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    Future Russian Aircraft Carriers and Deck Aviation. #2

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    mnztr


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    Post  mnztr Sun Nov 14, 2021 7:56 pm

    lancelot wrote:
    mnztr wrote:Not the best place to put your largest drydock It really should have been built in a place that has much better weather then Murmansk. As it stands they have to wait months for suitable weather to put the Kuz into drydock even after the dock is completed. There are some defensive reasons to put a dock up there, but really the largest docks should be in the Black Sea for the best year round climate and proximity to supply chain. Perhaps that is the longer term vision but the Crimean shipyards still need to be developed further.

    Murmansk is closest to the naval yards where the mechanics and machinists with the experience in building nuclear vessels are.
    I think the best other alternative would be St. Petersburg where they build the icebreakers but there are limitations of space and land cost.



    Maybe once they complete the generational icebreaker fleet build they will move on to nuclear powered warships. The icebreaker build is going quite impressively so far with some minor, but expected, hiccups. Cannot wait to see the Leider ice breaker in the flesh. Seeing its almost 70Kt the propulsion could be modified for a CGN. The Arktika class would be suitable for nuclear powered cruisers.

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    Post  GarryB Mon Nov 15, 2021 7:44 am

    There are some defensive reasons to put a dock up there, but really the largest docks should be in the Black Sea for the best year round climate and proximity to supply chain. Perhaps that is the longer term vision but the Crimean shipyards still need to be developed further.

    The black sea would be the dumbest place to have large docks... the northern fleet and pacific fleet are the places their largest ships will be based so it makes the most sense to have the support facilities there.

    Putting your aircraft carriers in a bottle neck the length of the Med sea would be the dumbest thing they could do.

    Makes rather more sense to have repair facilities at the bases where these ships will be operating including along the North Sea Route... it wont just be CVNs and Cruisers they will have to be dealing with... civilian ships need dry docks too...

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    Post  Broski Mon Nov 15, 2021 3:40 pm

    GarryB wrote:Makes rather more sense to have repair facilities at the bases where these ships will be operating including along the North Sea Route... it wont just be CVNs and Cruisers they will have to be dealing with... civilian ships need dry docks too...
    And worst comes to the worst, they could always use their icebreaker fleet to clear the way to the dock if needed.

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    Post  GarryB Tue Nov 16, 2021 3:59 am

    Russia is an arctic country so massive indoor facilities to allow all year round ship building or for that matter food production makes sense.

    The facilities in the far east that are dual military and civilian are going to have to cope not just with building lots of new huge civilian tankers and oilers and cargo ships, as well as bigger and bigger military ships too... they are also going to have to deal with the ongoing maintenance of both fleets to keep them running properly and to get regular upgrades and improvements too... that is going to take infrastructure which will include a few floating docks as well.
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    Post  mnztr Tue Nov 16, 2021 4:47 am

    GarryB wrote:
    There are some defensive reasons to put a dock up there, but really the largest docks should be in the Black Sea for the best year round climate and proximity to supply chain. Perhaps that is the longer term vision but the Crimean shipyards still need to be developed further.

    The black sea would be the dumbest place to have large docks... the northern fleet and pacific fleet are the places their largest ships will be based so it makes the most sense to have the support facilities there.

    Putting your aircraft carriers in a bottle neck the length of the Med sea would be the dumbest thing they could do.

    Makes rather more sense to have repair facilities at the bases where these ships will be operating including along the North Sea Route... it wont just be CVNs and Cruisers they will have to be dealing with... civilian ships need dry docks too...

    Its more efficient to build centers of excellence, instead of sprinkling your docks and supply chain all over the place. Also, good weather facilitates ship building. Bad weather is probably one reason Russian builds take so long. I cannot imagine much work gets done topside on Kuznetsov in the winter. Dangerous and brutal conditions. Most naval bases have some repair facilities but not full drydocks.
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    Post  mnztr Tue Nov 16, 2021 4:48 am

    GarryB wrote:Russia is an arctic country so massive indoor facilities to allow all year round ship building or for that matter food production makes sense.

    The facilities in the far east that are dual military and civilian are going to have to cope not just with building lots of new huge civilian tankers and oilers and cargo ships, as well as bigger and bigger military ships too... they are also going to have to deal with the ongoing maintenance of both fleets to keep them running properly and to get regular upgrades and improvements too... that is going to take infrastructure which will include a few floating docks as well.

    I have seen the sheds for the subs, but most of the drydocks are still open air as far as I have seen. And they certainly do not have closed facilities for ships like Kuz and Nakhimov. The smaller ones no prob.
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    Post  Firebird Wed Nov 17, 2021 10:56 am

    GarryB wrote:There are not too many models or designs coming from Russia with two islands, though I am sure they will be looking at British experience and taking that into account with their new designs, so while I wont delete the post, I have not much more to say about it that I have not already said.

    1)I'm not saying big a/carriers are a bad thing.
    I can see how Russia can have a big use for them, necessity.

    They have no urgent use for them now...

    For now their focus is building up their civilian and naval fleets, which as they expand will venture further and further from Russian controlled territory... it is when they are beyond land based Russian air defence that the need for an aircraft carrier, but also just as critically, an air defence cruiser or two become relevant and important.

    But that is going to take time and money... on 50 50 calls on international laws the US and UK and HATO are not going to do Russia any favours at all... they already sail through Russian waters illegally in the Black Sea and in the Pacific and I am expecting them to want to do the same with the north sea route which they will want to claim is for everyone and anyone... despite passing though Russian waters.

    The shit fuckery might be less common, but then it might get worse, and if Russian surface ships find themselves in trouble having large powerful cruisers and large aircraft carriers means those ships are much more likely to survive any incident and any losses at all should be small and the country or countries that inflicted such damage would pay vastly more with a carrier group than any other assembly of Russian ships or subs... aircraft provide awareness and long arms against a variety of targets but with the IADS to defend those planes which makes the entire force a very tough nut to crack when they work together which they will.

    But what puzzles me is that its happily going by with virtually none.
    OK perhaps it wants the full rnge of support ships modernised first.
    Perhaps it wanted its nuclear and non nuclear missile arsenal sorted first.

    On the surface you might think they don't need a carrier... they are not using one now after all... but if they don't need a carrier then what is the point of buying brand new MiG-29KR fighters.... what is the point of the current upgrade and overhaul of the ship... what is the point of keeping two training centres going for training carrier aircraft pilots.... what is the point of a helicopter carrier if more powerful and more potent air defence carriers are too vulnerable and too expensive...

