Russian Navy

Why does Russia need new aircraft carriers?

Why does Russia need new aircraft carriers? 30.07.2008
Commander in Chief of the Russian Navy, Admiral Vladimir Vysotskii, says Russia intends to build five or six new aircraft carriers. The vessels will help Russia become the second most powerful naval power in the world, the commander says.

According to Mr. Vysotskii, who described the Russian Navy plans in a newspaper interview on the recent Russian Navy Day, the construction of the vessels will be started in 2012. They will be based in the Northern and Pacific Fleets.

It remains a question however why the Navy actually wants aircraft carriers. The huge expensive vessels are meant for military operation far away from the navy’s home bases, and have limited effects on home defence.

Newspaper Vedomosti now in an editorial asks whether the concepts of Russian foreign policy in under change. After all, there are far better ways to strengthen both home defence and military capacities. Why would Russia need aircraft carriers? And which tasks will the vessels have?

One possible answer could be the dream of Russian admirals to return to Soviet days when the Navy were present on the world seas. Another explaination could be a Russian desire for military show-off in international power politics.

Another question is whether Russia actually would be able to build and maintain a fleet of aircraft carriers. Today, the Russian military budgets do not allow for the construction of vessels with a price tag of about three billion USD each. The building of such vessels also demands highly qualified experts and advanced technology. Russia might not have enough of any of that. The ongoing upgrade of the aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov for the Indian Navy has clearly shown just that.


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