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    Future Russian Aircraft Carriers and Deck Aviation. #3

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    Post  The-thing-next-door Wed Jul 12, 2023 4:09 pm

    One thing I have thought about is a mix of 200,000 ton-500,000 aircraft carriers that could sustain air operations over allied countries on thier own to crush US efforts at undermining them and lighter 90,000-150,000 ton aircraft carriers to provide aireal reconnaissance and air support to the Russian fleets for combating enemy navies directly.
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    Post  Firebird Thu Jul 13, 2023 10:18 am

    That would cost a gigantic amount of money.
    Plus its possible a/c carriers are a thing of the past in peer-to-peer environments.

    A fraction of that money could be spent on next gen drones, AI, electronic warfare, missiles and methods of long range deployment of aircraft. And would prob be more effective.

    America (assuming a non nuclear war) would have pretty limited uses for its own aircraft carriers vs Russia... or China.

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    Post  lancelot Thu Jul 13, 2023 11:43 am

    I think the carrier as a ship will continue to be used. Drone carriers might come into use to mostly replace the uses of manned aircraft carriers however.

    Putting aircraft on a ship allows that ship to spot targets and attack beyond the horizon. It is as simple as that.

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    Post  GarryB Thu Jul 13, 2023 1:08 pm

    You can't counter a regime change with carriers.

    The purpose of the carrier is to defend the ships the carrier is operating with... Russian carriers are air defence carriers and are not for invading countries... a Russian surface action group has ships that would attack targets on land and landing ships for invading countries... aircraft carriers would be there purely to protect the ships and allow them to do whatever they are trying to do. The carriers provide the air component... the Cruisers and Destroyers are the heavy long range and medium range and short range air defences... frigates and corvettes can defend themselves and in groups can help defend each other. Destroyers and Cruisers have enough missiles and missile types to defend themselves and other ships and to manage the air defence to make it vastly more effective. Having carriers means having aircraft and airborne radar which makes the surface group even better defended from enemy air threats and surface ship threats and also sub surface threats.

    US hijacking russian and chinese civilian ships is a declaration of war against them.

    Once they have hijacked the ship is Russia or China going to go to war over that?

    Having surface ships that can oppose the hijackers is what is needed... even a Russian corvette could threaten to sink any US ship within 1,000km range... but such boats on their own are vulnerable to attack themselves, which is why destroyers and cruisers are needed and what makes destroyers and cruisers much safer from enemy attack? Fighter aircraft and airborne radar aircraft... = carriers.

    I respect your opinion about aircraft carriers Garry but I think they are redundant, of debatable value, overpriced and not worth the money.

    Without a blue water navy who is going to trade with Russia and risk being regime changed by the US or a HATO navy group?

    Russia has nothing to counter hypersonic missiles either. It's just a matter of time before US get its own in service.

    Russia has several types already in service that the US cannot reliably stop, and are working on new air defence systems that can stop even hypersonic weapons... and regarding air defence... who would you rate higher than Russia?

    If US can go ahead and destroy russian corvettes and frigates off Venezuela, they can also destroy a russian carrier. There is no difference.

    First of all who said they can. It would have to be subs or large numbers of ships and aircraft attacking to sink those Russian ships and the US is likely to lose rather a lot of platforms trying. For Russia to have an aircraft carrier anywhere they will need escort cruisers and destroyers too and a few subs around the place to defend them and each other... if the US wants to sink any of them they will lose a lot of their force if they try.

    At least with more Yasen they are sure to be able to sink US ships too.

    A single Russian Corvette can carry 8 Zircon missiles... how many ships do you think the US would be prepared to lose to get a single corvette?

    Lets say it has 4 Zircons and 4 Otvets... the Americans wont know, so after they lose an SSN they try to send in a destroyer... will they send destroyer number five after losing four before that? Will they even send two after losing the first? How many subs and surface ships will they send to get one Corvette... what if there is a Yasen there as well... the new navy net centric system means they can communicate...

    A small carrier well optimized can do the job.

    You say that when the next French carrier is going to be a nuke that is about 75K tons with cats... what happened to Britains small carriers...

    What you say is like saying mig-35 is useless because su-35 exists. The bigger carrier is better but that doesn't mean the smaller is useless.

    Even on the Kuznetsov it was designed to carry both types of aircraft because an Su-35 has range and speed and capacity, but the MiG-35 has numbers and numbers matter too.

    The point is that four Su-35s on an aircraft carrier means they can take off and fly at full speed to intercept targets 1,500km away from the carrier and then return... a MiG-35 could do the same but could not fly as fast... it would be going slow conserving fuel and would have reduced weapon load because it would have external fuel tanks.

    If your carrier is under attack you AWACS detects the threat at max range so the Su-35s can fly full AB and get to the incoming threats first while they are still quite a distance away, while your MiG-35s are loaded up with suitable weapons and launched too... flying slower they will meet the enemy at 700km and engage them and because the MiG-35s are smaller you can have twice as many on board your ship than if you only had the bigger Flankers so while the Flankers are landing and refuelling and rearming you second lot of MiG-35s are launching to meet the threat at 500km range and so you keep hitting the threat at different distances from your ships until the get close enough for the AD systems on your ships can start engaging them with information from your AWACS and your aircraft AESA and IRST systems...

    In terms of performance a small carrier is not a lot cheaper than a bigger one but its capacity is greatly reduced.

    An aircraft carrier needs to carry enormous amounts of aviation fuel and weapons for your aircraft to carry, as well as food stores and water for a crew and air component that is similar to a small town... the bigger that ship is the more it can carry the better it can operate in far away locations.

    Having a big carrier that could carry 90 armed combat aircraft means you might only operate with 24 aircraft, but with fuel and ammo and components and equipment for 90 so instead of lasting one month on station you can last 3 months... which means the trail of supply ships following you everywhere can be much shorter... having a small ship means bullshit like going for CV instead of a CVN which means carrying fuel to move you around as well as aviation fuel too...

    No one ever complained about having too much space or too much storage on board a ship.

    The opposite is always a problem.

    A small one with a nuk power, catapults and su-57 armed with kh-59mk2 and new hypersonic missiles is a powerful tool.

    With nuclear propulsion it is not going to be cheap but with nuke propulsion the operational costs should be minimised by the new reactors that never need to be refuelled over the operational lifetime of the reactor. NPP means lots of power for cats and radar and other exotic stuff including drones... the more space you have the more you can carry.

    Drones and artillery have been a massive Russian winner. Large ships have been far less useable.

    That ship had no major upgrades since the early 1980s... it still had OSA for goodness sake... yet its powerful radar actually made it rather useful.

    Clouds of cheap equipment could potentially trump one super high value item like an a/c carrier.

    I disagree... Russian AD and EW has rendered US and western attack drones that were going to wipe the floor with those idiot Russian conscripts useless... if anything the Russians are now experts in the use of drones in conventional warfare against a HATO level enemy.

    My guess is that we will see more unmanned equipment, directed by manned equipment. And probably far less "eggs in one basket" ie smaller ships not giant behemoths. BUT ... directed energy weapons, lasers etc might require fairly large ships. So really, whilst we can pretend trends, we can't really predict the exact path.

    Surface ships, large or small, wont survive without air cover and air support... and larger ships can carry decent levels of air defence missiles... current Russian corvettes have some nice kit but don't have enough SAMs to stop a decent attack.

    My personal view is that no one worries about a loss of a little equipment but soldier deaths have political effects and military effects. Automation, human direction, remote control are all key areas to develop. So I expect the next a/c carriers to have huge numbers of drones and relatively few manned planes or crews.

    It seems to be going that way, but drones have not replaced manned attack helicopters or manned fighter aircraft and I don't think drones will replace MBTs and BMPs either... and a navy of speed boats will be trivial to take out... a destroyer with 4 x 57mm gun turrets at the front and 2 x 57mm gun turrets to the rear and a hundred thousand 57mm shells of different types and those speed boats and any drones you care to launch will be dead meat... water cooled automatic 57mm guns with modern ammo would eat them for breakfast.

    One thing I have thought about is a mix of 200,000 ton-500,000 aircraft carriers that could sustain air operations over allied countries on thier own to crush US efforts at undermining them and lighter 90,000-150,000 ton aircraft carriers to provide aireal reconnaissance and air support to the Russian fleets for combating enemy navies directly.

    Even the US can't afford such ships and they would be trouble to manouver. Something in the 75-90K ton range that is not too big and not too small would be ideal... it would need to carry Su-57 fighters and also a lighter fighter that replaces the MiG-29KR. It would have lots of drones onboard too, but its primary purpose would be to help defend Russian surface ships by carrying AWACS aircraft and fighter aircraft.

    When you are a commander of a cruiser in the open ocean and you detect a target 1,000km away what do you do? You can't send a ship to have a look and if you radio it you give away your position and your ID. Being able to launch high speed fighters to investigate means you have better situational awareness especially if you can also direct an airborne AWACS platform to check for surface targets and low flying targets too.

    Being able to send a couple of fighters that can defend themselves and break contact and return quickly means you find out what is happening without risking a ship.

    In the late 1980s a US AEGIS cruiser was chasing Iranian ships and detected an incoming threat. F-14s that were operating nearby were called off by the carrier commander because he thought the AEGIS cruiser captain was being a dick and he didn't want to lose an aircraft, but if everyone was behaving they could have sent an F-14 to investigate and it would have seen that the threat was an airbus civilian airliner that was climbing and on a registered civilian air route and no one would have had to die...

    Having air power you can use to collect information means better situational awareness and better decisions being made with better information.

    The Kuznetsov is going to be their only fixed wing carrier for a decade, they need destroyers and cruisers to be built to support their new helicopter carriers before looking at building some new carriers... but the lessons so far are that Kuznetsov is too small and not well designed for aircraft and cats and nuclear propulsion and probably a 75-90K ton carrier is what would work the best.

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    Post  Firebird Fri Jul 14, 2023 12:19 pm

    There are some interesting research studies done by the Americans online.
    Of course you need to treat anything they say with cynicism. Given that the US is currently invested in 13(?) 100k ton carriers plus a huge number of lighter heli carriers.

    Anyway, the studies accept the ac carrier is far less invincible than before. That drones, AI and other weapons are becoming very relevant. However they dont dismiss very expensive fighter jets and airborne intel etc.
    The bottom line is... they are not sure what will replace the carrier that holds 90 piloted jets.

    I think with tech we will find the useful life of many products will diminish. And major midlife overhauls will be required. The strange part is, we can see lots of things are only done the way they are for historical reasons. Rapid changes will occur. But countries will want to hedge their bets on what are the winning weapons of the future.


