The 7 April edition published the first part of a major article, “Russia's SHTORM Concept Design a Worthwhile Investment? How Moscow Would Deploy its Supercarrier ”(“ Russian project “Storm”: a profitable investment? How Moscow will build its supercarrier ”). It looked at past and present events. 4 May appeared the second part of the publication, the theme of which were the expected events of the foreseeable future and the prospects for a new Russian project.
At the beginning of the first publication, Military Watch recalls the recent the news... Earlier, the Russian military indicated the possibility of building a new aircraft carrier according to a project from the Krylov State Research Center. As a result of the implementation of such plans, Russia will become the only country in the world, apart from the United States, capable of building and operating such large ships. The proposed project is said to be similar to a modernized version of the Ulyanovsk aircraft carrier, which was under construction in the late XNUMXs.
The publication recalls that in connection with the collapse of the USSR, the construction of Ulyanovsk was stopped, and the finished structures were later cut into metal. An unfinished ship could become the first aircraft carrier in the Soviet Union / Russia capable of operating in the ocean zone. In addition, it was just the second Soviet aircraft carrier project, on board of which aircraft could be based without vertical take-off and landing. The first project of this kind led to the appearance of the Admiral fleet Soviet Union Kuznetsov. "
Currently, the Russian Navy has only one aircraft carrier. "Admiral Kuznetsov" has a displacement of less than 55 thousand tons and, according to Military Watch, is poorly suited for combat work in the oceans. In terms of its combat capabilities, it is noticeably inferior to the American ships of the Nimitz and Gerald R. Ford projects. American aircraft carriers carry almost twice as many planes and are capable of launching them about once a minute, while the Kuznetsov can provide one take-off in four minutes.
Another advantage of the American ships lies in the presence of steam and electromagnetic catapults, which increases the allowable take-off mass of decked aircraft. Due to this, fighter-bombers can carry more fuel and weaponsand, in addition, the work of early warning radar E-2 Hawkeye is provided. Russian deck aviation has no analogues of the latter.
The only advantage of "Admiral Kuznetsov" over American aircraft carriers edition considers excellent anti-aircraft and anti-ship weapons. Due to this, the aircraft carrier is less dependent on the accompanying ships. In addition, there may be advantages in the characteristics and capabilities of deck aircraft. However, as noted by Military Watch, this is a merit of the aviation industry, but not of shipbuilding or the aircraft carrier itself.
The Russian aircraft carrier worked not so long ago off the coast of Syria, but at the same time lost two of its planes as a result of accidents. American ships of the type "Nimitz", in turn, proved to be more effective in the matter of projection of force in similar operations. However, the new Russian concept project "Storm" provides for obtaining similar opportunities. It combines the characteristics of older ships project Nimitz and the newest Gerald R. Ford. The Russian aircraft carrier of the future will receive electromagnetic catapults, allowing to improve the basic characteristics of the aircraft. A 330 deck on the 40 m and the ability to carry 80-90 planes will result in significant combat potential.
The publication reminds that the USSR did not build a powerful carrier fleet. In addition, due to the peculiarities of the military doctrine, he rather late began the construction of a developed ocean group. The Soviet fleet focused on missile technology and submarines, and it made sense from an economic point of view. One aircraft carrier cost as much as thousands of cruise missiles — and even a hundred of such items could guaranteed to sink an enemy aircraft carrier at long range. Progress in the field of anti-ship armaments has led to the fact that only one modern missile is capable of destroying the supercarrier with a displacement of 100 thousand tons. The aircraft carriers are still vulnerable to missiles. Unlike them, submarines, being a convenient means of projecting force, are more tenacious.
Carriers are unlikely to be the main weapon in a major war, but the United States doctrine is not without advantages. Ships with aircraft on board symbolize the military power of the country, and in addition, they are a convenient means of dealing with opponents with limited capabilities. Near the shores of Russia, China or North Korea - within the reach of coastal missile systems - aircraft carriers are really exposed to serious risks. However, they showed themselves well in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Panama, Vietnam, Yugoslavia and in the fight against Middle Eastern terrorists. Finally, aircraft carriers are a convenient means of controlling ocean trade routes away from the enemy’s shores.
Military Watch believes that countries with great military power should always be ready to clash with each other. At the same time, they should not forget about the possibility of entry into minor conflicts. The last major war involving powerful powers was in 1953, and local conflicts occur regularly. As a result, opportunities in the context of small wars may be of strategic importance. Russian submarines are the best way to fight the US Navy and Army, while supercarriers are more convenient to fight terrorists, for example, in the Middle East, as well as to project force in any part of the World Ocean.
A Russian supercarrier can make friendly visits to the ports of Southeast Asia or visit Latin American countries that have strained relations with the United States. Concluding the first part of his article, Military Watch notes that the political consequences of such actions and their influence on the country's prestige should not be underestimated.
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The second part of the article “Russia's SHTORM Concept Design a Worth while Investment? How Moscow Would Deploy its Supercarrier ”, published a few days ago, is dedicated directly to the promising Storm project and related issues in the context of its future service.
At the beginning of the second part, it is noted that the Storm-type aircraft carrier can really be very useful, since it will give Russia a number of new opportunities. However, its construction may be associated with some problems that cast doubt on the whole program. First of all, doubts of foreign authors are connected with the cost of works. The aircraft carrier is expensive in and of itself, and a large aviation group additionally increases the cost of construction and operation.