    You can argue that an 80K ton fixed wing carrier is tying up an enormous amount of money that could be spent on smaller ships... in chess terms that is saying you can have 16 pieces with 8 pawns and 8 more useful pieces but I just want pawns.

    Modern corvettes and frigates are powerful and capable but enemy airforces have moved on too.... you can load impressive missiles and weapons in a corvette and a frigate... but the core of the problem is that they can't carry that many weapons... they are essentially able to defend themselves.... working in groups that defence can actually be rather good, but they are not much use for defending other ships.... you might use 2-4 missiles against a Corvette but you will likely be using 40-50 missiles against a helicopter carrier... because it is worth it...
    Destroyers can protect themselves and other ships, but you want cruiser sized vessels for combat persistence and real long range missile capability.

    2)America has what 13 carriers and many more heli carriers/amphibious ships.
    Its fine when someone else is funding your navy... unless they ask for their money back!
    Russia currently has to fund its own navy.

    Very true but American uses those carriers to keep the international sea lanes of communication and trade open for itself to use and to bully others to get its own way in many situations... cuba, north korea, venezuela, Iran, etc etc have all felt naval blockades and naval enforced sanctions imposed on them.

    A decent carrier should last for 40 plus years and over that period it wont be cheap... even a Russian one, but that money is spent on Russian shipyards and Russian companies and Russian workers and the result will make the other ships and the countries that dare to cooperate with Russia much safer.

    If Russia has a navy of corvettes and frigates why on earth would any country choose to trade with them over the US... if you were the leader of Venezuela it would be much easier for you to fold and do as the US tells you than try to make things better for Venezuelans and develop the economy.

    America wants a world full of countries who sell them cheap raw materials which they can process and sell back to countries that don't make anything themselves.

    The US wanted Russia to shrivel up and die and just import cheap food from the EU so the EU makes money... earns their oil and gas money back, and the US will want titanium and other materials as well and Russia can buy it all from the west using the money the west spent buying Russian gas and oil...

    Great for the US but not so great for the other countries as with both Russia and Venezuela when the price of oil dropped then they are a country that doesn't make anything and the oil money they used to buy everything does not buy much any more.

    Obviously Venezuela was hit much harder than Russia... even at 40 dollars a barrel Russia was still making money... but tehy were also using that oil and gas money to build up their economy. They used western trade sanctions to block food from the EU... a stroke of genius... and a serious kick in the nuts... but it has paid off because now Russia is a food exporter which they should have been all along... against the advice of the Clintons in the 1990s...

    Well now Russia makes most of its own stuff and is getting to the point where the engines it didn't have are now getting ready for serial production, which means ship and aircraft and vehicle production can improve and they can go into markets with sanction proof stuff because the engines or thermals are no longer French, or the avionics of the aircraft are not American...

    As they grow their international trade they need to bypass the EU as the middle man that takes their cut for doing nothing except being in the middle of the transaction, or the US previously taking a cut because previously the purchase was made in US dollars... but now things are changing... and for the better.

    Russia is going to expand to be a global commercial power... not like China, but something like that... on a smaller scale... which is plenty to improve living standards and quality of life in Russia.

    So if America isn't doing 2000 ft carriers.. why would Russia?
    Given that Russia is a master of asymetrical ie non arms race tactics.

    The US uses its navy to control and dominate and police the world... Russia does not need anything like that... I would say four CVNs would be the most they would want and for a long time it will likely be one or two carriers... the Kuznetsov and a new CVN which they will test the heck out of.

    BTW if they can get the performance of an 80K ton carrier from a 40K ton design with a double hull or some such clever tricks then even better... it is the performance that is important not the actual physical size.

    3)Just to build a first megacarrier u are prob looking 4 to 7 billion dollars - at Russian rates!
    I'm not sure how much further ships in the series would cost... plus the maintenance, crewing etc.
    Personally I think the solution is a ship that is useful in peacetime AND wartime. Maybe not a brilliant peacetime ship, but something that gives revenue nonetheless.

    Without air support they are not going to be as safe or as effective away from Russian shores... saving 4 billion dollars by not having a decent carrier may cost you ships and crews against an enemy that would not consider attacking a Russian carrier group but would have a go at some ships operating together.

    BTW they probably spent 10 billion or more on Su-57 stealth fighters... is that a waste too?

    The Checkmate shows money spent can be used for other things too... the CVN hulls could be used for new space launch ships, or heavy cruiser designs or cheaper simpler arsenal ships that are military grade defence and protection rather than converted container ships that will be sitting ducks.

    They might have a combination dooms day cruiser with Poseidons and Thunderbirds that spends most of its time in the southern atlantic and southern pacific with dooms day weapons tying up western assets wanting to keep tabs on them...

    4)A 2000 ft carrier is just perplexing. Its not long enough for big planes.. perhaps it could use a regular range of planes tho.

    That might just be taking the piss.... but new 5th gen fighters have enormously powerful engines and internal weapons and are smaller than current 4th gen designs.

    The Su-57 is similar size to a MiG-35, the Checkmate will likely be smaller and will use parts made for the Su-57 to reduce costs.

    MiG-29s and Su-27s can already operate from short strips on land and with enlarged wings and control surfaces to improve handling at low flight speeds the naval versions don't need cats for normal ops on a Kuznetsov sized carrier which is about the minimum size you would want for a carrier... the French have a 40K ton CdG and they want their new carrier to be about 75K tons which is in the ballpark of the 80-90K ton ship the Russians are talking about.

    Unless there is something astounding that makes it necessary they wont be competing with the USN with 100K ships.

    I noticed that the biggest ships in the World, megatankers are 1500 ft long and upto 500k deadweight tons. But instead of costing multi-billions they are around a few hundred million USD to build.

    Big is normally good but going too far is bad. It is a bit like tanks... the Americans have a 70 ton tank whose armour seems to be comparable to the 25 ton lighter T-90... The difference of course is that the American carriers are strike carriers so they attack and invade countries and their navies with aircraft, with ships in support and landing forces too... though sometimes the Marines are a diversion too...

    Being a very big ship allowed the Kirov class to have a formidable number of very big anti ship and anti aircraft missiles on board, but at the time I don't think having a ship twice the size would have made any sense at all.

    This carrier seems a projection of what they could do rather than what they will... people have pointed out the models on the desks of various power people in Russia so maybe this was a chance to take the piss for them.


    Of course radar, missiles and the like are essential. But I wonder if a "superbarge" type arrangement could work?
    It would certainly rewrite some naval combat strategies.... if it could be effective.

    I think if it was practical the British would already be doing it... every time they go to war it seems the politicians think they have too much money and cut it after the conflict.