    PS one uptake of the Pukraine operation is that it currently seems harder to keep secrets. Satellite intel means locations are easier to identify. BUT.... will satellites be jammed in the future? Or will electronic warfare turn airspace into no go areas for pilots or drones? All speculation, no one knows. I like the idea of mini sea and airborne drone carriers. And missiles that can lock onto moving targets.. or be guides by drones. That tech isnt far away at all.
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    Post  GarryB Fri Jul 14, 2023 1:56 pm


    Anyway, the studies accept the ac carrier is far less invincible than before.

    It never was invincible... tests with SSKs show repeatedly in their own exercises how not invincible their old carriers were and their new carriers are up against even bigger threats.

    If you want Russia to have big aircraft carriers because it will make their surface fleet invincible then you are deluded... nothing is invincible.

    But ask yourself... would you want the Russian Army to fight with zero air power... to give up AWACS and air based intel aircraft and all fighter aircraft and just rely on SAMs?

    Did Javelin and NLAW and mines make tanks obsolete?

    Did stinger and starstreak make attack helicopters obsolete?

    Are drones making armour and aircraft obsolete?

    In every case no... they weren't nothing but equally they weren't the game changers they were billed as being.

    Ironically Iskander and Kinzhal and even Kh-22M and Kh-32 seem to be pretty damn amazing and unstoppable, and of course Kornet and the plain old anti tank mine seem to be devastating the nazi forces, and of course the multitude of drones they are using to find and to kill enemy targets all over the battlefield and also deep behind enemy lines are also having an impressive effect and are actually compensating for the lack of a light fighter in their air line up, but I rather suspect a decent number of MiG-35s or Checkmates would actually make a serious difference.

    Having such aircraft with modern capable AESA radars and IRST sensors detecting targets and threats in the battlefield in real time will make battle management easier... having a battle map of the combat zone is nice but having MiGs flying around the place finding enemy positions and vehicles in real time and marking them on everyones map makes those maps rather more useful... ground forces can look at the map and mark targets to be hit as priority targets, while decoys pretending to be targets can also be marked.

    The point is that air power should be working together with ground forces as a single force that shares information and also shares offensive and defensive capability... when a CAS aircraft or drone spots an enemy artillery piece open up, engaging that piece and destroying it is more effective than tracing where the rounds are going and just trying to shoot them all down.

    Equally enemy planes getting airborne can be engaged faster if you already have aircraft in the air waiting for them.

    Air power does a lot of things well but requires airfields.

    At sea those airfields are aircraft carriers... when you can only get 90 aircraft on a ship then you want the best planes you can get but you don't want all Su-57 because that might mean you can only carry 50. Carrying Su-57s and also their new twin engined MiG carrier design as a light fighter means having more aircraft deployed operationally which is also important.

    If they can design a multi hull design that allows 90 aircraft on a lighter carrier... perhaps 50K tons... then that is fine... the point is that Kuznetsov has been determined to be too small and they need more aircraft even if they don't always carry a full aircraft compliment. They have inflight refuelling tankers so if the carrier is off the coast of Venezuela and they decide they want more aircraft they could ship them there or fly them there to join the carrier group.

    This is about a ship surface force that needs expanded air defence capacity and who things air defence is good without airborne fighters and airborne radar.

    The irony is that HATO ground forces are the opposite... they think air power is everything... well the Russian Army can operate without air support if necessary, but air power adds power and strength to a ground force both in terms of situational awareness and reach.

    That drones, AI and other weapons are becoming very relevant. However they dont dismiss very expensive fighter jets and airborne intel etc.

    Well the point is that a small aircraft carrier would be ideal for carrying and operating a lot of drones. Of the two 40K ton helicopter carriers they have laid down one is supposed to be dedicated to drones to support the naval infantry force the other carrier will be carrying. Having the Kuznetsov to provide fixed wing fighter cover and AWACS support with Ka-31s makes them much better protected than if they were operating on their own.

    I think with tech we will find the useful life of many products will diminish.

    This conflict has spurred work on drones in Russia, and also anti drone technology and air defences... both of which could be translated to naval based systems to deal with missiles and drones... you want a really big ship to carry all those missiles and guns and jammers and laser weapons to deal with drone swarms... a 152mm artillery shell with an EMP device might be part of the solution to a drone swarm... how are you going to get that and a decent number of shells onto a frigate or corvette?

    Guided artillery shells are probably the simplest and quickest route to a functioning naval attack swarm... a 152mm gun firing 50kg shells to 180km range at 70 shells per minute would be hard to defend against at the best of times... a cruiser with two twin guns could really damage quite a big fleet of enemy vessels very quickly... two or three hits and most ships will no longer be fighting you and will be just fighting to survive...

    A 203mm version firing 110kg shells out to 200km or more becomes very interesting too... a scramjet motor and a small amount of fuel and that shell might be travelling 500km plus distances with say a 60kg HE warhead with an armour penetrating nose to dig deep into a modern ship before exploding with an HE incendiary payload...

    PS one uptake of the Pukraine operation is that it currently seems harder to keep secrets. Satellite intel means locations are easier to identify. BUT.... will satellites be jammed in the future? Or will electronic warfare turn airspace into no go areas for pilots or drones? All speculation, no one knows. I like the idea of mini sea and airborne drone carriers. And missiles that can lock onto moving targets.. or be guides by drones. That tech isnt far away at all.

    One of the touted features of the S-500 is to reach targets in space, and they mentioned the S-550 that is optimised for smacking ICBM and IRBM threats to ground targets wont be on their ships... which ironically suggests S-500s will be on their ships...

    I would think the power and weight you could put on a big ship would make super Peresvet and mount a couple of them on a nuclear powered cruiser and aircraft carrier just for air defence... they deployed the ground based one and can take a few years to increase its power and performance before they start putting it on Destroyers and Cruisers and new CVNs...

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    Post  GarryB Fri Jul 14, 2023 2:11 pm

    If you think modern body armour is useless because it does not stop a HMG round, or a helmet wont stop a 500kg air delivered bomb from killing you then you don't understand war.

    A BTR-80 will stop small arms fire and fragments from small calibre weapons like automatic grenade launchers and light mortars... if you think about it they could have made it an 80 ton vehicle with super thick armour which would require expensive big powerful engines and the wheels replaced with tracks and it would be too expensive to move your troops with so MOST WOULD WALK.

    The BTR-80 is light and highly mobile and protects the soldiers inside it from a large number of threats on a modern battlefield... but not all... because nothing will protect from everything.

    The Americans called the BTR series a joke... at a time when they moved troops in trucks... now trucks are wheeled and have good mobility but are not armoured at all and not amphibious and have no organic fire power like the BTR for which most versions had a HMG that was equivalent to western 20mm cannon.

    When you wear a flak jacket it wont protect you from all sorts of things... even the ones designed to stop rifle calibre rounds only do so with chest plates so bullets hitting you from the side will just go straight through. Ironically the modern Russian armour is so good soldiers have noticed after the battle that there were chest hits that they didn't feel at the time... how scary is that?

    But they protect them from fragments and long range shots and all sorts of other dangerous things and reduce injuries.

    An aircraft carrier extends the distance a group of surface ships can see approaching threats and allows them to identify threats and targets and neutrals faster which allows the commander of that group to make much better informed decisions regarding his force.

    Finding surface and air targets out to extended ranges by using air based radar moving at 500km/h that might be 100km away from any of your ships does not give away your location as much as blasting away with ship radar 10m above the waterline does and from 10km altitude you get a better view of the world around you.

    Early warning and better information makes everything easier... you might detect a cluster of targets in one direction and launch a drone to investigate... it should detect what sort of thing it is before it gets shot down, but equally sending a fighter aircraft means it gets there faster... has vastly better sensors and self defence capacity and can attack if needed or retreat back towards the ship till support arrives.

    With an Su-57 it can go in stealth mode with all internal weapons (ie low drag) and use passive sensors to find out what is happening... the enemy might not even notice them because they wont want to use their radar too much to give away their position and force size.... the Su-57 might be operating with an S-70 wingman drone... it could be carrying a range of onboard weapons including air to air and air to surface missiles which it could launch against multiple targets at once while the manned aircraft leave the area...

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    Post  Mir Fri Jul 14, 2023 2:54 pm

    Aircraft carriers are definitely not redundant but I believe the aircraft component will see a somewhat radical transformation with a lot more UAV's on board. These UAV's will fulfill every conceivable role you can imagine on a aircraft carrier; from AWACS/AEW to air defense, strike and ECM and strike roles - including ASW. However the days of manned aircraft is not quite over yet.

    The SMO should serve as a wake up call for the Russian MOD (I hope) where any naval ops should be conducted with adequate air cover and on board defense systems in order to survive.

    Bottom line is you need be able to project power in order to protect your economic/military interests and you can only do it with an aircraft carrier.

    The Nakhimov is soon going to be the most powerful surface ship in the world but it can only survive for as long as it has defensive hardware. However, accompanied by an aircraft carrier (and a couple of submarines) would make the Nakhimov a very scary prospect for any naval opponent. A nightmare is a actually better description. Pearl Harbor will look like kids play. Laughing

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    Post  Begome Fri Jul 14, 2023 11:18 pm

    I've been thinking about the topic of future Russian aircraft carriers and the future of CVNs in general quite a bit lately, so I want to collect my thoughts for feedback here.

    What will follow is a three-part analysis, where first I will present an optimistic version of the Lamantin carrier (Nevskoye) as one of the stronger candidates for a future Russian aircraft carrier, then an analysis of whether an aircraft carrying cruiser (ATAVKR) such as this hypothetical Lamantin makes sense when Russia could also be churning out ships like the modernized Nakhimov nuclear missile cruiser (TARKR) and its smaller cousin (Lider) in the future, which is a popular topic in Russian forums, where I will show why I think that in this dichotomy the ATAVKR does "win". And lastly I will share my latest thoughts on a third option, which could end up being far more potent at smaller cost compared to both ATAVKRs and TARKRs. If this should rather be moved into its own thread, I have no problem with mods moving it.



    The Lamantin

    Future Russian Aircraft Carriers and Deck Aviation. #3 Screen10

    Lamantin CVN concept from Nevskoye design bureau, shown publicly in 2019; note that this is essentially a slightly modernized version of the Soviet Ulyanovsk CVN design, with fairly small changes (e.g. a different tower and removing the P-700 Granit AShM cells...it seems very unfinished); if this concept were chosen for the first Heavy Nuclear Aircraft-Carrying Cruiser, there would be additional changes (see image below): Pantsir-M (or rather a modernized version of it, such as a naval version of Pantsir-SM) instead of Kortik-M, Paket-NK instead of Udav-1, and likely VLS cells instead of the hatches, which on the Ulyanovsk covered S-300F revolvers, like on the Kirov cruisers; their size is pretty massive, so it is imaginable that, e.g., the 2x6 hatches in the back could be replaced by 2x4x4 S-500F-type cells (would be a bit wider) and the 2x6 in the front by 2x3x8 UKSK (or UKSK-M).

