Russian Plans to Build Biggest Aircraft Carrier
in the World. A Russian state-run media website recently
reported that Moscow plans to build the “biggest aircraft carrier in the world” to compete
with the US’s full-sized Nimitz-class aircraft carriers.
The new Russian carrier concept, called the “Shtorm,” would match the size of the US’s
current carriers, displacing about 100,000 tons and carrying a similar number of aircraft,
despite the the site’s claim that it would be the biggest carrier in the world.
Russia currently has only one aircraft carrier, the Soviet-built Admiral Kuznetsov, which
after decades in service just completed its first combat deployment to Syria, where it
struggled to remain operational and lost at least two planes.
The new Shtorm aircraft carrier has a displacement of 100,000 tons, is 330 meters in length,
40 meters in width and has a draft of 11 meters. The ship has a top speed of 30 kt and a sea-keeping
performance of up to grade 7. “Storm” can carry 90 deck-based aircraft for various combat
missions. The carrier has two ramps and two electromagnetic catapults to launch aircraft
from its deck. To defend itself from aerial, the aircraft carrier has air-defense missile
and anti-torpedo defense systems. Like every Soviet aircraft carrier before
it, Kuznetsov was constructed in the Nikolayev 444 shipyards, located in Ukraine. Russia
does not have shipbuilding capacity for a vessel larger than 60,000 tons. “One of their
biggest initial problems is that Russia doesn’t have any history in building aircraft carriers
because the carriers the Soviet Union built were all built in Ukraine,” Dmitry Gorenburg,
an expert in the Russian navy at the Virginia-based CNA Corporation told The Moscow Times.
“On the Russian ship’s deck there were about 30 planes, while an American aircraft carrier
can carry up to 90,” a Russian defense official told the site, Russia Beyond The Headlines,
comparing the Kuznetsov to US carriers. “Also, the take-off speed on the Admiral Kuznetsov
was a few minutes, while on an American aircraft carrier three planes can take off in one minute.
Moreover, there are many tasks that the Russian ship cannot perform today. Therefore, Russia
needs a new modern aircraft carrier.” While Russia does field a “global navy” of
an impressive number of ships with potent and long-range offensive capabilities, it
sorely lacks the power projection provided by aircraft carriers. The Kuznetsov was built
mainly for coastal defense, and without a nuclear power plant, needs considerable support
to travel between theaters. Under sanctions for Russia’s 2014 annexation
of Crimea and hounded by the low cost of oil, the site admits that Moscow would struggle
to fund the carrier project, and even beyond the ship, it would need to build 90 or so
planes. While they do have carrier-based planes, like
the MiG-29K, the Shtorm concept calls for T-50 planes, Russia’s proposed entry into
the fifth generation of combat aircraft. The T-50’s production, like the Shtorm’s, has
been plagued with underperforming results while promising big increases to Russia’s
combat capability. Russia previously Displayed the Shtorm concept
to India , which is looking for a new, larger aircraft carrier as the older Soviet carriers.
But New Delhi building its second Carrier in India.
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