    In the Falklands Islands campaign a lot of missiles fired at military ships ended up hitting converted civilian ships because they didn't have the self defence equipment the military ships had, and being made to civilian standards they tended to burn and sink, though the military ships did too.

    Submariners have a saying that a torpedo lets water in the bottom of a ship while an anti ship missile lets air in the top.

    Of course an anti ship missile lets fire in which is vastly more deadly, which is not to downplay the danger of torpedoes.

    5)"Superbarges" could be used in peacetime for revenue. Perhaps for bulk carrying, even for satellite launches nr the equator. They could use non carrier aircraft in wartime due to their longer runways.

    That would be in the sales pitch... but what if your enemy is smart waits till your "carriers" are all half way through jobs... they can't just dump containers over the side and rush away like a volunteer fire fighter. Equally if it is working transporting stuff how do you get a trained effective crew who knows what they are doing?

    A barge is not exactly like an aircraft carrier there are lots of difference... for a start most bulk carriers don't have accommodation for 4 thousand ship and aircraft crew, or the cooking facilities and food storage facilities to support them. Having dozens of high performance aircraft with fuel and ammunition stored on board would be complex and need training and work to get to a point where it is efficient, plus they would need operational training.... and its very low speed would be a problem getting from place to place... and if it sinks with say 50 enormously expensive 5th gen super fighters not to mention half a dozen AWACS type aircraft that probably cost even more than the fighters in the Russian Navy are on board... how much are you actually saving?

    And what is the cost?

    The space required for EMAL cats would be wasted space for any transport vessel... as well as food storage and accommodations etc etc. and of course munitions and fuel would need special fire walled storage areas for handling and storage too...

    Some good reasons why it hasn't been done.

    On the other hand when cruise missiles are loaded into shipping containers then some sort of arsenal ship that either launches directly from the container ship or loads them onto frigates and Corvettes able to carry and launch missiles from shipping crates could be used to launch a lot of missiles in theatre with containers being shifted around... launch the top ones first and then stack those empty crates at one end and then work your way down the ship launching more missiles... the firing rate would be excellent.... but the cost in missiles would be enormous... you would want that ship to be protected... and the best protection would be a fixed wing carrier group and subs.

    They would be far cheaper than full blown carriers and could be positioned in a network over wide distances.

    Would they? You can't preposition them because that would require the air component and crew and ships crew... hundreds of aircraft and their spare parts and equipment to be flown from Russia to where the container ship is... the container ship would have to offload all the crates so they can be taken by another ship... not good for business.... and how would you get all the stores and equipment and 4,000 people to where that container ship currently is to start loading aircraft as well as spare parts and munitions and aviation fuel etc etc... would be a nightmare.

    And it wont be more effective than a real carrier.

    How would you install an EMALS system.... or does it remain on board all the time taking up space and weight.

    Maybe connect 2 up to produce an "temporary island". The loss of one wouldn't be as catastrophic as the loss of a Shtorm supercarrier.

    Two connected would effectively be immobile and an easy target.... and no reason to believe would be effective as an aircraft carrier either.

    The likelyhood of Russia losing an aircraft carrier in peace time or proxy war is tiny, and in WWIII... who cares... who will even notice?

    I personally don't think Russia would ever build a mega carrier like the one in my picture. They don't need anything like it and trying to "outsize" the US would be ridiculous and a very costly project indeed. Besides they don't have the shipyards to produce anything like it atm. Something like the Lamantin seems like a good size carrier to have and it is also a natural evolution from the Kuznetsov-Ulyanovsk design.

    They have a lot of experience and work in the past to know what they want... they have said it many times.... they want something with a capacity slightly bigger than the Kuznetsov... which is what the Ulyanovsk was... they could probably improve the design but that is what they want.

    Now a double hull ship with bigger capacity than Kuznetsov but weighs 40K tons ... that would be fine... the bigger a carrier is the more it costs to buy and to operate but if you can get the actual performance of a 70-80K ton carrier in a 40K ton design then that would be amazing.

    Tiny carriers with VSTOL fighters has been tried and proven to be a failure... everyone acknowledges that... except the US Marines who want landing ships and not fixed wing carriers so their experience is not relevant in this case.

    Note the Russian Naval Infantry are going for a 40K ton helicopter carrier but it is interesting that the "fighter" they have chosen is the Ka-52K and not a VSTOL jet... because they know the serious limits and design flaws and problems VSTOL fighters introduce for a trick that is not very useful anyway...

    And before you say it vertical takeoff is never used operationally because it limits takeoff weight to be fuel or weapons but not both.

    You make some interesting points re carriers.
    I suppose in a way it should be considered as a separate branch of the armed forces - just as army and airforce give very different, but complimentary options.

    Secondly whilst billions is a disturbing amount of money, it can be spread over 40 years even 50 yrs - so its not as bad that way. Additionally, it is a "force multiplier", giving extra uses for surface ships/subs/armies etc.

    The bit that puzzles me is how drones and hypersonic missiles, even electronic warfare might affect all of this in the future.
    I'm sure the Russian navy knows this better than us... so we will have to wait and see.

    Finally I read up about US carrier groups recently.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carrier_strike_group
    I was always under the impression they were absolutely massive. Maybe in wartime they can be. But the listing here was far more modest.
    It was:-
    i)the full compliment of planes and copters (which is a lot).
    ii)one or two cruisers ie Ticonderoga class
    iii)two or three missile destroyers - Arleigh-Burke.
    iv)two attack subs and one support ship.

    Of course even in relation to a large number of carriers, the US has a massive number of surface ships it can call upon.

    Maybe the article is meaningless given that the US Navy say that the composition alters according to mission.
    However, the Russian navy does have a good albeit not gigantic array of surface ships it could call upon to support any new carriers.
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    Post  GarryB Thu Nov 18, 2021 2:10 am

    Its more efficient to build centers of excellence, instead of sprinkling your docks and supply chain all over the place.

    You mean it is cheaper to centralise, which is true, but then let me ask you if centralisation is so great why was one of the Russian military complaints about the original Mistral design that it only had one engine room...

    Does the term all your eggs in one basket ring a bell?

    They are building new ships... military and civilian at much greater rates than they have ever built them before and they are getting bigger and bigger... the new Ivan Rogov helicopter landing ships are going to be 40K ton each... compare that to the original Ivan Rogov Helicopter landing ships... 15K ton full displacement...

    Now you are telling me you think basing all their capacity for maintenance for big ships should go to the Black Sea because the weather is nicer... now the Kuznetsov based in the Northern fleet has to be towed how far for maintenance? Or an Ivan Rogov 40K ton helicopter carrier based in the Pacific Fleet will take how many months to get to the Black Sea?