    Future Russian Aircraft Carriers and Deck Aviation. #3 Screen11

    According to data provided by Nevskoye, this CVN would have a nuclear power source with a conventional backup, 120 days of autonomous operations, 2800 sailors and 800 soldiers (airwing + marines), two electromagnetic catapult systems and a ski-jump, 80,000 - 90,000 t displacement, with up to 2000 t of ammo for the airwing, which would include up to 60 aircraft (6-10 drones are mentioned, though it’s unclear whether those are included in the 60).
    The total armament would therefore work out as follows (highly speculative):
    • 8 Pantsir-M (mod.), for a total of 192 hypersonic, 30-40 km range air defense (AD) missiles, which can intercept even low-hypersonic targets and
    • 256 small, 5 km range missiles for guarding against AD saturation by drone swarms (each Pantsir-M would have missile packs with 3 large and 4 small missiles)
    • 16 30mm Gatling guns of the Pantsir-M systems and EW to supplement the above
    • 32 S-500F cells with hypersonic missiles capable of intercepting all kinds of targets, including all hypersonic targets, at up to 600 km range, and perhaps even low-orbit satellites
    • 48 UKSK cells for AShM, such as Tsirkon, and other offensive missiles, or, in the case of UKSK-M, even other AD missiles, e.g. from the Redut system
    • 16 Paket-NK torpedo tubes for anti-torpedo defense / ASW
    • perhaps even 2-4 Poseidon for ASW / tactical nuclear strikes to sink enemy Carrier Battle Groups

    The airwing could be comprised of
    • 24+ Su-57K
    • 5 AEW aircraft
    • 6-10 large UCAV
    • 20+ helicopters: 10 ASW, 4 attack, 6 attack/transport (e.g. to deploy 100 marines)

    Su-57K may have 2000 km combat range (while supercruising at up to M=2) and would carry hypersonic missiles.



    Does Russia even need an aircraft carrier? ...

    Cost: according to Vladimir Pospelov (high ranking member of industry and government boards): at least 500 billion rubles for the first CVN, which seemed to include the cost of deck aviation and weapons as well as development; it’s common in Russia to include development cost in the first unit, though it’s not always the case, but it’s likely that the following carriers would be cheaper; 500 bln. RUB over 10 years are less than 2% of Russia’s defense budget.

    Feasibility: the head of the United Shipbuilding Corporation has announced in 2020 that he feels the Russian shipbuilding industry is ready for such a project and Vladimir Pospelov has suggested that it could be built in Sevmash or, most likely, Zvezda (in Bolshoy Kamen, Far East) and that the main issues to be worked out at this point are the electromagnetic catapult and arrestor systems and designing a new naval fighter (confirmed to most likely be a Su-57 derivative).

    Purposiveness: most constructive criticisms of a Russian carrier are leveled at the putative lack of a role for it; indeed, even Russia’s leadership during the Soviet Era has long resisted such a project; nevertheless, they eventually gave in and saw the wisdom of constructing very specific kinds of aircraft carriers, which gave rise to the world’s first Heavy (Nuclear) Aircraft-Carrying Cruisers (ATAVKR); Russia’s leadership and navy today agrees that such ships are useful despite Russia being primarily a continental power (for power projection, demonstration of industrial, scientific, engineering and economic might as well as helping keep trade routes open and potentially helping far away allies militarily without needing to establish a huge global network of naval bases and a gigantic support fleet as the US Navy has).


    Because the project Orlan Heavy Nuclear Missile Cruisers (TARKR) also provide global reach without a global network and the ability to deter enemy Carrier Battle Groups, it makes sense to compare these two classes of ships to see which is more cost-effective (3 modernized Orlan TARKR vs. 1 fictional Lamantin ATAVKR):

    Cost: while the procurement cost could be very similar (all 3 “Orlan” vs. 1 Lamantin), the combined TARKR crews would be smaller (about 2000 vs 3600), but more nuclear reactors would have to be maintained, which is not cheap...still, the TARKR could come out on top here, especially on the operating costs.

    Striking: the TARKR certainly lead in the amount of ship-launched strike missiles (we assume 80 UKSK per TARKR), but the 48 UKSK on the Lamantin would only be a “backup” in case the attack needs to be carried out very quickly or severe weather makes it difficult or impossible to launch Su-57K with AShM, which would happen only very rarely...the actual strike capability of the Lamantin would draw from the 1600-2000 t of ammo for the airwing, of which most would be air to ground or air to surface (let’s assume at least 1000 t comparable to UKSK-launched missiles, with the rest being air to air missiles or things like unguided rockets for the attack helicopters or bombs, which would be most comparable to the large caliber guns on the TARKR), which means between 600 and 1500 such weapons (depends on the exact mix), which is not just far more than the 3 TARKR can deliver, but also achieves greater ranges: the best AShM in service in Russia is the Tsirkon, which has a naval range of up to 1000 km (maybe more); compare that with a possible ~2000 km combat range of the Su-57, after which the fighter would shoot its own hypersonic AShM with likely at least 500 km range; even the performance of the future Kalibr-M LACM with 4500 km range could be exceeded if the Su-57 uses external fuel tanks and flies a more economic profile (4500 km range likely possible that way + whatever range the standoff missiles have); the ATAVKR also has much greater flexibility (e.g. can use Kinzhal and a myriad of other non-UKSK-compatible weapons).

    Recon: having AShM with 1000 km range doesn’t help if targets cannot be reconnoitered at such ranges; the TARKR are thus heavily dependent on Russia's Liana satellite reconnaissance system, since any onboard AEW helicopters only have recon ranges of max. 300-500 km and thus mostly provide better surface search against small targets, like incoming sea-skimming AShM, rather than detecting ships at greater ranges (we assume the TARKR have some sort of Monument OTH radar)...without the satellite network the already smaller range of the TARKR is further reduced, while the ATAVKR can use far more potent AEW aircraft that can fly longer, higher, faster and have a more powerful radar (also, there would be 5 such aircraft vs. 3 Ka-31-like helos); furthermore, those AEW aircraft are rather easy targets, especially the helicopters...an ATAVKR can use its fighters to protect them much better than the TARKR can (same for ASW helos and helicopters used in ground operations)...recon against submarine targets is easier with more ASW helos, which again benefits the ATAVKR, since the 3 TARKR only have 9 helos in total (can be pushed to 15, but that’s straining the capacity and it’s still less than the 20+ of the ATAVKR).

    Defense: if we assume the 3 TARKR to have about 30 S-500F, 50 S-400F and 6 Pantsir-M each then we clearly see more AD capability as well as more survivability for the group (one devastating hit only takes out 1 of 3 TARKR, while there is only 1 ATAVKR), but the ATAVKR has the great advantage of being able to preempt a strike on itself using its far superior reconnaissance & strike ranges + much better ASW capabilities (more & better protected helos); nevertheless, we do see a potential weak spot for the proposed Lamantin here (namely conventional AD), which means a TARKR escort (one is enough) would be wise.

    Land operations: the TARKR only have a token ability for ground operations compared to the ATAVKR; they do have 3 large caliber guns to provide artillery support, but at much shorter ranges than the ATAVKR with its fighters and UCAVs; the latter also has a much greater helicopter-based attack and transport capability.

    → So, we see that ATAVKR can provide capabilities that cannot be gained otherwise and that they can even be more efficient in some ways than the alternative TARKRs.



    … or does it need a new paradigm?

    While the previous analysis has focused on comparing TARKRs with ATAVKRs, an evaluation of the uses of aircraft carriers is not necessarily limited to such a dichotomy. Even with improved air defense à la carrier-borne S-500 and/or S-550 and enhanced ASW capability à la ASW-version of Poseidon, the carrier will remain, on the one hand, due to its relatively low speed, huge size and limited movement options (limited to the sea surface only) one of the most vulnerable targets and on the other hand, due to the enormous size and number of systems as well as thousands of sailors who want to get paid, one of the most, or, rather, the most expensive weapon system.

    What if there was yet another option? Depending on certain technological developments, in 15-25 years, I think there might be.
    → Enter the (optionally) nuclear-armed, nuclear-powered, super- to hypersonic Mega-Bombers and Mega-Interceptors.

    Future Russian Aircraft Carriers and Deck Aviation. #3 Pak-da10
    Think bigger, with VLS in the back and a huge fan for VTOL behind the cockpit and magic elves in the cockpit.

    The idea is to use a nuclear jet engine, possibly a variant of the Burevestnik’s (SSCX-9 Skyfall) engine, in a significantly improved version to power a large aircraft. The engine would have to not exude any radioactive compounds, be safe, reliable and durable, and allow for at least supersonic (M2-M3) or even hypersonic (at least M5) flight; it would need to last at least 30 flights (one flight would last 1-4 weeks). Since even Western intel agencies have estimated the (presumably) high sub-sonic Burevestnik nuclear-powered cruise missile to enter service by 2026, it seems that the end of the 2030s, so ~15 years from now, which is when the first newly produced carrier would be expected to enter service, would be a reasonable time frame to have a super-sonic, non-contaminating and more durable version of the Burevestnik’s engine ready for deployment on newly developed aircraft:

    The Mega-Bombers or Flying Missile Fortresses, would be 2-3 times larger versions of the Tu-160M, possibly with some design input from the PAK-DA program, would fly at M2-M3 and be gigantic, global range missile carriers. Compared to the Tu-160M’s ~40-50 ton ordnance, the Mega-Bomber would be able to carry 80-150 tons as a result of increased size alone, while the fact that the up to 130 tons of fuel per Tu-160M would obviously not need to be carried due to the nuclear-powered engines further increases carrying capacity; the engines, however, would be heavier (possibly longer path for the air required to heat it sufficiently and the radioactive parts of the engine will need shielding), and the aircraft frame would need to be sturdier (= heavier) to be able to support the large amounts of varying payloads (see below), but nevertheless at least 50-80 t of the 130 t of fuel could likely be “converted” to extra ordnance before accounting for larger size, such that there could be (40 or 50 + 50 or 80) * (2 or 3) = 180-390 tons of SRAAMs, MRAAMs, LRAAMs and PGMs available.

