Will Russia ever have its own aircraft-carrier?

A piece of good news has arrived for Russian shipbuilders and marine sailors: the main (that is, the first in a series) multipurpose nuclear submarine Severodvinsk, Project 885 (code "Yasen"), running trials in the White Sea, has successfully launched a state-of-the-art cruise missiles at ground targets. The success is obvious. However, the positive news has revealed a number of failures in the Russian shipbuilding industry, which, alas, are no less obvious.

According to ITAR-TASS news agency, which quoted a source in the General Staff of the Russian Navy, submarine Severodvinsk fired the missile at a sea range in a special area of the White Sea. The sub fired the standard rocket complex Caliber, which had been successfully tested at ground complexes before.

In contrast to the long-suffering ballistic missile Bulava, cruise missile Calibre was successful from the start. Designers and members of the military office have never complained of the missile. The testing program of the submarine stipulates a series of submarine missile launches from different positions on sea and ground targets.

As Pravda.Ru previously reported, the nuclear submarine Severodvinsk, built on the famous Sevmash shipyard in the city of the same name - Severodvinsk, successfully conducted the missile launch on November 7. The sub fired from Caliber rocket complex, but the launch of the new cruise missile was conducted from a submerged position on maritime targets.

The target was successfully destroyed. Usually, the military use a decommissioned vessel or a maquette of a vessel as a target.

In general, the Severodvinsk has spent over a hundred days in 2011 in various tests, and about the same amount of time in the current year. The submarine has thus had two full-service combat duties. Among other things, the Navy command points out the highly trained crew of the Severodvinsk.

In this situation, it is quite understandable: the navy gradually returns to the practice of the Soviet era, when the crews of the ships under construction come on board at the early stage of construction and can observe the entire process taking place there. As a result, the vessel becomes something like a home to its sailors.

Meanwhile, according to publications in the naval press, the Command of the Navy continues to work on the project of Russia's first nuclear aircraft carrier. The naval command will send the project for further development until the end of the year.

According to many officials in the Navy, the project of this vessel has made a comeback from the 1980s. The design of the ship was created during the Soviet period. The colossus with the estimated displacement of about 60,000 tons does not use the technological achievements of at least 20 years, although there were many of them indeed.

The Izvestia newspaper quoted a senior source in the command of the Russian Navy: "We were offered, in fact, the old Soviet aircraft carrier, the Ulyanovsk, which was never built due to the collapse of the USSR. At the end of the 1980s, it was a modern aircraft carrier. The ship was an adequate response to the then USS Nimitz, but today it is literally a vessel from the last century."

By 2020, when the first Russian aircraft carrier is expected to be launched, the U.S. will have state-of-the-art Gerald Ford floating airfields, which will be almost twice as large as the Russian ship.

Navy specialists do not like the enormous topside, the size of a 15-story skyscraper, which makes it too noticeable to enemy radar, not to mention the visual detection! The project does not have an electromagnetic catapult, which the Americans have. The system considerably simplifies takeoff of aircraft from the deck.

Instead, the "latest Russian aircraft carrier" offers to install a classic steam catapult, which is too slow.

Last year, Navy Commander Vladimir Vysotsky said that by 2027 Russia would definitely have two battle groups of aircraft carriers - in the Northern and Pacific fleets. Strangely enough, the state arms program before 2020 does not have an article of expenditure for the construction of aircraft carriers. Seven years is not enough for building an aircraft carrier.

Shipbuilders say that after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia has simply lost the subtle nuances for building anything that would be capable of carrying aircraft. Furthermore, almost all Soviet aircraft carriers used to be built in Ukraine's Nikolayev.

It is at least a shame for Russia not have its own aircraft carrier. Currently, ten countries of the world, including even not the most advanced Brazil and Thailand, have their aircraft carriers. As for Russia, "a great sea power", the country has nothing except for the Soviet-built and outdated Admiral Kuznetsov.

Meanwhile, the Chinese, who bought the carcass of the Soviet aircraft carrier Varyag as scrap metal (for $20 million) in 1998, have recently tested their deck-based aircraft on board the vessel that they reconstructed.

Andrey Mikhailov


Read the original in Russian  


Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov