The Russians want to build an aircraft carrier: a real plan or propaganda?

In Russia there were plans to create a super-carrier project 23000Э “Storm”. This became known even in 2015, when the Krylov state research centre presented at the international naval show in St. Petersburg, the project of a ship the length of which shall be equal to 330 meters, width — 40 (the parameters of the new U.S. aircraft carrier — 337 and 78 meters, respectively).

The presentation was done the noise, however, most experts considered that at the present time to build such a ship in Russia is impossible for a number of technical, economic and strategic reasons. As it turned out, not all Russians shared this opinion. A few weeks ago the Deputy chief of the Russian Navy Vice-Admiral rear Admiral Victor bursuk said that the work on the project “Storm” continues.

During preparations for a massive parade to mark the Day of the Navy in St. Petersburg, a debate erupted in the media with renewed force. The only type of ship which it was lacking, was the aircraft carrier “Admiral Kuznetsov” because of its technical condition already could not overcome the way from the Barents sea in the Eastern region of the Baltic sea. His absence has tried to compensate for a reminder of Russian dreams associated with a giant “Storm”.

The word “dream” in this context can be used because we are talking about an aircraft carrier with a displacement of more than 100 thousand tons, that is the biggest ship in the naval forces of Russia. The buildings all Russian carriers were created at a shipyard in Mykolaiv Ukrainian, which is due to the annexation of Crimea and war in Eastern Ukraine Russians can not use. Russian refineries are currently capable of producing hulls for ships with displacement of up to 60 thousand tons. Of course, part of the body can be produced in different places, and then collect them in dry dock enterprise “Sevmash”, but such operations in Russia are still not made.

What will be the “Storm”?

“Storm” will differ from their American counterparts already flight deck, which should appear as springboards for takeoff (“sky-jump”), and catapult. The Russians decided not to skimp and install four catapults: two steam and two electromagnetic (EMALS). Meanwhile, Russian engineers have no experience in this area and the Russian Navy never used the starting units of this type. Test electromagnetic catapult, the development of which took the Americans fifteen years in Russia were not conducted.

The Russian project are distinguished by a certain inconsistency. Previously, the Russians ridiculed the appearance of the British aircraft carrier Queen Elizabeth, but now people are suggested to install on flight deck, two add-in (“island”). It is expected that the Russian air group will be more numerous than British or American. It will include 90 aircraft and helicopters, to be delivered to the deck by four lifts: three on the starboard side and one on the left.

Presented in St. Petersburg the layout was established as a small copy of the existing aircraft (MiG-29K), and those that are under development (T-50 PAK FA), or those which have not even started serious work (AEW, similar to American E-2 Hawkeye).

The mystery remains internal equipment. The Russians don’t even know what to choose: standard or nuclear power plant. The first option seems more realistic, but the second would free additional space, which usually is a shipboard fuel. It should be added that the carrier must be the ship with Russian crew (more than 4 thousand people).

Russian experts remain questions about defense systems “Storm”. On the layout you can see the installation of vertical launch anti-aircraft missiles. However, even the Russians themselves believe that the reflection of a massive missile attack conducted from different directions and at different heights, they will not be sufficient. Therefore, we need a defense ships that the Russian Navy no. Moreover, there is not even any plans, indicating that in the near future, Russia plans to begin construction of destroyers or cruisers with the Aegis missile defense system, at least what showed on parade 2014 in Saint-Petersburg by the Chinese.

The Russians will have to design not only new ships, but the missile system of medium and long range, as the launch of missiles by using marine analogs of systems s-300 and s-400 (for example,-300F), as often speak, is associated with greater risk. On land engine failure of the rocket after launch only leads to the destruction of the launchers, but the ship has such an incident can be catastrophic.

Russia is not even developed tactics for aircraft groups since the last time you seriously about their creation thought in the Soviet Union, when there was no modern technical solutions, and the threat looked completely different. There is also the problem of the development of the project. Of natural causes the group of designers, who had experience building ships of this size, retired. In addition, it is clearly visible that the Russians continue to pursue the concept, which in Soviet times was planned to put into avanessa heavy cruiser “Ulyanovsk” (project 1143.7). Its construction started on November 25, 1986, to complete failed, but the ideas came back. On “the Storm” you can see a similar configuration of the flight deck (the catapults and springboard). A new aircraft carrier should surpass the former in size (displacement “Ulyanovsk” was on the project, 75 thousand tons, and on its Board could be based 70 aircraft), but the main problem remains: funding. Because of the lack of funds the building “Ulyanovsk”, which was about 40%, was dismantled for scrap.

According to preliminary estimates, the construction of the “Storm” will cost five billion dollars, while such expenditures in the coming years, the Russian defense Ministry can not afford can. Let me remind you that the military budget in 2017 has been reduced by 25% compared to the previous year. That is why the aircraft carrier “Admiral Kuznetsov”, which requires the Navy will be only to repair and not upgrade.

Construction costs could be reduced if the Russian ships managed to sell, for example, India. However, the Russians lost the image of reliable supplier of such large ships when engaged in the modernization of the aircraft carrier “Admiral Gorshkov”, which was supposed to become a “Vikramaditya”. The Russians gave India ordered the ship ten years later and the contract amount was increased during this time three times. The Russians themselves admit that the chances that someone decides now to buy their ships of this class are small.

Finally, there remains the question of the Russian official the strategy in which the emphasis is on protecting its own territory. Experts in Russia emphasize that the creation of the air groups cannot be called a priority for Russian interests. However, they added that “the projection of force around the world looks a tempting prospect.”