GarryB wrote:All the cost of a large carrier... especially when you add the cost of a VSTOL fighter that would need to be designed and built, but the performance of a helicopter carrier they are already building... which is seriously short of a proper aircraft carrier.
The core reason for an aircraft carrier is AWACS and fighter/interceptors... if you think Ka-31s and Su-25s would be good enough air defence capacity to defend Russian airspace then you will think this is a great way to save money.
The thing is that to even approach being useful you would need a dozen of those mini carriers at the very least which means they would end up being more expensive than two decent CVNs in the 80-90K ton weight class.
Navalised Su-57s wont be super cheap but would be the best capability they could manage which means they would be about as effective as you could possibly make them... instead of having Su-35s and Su-30s as land based Naval interceptor fighters you could have extra Su-57Ks which would increase the production volume and take some of the sting out of the price.
The alternative of an F-35 piece of crap that ends up getting shot down and the carriers and the ships operating with them all being sunk in a real combat situation means you would not be saving any money at all.
Case in point... the Moskva... they probably saved some money by not upgrading it, which made it horribly vulnerabe to drones and potentially accidents with old SAMs like the old S-300F which they were using.
With updated SAMs and CIWS... even just replacing the OSA with TOR/Klintock missiles and it would have been fine against any drone threat.
Moving forward new Frigates and Corvettes are much better defended but they still need new destroyers with the old upgraded destroyers potentially being long endurance frigates really, so able to defend themselves but not really equipped with enough missiles to defend itself and other ships or platforms... or pieces of water/airspace.
A new design destroyer will have enough SAMs and other missiles to seriously damage any enemy forces that try to attack it and will be able to coordinate the assets and fire power of other vessels operating with it to make a much more capable air defence and even ground, air and sea surface strike capability.
Those old designs of carriers was from a time when the British tiny carriers seemed to suggest a VSTOL carrier could be cheap and only 20K tons... but the reality of the Falklands conflict showed they cost more money than they saved.
The radar on the Sea Harrier was very good and a modern version with AMRAAM class missiles would be reasonable, but lack of speed and flight range, together with lack of proper AWACS for the small ships they were operated from makes them mediocre in the real world in terms of supporting surface ships doing anything important.
The French went for a 40K ton carrier and their next generation carrier plans are for something nuclear powered and with cats and AWACS in the 75K ton weight range... it is not an accident... the US wants a 100K ton weight carrier because it wants fighters and strike aircraft and lots of air to ground ordinance as well as air to air to carry around the place.
The ideas behind the Ford and the Zumwalt were actually rather good, but they tried to put too much that was new into brand new designs without testing them in older ships first and so everything wasn't working so you couldn't tell if it was that technology that was the problem or was something else not working properly stopping this from working... how do you trouble shoot when everything it is connected to might not be working properly either...
Hypersonic anti ship missiles make all large ships obsolete... but the best way to deal with hypersonic missile threats would be a super big powerful laser or energy weapon to either damage the incoming threat or just blind it so it doesn't hit anything... how many big powerful lasers can you fit on a Corvette?
So if you need a big huge Cruiser to carry a laser missile defence system then why would you not also have an aircraft carrier with fighters and AWACS platforms to protect those cruisers... Russian carriers are for air defence... traditionally Russian forces have ground based air defence systems, but the very existence of their aerospace defence forces suggests they view aircraft and ground and air based radar, as well as fighters and interceptors as being valuable for defending surface objects too.
You can put all their SAMs and jammers and radars on their ships but you still improve their protection and performance in peace time and in war by adding fighters and AWACS aircraft... considering how much they will already be spending it wont cost much more but will make their surface and sub fleet much much safer which saves money in itself.
I share with you the opinion that big ships are maybe obsolete.
However, it is not absolutely necessary that Su-57K planes be on these new aircraft carriers, if Russia already decides to build them. Such a plane requires a ship at least 300 meters long. It could be the Su-75K, although the question is how many weapons that single-engine plane could carry when taking off from the deck of the aircraft carrier. I am a supporter of Russia building CATOBAR aircraft carriers and I do not like the idea of carriers with VTOL.
I do not believe that Russia has the funds to build huge aircraft carriers, especially in larger numbers. I don't think it is necessary to build those ships either. And even if Russia has money, it still can't match the United States, France, Great Britain together, etc. I think that 4 aircraft carriers (two for NF and two for PF) with 24 planes + helicopters and drones would "do a good part of the job". The ship’s displacement is about 45,000. It has a length – about 250 m, a width of 65 m, draft at the structural waterline – 9 m. Varan is capable of speeds up to 26 knots.
Although it is only a project, of course, a ship with a displacement of about 45,000 tons could certainly carry up to 30 Su-75K planes. The project envisages 24 planes (MiG-29K is on the ship's sketches), 6 helicopters and 20 drones. Yes, there is no nuclear power plant and that is perhaps the main drawback, although it is not impossible to install a nuclear power plant on a ship with a full displacement of up to 45,000 tons. After all, it is not impossible to "increase" the project, that is, for the ship to reach 50,000+ tons. As the displacement increases, so does the size of the ship, as well as its capacity.
I really like the idea of the "Varan" project and I would just add nuclear power to the ship.
I have no doubt at all that Russia can afford nuclear aircraft carriers, if it is already building dozens of nuclear submarines and nuclear icebreakers. But one thing stands out, Russia does not have to and should not build aircraft carriers of 100,000 tons.
As for SSBN and SSGN submarines, everything is clear. Russia is planning 7 icebreakers of project 22220 and three huge Project 10510 "Leaders". That means 10 icebreakers, 6 of which are already under construction. Two ships of the 22220 project are operational, one was launched and should reach operational status by October, two are under construction and two more are planned - the sixth and seventh. The construction of a huge "leader" and the ship "Rossiya", which exceeds 70,000 tons in terms of displacement, has also begun. Therefore, I have no doubt that Russia can build nuclear-powered aircraft carriers.