Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia has poured constant efforts to reconstitute its shipbuilding industry, most notably aircraft carriers and amphibious assault ships. Moscow will have the ability to domestically build them by 2019.
The National Interest reported that Russian shipbuilding companies will be ready by 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.”
With the ageing Admiral Kuznetsov—Russia’s sole aircraft carrier—and the failed Mistral deal, Russia is desperately in need of a new carrier. Last July, Russia unveiled its new supercarrier 23000E ‘Storm’ Project, capable of carrying as many as 90 aircraft.
23000E ‘Storm’ Project supercarrier
The ‘Storm’ will carry Sukhoi PAK FA—Russia’s first 5th generation fighter aircraft—and Mikoyan MiG-29K fighter aircraft. An unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) called the Mikoyan Skat will also be on board the new supercarrier. It will also carry Kamov Ka-27 anti-submarine warfare helicopters.
With a displacement of 90,000 – 100,000 tons, the supercarrier will reach speed up to 30 kn, has an angled deck and four launching positions.
Development of the 23000E ‘Storm’ Project will likely take ten years and the supercarrier is being considered for the Russian Navy’s Northern Fleet. Its cost is estimated between $1.8 billion and $5.63 billion as of August 2015.
Russian-made Amphibious and Landing Ships to Replace Mistral Project
Last June during the “Army-2015” military show, the Russian Defense Ministry announced that Russia would build its own alternative to the Mistral-class LHD.
One of them of the Ivan Gren-class landing ship. Smaller than the Mistral, displacing only 5,000 tons of water, the landing ship can support 300 Russian marines, 40 armored personnel carrier or 13 tanks and carry a Kamov K-29 helicopter on the deck.
The landing ship will be armed with a 76-mm naval gun, two 30-00 AK-630 antiaircraft mounts and multiple artillery rocket systems. The 76-mm naval gun will enable the ship to support its landing elements while its antiaircraft mounts will protect them against incoming aircraft. As for the artillery rocket systems, their use will likely be associated to destroying possible beach defense and barricade. It has a 4,000 miles cruising range, making the ship fit for ‘blue-water operations.’
The first Ivan Gren-class landing ship, the ‘Ivan Gren’, should be delivered to the Russian Navy by the end of 2016 after passing all sea trials. The second one, the ‘Petr Morgunov’ is expected to launch its first trial in 2016 and should be commissioned in 2017.
The real alternative to the Mistral is the Priboy-class amphibious assault ship.
The Chief Commander of the Russian Navy told journalists: “This is our answer to the Mistral. This ship is still in the form of a mock-up, but the specifications being put into it allow us to calculate that the Project ‘Priboy’ ships will successfully meet the challenges related to loading, transporting, and landing naval troops.”
Displacing 14,000 tons of water with a top speed of approximately 20 knots, the ‘Priboy’ will have the ability to deploy up to 60 armored vehicles over a distance of 6,000 miles—almost the same distance than between Moscow and Los Angeles—and has a sea endurance of 60 days.
The Russian Navy will likely acquired 4 Priboy-class LHD and all its systems will be built by Russian companies.