As far as we know, in the future, Russia does not plan to abandon fighter aircraft to achieve superiority in the air, which is a response to the composition of air groups of foreign ships. At the same time, the new Storm will not have to use Su-33 fighters, which form the basis of the Admiral Kuznetsov aviation. Instead, the ship will receive newer MiG-29K multi-role fighters already in service. In addition, the appearance of the deck modification of the fifth-generation Su-57 fighter is possible.
A promising aircraft will cost about 100 million US dollars, not including development costs. However, thanks to him, "Storm" will be the only aircraft carrier in the world that ensures the work of the fighter to conquer the superiority of the fifth generation. As a result, the ship will receive significant advantages over any potential opponents. Military Watch recalls that the Pentagon planned to create a deck modification of its F-22 fighter, but then abandoned such a project. Thus, the United States will not have an analogue of the Russian deck Su-57.
If Russia really starts to build a new aircraft carrier, then the question of its service will become relevant. He probably will not be able to join the Black Sea Fleet. The Russian Ministry of Defense has repeatedly pointed out that this fleet is able to destroy any enemy forces in the region. In the Black Sea region, enemy ships are in the zone of action of coastal percussion systems, and therefore there are almost no tasks left for an aircraft carrier. In addition, the deployment of an aircraft carrier in the Black Sea is hampered by current international agreements.
Chinese carrier-based fighter J-15
At the same time, the aircraft carrier may be useful to any of the three other Russian fleets. In their areas, the balance of power looks different, and the aircraft carrier is unlikely to remain without work. Also, the ship can carry the service at a distance from its base in certain regions.
To combat terrorists in Syria, as well as to reduce the potential of NATO in the region, the Russian fleet deployed ships in the Mediterranean. However, the "Admiral Kuznetsov" was poorly adapted to work at such a distance from the base. Prospective "Storm", in turn, will be able to show its advantages, as well as change the balance of power in the region. As a result, Russia will show its strength, and the critical ally in Damascus will receive the necessary support. Russia is strengthening ties with the countries of the Persian Gulf, and in the future, this region will also be able to become the target of another aircraft carrier march. In this case, the ship will also be a symbol of support for friendly countries.
Military Watch recalls that, according to open data, the project "Storm" provides for the operation of the ship at extreme temperatures, including in the Arctic. Now the Russian armed forces are building up their grouping in the Arctic and at the same time actually competing with the American and Canadian military. This reinforcement of army groupings is associated with the desire of several countries to obtain uniquely large natural resources of the region. The emergence in the Arctic of a new supercarrier with fifth-generation deck fighters will seriously change the balance of power. At the same time, American aircraft carriers are unlikely to be able to operate normally in northern latitudes.
Deck version of the F-22 fighter - a project that was never implemented
If the aircraft carrier Storm can really influence the situation in the Arctic and gain supremacy in the region’s airspace, then at the same time it will help Russia take control of the most important resources. As a result, the carrier program will fully justify the costs of its implementation.
The third place for the possible deployment of "Storm" edition of the Military Watch considers the Asia-Pacific region. In recent years, almost all new aircraft carriers of the world are sent to combat service there. China is now building its own carrier fleet and sends ships to the seas near its coast, solving defense tasks. At the same time, the United States, France and Japan are deploying their ships closer to China to demonstrate their strength and interest in the region.
In July, 2017, the UK promised to join such work. Its Secretary of Defense, Michael Fallon, said that immediately after the completion of construction and testing, two British aircraft carriers would fly to the Asia-Pacific region. Apparently, this promise will be fulfilled in the near future.
Russia has its own interests in this region, and therefore is increasing its presence. Russian ships regularly come to the seas of the region, including to participate in joint exercises of the Russian and Chinese Navy. Appearing near Southeast Asia, a promising Russian supercarrier could shift the balance of power and reduce the influence of NATO or Japan.
The military budget of Russia is gradually reduced, and the load on it is growing. At the same time, as noted by Military Watch, a promising aircraft carrier of the Storm project can change the situation in any of the three regions of strategic importance. The combat and military-political consequences of his service may lead to the fact that the Russian project will interest foreign customers, and this will lead to the construction of ships for export. So, India can be considered a potential client of Russian shipbuilders. She has already acquired one aircraft carrier from Russia and is interested in increasing the number of such ships. In addition, the purchase of "Storm" may be beneficial to China, which is interested in copying technology or design solutions in order to develop its own shipbuilding program.
Also, the Chinese military may show interest in the deck modification of the Su-57 fighter. The adoption of such an aircraft will be a major breakthrough in comparison with the existing fleet vehicles such as J-15. However, for the time being it cannot be excluded that the Chinese industry is developing its own fifth-generation fighter. If “Storm” with deck Su-57 appears in the Pacific Ocean, then the results of such combat service can affect further decisions of China, and the contract for the supply of equipment will allow Russia to at least partially cover the costs of its development.
The second part of the voluminous article from the Military Watch ends with very optimistic conclusions. The authors believe that the largest costs of building a new Storm-type supercarrier will have to result in comparable strategic benefits. First of all, such trends will manifest themselves when a ship is deployed in the Arctic. The export potential of the project will also benefit. As a result, the benefits - both financial and military-political will more than cover all the costs of development, construction and operation. Thus, the construction program for the Storm aircraft carrier has a high potential and a great future.
Article “Russia's SHTORM Concept Design a Worth while Investment? How Moscow Would Deploy its Supercarrier »:
Part of 1: http://militarywatchmagazine.com/read.php?my_data=70145
Part of 2: http://militarywatchmagazine.com/read.php?my_data=70146