    The crew would consist of 5 people (4 main pilots working in pairs in two 12 hour shifts and one engineer / medic / cook / stand-in pilot assistant) as opposed to the 3000-4000 people of the ATAVKR and as such basically guarantee a massive reduction in upkeep costs, even with 10-20 units “per ATAVKR” (as replacement). The purchasing costs would likely be 5-10 times that of the Tu-160M, so around 500-1000 million USD equivalent, so ~10% of the purchasing cost of one ATAVKR, while the ordnance carried would be 10-20% of the available aircraft ordnance of a Lamantin carrier, according to Nevskoye (if we also account for the ship-borne missiles then it’s closer to 10%), meaning with similar purchasing costs (and likely much lower upkeep costs) a similar amount of ordnance could be commanded, but in 10+ combat units instead of 1, which are also basically invulnerable to submarines, can fly anywhere on the globe instead of being stuck at the water surface, and do so at 20-60 times the speed.

    The Mega-Bombers would likely have ROFAR arrays across their entire surface (a concept already mentioned a few years ago as likely being feasible, with ROFAR prototypes already existing in Russia) and as such be enormous ISR and EW-bastions (likely would also have DIRCM turrets on back and belly with high power laser capability), while close-in defense would be augmented by SRAAMs of relatively short range (20-40 km), which could be situated en-masse in VLS-type launchers on the back of the aircraft, thus giving itself significant air defense capability even while on the ground; their mass would be lower than the R-73, which only weighs 100 kg, so maybe 50 kg, which means having 200 of them would “only” come out to 10 tons + the VLS, so maybe 20 tons, i.e. almost nothing, such that the remaining 160-370 tons would be used up by the weapons in the main weapon bays on the belly with, e.g. 100 R-77M (200 kg each, so 20 tons gone), 100 R-37M (600 kg each, so 60 tons gone) and up to 80 or so hypersonic air-to-ground missiles (e.g. Kinzhal). Obviously the design of such expansive weapons bays would present a challenge, but remember that we have lots of space where the fuel tanks would be in a “Mega-Tu-160”. The weapons bays could also host air-dominance or strike UCAVs + a retrieval mechanism (post-mission pickup), so cheap bombs instead of expensive missiles could be used without risking a Mega-Bomber overflight of the target area or even a habitation module for some Sotnik-with-jet-pack equipped Spetsnaz guys or one air-droppable VDV company per Mega-Bomber (this could simply be a matter of switching out the “weapons bay” modules if made modular). They could even be used as strategic transport and thus obviate the need for a large PAK-VTA fleet, though they’d either need VTOL capability or special runways would need to be built in friendly countries. VTOL would be a challenge, but the nuclear reactor could be a bit of a mix of an indirect air cycle engine and a more classical nuclear power plant as in, e.g. the Poseidon, where some of the heat is used by a separate turbine to help drive the compressors of the main engines (which would have deflectable nozzles) and additional fans for VTOL.
    Edit: okay VTOL is probably too difficult to do, but it's also not absolutely necessary: strategic airlift can be done by PAK-VTA and due to the global range and week-long flight duration all missions could simply be done with take off and landing at Russian airstrips; there could also be ways to reduce requirements for airstrips, such as implementing an undercarriage with many and large wheels to spread the weight around more, as well as a special breaking system, combined with a way to reverse engine thrust (either fan blades with variable angle or a mechanism that redirects exhaust air forward) in order to reduce required landing strip length to perhaps 2 km, while discardable solid rocket boosters and thrust vectoring nozzles could shorten take off distance, thus perhaps obviating the need for special airstrips just for this aircraft type.
    VDV could also receive some kind of bulldozer to help create that kind of airstrip after being dropped.

    So it seems the role and performance of an ATAVKR could theoretically be almost fully covered and in some areas superseded by such Mega-Bombers if ~30-50 of them (instead of 3-5 ATAVKR) were ordered, and all for similar purchasing cost, but likely much lower upkeep costs and yielding much greater flexibility.

    The Mega-Interceptors would be nuclear-powered, low-hypersonic aircraft maybe 1,5 – 2 times the size of the MiG-31, with global range (can fly around the entire planet in less than 10 hours) as a further development of the PAK-DP. They would represent a kind of “operational reserve” for the Mega-Bombers as well as a sort of global quick reaction recon and strike machine.


    This all hinges on an enormous science and engineering feat, of course, which would be simply incredible if achieved. However, since even Western "experts" admit that Burevestnik will likely happen, the first big step toward this capability would thus soon be taken. After that there would be still be more than a decade to further develop nuclear aircraft engines.

    The timing here is also very interesting: right now the RFAF are greatly prioritizing Ground and Airborne Forces, while deprioritizing the navy. Under such conditions it is very unlikely that a big CVN / ATAVKR project will be embarked on this decade IMO. Instead, a compromise solution might be reached, such as buying a Kuznetsov-clone hull from the Chinese with some basic systems and then putting Russian sensors and weapon systems and maybe a nuclear reactor on it. This way Russia would have two aircraft carriers until ~2040 and one until ~2080 (that one could even be nuclear-powered), which would reduce the pressure to build more. Furthermore, toward the end of this decade at least one hostile power will likely begin serial production of some hypersonic weapon, which will increase the vulnerability of all huge, slow targets, especially aircraft carriers; by then the Burevestnik and Poseidon will likely be in serial production and advanced versions of such engines will have entered their development cycles, which would be considered by planners. Also at this time would be the PAK-DP getting ready for serial production, which will help with learning how to build high-supersonic or even hypersonic aircraft, while the Tu-160M, which is supposed to be able to shoot MRAAMs at threats, even behind itself, can be considered as an initial, much simplified prototype of the Flying Missile Fortress.
    Should Russia go for this paradigm shift, it would ironically, at least arguably, be less of a shift than a bunch of ATAVKRs, since Russia never had more than one in service anyway. Instead, the Russian navy would simply retain its extreme submarine focus, with the surface fleet being mostly some SMS, corvettes and (heavy) frigates and some landing ships with only a small number of capital ships (2 heli carriers, 2 aircraft carriers and 1 or 2 nuclear cruisers), while the money saved there would be redirected to a kind of global nuclear air force for conventional deterrence and intervention capability, where the Flying Missile Fortresses, helped by the Global Interceptors could quickly clear an arbitrary airspace anywhere on the planet, deploy 2 VDV brigades who would clear a landing zone and then bring in ground forces (with more Flying Missile Fortresses in strategic airlift mode or PAK-VTA).

    Technically, since modern missiles can be thought of as aircraft, too, with sensors, own EW capabilities, swarming capabilities and huge range and obviously UCAVs are aircraft, these Flying Missile Fortresses would be a kind of aircraft carrier, too.

    Anyway, probably a bit too crazy, but who knows Very Happy

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    Post  Mir Sat Jul 15, 2023 12:03 pm

    @Begome

    Interesting post.

    As far as future Russian carriers go it makes sense for me to stick with a modified version of the Lamantin. As you've mentioned it's an evolutionary step from the Ulaynovsk which makes R&D much easier and a lot cheaper and also save a lot of time.

    I fully agree with you that the design should see several upgrades as apposed to what the actual model represents.

    There are two things that you mention that I would not include on the carrier. Air defense at sea (or land) is a numbers game and you need significant numbers to repel any attack. The S-500 would be too large with too few missiles for the job. However if you want to defend against satellites you could always just strap down a S-500 TEL or two on the deck somewhere. For example there is enough space on the right hand side of the island for it to be out of the way.

    The second thing would be the Poseidon drone. The hypersonic Tsirkon would be more than enough to deal with any opponent and besides the Poseidon is enormous.

    You also mention nuclear powered aircraft. The idea was tested by the Soviets many years ago - and although something like that would be viable some people would frown upon the idea of nuclear reactors flying about - let alone one that crashes! But yeah something like that is very doable.

    Building mega sized nuclear aircraft that will make the Airbus 380 look like a minivan is doubtful though, simply from a technical and practical perspective. Just getting something like that into the air would require enormous airstrips and infrastructure for example.

    Nothing wrong with dreaming though! Laughing
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    Post  GarryB Sat Jul 15, 2023 1:18 pm

    Aircraft carriers are definitely not redundant but I believe the aircraft component will see a somewhat radical transformation with a lot more UAV's on board.

    Most of the innovation in carrier design came from the British and their experience in carrier operations, I think there is still potential for development and new ideas in terms of new carriers and new propulsion systems (ie all electric) that have potential to change them in a positive way to make them more affordable yet remain effective.

    The UK had 20K ton mini carriers and they were terrible but still essential in the 80s, but there is potential for change in terms of fighters and AWACS types and indeed airborne recon platforms that could be used.

    I have mentioned multiple times that an airship based AWACS ticks all the boxes if it can be made with suitable performance and endurance, which dramatically changes the size and shape of the CVN you would have operating with your ships as that would eliminate the need for light transport type aircraft and their refuelling and AWACS variants meaning all the fighters could take off without cat assistance and so the cats might only be used with the heavy fighters with overload takeoffs with heavy weapons and full fuel loads... remember for an air defence carrier that is a lot of AAMs... which would also speed up getting aircraft in the air.

    Multi hull designs might revolutionise the design with an enormous hangar and plenty of deck space for a large number of aircraft deployed operationally.

    Drones make sense in a few roles but there are many which most countries are not even considering drones for just yet and it will be a while before they get the nod for.

    An AI fighter that gets hacked by the enemy that is then used to attack your own fleet is a liability even if the chances are remote because that sort of technology means even a country like Singapore might be a threat if they can use their electronics knowledge to use your drones against you...

    The SMO should serve as a wake up call for the Russian MOD (I hope) where any naval ops should be conducted with adequate air cover and on board defense systems in order to survive.

    I think they are very aware of the potential of drones, they were talking about the two helicopter landing ships they are building for one to be loaded with thousands of naval infantry troops and their armour as well as landing boats and hovercraft and helicopters, but for the other to be a drone mother ship presumably with sea surface and under surface drones (to be used to recon landing sites with naval spetsnaz operators and divers) as well as helicopters and air drones to find and attack targets during a landing... AFAIK no other country has a 40K ton ship dedicated to drones, but it makes sense as a force multiplier. No doubt they will build more ships that might include a hospital based ship with helicopters and landing boats and hovercraft with trucks and other vehicles for rescue and disaster relief roles, or combat roles to support rescue of troops etc.

    Bottom line is you need be able to project power in order to protect your economic/military interests and you can only do it with an aircraft carrier.

    It adds situational awareness and reach to a surface group of ships and increases the air defence capacity to make them much much stronger...

    They are not colonial carriers.

    whether an aircraft carrying cruiser (ATAVKR) such as this hypothetical Lamantin makes sense when Russia could also be churning out ships like the modernized Nakhimov nuclear missile cruiser (TARKR) and its smaller cousin (Lider) in the future, which is a popular topic in Russian forums,

    Asking whether the Russian Navy should have fixed wing full sized aircraft carriers or if they should have air defence cruisers is a false dichotomy... it is like asking why Russia should have large military airfields with Su-57s and Su-34s and MiG-31s and MiG-41s because airfields are such big easy targets, or if they should just spend their money on S-350 and S-400 and S-500 and S-550 missile batteries in enormous numbers everywhere.

