuznetsov will be modernized by 2020.
In Nov 2011, the then-defense minister Anatoly Serdiukov said that the state arms program did not provide financing for aircraft carrier building.