    What about the 250K ton oil tankers and gas carriers... if all the facilities are in the Black Sea... a centre of excellence...

    It makes vastly more sense to build large docks and large floating docks for the ports where the ships will be based.

    More importantly the ports all along the north sea route will all need to be upgraded too... not everything needs to go from China to the EU... and much stuff like Coal or oil could be sent north by rail to northern Russian ports where ships could take it directly to China or Asia or the EU.... or anywhere because the oceans are connected.

    The expansion of the ports and rail lines will make access to Siberia cheaper and easier, just like connecting the two US coasts with rail lines opened up America.

    Also, good weather facilitates ship building. Bad weather is probably one reason Russian builds take so long. I cannot imagine much work gets done topside on Kuznetsov in the winter. Dangerous and brutal conditions.

    They have build enormous buildings for their aircraft and space industry... there is no reason they couldn't do the same for their ship building industry too.

    Most naval bases have some repair facilities but not full drydocks.

    With their fleets split by such distance they need to be more independent and have more inhouse capabilities... the new ship designs allowing unified weapons launchers means they wont have the situation where a ship will arrive at a military port that wont have the type of weapon it uses in stock... when each large ship or sub has its own type of anti ship missile then keeping stocks of all possible types of missile at every port is a luxury, but current design practises eliminate that problem.

    Over time all the ports are going to have to expand because they will be getting more and more ships, which means more and more crews and of course more support facilities will be needed to operate normally.

    I have seen the sheds for the subs, but most of the drydocks are still open air as far as I have seen. And they certainly do not have closed facilities for ships like Kuz and Nakhimov. The smaller ones no prob.

    They are building two 40K ton helicopter landing carriers, they are keeping two Kirovs, they have the Kuznetsov, they will likely build two more 40K ton helicopter carriers when the current two are tested and they are happy with the designs, so that is seven large ships already... when they get around to building destroyers you can bet they will be nuclear powered which means lots of power so they can be quite big, and of course the cruisers they will be making... I would estimate that they would probably end up with two new CVNs at the very least along with the Kuznetsov CV, plus about 12 new cruisers and about 24 destroyers over 12K tons.

    The size of the cranes would make things difficult but their biggest cranes are gantry cranes which would be ideal for inside a building structure... being inside would mean equipment and materials would last longer and require less care to keep inn working order.

    You make some interesting points re carriers.
    I suppose in a way it should be considered as a separate branch of the armed forces - just as army and airforce give very different, but complimentary options.

    It is not the same as in the west... in the west the air force dominates... western armies only have token air defence capability and rely on their airforces for air defence which is why the western IADS is AWACS and JSTARS based with fighter planes.

    When you look at their Navies again it is aircraft centric... their anti ship missiles are not very impressive at all... Harpoon and Tomahawk... missiles that looked good in 1970 but even then the Soviets were using much better weapons in much smaller numbers. The advantage of the Harpoon and Tomahawk was that they could be carried by everything and in large numbers... their problem is that Russian air defence systems generally train against their own stuff which means subsonic sea skimming is dead meat.

    What I am saying is that a Russian carrier is not the same as a western carrier... it is an air defence carrier that defends the other ships in the group using airborne radar to give an excellent air picture without revealing the presence or location of the ships and also a highly mobile air defence force of fighter aircraft.

    Saying the Russian Navy does not need aircraft carriers is like saying Russia is going to remain isolated and restricted and limited by the west.

    I live in New Zealand and our gunshops are having trouble getting Russian ammo because they normally get it from a middle man in Germany who buys in bulk... takes a cut of the profits and sells us what we want. The EU making money on Russian sales of ammo to New Zealand and lots of other places.

    Nice for Russia because they don't do anything... they just send bulk ammo to Germany and then Germany sorts it all out, not so great for New Zealand because we are effectively paying a guy in Germany to get ammo from Russia, but perhaps it makes sense because he can buy in bulk and get reduced prices so when he adds on his cut of the sale we probably pay what we would pay Russia for what we buy... but the problem at the moment is sanctions and bullshit between the EU and Russia means ammo is hard to get.... New Zealand does not have Russia under sanction so why should it effect our trade.

    If Russia has no navy, or a navy that can't leave Russian waters safely they they will be left dealing with the world through their neighbours... and many of those neighbours are proven censored .

    Having a strong navy... and I don't mean to match the US or HATO or anyone what they need is to be able to put together a couple of groups of ships they can send around the place when needed to make sure their interests are not abused and the countries around the world with the guts to become a trading partner with Russia cannot be intimidated by the US or the west into changing their mind or changing their government.

    The situation in Venezuela would have been solved much quicker if Russia could have sent the Ivan Rogov helicopter carrier and the Kuznetsov and a Kirov and a Slava class ship along with a couple of destroyers to Venezuela for some exercises... they could have sent a trade delegation there too to look at what sort of investments and trades they could get running to help both Venezuela and Russia make some good honest money and helped each other out.

    The problem for Venezuela is that the US is a big part of their economy so sanctions hurt... Russia going in and saying... hey they are screwing you on your oil sales to them, how about we build a refinery in Venezuela and you can produce your own final products and sell them at a much better profit for yourself, and US refineries can go find other heavy oil sources... Russia is exporting food... how about selling food to Venezuela while they build a food production base for themselves.... I am sure Russia knows a lot about that because that was a situation they were in not long ago and their solutions seem to be very successful.

    Perhaps Venezuela could focus on producing foods that are hard to grow in Russia and Russia can sell to them foods that grow well in Russia so it is more of a trade than a one sided situation and they can help each other.

    I am sure there are lots of ex colonial countries who would love open and free trade from a country that can provide all sorts of high tech stuff like the west can, but without the controlling bullshit that keeps them in their third world status.

    Secondly whilst billions is a disturbing amount of money, it can be spread over 40 years even 50 yrs - so its not as bad that way. Additionally, it is a "force multiplier", giving extra uses for surface ships/subs/armies etc.

    It will also be cheaper because they wont be starting endless expensive wars to justify having this fleet, and its support of a growing civilian fleet should promote trade which will grow the economy and help pay for the costs.

    The bit that puzzles me is how drones and hypersonic missiles, even electronic warfare might affect all of this in the future.
    I'm sure the Russian navy knows this better than us... so we will have to wait and see.

    There has always been threats to everything... on land or at sea or in the air. The only proven defence against drones and hypersonic weapons is a decent IADS... which is why Russia is in such a good position. EW needs EW to fight it and they seem to be very competent in that regard too.