    I would say why not have airdefence carriers and cruisers?

    With the new weapons and new sensors and new propulsion I don't think their new cruisers will be as big as the Kirov/Orlan family of ships, but I think their loadout of weapons will be much bigger including long range artillery weapons, but I also think their aircraft carriers are going to be bigger than the Kuznetsov because they need more aircraft to keep air patrol tempos up and defend the ship grouping they are working with.

    Of course by the time these new carriers get into service they will have destroyers and cruisers with air defence systems that will be eye watering... they have already talked about updated laser systems based on Perevest that are to burn the targets and not just dazzle them in the Ukraine and a ship can generate more electricity than a truck can...

    (please note I am commenting on the opinions of others... but this is only my opinion which I am not claiming matches what the Russian military wants in any way... feel free to disagree, but please everyone keep things civil... Smile )


    A lot of ideas are not new and some have been tried before like the mini carrier was the Hermes class British ships with STOVL Harrier types that did well in the Falklands because the enemy was relatively weakly armed with air to air missiles limited to Sidewinder type missiles on both sides... the British advantage was the newer Lima and Mike models.

    If Argentina had Phantoms or MiG-23 with BVR IR guided missiles those harriers would have really failed completely, but of course those mini carriers replaced carriers that could carry Phantoms and Buccaneers which would have transformed the conflict because they also had AWACS aircraft that would have allowed the Buccs or even the Phantoms to perform the missions they had to fly Vulcans all the way down there for, and the patrolling of the airspace and protecting of the ships would have been much more effective with Phantoms even with their Skyflash missiles being mediocre they could be fired at targets at distances the Argentine aircraft could not respond from and Phantoms had the speed and range to engage or disengage as they pleased and with AEW the Argentinian pilots would have been at an enormous disadvantage and their courage and skill would not have helped them.

    Carriers make a huge difference.

    America loves to waste money and show off but the British and French don't just throw money away...

    48 UKSK cells for AShM, such as Tsirkon, and other offensive missiles, or, in the case of UKSK-M, even other AD missiles, e.g. from the Redut system

    Those UKSK launch tubes could also carry the anti submarine Otvet ballistic rocket delivered torpedo which would allow helicopters with dipping sonar from the carrier and other ships to search the waters around the ship grouping for enemy subs which could then be fired upon using these mach 2.5 ballistic rocket delivered torpedoes out to a reported 60-100km... It can also carry heavy SAMs like the 250km and 400km range S-400 missiles which would be useful as it would have an AWACS and large AESA radar sensors to detect targets at such ranges. Note these missiles are ARH so even low flying low RCS can be engaged as the missiles don't get a lock on the target till they are so close any radar should lock.

    The airwing could be comprised of

    24+ Su-57K

    When they can afford it they prefer large and smaller fighters. The Su-33 and MiG-29 is a case in point as they have similar performance but having all Su-33s would mean less aircraft but operationally having more aircraft is much better... if there is a threat the time taken to launch all the Su-33s would mean after the first few launches... say 6-8 aircraft, it is actually likely that a closing target wont need the flight range of an Su-33 to engage and launching MiG-29s would be just as effective but you can carry rather more of them. Having two seat MiG-29s means you can also use them for landing training so you don't need to carry Su-25 based trainer aircraft, which had no armed capacity and could only be used for landing and taking off training roles.

    The MiG-29, or in the future this:

    Future Russian Aircraft Carriers and Deck Aviation. #3 0f95c611

    Together with a navalised Su-57 would be ideal.


    Because the project Orlan Heavy Nuclear Missile Cruisers (TARKR) also provide global reach without a global network and the ability to deter enemy Carrier Battle Groups, it makes sense to compare these two classes of ships to see which is more cost-effective (3 modernized Orlan TARKR vs. 1 fictional Lamantin ATAVKR):

    If Russia wants to trade with the rest of the world it needs modern ships and naval air power to be able to do that. I don't mean they have to fight their way through western ships, I mean they have to have a modern credible force that the western ships wont want to screw around with... which isn't hard when their corvettes can carry Zircon, but they need air power at sea too.

    What value are two 40K ton landing ships with no air protection from carrier based aircraft?

    500 billion rubles is a lot of money but invested in Russian ship building and Russian technology and Russias ability to trade and have relations with countries they otherwise might not have any access to by any other means.

    International trade with the rest of the world will be worth trillions of rubles that western companies and western countries wont take a cut in because it is shipped from their ports on their ships insured by their insurance companies...

    on the one hand, due to its relatively low speed, huge size and limited movement options (limited to the sea surface only) one of the most vulnerable targets and on the other hand, due to the enormous size and number of systems as well as thousands of sailors who want to get paid, one of the most, or, rather, the most expensive weapon system.

    Actually that is totally wrong... a nuclear powered aircraft carrier can run at 30 plus knots continuously for days if needed, it will be support ships that struggle to move at such speeds and cruisers and destroyers will require such support ships whether there is a carrier there or not. Air defence systems on land or major airfields on land simply have no ability to move at all and can be targeted with most guided weapons based on location targeting... is Russia going to give up its strategic missile carrying aircraft because that description of the aircraft carrier above shows it is rather better defended than most airfields and that is not even taking into account the destroyers and cruisers that would be operating with it that would also coordinate their air defence sensors and weapons too... plus aircraft.

    What if there was yet another option? Depending on certain technological developments, in 15-25 years, I think there might be.
    → Enter the (optionally) nuclear-armed, nuclear-powered, super- to hypersonic Mega-Bombers and Mega-Interceptors.

    Interesting... but why?

    The idea is to use a nuclear jet engine, possibly a variant of the Burevestnik’s (SSCX-9 Skyfall) engine, in a significantly improved version to power a large aircraft.

    Why improve it further at all... the purpose of the Tu-160 is to carry up to 12 cruise missiles to a launch position where they can be fired at their target.

    It would be much cheaper to use 12 Thunderbirds and launch them from various secret locations around Russia... the launcher could be truck sized and impossible to find before launch and for every Tu-160 you wanted you could have 12 Thunderbirds launched in any direction to fly to the target and destroy the targets.... it would take a bare minimum of 12 SAMs or AAMs to bring them down and flying very low and fast would be the most difficult targets to deal with which is why cruise missiles fly low in the first place.

    Upgrading them to ramjet performance then supersonic speed at low altitude would make them fantastically hard to intercept and the naval equivalent of Poseidon would also be a very capable replacement for SSBNs too.

    The problem with thunderbird and poseidon is that they are doomsday nuclear weapons that have no peace time or limited war use like bombers and aircraft carriers.

    They would be much much cheaper of course even if you made them in enormous numbers and just kept them secret.

    [quote]So it seems the role and performance of an ATAVKR could theoretically be almost fully covered and in some areas superseded by such Mega-Bombers if ~30-50 of them (instead of 3-5 ATAVKR) were ordered, and all for similar purchasing cost, but likely much lower upkeep costs and yielding much greater flexibility.


    The fundamental problem with that is that an attack carrier is not what we are talking about... Russian carriers would have zero role in WWIII, they are air defence carriers that protect Russian surface ships in times of conflict, they are not strike carriers. They might protect Russian ships during a landing but they are hardly going to perform any landings against HATO or the US.

    The vast majority of the use of these carriers will be to enable Russian access to major sea lanes of communication and trade... not to deny it to anyone else like the colonial western powers use theirs, they wont be performing a blockade of Iran or Yemen or Vietnam or Cuba, their use of carriers and surface ships will be to prevent blockades being used to prevent their trade and free use of international waters.

    [quote]Technically, since modern missiles can be thought of as aircraft, too, with sensors, own EW capabilities, swarming capabilities and huge range and obviously UCAVs are aircraft, these Flying Missile Fortresses would be a kind of aircraft carrier, too.

    The British thought that the improvement in SAMS would make fighter aircraft obsolete and so they stopped designing them... hasn't happened yet though...

    The best way for a Navy to deploy UCAVs and drones would be via a big ship with a large landing area on its top... say a flat top... lets call it an aircraft carrier... Smile

    Just the same as ATGMs and suicide drones and mines and artillery have rendered the tank obsolete, but obviously a powerful gun of 125mm calibre is still useful in the direct fire role so a tracked well protected vehicle with a 125mm or larger calibre gun still makes sense... lets call it a tank...

    And attack helicopters were too vulnerable to MANPADS during the conflict in Kosovo to be used so the attack helicopter is dead too... yet production of Kamovs and Mils has been increased...

    Lots of things are claimed obsolete but something needs to replace them because they are not replacable... and you end up with a new version of the platform you just declared obsolete.

    Body armour has led to a lot of people being saved but people still die in combat and rifles have not been replaced by RPGs because of body armour.

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    Post  GarryB Sat Jul 15, 2023 1:30 pm

    BTW I would add that that mega bomber image is amusing because that was a design that was rejected before the Tu-160 shape was selected... but you wouldn't believe how often it comes up and is suggested as being a futuristic shape to replace the Tu-160 design with, or that it is the PAK DA design or something.

    The equivalent of showing the Valkryie design as a replacement for the B-2....
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    Post  lancelot Sat Jul 15, 2023 4:31 pm

    You could argue the worst design won.

    That is the Sukhoi proposal for the competition. The T-4MS.
    Future Russian Aircraft Carriers and Deck Aviation. #3 Image69

    Arguably much better, at least I think so, than the Myasishev design which won and became the Tu-160 after it was assigned to Tupolev.

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    Post  Mir Sat Jul 15, 2023 7:09 pm

    Lots of bad politics involved here. There were three OKB's involved with the tender. Tupolev, Sukhoi and Myashischev. Sukhoi's T-4MS design was the actual winner of the contest would you believe, but eventually Tupelov was awarded the contract and picked the M-18/20 project from Myashischev as the basis for the design. Tupolev's own proposals was rejected early on. One was based on the Tu-114 and the other on an up rated Tu-22M!

