Russia to build two aircraft carriers

The Russian Northern fleet aircraft-carrier Admiral Kuznetsov at port in Murmansk.

By 2027, Russia will have two new nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, one in the Northern Fleet and one in the Pacific Fleet.


After years of discussions whether or not Russia needs large aircraft-carrying vessels or can cope with nuclear-powered submarines and cruisers, the admirals now have chosen an “American” fleet model consisting of vessel groups with an aircraft carrier in the center. The naval leaders believe this arrangement will make to possible to broaden Russia’s area of influence in the Pacific Ocean and the North Atlantic Ocean.

The first Russian-built aircraft carriers will be nuclear-powered. They will be built in modules at two different shipyards and assembled at Sevmash.

Russia’s only existing aircraft carrier “Admiral Kuznetsov” is diesel-powered, while the two planned carriers will be nuclear-powered. (Photo: Thomas Nilsen)

- To build a new shipyard especially for construction of aircraft carriers would take a minimum of four years and take a very large part of the budget. To use already existing production forces is a lot more effective, a representative for the United Shipbuilding Corporation told Izvestia.

The first draft of the new aircraft carrier is planned to be presented in 2012, and the final project should be ready in 2017. If this schedule is met, the first carrier could be put on water in 2023.

By that time, the Russian navy must have put together an escort group for each of the aircraft carriers, consisting of missile cruisers, destroyers, multirole submarines, frigates, corvettes, assault landing ships and support vessels, including icebreakers for operations in Arctic zones. Each group will consist of about 15 vessels.

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Russia has already started construction of new frigates and corvettes, and projects for building of new destroyers and modernization of old missile cruisers have already been prepared.

New bases and training facilities
The aircraft carriers are going to need new bases. Lack of bases was one of the main reasons the Soviet Union’s carriers “Kiev”, “Minsk” and “Admiral Gorshkov” got worn-out quite fast – they were laying in open waters practically all the time, exhausting resources.

Russia’s only aircraft carrier “Admiral Kuznetsov” is administratively based in the Northern Fleet’s main base of Severomorsk, but is not able to dock there, and is therefore berthed in Murmansk, by Shipyard No. 35, most of the time.

In addition to continued training of aircraft pilots on Ukraine’s Nitka training range, the Defense Ministry plans to build a new training center for pilots in Yeysk in the Krasnodar territory.

Read also: New training center for Air Wing Kuznetsov