    Obviously it is hard to be sure but Russia seems to have the best of both worlds... it is introducing hypersonic manouvering weapons, but also stealthy weapons as well as drones, but it also has the worlds most indepth extensive array of guns and missiles and radars and optics and sensors all organised into an IADS network on land and at sea to defend its army no matter where it goes, to defend its homeland and also to defend its ships and fleets.

    Not the latter is a bit hairy and is mostly brand new but includes modern AESA radars and the latest day night all weather optics, as well as new guns with new ammo types... air burst and guided... as well as new missiles... all they need is to start laying down the bigger ships with weapons in greater numbers and bigger sensors able to operate further from Russia.

    Funny that people think hypersonic missiles mean the end of carriers... but no one mentions the end of large air force bases and large airfields and command centres and communications centres... which are all generally fixed structure that could easily be targeted too.

    Manouvering hypersonic threats are a problem but most problems have solutions and now with no ABM treaty and no INF treaty Russia can make their missiles any size and any range they see fit for attack and for defence.... sounds like they are in the best situation considering most of HATO could be defeated with simple low flying cruise missiles...


    Maybe the article is meaningless given that the US Navy say that the composition alters according to mission.

    For general patrolling you don't need a big force, but for situations like Desert Storm you would add all sorts of other ships to beef that up and might operate two or three carriers together.

    Their AEGIS class cruisers are their air defence for the ships in the carrier group, while the AWACS and fighters offer top cover, early warning and also reach as well as situational awareness.... if you see a blip on the radar.... or you detect the shadow of an island in your scopes then launching an AWACS to look from 5km altitude means you can see over that island radar shadow at anything that might be sneaking up on you using the island as cover.

    If there is something there then you can send fighters out to meet it... risking a few fighter aircraft is always cheaper and faster than sending a ship or sub.

    However, the Russian navy does have a good albeit not gigantic array of surface ships it could call upon to support any new carriers.

    The ideal support ship for a carrier is a cruiser because a cruiser is big enough to have large very long range missiles that protect a very large area of ocean.

    Tiny ships like Corvettes can defend themselves, but not from sustained attacks. A small group of corvettes working together can be rather strong and well protected, and frigates improve that with numbers of missiles and the size of the sensors, but it is really only when you get to Destroyer size that a ship can look after itself against a decent attack and can think about protecting other smaller ships with it.

    A destroyer with frigates and corvettes with it is vastly more powerful and capable than a destroyer on its own... in the same way a BUK battery is more effective when supported by Pantsir and TOR missile systems and a few Verba batteries too.

    A cruiser is the S-400 plus S-350 plus Pantsir plus TOR vessel that can see and protect a large patch of ocean, but even it would be more effective with destroyer and frigates and corvettes operating with it too... size is important and numbers are important... numbers alone are not enough... thousands of corvettes is not better than hundreds of destroyers. Numbers are necessary too of course having one big super ship would be stupid.

    A bit like only being allowed one transport plane and choosing an An-225.

    In practise you want a couple of big planes.... Slon, a a few dozen slightly smaller planes.... Il-106, and then increasing numbers of smaller aircraft... one or two hundred Il-476s because they have good payload and good range performance and then a similar number of Il-276s or perhaps more and then you get to the smaller planes like Il-114 and Il-112 and LMS-901 types in larger numbers too.

    Having an entire fleet of LMS-901s does not make sense despite it being an interesting new plane.

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    Future Russian Aircraft Carriers and Deck Aviation. #2 - Page 32 Empty Varan aircraft carrier project

    Post  Mir Mon Jan 03, 2022 8:53 pm

    As part of creating a universal marine complex and a completely new line of projects on a unified platform, the JSC Nevsky Design Bureau has created a unique aircraft carrier project known as "Varan". The design bureau is part of the United Shipbuilding Corporation.

    The Varan is somewhat similar in concept to the non-realized USN Sea Control Ship of the 70's but it is far more modern design and based on a concept from which several types of large surface ships can be created, including an aircraft carrier, LHD, transport and hospital vessel and even an Arctic zone support vessel. The Varan will represent a new class of naval ships - known as Universal Marine Complexes (UMC). (Thought it was mentioned somewhere on this forum but could not find it.)

    The ship will be of rather modest displacement (45k tons) but will have a mix of 24 fighters, 6 helicopters and 20 UAV's on board. The artist concept depicts the Mig-29KR, the Ka-27 helicopter and several helicopter drones. There is also an interesting "promising" single engine light fighter that is not representative of the Checkmate on board! This aircraft could well be representing the VTOL fighter mentioned by TASS in the article below.

    The real attractive part if the Varan is that it will be a very cost effective and affordable design. The ship can be build by any large shipyard of the Russian Federation without significant modernization of production facilities.

    Future Russian Aircraft Carriers and Deck Aviation. #2 - Page 32 Varan610
    Future Russian Aircraft Carriers and Deck Aviation. #2 - Page 32 Varan-10




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    Post  Mir Mon Jan 03, 2022 8:56 pm

    The article from TASS translated below.

    https://tass.ru/armiya-i-opk/10773887

    "Varan" goes hunting. A new class of naval equipment is being created in Russia

    Domestic shipbuilders are considering the possibility of creating a universal marine complex and a line of projects on a unified platform. Nevsky PKB specialists told TASS about the uniqueness of this new project and the need for it for the Russian Navy

    After the end of the Cold War, universal amphibious assault ships (UDC) turned from a means of supporting large formations of naval forces into independent units capable of performing not only combat, but also humanitarian tasks. UDC are used to demonstrate the flag, transfer troops, maritime patrol and support larger ships. In recent years, the domestic shipbuilding industry has focused on the development of this class of naval equipment.
    One of the projects of ships of this class is the Varan, developed by JSC Nevsky Design Bureau (Nevsky PCB, part of the United Shipbuilding Corporation). It is this bureau that is one of the largest domestic developers of universal ships and the only designer of aircraft carriers and training complexes in Russia.

    As the Nevsky PKB told TASS, a distinctive feature of the Varan is a multifunctional structure (unified platform) — based on it, several types of large surface ships can be created, including an aircraft carrier, a UDC/ УДК, a transport and hospital vessel and even an Arctic zone support vessel. "Such an approach can become new both in domestic and global shipbuilding, and this project will become a representative of a new class of naval equipment - universal marine complexes (UMK)," experts say.

    The American edition of Military Watch has already called the appearance of the Varan a breakthrough, noting that "the ship has a cost-efficiency ratio that exceeds the corresponding indicator of the UDC previously developed by the Russian shipbuilding industry." Foreign experts note that with a relatively small displacement, it is capable of taking on board up to 50 aircraft of various classes.