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    Post  Begome Sun Jul 16, 2023 2:12 pm

    Thanks for your comments. I'll reply to some of them:

    Mir wrote:There are two things that you mention that I would not include on the carrier. Air defense at sea (or land) is a numbers game and you need significant numbers to repel any attack. The S-500 would be too large with too few missiles for the job. However if you want to defend against satellites you could always just strap down a S-500 TEL or two on the deck somewhere. For example there is enough space on the right hand side of the island for it to be out of the way.
    I agree that it's a numbers game, but that is actually exactly why I think it makes sense to have greater numbers of high quality AD missiles on board. I mean the space where the S-500F would be, if it wasn't there, would just be used for more ordnance for the air wings, which makes sense if the ship is supposed to be a strike platform like Western CVNs, but not so much if it's supposed to keep the airspace clean against peer threats. That is, unless you meant that in place of the S-500F there should be more UKSK-M with more and smaller AD missiles, in which case it might make sense, but I would regard that as less future-proof, since S-500 with its larger missiles will be more likely to retain the ability to shoot down the best Russia's enemies can offer for some decades and there are already UKSK-M modules in the front in my proposed upgrade.
    So essentially the ship would try to preempt any attack on itself with a Su-57 or large UCAV striking the target before it gets into range of the ship; failing that it would try to shoot down threats with Su-57K-launched AAMs, if possible; failing that it would assess the difficulty of shooting the threat down with its Pantsir-Ms (30-40km range hypersonic missiles from the improved version) and if that is assessed as very likely to work then wait for the missile to get into range for the Pantsirs; only if it is assessed that this may very well fail would AD-missiles from the UKSK-M, or, only for the most serious threats, such as a significantly hypersonic missiles, an S-500 missile be used.
    Ideally there would, however, be at least one Lider-type ship with additional AD capability around to supplement the defensive power of the group.

    Mir wrote:The second thing would be the Poseidon drone. The hypersonic Tsirkon would be more than enough to deal with any opponent and besides the Poseidon is enormous.
    Well the Poseidon would also be there for ASW; I'm assuming that there will be some kind of ASW version of it with small torpedoes. Seems like a nice supplement to the naval group if they can have some of those escorting them, since enemy submarines will eventually also have hypersonic long range missiles and finding those before they fire with only 10 ASW helicopters is highly dubious (hence why Yasen-M is such a great threat to USN CBGs), so a new solution will be needed. A few ASW-Poseidons wouldn't really ensure safety either, but at least give the group a chance; e.g. there could be a naval group of 1 ATAVKR, 1 TARKR, 2 SSGNs (e.g. Yasen-M), 1 SSN, 1 SSPN (e.g. Khabarovsk) with additional Poseidons, so a total of around 10 Poseidons, maybe all of them ASW-oriented primarily, that can swarm out and try to find enemy subs in a larger area around where the naval group wants to go.

    Mir wrote:You also mention nuclear powered aircraft. The idea was tested by the Soviets many years ago - and although something like that would be viable some people would frown upon the idea of nuclear reactors flying about - let alone one that crashes! But yeah something like that is very doable.

    Building mega sized nuclear aircraft that will make the Airbus 380 look like a minivan is doubtful though, simply from a technical and practical perspective. Just getting something like that into the air would require enormous airstrips and infrastructure for example.
    Yes, it would face some opposition, but you could simply regulate that it doesn't fly over the more populated areas of the country and internationally it would try to stay above the ocean always...designing the engine such that it can self-contain in a crash to some degree would also be nice, but probably very difficult...it might be possible since there is enough mass margin that you can "spend" some extra tons on that, but obviously that's a huge engineering challenge.
    Regarding infrastructure: yeah, that's why I proposed VTOL, which would be extremely difficult to implement, however, but I also included some ideas on how to lessen the weight per cm2 on the runway and shorten the required runway length..."optimistically" it might be able to take off from and land on the larger, already existing runways.



    GarryB wrote:Asking whether the Russian Navy should have fixed wing full sized aircraft carriers or if they should have air defence cruisers is a false dichotomy
    Yes, I agree, but it's a very popular topic for discussion; my comments don't actually follow the dichotomy, though, since I'm simply showing how the ATAVKR has capabilities that won't be matched by other ships. Ultimately, however, I still think that something like the nuclear powered aircraft I laid out would be a viable replacement.

    GarryB wrote:When they can afford it they prefer large and smaller fighters. The Su-33 and MiG-29 is a case in point as they have similar performance but having all Su-33s would mean less aircraft but operationally having more aircraft is much better
    Well if the target is close then you can attack it with SAMs...so I'm not sure that the extra cost of developing yet another line of fighter would be worth it, but I guess if they can work it out as an export project primarily where the VMF then jumps on as a secondary customer, like with the MiG-29K, it could make sense.

    GarryB wrote:    
    Begome wrote:    on the one hand, due to its relatively low speed, huge size and limited movement options (limited to the sea surface only) one of the most vulnerable targets and on the other hand, due to the enormous size and number of systems as well as thousands of sailors who want to get paid, one of the most, or, rather, the most expensive weapon system.


    Actually that is totally wrong... a nuclear powered aircraft carrier can run at 30 plus knots continuously for days if needed, it will be support ships that struggle to move at such speeds and cruisers and destroyers will require such support ships whether there is a carrier there or not. Air defence systems on land or major airfields on land simply have no ability to move at all and can be targeted with most guided weapons based on location targeting... is Russia going to give up its strategic missile carrying aircraft because that description of the aircraft carrier above shows it is rather better defended than most airfields and that is not even taking into account the destroyers and cruisers that would be operating with it that would also coordinate their air defence sensors and weapons too... plus aircraft.


    Begome wrote:    What if there was yet another option? Depending on certain technological developments, in 15-25 years, I think there might be.
       → Enter the (optionally) nuclear-armed, nuclear-powered, super- to hypersonic Mega-Bombers and Mega-Interceptors.

    Interesting... but why?
    I think there is a misunderstanding here: these "Mega-Bombers" are intended to replace any ATAVKR...so instead of building e.g. 3-5 Lamantin-type ships, I'm proposing to build 30-50 "Mega-Bombers"...so you see that a 30 knot speed is pretty slow compared to Mach 2-3, e.g. if Russia wanted to send a carrier into the Caribbean as a show of force or something it would take more than a week to get there and require a substantial escort, especially in submarines (see my above reply to Mir); if you then wanted to send it on to the Pacific you'd need either a different CBG based in the Far East or decide between dealing with the Panama canal, which would also reveal your submarine escort, or go around South America, which takes another week. The Mega-Bombers, however, would reach the Caribbean in just a few hours and could loiter there for a week or two to make your point and terrorize the opponent forces; if you then wanted to send them over to the Pacific it would again just take few hours or still less than a day if you don't have an overflight agreement with Nicaragua (quite unlikely for Russia not to have that).
    If you re-read that section in my post, you'll see that, if I'm correct on the numbers, 10 Mega-Bombers would cost about as much as 1 ATAVKR and have about the same ordnance available...so you'd have a very similar amount of missiles (in my example this would be, for 10 M.-B., 2000 SRAAMs for self-defense, 1000 MRAAMs, 1000 LRAAMs and up to 800 Kinzhal-like missiles), while constantly having 10 aircraft loitering in the air for weeks, ready to fire those missiles; those would also not need a submarine or TARKR escort, while being basically invulnerable to hostile submarines and having enormous EW and ISR capability. Any incoming SAM would be easily deflected with the enormous EW or, failing that, shot down with the myriad of missiles available. Any opponent fighter would have trouble just catching up with them if they fly at up to Mach 3 (NGAD also doesn't look like it will be going much beyond M2).

    The main downsides when comparing to ATAVKRs, it seems to me, apart from the probably greater engineering challenge, is that
    1. they won't be able to prance around at friendly ports (but if you can get that friendly country to agree to have it land there, you can simply prance around their airfield, like the Tu-160 does, drawing onlookers every time; also see the measures I talked about above to make it more compatible with existing airfields) and that
    2. it won't be good at ASW, but who cares if submarines can't threaten it at all; if you do need to engage in ASW then that's what you have your own submarines for anyway and as I laid out above in my reply to Mir I think that ASW will be more and more done by UUVs and own submarines in the future and an ATAVKR would always "bind" some friendly subs to itself wherever it goes, unlike the Mega-Bombers. Actually, since I talked about modular weapons bays, why not an ASW module for a Mega-Bomber, where it flies closer to the surface using some kind of MF sensor or deploys smaller UUVs or buoys or something for detection and upon finding something could just drop torpedoes in the water as well...problem solved  Cool

    GarryB wrote:BTW I would add that that mega bomber image is amusing because that was a design that was rejected before the Tu-160 shape was selected... but you wouldn't believe how often it comes up and is suggested as being a futuristic shape to replace the Tu-160 design with, or that it is the PAK DA design or something.

    The equivalent of showing the Valkryie design as a replacement for the B-2....
    I chose it more as a symbolic picture rather than what the actual aircraft should look like, but it could still be a rough approximation, since it's obviously super-sonic and has a very large body, so lots of space for the VLS on the back and the multiple weapons bays on the belly.

    GarryB wrote:Why improve it further at all... the purpose of the Tu-160 is to carry up to 12 cruise missiles to a launch position where they can be fired at their target.

    It would be much cheaper to use 12 Thunderbirds and launch them from various secret locations around Russia
    That only works for actual strikes and won't do anything for dominating airspace, which is one of the main purposes of an ATAVKR; Burevestniks (Thunderbirds) are primarily a strategic nuclear weapon, as you yourself realize, while the "Mega-Bombers" and "Mega-Interceptors" would primarily provide conventional deterrence and intervention capability, including clearing an airspace and threatening any ground or surface target, though you could certainly also use them for nuclear strikes.

    GarryB wrote:The fundamental problem with that is that an attack carrier is not what we are talking about... Russian carriers would have zero role in WWIII, they are air defence carriers that protect Russian surface ships in times of conflict, they are not strike carriers. They might protect Russian ships during a landing but they are hardly going to perform any landings against HATO or the US.

    The vast majority of the use of these carriers will be to enable Russian access to major sea lanes of communication and trade... not to deny it to anyone else like the colonial western powers use theirs, they wont be performing a blockade of Iran or Yemen or Vietnam or Cuba, their use of carriers and surface ships will be to prevent blockades being used to prevent their trade and free use of international waters.

    The British thought that the improvement in SAMS would make fighter aircraft obsolete and so they stopped designing them... hasn't happened yet though...

    The best way for a Navy to deploy UCAVs and drones would be via a big ship with a large landing area on its top... say a flat top... lets call it an aircraft carrier... Smile

    Just the same as ATGMs and suicide drones and mines and artillery have rendered the tank obsolete, but obviously a powerful gun of 125mm calibre is still useful in the direct fire role so a tracked well protected vehicle with a 125mm or larger calibre gun still makes sense... lets call it a tank...

    And attack helicopters were too vulnerable to MANPADS during the conflict in Kosovo to be used so the attack helicopter is dead too... yet production of Kamovs and Mils has been increased...

    Lots of things are claimed obsolete but something needs to replace them because they are not replacable... and you end up with a new version of the platform you just declared obsolete.

