After decades of effort to reconstitute its shipbuilding industry following the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia looks set to regain a key ability: Moscow will be able to build aircraft carriers and amphibious assault ships domestically as soon as 2019.
“We’ll be ready to begin construction of helicopter carriers as well as aircraft carriers,” Alexey Rakhmanov, president of Russia’s United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC), recently told Rossiya’24. “If you take up the technological capability for building aircraft carriers, we hope to acquire it by the beginning of 2019 as long as modernization works are completed.”
While Rakhmanov didn’t specify where Russia would build its new flattops, Moscow’s next generation aircraft carriers will likely be built at the Sevmash shipyards in Severodvinsk. Sevmash is the only Russian shipyard with recent aircraft carrier experience, having refurbished and modified the Kiev-class aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov into India’s Vikramaditya.
While the projected new Russian flattop is roughly a decade away, the Krylov State Research Center and Nevskoye Planning and Design Bureau showed off a model of a prospective 100,000-ton displacement aircraft carrier last year. Designated as Project 23000E Shtorm, the massive nuclear-powered warship could carry as many as ninety aircraft. Optimistic estimates suggest the ship would cost $5.6 billion—it’s likely to be double that price tag or more.
In the meantime, Russia is preparing the groundwork for the new carrier. Moscow has started work on an electromagnetic catapult launch system (EMALS) similar to those found onboard the U.S. Navy’s new Gerald R. Ford-class (CVN-78) carriers. A Russian EMALS prototype is apparently being tested at the Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute (TsAGI) at the Zhukovsky airfield outside Moscow.
Full article: Russia Moves Ahead With Building New Aircraft Carriers (The National Interest)