    UMK "Varan" is an aircraft carrier, characterized by a high degree of automation and the possibility of using robotic systems. It can accommodate 24 multi-purpose aircraft, six helicopters and up to 20 unmanned aerial vehicles.

    "The composition of the Varan air group is planned to be formed on the basis of the MiG-29K carrier-based fighters and their modifications in service, as well as promising aircraft, including vertical takeoff and landing, to ensure balance and efficiency of use corresponding to modern and promising foreign aircraft-carrying complexes," the press service of the bureau noted.

    In addition, according to the developers, promising robotic complexes are included in the UMK aviation group, and a high level of automated control is provided on the ship itself, which will be provided by an integrated combat control system.

    The displacement of the "Varan" is about 45 thousand tons, the length is about 250 m, the width is 65 m, the draft along the structural waterline is 9 m. The UMK is capable of reaching speeds of up to 26 knots.

    The Nevsky Design Bureau notes that the ship's design provides for the formation of the hull by a modular method, which will ensure a high rate of construction. In order to minimize the time and cost of repairs during operation, equipment has been used that is already built into the main blocks of the UMK.

    It is assumed that the Varan will be equipped with a gas turbine unit unified with the propulsive systems of the Russian Navy. "The ship will also receive ship-wide systems that are already being supplied — this will also significantly reduce the cost of construction," the specialists of the Nevsky PCB add.
    From the very beginning, Varan was developed as a ship, the main dimensions and displacement of which will allow organizing construction at any large shipyard of the Russian Federation without significant modernization of production facilities. "This will allow us to organize the construction of several ships in a series and will lead to a significant reduction in the cost of construction and its timing," the developers say. "It is expected that the construction costs of the Varan will not exceed the costs of building ships of similar displacement currently being created."

    According to the specialists of the Nevsky PCB, Varan as a whole is at the level of an advance project, and some of the main parts are at the stage of preliminary design. "General layout schemes, schematic diagrams of the main power plant and the ship's electrical power system have been developed, a three-dimensional model of the hull has been created," the company said, noting that Varan is being developed on the initiative of the bureau. It is also planned to create an UMK in an export-oriented form.

    "The Varan concept itself will allow positioning the ship on the world market as an innovative, balanced and meeting the modern tasks of the Russian Navy in the World Ocean marine platform. The main priority of the project is high economic feasibility, coupled with the necessary combat effectiveness, ensuring the maintenance of the military-political status of the state," the bureau informed.

    There are no direct foreign analogues of Varan at the moment — the world's largest shipbuilding companies produce multi-purpose UDC designed to perform a number of tasks, but there are no universal complexes based on a single platform and made using unified components.
    In terms of displacement, the Varan corresponds to the American UDC class America — currently there are two such ships in the US Navy - America and Tripoli; another ship, Bougainville, was laid down in March 2019. These UDC are distinguished by a colossal cost, which reaches $3.3-3.4 billion per combat unit. The French Mistral-class UDC has a displacement that is almost two times less than the corresponding indicators of the "Monitor Lizard" and is 21.5 thousand tons.

    China is actively building the UDC of project 075 — three ships of this class are at different stages of construction, subsequently their number will be increased to eight. The displacement of this UDC is slightly less than the "Varan" (40 thousand and 45 thousand tons, respectively).

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    Post  GarryB Tue Jan 04, 2022 8:23 am

    It is just too small.

    The price of the carriers will be spread over about a decade that it will take to built and get ready for service... this "cheap" carrier will likely not be very effective.... at 45K tons it is very similar in weight to the current Kuznetsov only physically smaller... which is not an advantage.

    VSTOL fighters available are all rubbish and do not represent good value for money in terms of development, production, or operational costs.

    Honestly if the choice was this ship or nothing... nothing would be much much cheaper and just as useless...

    If you look at the land based IADS Russia has you will see S-400 and now S-500 and S-550 down to Label and Verba MANPADS... but you also see A-50s and soon A-100s and Su-35s and Su-57s and a range of other aircraft too...

    Do you honestly think Russias land based IADS would be left to a 100m section of motorway and a handful of MiG-29s for air support?

    The French have a lot of experience in this area and to replace their current carrier... the CdG... they want a nuclear powered, 75K ton fixed wing aircraft with EMAL cats and a decent AWACS platform.

    Now I personally think the best AWACS platform Russia could spend money on would be Airship based and rather large.

    Enormous volume for radar antenna of all types... long and short wave radar types. Cables can be hung down from the airship in flight so the super low frequency antenna that consists of a 3km long metal cable that the Tu-142 trails and almost stalls deploying to get it hanging straight could easily be dangled from an airship so communications with deeply submerged submarines would be easy and continuous.... an extra long cable and you could use it as a dipping sonar...

    You could design the airship so it can settle on the sea surface for refuelling or loading or unloading... it could meet with submarines in the southern oceans to change crews or recover someone that may need urgent medical attention.

    The electric motors that allow it to fly around are getting invested in and are getting more powerful and more efficient all the time, and battery technology is improving too.

    Composites and glass fibre and carbon fibre materials could be used to make it strong and super light and fireproof.

    Hydrogen for lifting gas and water for ballast and hydrogen fuel cells to control weight and lift and solar panels for free energy and a few gas turbines with fuel for emergency power and emergency heat etc etc.


    Give it a flat top and you could put a tower on top of it and make it a flying drone base too.

    It could follow a carrier group round rather easily... airships are not fast but ships aren't fast either... and a tether could be used with a large warship for communications and power supply if needed too.

    But if it is worth doing it is worth doing right... a 80-90K ton carrier with Su-57s and twin engined 5th gen MiGs as fighters... EMALS cats.... no VSTOL except perhaps drones and obviously helicopters.

    Even just for naval resupply an Airship would be excellent... they could operate at 30km altitude or higher... most fighters couldn't even touch them.

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    Post  Mir Tue Jan 04, 2022 9:22 am

    It certainly is not a full blown carrier and it appears to have very little in terms of self defense. So not a great ship to start WWIII with but the UMK concept is perfect for low intensity conflicts and normal peace time operations. It's a cheap solution to an expensive problem. I certainly do not see it as a replacement for what I believe the future Russian carrier should look like. For that purpose the Lamantin carrier concept seems perfect.

    One of the biggest threats any navy would have to face would come in the form of a submarine. The Soviet Moskva helicopter carrying cruisers and the Kiev's were primarily designed to counter the US nuclear submarine threat. The Soviet Pr.10200 Khalzan ASW carrier was a cheap solution but unfortunately it failed to materialize The Russian Navy has lost that ability yet the threat remains.

