The US Navy in its modern shipbuilding program is guided by the experience of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, which shows that aircraft carriers have two significant advantages over real airfields - mobility and independence .
Carriers can be quickly transferred to the region in which the threat is growing. Unlike aviation coast-based, carrier-based aviation allows you to quickly build up military power in the region. Using aircraft carriers, it is possible to provide a demonstration of power in a short time, projecting it as much time as necessary. Neither the Air Force nor the army provide such an opportunity. Carriers allow operations without the need to obtain the right to use the territory and airspace of other states.
Regarding the issue of building aircraft carriers for the Navy, we are witnesses to a protracted and unobvious decision. There are two main, absolutely polar points of view: “Naval the fleet Russia does not need aircraft carriers at all ”and, on the contrary,“ without the inclusion of aircraft carrier groups in our Navy, it will be impossible to ensure reliable protection of Russian maritime borders during a future war ”. In the ongoing discussion, it is important that each side expresses views that contain attractive judgments, regardless of their position.
Pro et contra
The article  contains the following fragment: “... a fleet deprived of aircraft carriers is pressed to the coast line, since it can receive air cover only from coast-based aviation ... the removal of the line of defense of sea lines farther from the coast using its own aircraft carrier forces cheaper and more efficient than equivalent in capabilities to strengthen the coastal defense and coastal fleet. " It emphasizes the most important thing in deciding on the significance of aircraft carriers for Russia - the removal of the line of defense of sea lines further from the coast.
The superiority of the supporters of the aircraft carrier idea and a practical shift towards its realization has been noted on the basis of giving the perspective aircraft carrier, according to the classification of the US Navy, a heavy aircraft carrier. We are talking about an aircraft carrier, similar to the lead aircraft carrier of the new generation Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78), which should be part of the US Navy in 2015 year. He is, according to the advertising classification of the US Navy, a supercarrier, which has the most practically achievable characteristics of ships of this class. The cost of the ship is estimated at 12,3 billion dollars. Gerald Ford carriers will be able to provide up to 270 sorties per day (120 on Nimitz aircraft carriers).
“Military Review”  gives some information about a possible program to build a supercarrier: “There is a message that the Krylov State Research Center received an export-design passport for a project of a promising aircraft carrier with a displacement of about 100 thousand tons, capable of carrying about a hundred aircraft of various classes and types. The air group will have to include the deck modification of the T-50 fighter, Ka-32 helicopters, long-range radar aircraft, etc. At the expense of a number of know-how, it is claimed, the promising aircraft carrier will be able to provide aviation operations even in a storm. The construction of a new aircraft carrier could cost 10 – 12 billion dollars and will continue for at least 10 years. ”
It is important to note here that the full value of an aircraft carrier is determined by the large number of aircraft wings, the ability to receive DRLO airplanes and to ensure flight operations under storm conditions. All these qualities are achievable only for heavy aircraft carriers with a displacement of the order of 100 thousand tons.
In a further controversy, with reference to Sergey Ischenko’s article “Russia will overthrow the future aircraft carrier” , doubts are expressed in the realism of this project. The fact is that to ensure the take-off of DRLO airplanes, an aircraft carrier must have launching catapults. However, our Navy does not have and has never had such equipment. In addition, for the construction of such a ship need a dock of appropriate size, which is now missing.
Nevertheless, approximate terms of performance of works are already defined and announced. Around 2030 a year or later, the combat strength of the Russian Navy could be replenished with a new aircraft carrier. Opponents of an aircraft carrier idea see an alternative to carrying out the line of defense of the sea frontiers farther from the coast in the use of other forces. Thus, Alexander Khramchikhin, deputy director of the Institute for Political and Military Analysis, is of the following opinion: “... moving the air defense, anti-tank and anti-aircraft defense milestone a few hundred miles from its shores ... much cheaper and more efficiently can be solved by developing and improving the air force, air defense, coastal SCRC and underwater fleet". It is emphasized that aircraft carriers with such a variant of their use will be "disposable products" .
In this controversy and in supporting a positive point of view, the most important is the opinion of the decision-maker, the Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy, Admiral Viktor Chirkov: “We need an aircraft carrier not from yesterday and today, but a really promising ship, surpassing all existing ships of this class. This is our strict requirement for the industry, and we will not give up on it ”.
At the moment
In this regard, it should be noted that at present, the US Nimitz-type heavy aircraft carriers are modernizing Forrestal-type aircraft carriers (CV-59) developed in the second half of the last century. And even the creation of a new series of heavy aircraft carriers such as Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) will not make fundamental qualitative changes in the previously developed concept. Thus, the development of aircraft carriers is currently on an extensive path, which is expressed mainly in the growth of displacement, has reached its possible limit.
In Russia, attempts to create aircraft carriers are reduced, as follows from the above review, to copying solutions developed by the United States. It is known that attempts to overtake the leading side by symmetrically copying other people's decisions put the overtaking in a deliberately disadvantageous position. In this regard, a fundamentally new, asymmetrical approach should be sought to avoid this. Could it be possible, in accordance with the main task of the aircraft carriers in “pushing the line of air defense, air defense and anti-aircraft guns and anti-aircraft services for a few hundred miles from their shores,” to solve the problems of building heavy aircraft carriers in a different, unconventional way?