    Body armour has led to a lot of people being saved but people still die in combat and rifles have not been replaced by RPGs because of body armour.
    I hope my answers so far have cleared up the confusion, but I'll just summarize to make it very clear:

    1. The "Mega-Bombers" and "Mega-Interceptors" would replace the ATAVKR and could do anything the ATAVKR could do, even some ASW, which the ATAVKR isn't all that good at anyway due to the increasing range of submarine-launched AShM.
    2. They would not cost more than the ATAVKR (in fact, upkeep cost is almost certainly much lower) for the same amount of ordnance (10 M.-B. for 1 ATAVKR), while being immune to enemy submarines (very much unlike the ATAVKR)
    3. They are far more flexible and almost two orders of magnitude faster!
    4. They would have other capabilities that go beyond what an ATAVKR can do in principle, such as operate over land or deploying entire VDV brigades (about 2 brigades could be deployed with ~18 Mega-Bombers)

    So I'll skip the blow-by-blow reply to the examples you bring up, because they are not correct analogies, which is likely due to the misunderstanding I hopefully have cleared up.
    GarryB
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    Future Russian Aircraft Carriers and Deck Aviation. #3 Empty Re: Future Russian Aircraft Carriers and Deck Aviation. #3

    Post  GarryB Mon Jul 17, 2023 7:33 am

    Well if the target is close then you can attack it with SAMs...so I'm not sure that the extra cost of developing yet another line of fighter would be worth it, but I guess if they can work it out as an export project primarily where the VMF then jumps on as a secondary customer, like with the MiG-29K, it could make sense.

    If the target is close... what is it? It can be 30km away and be below the radar horizon so a ship wont be able to use optics to see the target... you could use helicopters, but I would think helicopters would be better used looking for enemy subs.

    The Checkmate is based on the Su-57 so I don't see why the twin engined light MiG for carrier use couldn't be similarly related to a single engined land based light fighter from MiG...

    It would essentially be a twin engined light carrier plane so it should work just fine as a land based light 5th gen fighter too... look at the Chinese modification of the F-35... it has twin engines and it actually looks slimmer and more aerodynamic than the fat single engined original which actually should allow higher flight speeds with its much better shaping. (if you don't understand that ask yourself why an A-10 has a thick wing and a MiG-25 has a thin one... but I trust you do understand.).

    I think there is a misunderstanding here: these "Mega-Bombers" are intended to replace any ATAVKR...so instead of building e.g. 3-5 Lamantin-type ships, I'm proposing to build 30-50 "Mega-Bombers".

    There is clearly a misunderstanding.... Russian carriers are not colonial invasion carriers, they are air defence carriers that add AWACS and fighter capacity to a group of Russian ships anywhere in the world. No type of bomber... no matter how big or fast could provide that 24/7 anywhere on the open ocean.

    They wont build more than probably two large new carriers for themselves... they are not replacing Britain and now the US in ruling the worlds oceans.

    I'm proposing to build 30-50 "Mega-Bombers"...so you see that a 30 knot speed is pretty slow compared to Mach 2-3, e.g. if Russia wanted to send a carrier into the Caribbean as a show of force or something it would take more than a week to get there and require a substantial escort, especially in submarines (see my above reply to Mir);

    What sort of show of force could a Tu-160 flying through the med manage to create?

    The US has air bases around the world and B-52 long range bombers so why would they need aircraft carriers?

    They have had their super bomber projects and fantasies too... air power is useful and in this case necessary but aircraft on their own lack persistence and endurance and range... an aircraft carrier is operating with the fleet where ever the fleet goes.

    When you want to send a show of force you normally want to send a decent force... not a super fast but also token force... in the Falklands war the British took months to form up a force to go down to the south atlantic but you are saying they could have just flown a Vulcan bomber and that would have gotten the job done? The Americans sent the airborne units to Saudi Arabia for Desert Storm but it took them 6 months to send M1 Abrams tanks... if Saddam had decided to attack Saudi Arabia the US Airborne forces would be fighting using Sheridan air drop able tanks that could be penetrated with HMG fire from the front and had a totally ineffective main gun armament. It has been in service for more than 50 years and has never scored a kill with its amazing gun tube launched missile system... despite all the wars the US has been involved in.

    if you then wanted to send it on to the Pacific you'd need either a different CBG based in the Far East or decide between dealing with the Panama canal, which would also reveal your submarine escort, or go around South America, which takes another week

    If Russia needed to send ships to different locations at once to deal with problems then they will be limited by the fact that they are not the US Navy and don't have a fleet for every major body of water but saying they would be operating in the Med and then suddenly have to go to the Pacific... well even if they did they would have to return to Russia for total resupply and probably swap out crews of boats and troops that might have been used, so start preparation for the new mission right away and you have a couple of weeks while the ships sail out of the med, past the UK and to Murmansk or across the arctic ocean to the Pacific fleet base when they will arm up and swap out sailors and troops ready for the new presumably different mission and then set sail.

    Having a bomber fly to the med and then to south America... well they can already do that... but they don't because it is pointless... aircraft are too vulnerable on their own without AWACS and fighter escort and a place for an emergency landing.

    If you re-read that section in my post, you'll see that, if I'm correct on the numbers, 10 Mega-Bombers would cost about as much as 1 ATAVKR

    I don't think anyone knows how to build one of these mega bombers yet, while a 80K ton aircraft carrier is only twice the weight of the two 40K ton helicopter carriers they are in the process of building.... how about they build two more and join them with a large platform between them with an enormous hangar inside and a huge deck on top and make a 90K ton Cat carrier... not as crazy as super bombers.

    2. it won't be good at ASW, but who cares if submarines can't threaten it at all;

    But that ignores what the aircraft carrier is for... your fancy bomber aircraft flying around at mach 3 would be bloody useless for defending your ships in the southern pacific if a couple of American or French subs roll up and start sinking your ships.

    Helicopters from your carrier mean you can have intensive ASuW operations going all the time round the clock...

    BTW if your bomber can be made invincible from enemy missiles and enemy attack... why can't your much bigger much heavier aircraft carrier carry even more of the same missiles and lasers and guns to defend itself too?

    And perhaps come cruisers with those systems too. I would suggest any EW system you can get into a bomber you can also fit into a 20K ton cruiser and with rather more onboard power to run it all at max watts.

    I chose it more as a symbolic picture rather than what the actual aircraft should look like, but it could still be a rough approximation, since it's obviously super-sonic and has a very large body, so lots of space for the VLS on the back and the multiple weapons bays on the belly.

    It never actually flew so perhaps going for the Milennium Falcon design might be an even better idea... it did the Kessel run in 14 parsecs didn't it? Despite parsecs being a measure of distance rather than a measure of time.

    Actually in all seriousness I would say even that design is obsolete with scramjet jet engines maturing I would say mach 3 would be the slowest it would fly, and that mach 5 or more is likely at high altitudes most missiles would not be effective without thrust vector rocket motors or scramjet thrust vectoring engines. The speed would be dependent on the body materials and their ability to resist heat, but a swing wing that folds away completely would be necessary to allow a runway takeoff and landing with what will otherwise be a lifting body aircraft.

    And that would make its ability to do what an aircraft carrier does even more unlikely... covering 1km per second ground speed means it would spend very little time over any surface ship and would struggle to remain on station...

    That only works for actual strikes and won't do anything for dominating airspace, which is one of the main purposes of an ATAVKR; Burevestniks (Thunderbirds) are primarily a strategic nuclear weapon, as you yourself realize, while the "Mega-Bombers" and "Mega-Interceptors" would primarily provide conventional deterrence and intervention capability, including clearing an airspace and threatening any ground or surface target, though you could certainly also use them for nuclear strikes.

    You are calling it a bomber but are talking about an AWACS/Interceptor combo... like an A-100 and MiG-31 combined... now that might work to react to an enemy threat as it happens but to orbit ships constantly providing overwatch and air protection means they need to operate for days or weeks or even months and no super bomber could do that as a bomber or as an AWACS or as a fighter even.

    How many missiles can it carry and how many would it need if it was attacked by 500 subsonic drones armed with a single air to air missile each?

    Ships on the surface can protect a carrier while the aircraft on a carrier also protect the carrier and the ships around it as a team... but flying around at mach 3... the SR-71 can't make a 180 degree turn and remain inside the US state of California... how long do you think such a plane could operate over ships?

    The "Mega-Bombers" and "Mega-Interceptors" would replace the ATAVKR and could do anything the ATAVKR could do, even some ASW, which the ATAVKR isn't all that good at anyway due to the increasing range of submarine-launched AShM.

    The greatest threat from subs will likely be mines and torpedos, but they will be threats to your ships and also things mega interceptors could do nothing about... they wont even know they are there.

    I think Russian ships will be quite well protected against anti ship missiles and also torpedoes, but being able to see low flying targets at great distances and being able to go great distances quickly to check something out is very very valuable... in peace time and in war time.

    They would not cost more than the ATAVKR (in fact, upkeep cost is almost certainly much lower) for the same amount of ordnance (10 M.-B. for 1 ATAVKR), while being immune to enemy submarines (very much unlike the ATAVKR)

    But is it actually cheaper if its job is to protect your ships and it fails and not only all your ships get sunk but the result is that no one will trade with you for fear of getting their own ships sunk too because you don't have a blue water navy to exercise and operate with them and show some level of protection for their country no matter where it is.

    They are far more flexible and almost two orders of magnitude faster!

    Being able to rush around the place sounds great but to be honest an ICBM or SLBM would actually be even faster... so why not make some ICBMs and SLBMs with conventional warheads and use that... it is something the US has already talked about so how could they object (but of course they will).

    They would have other capabilities that go beyond what an ATAVKR can do in principle, such as operate over land or deploying entire VDV brigades (about 2 brigades could be deployed with ~18 Mega-Bombers)

    So Mach 3 and also able to carry troops and armour... sorry... to be honest when I saw that image I just skipped most of the text... let me go back and read that...
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    Future Russian Aircraft Carriers and Deck Aviation. #3 Empty Re: Future Russian Aircraft Carriers and Deck Aviation. #3

    Post  GarryB Mon Jul 17, 2023 7:55 am

    OK... you do know the reason previous attempts to create nuclear powered bombers was because they were huge and heavy and with all the weight of the NPP and the shielding to keep the crew alive they only had space left for a payload of about 2 tons, which made the whole idea rather stupid... an ICBM could deliver a bigger payload faster while being lighter and cheaper.

    When you talk about this super aircraft and you speculate it carries more missiles than a 20,000 ton cruiser... are you starting to realise that it is simply not practical...

    In fact Poseidon and Thunderbird can already deliver a payload to an unlimited range so why would you waste time making aircraft to try to do the same thing?

