Russian Navy to be decked out with flattops

The Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier (RIA Novosti / Alexey Danichev)
The Russian Navy has reportedly agreed to build a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to expand the country’s influence in the world’s oceans. The decision though is yet to be approved by the president.

Currently, Russia has only aircraft cruiser, Admiral Kuznetsov, which was launched back in 1985.

For years it was debated as to whether the country needs more flattops or if having atomic subs and cruisers would be enough to face modern challenges.

Finally, Russian admirals selected the so-called American model of the fleet: ship groups with an aircraft carrier in the center, writes Izvestia daily. The marine officers believe that such grouping is a lot more efficient and would also help to expand the Russian fleet’s area of influence in the Pacific Ocean and the North Atlantic.

“An appearance of a large aircraft carrier group in a [conflict zone]…would distract a potential enemy’s attention from the Russian territory. In addition, any aircraft carrier would help to expand the Russian fighter jets’ range,” a representative of the Russian Navy Main Headquarters told the paper.

Currently the navy is finalizing the technical requirements for the new vessel. It has already been decided that the ship should be nuclear-powered since a diesel engine would require a cast amount of fuel. The blueprint of Russia’s next-generation aircraft carrier is expected to be ready by 2017. It is planned that a first flattop will be launched in 2023.

By that time the navy should complete forming carrier battle groups, which will be comprised of about 15 vessels each, including cruisers, destroyers, multi-purpose subs, frigates, corvettes, landing craft and other ships such as icebreakers for the Arctic zone.

It is expected that by 2027 Russia will have two carrier battle groups – in the Pacific and Northern fleets.