Vice Admiral Chirkov, who took over the post as Navy Chief on 6 May this year, confirms the Russian ambition to re-establish a fleet of aircraft carrying vessels. Currently, Russia only has one vessel of the kind, the “Admiral Kuznetsov”, which is based in the Northern Fleet.
Talking at a graduation ceremony at a Navy College this week, Chirkov stressed that “we (the Navy and the industry) have planned the job, and the Fleet will get new destroyers, cruiser vessels and aircraft carriers”, RIA Novosti reports.
Also former Navy Commander Vladimir Vysotskii worked for the construction of new aircraft carriers. Already in 2008, when appointed to the high post, Vysotsky said that Russia plans to construct five or six aircraft carriers. In February 2012, Vysotsky maintained that the technical specifics of the new vessels would be ready by 2014 and that construction could start after 2020. According to Vysotsky, the new ships will not be a classical type type of aircraft carriers, but will be “one step ahead”.
Also Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov in November 2011 said that the ministry has commissioned the United Shipbuilding Corporation with the project, RIA Novosti reports.
However, the hugely expensive vessels are not included in the Russian State Armament Programme for the period 2011-2020.
It also remains a question to what extent Russia will be able to construct the complex vessels. The long-dragged reconstruction of the “Admiral Gorshkov”, the Soviet aircraft carrier, for the Indian Navy indicates that Russian yards might not have the expertise needed for this kind of jobs.