    Developing the UMK Varan carrier concept into an ASW carrier similar to the Khalzan or the Japanese Izumo/Hyūga would be a very viable option. You could have a flight(4-12)of Mig-29K's on board for self defence and strike roles. A Large number of UAV's and helicopters could be used for various roles incl ASW. The ship itself could be fitted with towed array sonars and containerized Tor/Pantsir systems for self defence - not to mention Kalibrs. That same ship could be utilized as a amphibious assault carrier or a Sea Control Ship in no time and it can all be done cheaply.

    And yes you can drag an airship along for great radar coverage as well although I believe UAV's and helicopters would be used for AEW/MP/ASW/ECM roles.

    Rear view of the Varan showing it's rear "barn" door suitable for amphibious and other operations.

    Future Russian Aircraft Carriers and Deck Aviation. #2 - Page 32 60035010

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    Post  Mir Tue Jan 04, 2022 12:10 pm

    Just a side note: The Soviets also developed the Pr.11780 Kherson nicknamed "Ivan Tarawa"  Laughing  based on the Kiev design. Initially it was meant to be a large amphibious assault ship but the concept was changed into a universal aircraft carrier that was never realized. The two Soviet designs was somewhat similar but the Khalzan was based on a great commercial Ro-Ro design (Pr.1609) that ended up in the US Navy Sealift fleet! angry

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    Post  Isos Tue Jan 04, 2022 12:16 pm

    Carriers won't affect WW3 anyway. This design is good.

    Weapons onvoard are not that much needed since it will always be escorted.

    Few pantsir and Paket-NK is the minimum to have.

    The real weapon of carriers are the jets onboard. Many seem to foget that...

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    Post  PapaDragon Tue Jan 04, 2022 3:54 pm


    Varan is excellent design

    I believe that dedicated carriers especially large ones are waste of money in this day and age (just look at Kuznetzov)

    But Varan is just the right size, can be built anywhere and is versatile

    This is first time Russia came up with a genuinely good flattop design

    Oh and those MiGs will be getting replaced with Su-75, that's not even up for discussion

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    Post  Mir Tue Jan 04, 2022 7:01 pm

    This one is for you PD Wink

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    Post  Mig-31BM2 Super Irbis-E Tue Jan 04, 2022 7:31 pm

    Can not the one or two such dry docks on the other side also build with a hall over it?
    https://www.google.com/maps/place/SA-REN(SAIPEM-RENAISSANCE+HEAVY+INDUSTRIES)/@69.0831841,33.1934131,2683m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m13!1m7!3m6!1s0x44341030ed0c22d5:0x98c6ba30cbc321a5!2sMurmansk,+Oblast+Murmansk,+Russland!3b1!8m2!3d68.9733113!4d33.0855849!3m4!1s0x443417c684e2b615:0x698159e036ae70e6!8m2!3d69.0841251!4d33.2161049

    Or that?
    https://www.google.com/maps/place/Wladiwostok,+Region+Primorje,+Russland/@43.1156364,132.3255102,1504m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x5fb39cba5249d485:0x186704d4dd967e35!8m2!3d43.1332484!4d131.9112975
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    Post  Mir Tue Jan 04, 2022 8:04 pm

    Those are huge! Probably used for commercial tankers but yes they would do nicely thanks!
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    Post  PapaDragon Tue Jan 04, 2022 8:07 pm

    Mir wrote:This one is for you PD Wink

    Future Russian Aircraft Carriers and Deck Aviation. #2 - Page 32 60034710

    Thanks, lovin' it love


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    Post  GarryB Wed Jan 05, 2022 10:09 am

    It certainly is not a full blown carrier and it appears to have very little in terms of self defense. So not a great ship to start WWIII with but the UMK concept is perfect for low intensity conflicts and normal peace time operations.

    No Russian aircraft carrier would have any value in any WWIII situation... just like fighter aircraft and tanks will have zero value in WWIII... they are simply not significant enough to effect the results and the results will be everyone loses.

    Having one 45K ton carrier or 40 100K ton carriers would make no difference to the result... of course 40 x 100K ton carriers would quickly bankrupt any country...

    It's a cheap solution to an expensive problem.

    Yeah, I know... and lets look at the history of cheap solutions to the problem of expensive carriers... the Hermes class, the Kiev class... all expensive dogs that cost more than they were worth...

    The money you save in not paying for a bigger ship you pay in the ships you lose because such small ships do not offer the same protection to the carrier group.

    If the Argentines had MiG-23s with BVR missiles those Sea Harriers would have been in serious trouble... and the Yak-38 was a joke.

    I certainly do not see it as a replacement for what I believe the future Russian carrier should look like. For that purpose the Lamantin carrier concept seems perfect.

    I suspect its real purpose is an export ship for countries that can afford it but not anything bigger...

    The Soviet Pr.10200 Khalzan ASW carrier was a cheap solution but unfortunately it failed to materialize The Russian Navy has lost that ability yet the threat remains.

    I would say if they wanted an ASW carrier that instead of this design it would make more sense to look at the new Ivan Rogov class helicopter carrier... they are already talking about two different types... one for landing a large group of naval infantry and the other carrying a large force of drones to support landing operations... well add another ASW optimised version... replace the capacity to carry 1,000 naval infantry soldiers and their armour and hovercraft and landing ships to get them ashore and the helicopters to support the landing with anti sub helicopters and the rear well could be used for submersible drones and remote surface vessels to hunt submarines... they will likely make two landing ships, and two drone ships... perhaps two ASW ships or maybe three... one for the Northern Fleet and one for the Pacific Fleet and one for the Black Sea and Med Sea...

    Fighter planes are not ideal for anti sub.... a helicopter carrier can have Mi-14 equivalent aircraft as well as helix based and minoga replacement models too... with a big crane on the front it could even operate amphibious aircraft based on the Be-200... but smaller... that could fly out to a contact and land on the water and put a dipping sonar into the water and use torpedoes and depth charges...

    That same ship could be utilized as a amphibious assault carrier or a Sea Control Ship in no time and it can all be done cheaply.

    they already have helicopter carriers in production... again... suspect this is for export... and because it lost the contract for being a Russian Naval vessel.

    Carriers won't affect WW3 anyway. This design is good.

    Cheap does not equal effective... even in peace time this design is not good...

    The real weapon of carriers are the jets onboard. Many seem to foget that...

    Not at all... as shown in the Falklands conflict.... ships that can't protect themselves get sunk... quite a few civilian ships were sunk because the military ships they were operating with fired jammers and chaff and decoyed the incoming anti ship missile away from them... for those missiles to gain locks and sink civilian vessels that were unarmed and unprotected.

    I believe that dedicated carriers especially large ones are waste of money in this day and age (just look at Kuznetzov)

    The fact that it is getting upgraded suggests the Russian Navy disagrees with your assessment.

