Russian experts on new aircraft carrier project
Russian experts have suggested that it is time to create their own aircraft carrier, a new carrier project will become a strong driving force for national economic development.
Naval News, an international portal specializing in naval military technology, introduces Western readers to Russia’s new project, Vallana. The plan by Russia’s Nevsky Design Bureau is to create something similar to an “aircraft carrier” that could be modularized to “assemble” various types of large warships – such as aircraft carriers, large amphibious transport ships, floating hospitals at sea, and even special ships in the Arctic.
By Western standards, the Vallana has a small displacement of 45,000 tons, suggesting that Russia will not be building special shipyards but will be able to do so with existing capacity. The Navy News went out of its way to point this out. Western experts believe the Nevsky Bureau hopes the universal design will help build a range of warships and reduce costs and construction time.
The next interesting question is whether modern Russia can fully build aircraft carriers in a normal time frame.
The level of shipbuilding in the Russian navy has declined sharply since the collapse of the Soviet Union, because the main factories for aircraft carriers are in Ukraine, including the engines for heavy carriers. Russia’s shipbuilding industry not to say compared with today’s world class level, is compared with Japan and South Korea, are inferior.
Even the launch of the third submarine of the “Borekwind” class nuclear submarine project “Vladimir Monomach”, the Korean Hyundai Heavy Industry Factory laughed that this submarine is nothing but the stern and bow welded together, the western level of Russian shipbuilding directly called the “screw + wrenches”.
In the Russian media, there was an early vogue for the idea that a huge Russia did not need aircraft carriers. The Air Force can excel, the Navy can lag. At the same time, the United States firmly believes in “maritime hegemony” and vigorously develops aircraft carrier construction.
Expert Christian Rodriguez points out that for the Russians, aircraft carriers are not a matter of power projection, but of national survival. Near Syria, for example, Russia is keen to use aircraft carriers, but the Russian navy has long lacked them and has been in desperate need of the anti-aircraft and anti-submarine escort of battleships.
In short, according to foreign experts’ estimates, Russian submarines cannot completely make up for the lack of aircraft carrier groups.
The RAND Corporation, also known as the White House think tank, reported the most positive impact aircraft carrier construction has had on the U.S. economy and technology. Other Western military research institutes agree with this conclusion. The RAND study noted that “the aircraft carrier represents the relevance of the nation that owns it, the backbone of the power projection capability and the nation’s naval diplomacy, and the technological superiority over the aircraft carrier.”
As for the huge amount of money to build aircraft carriers, the US also has a headache. The cost of USS Ford is over $10 billion and the BUG has not been fixed yet.
The impact of aircraft carriers on national economies
The Financial Times, one of London’s largest newspapers, cites figures showing that “aircraft carriers are boosting national business.” The FT’s Peter Marsh writes: “Although some critics have questioned the £5.2bn Queen Elizabethan class project at a time of fiscal austerity, British industry is already reaping the commercial dividends from the carrier. A total of 700 companies are taking part, 90% of them from the UK, and 10,000 workers, a quarter of whom are engineers.”
Pipex co-CEO Bill Murphy, who worked on the Queen Elizabeth project, says his company has become more innovative because of the challenges it has faced. Now they have won the competition in the civilian market for Marine engineering and hydraulic equipment, displacing their American and German counterparts.
The Rochdale – based desalination company has huge spin-offs. Its experts have developed a new reverse osmosis system that can obtain the highest quality drinking water from seawater. Now, the company’s desalination equipment is selling like hot water.
“Another beneficiary is General Electric’s British unit, Corford Mechanical and Electronics, which employs 1,000 people,” the FT said. The company has gained technical expertise in the design and manufacture of high-speed Marine generators and engines through participation in the aircraft carrier project, and the company has made hundreds of millions of pounds in a new field.
John Parker, chairman of Anglo American, said the large-scale carrier programme as a whole had helped “revitalise the UK economy”. In addition, they are now applying this experience to private shipbuilding.
Therefore, Russian expert Alexander Sitnikov believes that the same reason, if the “Varana” aircraft carrier project started and continued, may become a strong driving force for the development of the entire Russian shipbuilding industry. However, for the aircraft carrier program, Russia must solve the funding problem in the carrier project with a longer cycle. This is by no means a one-off investment. It needs to be sustained over a long period of time.
Russia’s only aircraft carrier, Admiral Kuznetsov, has an accident during the overhaul, and has been in service for more than 30 years, so it will be decommissioned sooner or later. Therefore, Russia urgently needs a new aircraft carrier to establish its great power status.