GarryB wrote:There was a second Kuznetsov class vessel, but the third flat top carrier, the Ulyanovsk was going to have catapults installed... they were going to be steam cats AFAIK, so it would make sense to have a steam cat system at Nitka training facility but I don't believe they actually built a steam cat there... the Ulyanovsk was not fitted with a cat system and was never finished by the Soviets (it and the other Kuznetsov class was sold to the Chinese).
It would be a waste of time developing a steam cat system now, and time and money and effort put in to developing an EMALS system would be much more useful for them.
With clever design they could use EMALS cats on any nuclear powered vessel to launch things that would otherwise be too big or too underpowered to take off from such a platform... like UAVs...
On a CVN steam cats make more sense as they can re-use the steam and is much cheaper than EMALs to develop. The US is spending billions on it, we could reverse engineer a steam catapult for a million.
Vlad, I see your point.
And it would make sense anyway to reverse engineer a steam catapult and build a launching system based on it either in Saki or in Yevsk, especially to learn more about its operations and compare it with the to be developed EMALS (having maybe instead in the other site a prototype for the EMALS launcher.
Apparently there was already a steam catapult prototype in NITKA anyway, built to test the system that should have been installed in the Ulyanovsk.
It would help a lot if the two systems could be tested in parallel (and Russia could do it without a carrier, in the
two ground based training facilities).
I would not build, however, an aircraft carrier with steam catapult now, unless the development of the emals system was not possible or if there were too many problems.
They could first build another couple of STOBAR carrierslike an improved Kuznetov, maybe with provisions and space for possible retrofit with the EMALS launcher when the technology is mature.
Nevertheless, the technologies needed for such EMALs systems could be probably be of use in many other applications. And thry could fit also uav EMALS launchers in new cruisers/destroyers.
Btw last year (July 2018)
Alexei Rakhmanov, President of Russia’s United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC) said that they are developing new launch systems for warplanes based on aircraft carriers.
And previously Sergei Vlasov, CEO of the St. Petersburg-based Nevskoye Design Bureau, told TASS that Russia had started work to create an electromagnetic aircraft launch system (an electromagnetic catapult) for aircraft carriers.