    The Charles De Gaule is to be replaced with a 75K ton nuclear powered carrier with EMALS... suggests the French don't agree with you either.

    Going cheap with aircraft carriers has painted the UK into a corner where they bought two carriers to try to save money and ended up not having enough money to pay for escort ships so they have two aircraft carriers and 6 destroyers to escort them around the place... except not all of their 6 destroyers are working at the moment...

    But Varan is just the right size, can be built anywhere and is versatile

    This is first time Russia came up with a genuinely good flattop design

    Amusing you think a smaller lighter less capable ship than a Kuznetsov is better... better for what exactly?

    Countries around the world have tried to make cheaper carriers... the current two cheap UK carriers obliges them to operate 120 million dollar fighter planes of ordinary performance because it has not cat launch systems for real fighters.

    Oh and those MiGs will be getting replaced with Su-75, that's not even up for discussion

    The Russian Navy is the most conservative of their military branches... it will not enter service with Russia... and I don't think they would bother to navalise the Su-75 because with a carrier bigger than the Kuznetsov they will more likely have Su-57s on board, possibly with naval MiG-35s and maybe a 5th gen twin engined carrier version like that shown at MAKS21.

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    Post  PapaDragon Wed Jan 05, 2022 1:37 pm

    GarryB wrote:Amusing you think a smaller lighter less capable ship than a Kuznetsov is better... better for what exactly?...

    Better for floating above surface, better for sailing on the surface, better for moving under it's own power, better for not being on fire, better for carrying combat aircraft, better for launching combat aircraft, better for retrieving combat aircraft

    Some other things as well but this is the gist of it
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    Post  Arkanghelsk Wed Jan 05, 2022 3:16 pm

    Kuznetsov itself is not really bigger than varan at all, a comparison of the displacement reveals a difference of maybe 5000-10000 tons when kuznetsov is fully loaded.

    Why are people against varan so much?

    At 24 fighters it's not that different from kuznetsov either in terms of carrying aircraft
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    Post  Mig-31BM2 Super Irbis-E Wed Jan 05, 2022 4:34 pm

    A Syrian-Russian shipyard in Tartus or Latkatia with a dry dock or a floating dock (from Turkey).

    This allows a construction of the Varan or Kuznetsov class to be made possible. Large components via transport via Black Sea or Northern Sea. (Modular construction)

    So the Mediterranean fleet could be left completety there.
    Just a dock for the escort ships, a hall for submarine construction (small hunting submarines) to the same time buyan-M kits for the Syrian Navy.

    In addition, it strengthens the economic development of Syria.
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    Post  lancelot Wed Jan 05, 2022 5:06 pm

    Arkanghelsk wrote:Kuznetsov itself is not really bigger than varan at all, a comparison of the displacement reveals a difference of maybe 5000-10000 tons when kuznetsov is fully loaded.

    Why are people against varan so much?

    At 24 fighters it's not that different from kuznetsov either in terms of carrying aircraft

    It has its place but it is no replacement for a carrier like Kuznetsov. Plus Russia has the technology to make a larger nuclear powered carrier with catapults which would be much more powerful in terms of delivered payload in its air wing. If anything this is a more modern replacement for the large amphibious LHDs.

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    Post  Mir Wed Jan 05, 2022 8:29 pm

    If the Argentines had MiG-23s with BVR missiles those Sea Harriers would have been in serious trouble... and the Yak-38 was a joke.

    Yes things could have been very different in the Falklands but...

    It should be noted that I'm not the world's greatest fan of VTOL aircraft, but these aircraft had a role to play . During the early development the US and the French had some interesting concepts that came to nothing.
     
    The naval variant of the British Harrier was optimized for air defense, whilst the Yak-38 was a light strike fighter which makes it rather difficult to compare the Yak-38 with the Sea Harrier. What they had in common was obviously the VTOL capability. It should also take note that the Harrier in all its many  variants together with the Yak-38 became the only successful VTOL aircraft during the Cold War period -despite all the efforts from other countries like the US, France, Germany and Canada.

    In the West the Harrier was always deemed to be superior to the Yak-38 and for a long time it was believed that the Yak was not even able to make a short takeoff run like the Harrier, which proved to be false - like so many other claims.

    On sheer performance the Yak-38 was significantly faster than the Harrier at 1280km/h vs 1065km/h but the Harrier had a slightly better range and could fly 100kms further. The Sea Harrier on the other hand had a much better max takeoff weight at 17 600 vs 11 300.

    Later versions of the Sea Harrier was equipped with AMRAAMs whilst the Yak only had R-60 short range missiles for self defense.  Both aircraft had four hard points and were able to carry anti-ship missiles.

    Both were quite difficult to fly according to the guys who actually flew these things. The Harrier has a very long list of accidents through the years. India alone lost 16 out of 31 Sea Harriers that claimed 7 pilots over the years. About a third of the Yak's were lost in accidents.

    lets look at the history of cheap solutions to the problem of expensive carriers... the Hermes class, the Kiev class

    The Kiev had it's issues but it was quite an unique ship and true to Soviet tradition it was a heavily armed Cruiser that also happened to carry aircraft. More interesting is that the Kiev was chosen in favour of the Pr.1153 Orel carrier design as it was the cheaper option! The Orel was a super carrier similar in size to the US Kitty Hawks but was also considered to be an Aircraft Carrying Cruiser by the Soviets - not just for legal reasons - as it was also armed with  24 cruise missiles. The one thing I liked about Soviet ships is that they were well armed to defend themselves. I hope the Russians would continue this tradition.

    Fighter planes are not ideal for anti sub.... a helicopter carrier can have Mi-14 equivalent aircraft as well as helix based and minoga replacement models too... with a big crane on the front it could even operate amphibious aircraft based on the Be-200... but smaller... that could fly out to a contact and land on the water and put a dipping sonar into the water and use torpedoes and depth charges...

    Mi-8 or Mi-38 size would be too large for Russian Navy carrier needs - land based Mi-14 types would be great though. The Minoga should replace the Helix in future. Thankfully no tilt rotor planned that takes up even more space! The compact Ka-29 takes 16 seated soldiers, whilst the over bloated Osprey can seat 24 soldiers in comparison. The Ka-29 is an assault helicopter - the Osprey is a mafia taxi. The mini Be-200 you refer to would likely be in the form of UAV's.

    The Varan carrier is not going to be the sole type of aircraft carrier the Russian Navy would eventually want to build but the design concept is pretty sound and affordable and that is why the Navy is already taking a serious interest in the concept - and not just as a mini aircraft carrier.

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