As a result, there are:
1) political will to implement the carrier idea;
2) the lack of alternativeness of the idea of the need to "move the line of air defense, PLO and PDO a few hundred miles from its shores";
3) the difficulty of building heavy aircraft carriers, including for reasons of the lack of a dock of appropriate size and launching catapults for aircraft carrier equipment;
4) the idea of solving the problem of building heavy aircraft carriers in a different, unconventional way.
New idea: foreign version
Meanwhile, there are ideas that, when implemented, have the property of a qualitative leap. The article "Battle Island"  expressed the following considerations. “Experience in the construction of super-large vessels and deep-sea drilling platforms convinced designers of offshore facilities that it is possible to build a floating offshore base by connecting individual self-propelled modules ... Joint Mobile Offshore Base JMOB will be a complex of modular self-propelled platforms, each approximately the size of 300 on 150 m, about 35 m in height ”(Fig. 1).
Fig. 1. How JMOB is arranged
“Platforms could cross the ocean at speeds of 15 nodes (28 km / h). For a month, the entire structure can be assembled anywhere in the world. Each of the platforms (module) will apparently be a semi-submarine vessel. When traveling to their destination, they will sail. But having reached the place, they will accept ballast to provide greater resistance to excitement. Five modules, lined up in a row, will allow any modern aircraft (in particular, C-17) to take off and land even during the 6 category storm - wind at 25 nodes (46 km / h) and waves with a height of 5 m. Inside the structure will carry payload The 5 modular platform can accommodate 3,5 thousand vehicles, 5 thousand cargo containers and 150 aircraft. Each structural element must be designed for 40 years. ”
The core of this idea was the monograph . It provides the rationale for the above JMOB characteristics. The summary states that the JMOB is the largest floating structure ever built, a revolutionary improvement in the current sea-based forces and assets, the elimination of most of the identified deficiencies.
The JMOB architecture is based on technologies for creating offshore offshore structures - mobile oil platforms. "This will be the island of the sovereign territory of the United States within each region that can maneuver in a winning position in international waters, ensuring containment and strengthening stability, a tool for all elements of national power."
These publications indicate the emergence of a new innovative idea, the singularity of which consists in the unconventionally large weight and size characteristics of a floating offshore base - a sea mobile airfield.
The significance of the new idea for Russia
At first, revolutionary positions are always unaccustomed, illogical, and even absurd from the point of view of common sense and established views. Let's solve these issues at the level of principles, ideas and ideas of the broadest plan ... The naval forces of the USA, Great Britain and France, the countries of undoubtedly maritime civilizations that have a coast facing the oceans, aircraft carriers are needed to project their power on transport communications and regions of their economic and military political interests.
Not for Russia. Yes, we are also focused in our interests on the World Ocean - the main arena of creating the infrastructure and the world economy of the future. But that’s the end of it. Let us ask ourselves a simple and obvious question: what is the character of the seas, the water areas washing the shores of Russia in which the Navy operates, and what are the connections of these areas with the oceans? The answer is obvious: the Black, Baltic, Okhotsk and Caspian seas are purely inland. Their sizes generally fit in circles of a radius of 500 km (Fig. 2).
Fig. 2. Sizes of the internal seas of Russia
Consequently, for the aviation support of air defense, anti-tank defense and anti-pillar air defense, etc. The water area and the forces of the fleet in the internal seas are necessary and sufficient coast, which is potentially a huge and comprehensive aircraft carrier with a runway deck, stretching for thousands of kilometers.
In addition, the Baltic and Caspian seas are excluded because of the difficulty or impossibility of passage from outside. On the Black Sea, due to favorable geopolitical changes, Russia acquired the Crimean peninsula, which is better than any superavian carrier. It is of interest primarily to push the line of defense in the northern (Barents and Norwegian Seas) and eastern directions (Bering Sea).
For aviation support of air defense, PLO and PDO, etc. water areas and fleet forces in the adjacent seas, such as the Barents, Norwegian and Bering, preferably a combination of the coast in the above-mentioned quality and advanced mobile airfield complexes, ensuring the removal of the line of defense of the sea lines farther from the coast. Being deployed, for example, in the geometric centers of the adjacent seas that have access to oceanic theaters, sea-based mobile aerodrome complexes will provide a solution to the task of “pushing the line of air defense, PLO and PDO a few hundred miles from their shores.”
Sea mobile airfield complexes will be:
- a deck providing the basing of any aviation, electronic and rocket technology for any purpose and reach;
- a deck providing an air presence on a permanent basis, without carrier maneuver.
Provided logistic support and service on a rotational basis, they will be able to continuously perform the functions of the advanced line of air defense, PLO and PDO literally for decades.
The economic evaluation of the cost of creating a platform shows that when using a cheaper and more technologically advanced structural material - reinforced concrete, its cost, despite a considerable displacement, is comparable with the cost of creating a classical atomic aircraft carrier. This is also achieved by eliminating the need to build huge shipbuilding docks, equipped with expensive heavy-duty crane equipment.
In addition, the platform does not require the creation of specialized devices to ensure take-off and landing of aircraft, in particular, launching catapults. This ensures the basing and use of existing and future "land" aircraft.
The simplicity, evidence of the prospects and availability of the implementation of the concept of the maritime mobile aerodrome complex allow us to hope that it will not be ignored. In the future, in order to ensure the economic and political interests of the Russian Federation, it is possible to assess the feasibility of projecting power into remote ocean areas. The possibility of increasing the size of mobile airfield complexes allows us to consider them as a prototype of the forward points and home areas.
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