    A Tu-160 takes off from an airbase in Russia and flys 6,000km to a launch position and releases up to 12 cruise missiles that can each fly 5,000km to a target, and then the Tu-160 flys 6,000km back to home base.

    If you had a missile that could fly 11,000km why would you need the aircraft... especially if that missile could carry 12 warheads that each get dropped on different targets on its way to its last target

    Thunderbird is a cruise missile that does not need a plane and can be launched in the opposite direction to the target and it can fly the other way around the world and approach the target from the opposite direction... again... no need for a plane...

    But what we are talking about is taking ground based A-100s and ground based Su-57s and MiG-35s as well as other anti sub platforms and perhaps transport and inflight refuelling aircraft and put them on a ship so they can travel around with your other ships and ensure trade and the safety of trading partner countries when western countries start getting all colonial on them to try to force them to stop trading with you.

    I have confidence that Russia can not only build some but might also sell some to India or Brazil... or an up and coming country like Indonesia.


    I would say the chances of a super interceptor is not very likely... the requirements for speed contradict the requirements for the internal transport of enormous numbers of missiles and even troops and vehicles.

    Ironically if you gave up the enormous speed you might have my Airship suggestion with a small nuclear power plant generating electricity to run lots of radar arrays within the structure of a large airship that can use electricity from the reactor to run hydrogen fuel cells to use water ballast and dehumidifiers to allow normal climb and descent operations with electric motors driving propellers to get from here to there.

    Its top speed would be limited to about 100km/hour but that is plenty to keep up with any group of ships, you could design it with a flat top so it could operate drones directly from the vessel. Make it out of carbon fibre and non flammable materials and between the internal bags holding the lifting hydrogen gas you can fill with nitrogen so even a burning road flare would not start a fire.

    The airship could be hundreds of metres long with enormous low frequency and high frequency radar arrays in all directions and you could hang a 5km long ultra low frequency antenna to directly communicate with submarines at their deepest depths without any risk of stalling.

    You could even design it so it can land on snow or open fields or even land on water, and you could have all sorts of sensors and equipment and even weapons on board, including dipping sonars and towed jammers and towed decoys to distract incoming missiles but also interceptor missiles to also shoot down incoming missiles.

    With nuclear power you could even carry a laser for self defence, perhaps one on top to deal with satellites.

    But an enormous plane makes rather less sense...

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    Future Russian Aircraft Carriers and Deck Aviation. #3 Empty Re: Future Russian Aircraft Carriers and Deck Aviation. #3

    Post  Begome Tue Jul 18, 2023 1:53 pm

    GarryB wrote:to be honest when I saw that image I just skipped most of the text... let me go back and read that...
    The last time I saw someone "reply" to something they clearly didn't listen to or read was when some acquaintances came over with their 3 year old son...you're supposed to unlearn that behavior by the age of 6.
    Now, to be honest I don't usually read your posts, either, because I noticed early on that they are more often than not way too long for the little, if any, useful content in them, but since I've wasted my time on it already in this case I suppose I can make one last reply.

    I'll start by pointing out that I haven't forgotten how you posted 2 years ago that the best thing the bolsheviks have done was to destroy the Orthodox Church in Russia (i.e. murder millions of Russians for their beliefs, which you apparently think is great because you don't like Christianity); you then edited that post and unfortunately I was not yet in the habit back then of screenshotting stuff like this immediately, but it, together with the fact that despite the surely tens of thousands of hours spent on this forum about Russia you still haven't managed to learn the Russian language shows that, just like most "pro-Russian" Westerners you don't care whatsoever about Russia or its people. Russia is just an avatar for you, existing to "fight the imperialists" and other deluded BS. This is relevant here, because your drivel in response to my post here clearly seems to follow from some kind of ideological triggering; example:
    GarryB wrote:There is clearly a misunderstanding.... Russian carriers are not colonial invasion carriers, they are air defense carriers that add AWACS and fighter capacity to a group of Russian ships anywhere in the world. No type of bomber... no matter how big or fast could provide that 24/7 anywhere on the open ocean.

    They wont build more than probably two large new carriers for themselves... they are not replacing Britain and now the US in ruling the worlds oceans.
    Nowhere did I claim that Russia should build "colonial invasion carriers" (lol! ) but I guess it's because I chose the term "Mega-Bomber" that this triggering occurred; if you had bothered to actually read my proposal, you would have noticed that these aircraft, which I also called "Flying Missile Fortresses" btw, are specifically to take over the role of Ulyanovsk-type carriers, i.e.
    • conduct aerial ISR using their large size and ROFAR arrays across their huge surface, having many Megawatts available for that from their nuclear reactor
    • keep the airspace clean with their myriad of air-to-air missiles (notice how my example standard load-out didn't even include any bombs, but 400 AAM and 80 Kinzhal)
    • destroy any hostile surface target using their hypersonic air-to-surface munitions

    They could even engage in ASW, but what's the point?
    1. As Andrei Martyanov pointed out (in fact, he wrote a whole book about it), the era where a CBG can do effective ASW using helicopters is over...that's why Yasen-M subs with Tsirkon are such a huge problem for the USN. Once the US gets similar capabilities, and they almost certainly will within the next 10 years, the same would apply to any large Russian warship going far away from Russian shores.
    2. The Flying Missile Fortresses (FMF from now on) are basically invulnerable to submarines, so why bother doing ASW with them? Waters close to Russia are already covered very well in that regard with pr. 20380/5/6, pr. 22350, pr. 636, pr. 877, shore-based maritime patrol aircraft and sea-floor deployed sonar stations and there's no reason Russian ships should be doing big "battle of the Atlantic" type missions in a hypothetical WW3 situation...launching hypersonic missiles like Tsirkon or launching Kalibr-M far away from Russian shores can be done via Yasen-type subs, which can receive air cover against enemy ASW aircraft via...drum-roll...the FMF, which can also do the peace-time deterrence patrols that ATAVKR would be doing, because, as I've pointed out many times now they would be replacing ATAVKR.

    They could also do stuff that ATAVKR can't, as I've pointed out, such as missions over land and deploying VDV brigades. Meanwhile they would have similar purchasing cost, but almost certainly much lower upkeep costs compared to ATAVKR and ~50 times the velocity.

    So it seems your reply is just a cope about your darling Soviet Union having collapsed and the Russian Orthodox Church having survived...now Russia must nurse that phantom pain of yours by building Soviet Era "anti-imperialist" ships all day long so you can sleep well at night.

    AMCXXL in the "Peter the Great" thread is (mostly) right, IMO...big surface combatants will become obsolete before long and Russia has the great advantage of already having a navy mostly configured for the "new era", i.e. a navy with a heavy submarine focus (Russia is the only country that has more deployed submarine displacement than surface warship displacement). Now, since these kinds of big shifts are rarely a sure thing I do disagree with him about PtG, which IMO should be modernized after Nakhimov and I don't think it would take 10 years and I also think it might make sense to buy a Kuznetsov-type hull from the Chinese and do the Kuz. mod. on it, except maybe with a nuclear power plant included. This is because it likely won't end up being too expensive and to ensure Russia has far reaching presence, first in the meantime until FMF can be built, and second in case there will be no FMF. I think it's unwise to engage in any kind of Lider-type or Lamantin-type project, however, and as I've already pointed out that won't be happening any time soon anyway due to the restructuring of the RFAF.


    The only cogent criticism you make is that the FMF is quite speculative at this point, which is indeed true, but which I also pointed out several times in my prior posts. There's little I can do about that, because there are no FMF-type aircraft in existence, nor have there ever been; the last time nuclear powered aircraft were seriously explored was in the 1950s in the USA and Soviet Union to have ultra-long range bombers for dropping nukes, which became an obsolete idea once ICBMs were invented, leading to the cancellation of those projects. In the meantime, nuclear power has greatly expanded and a lot has been learned, such that taking these early examples is not going to be productive.
    I do want to point out, however, the reasons for cancelling those projects, apart from obsoletion: cost and safety issues (incl. environmental safety).

    It is clear by now, that there are again uses for aerial nuclear power, as is evident with the Burevestnik cruise missile. It is also clear that nuclear reactors are far more advanced and much safer as well as cheaper than they used to be. Therefore, if there can be a clear and useful role found (as is the case with the FMF) and the cost can be justified (it would be, because you save all the money that would be spent on building ATAVKR and spend it on FMF instead) then the main remaining objection is safety and feasibility. So, lets take a look at that:

    First, as I've pointed out already, one could simply regulate that the FMF doesn't fly over populated areas and tries to stay over the ocean most of the time. Specifically that could mean that there will be some kind of FMF base built into the Ural mountains, away from big cities, where the FMF will take off from and land and then fly through Siberia to the Arctic ocean and stay over the ocean for most of its mission; note that at a speed of M3 it would take less than 24 hours to get to any point on the planet even with detours and after the mission it would just fly back to this base, because it has nuclear power and can fly for weeks or maybe even months (that's why I proposed multiple shifts per day for different pilot teams). If the reactor used is designed such that it almost certainly won't melt down in the event of a crash then the FMF now would not be much more of a threat to the environment or public safety as the Poseidon, or for that matter, ATAVKR with their nuclear power plants. Since modern ICBM warheads and their RVs are designed such that they can remain intact enough to trigger a nuclear explosion (which is a quite delicate operation) even after crashing into the ground and penetrating stone and steel for several meters first then I don't think it's impossible to keep a reactor that is not prone to melting down (e.g. if designed such that the fission core never goes critical, see below) from melting down in a crash, especially if it were ejected from the aircraft when it's clear that it will crash.

    To answer the feasibility objection and justify my above safety claim about a reactor that does not go critical (and that also doesn't produce radioactive exhaust) I will have to get a bit creative, as there are no such aircraft-powering reactors in existence and it's utterly unknown exactly what kind of reactor the Burevestnik uses or what the exact operating parameters and characteristics of the Poseidon reactor are.
    Hence I will propose an unlikely "variant of a FMF", which is not going to be built, but which will nevertheless demonstrate feasibility and solve the safety features I talked about:

    I again point out that this "variant of FMF" is just a proof of concept, not something that is likely to be built, as it's too big due to the reactor being too heavy due to it not having been designed as an aerial power plant. I am talking about the fission-fusion hybrid reactor presented, e.g. in this paper. This is Russian research, as you can see, and a partial prototype of it already exists; it's main purpose is to provide a competitive, safe, compact heat and electrical power source for smaller cities and towns in less densely populated areas, such as the Russian North and Far East. Its length is about 30 m, it is about 12 m wide at the widest parts; its mass is likely around 1500 tons, because, again, it's not designed as an aircraft power source, and it can provide around 60 MW over a period of 3 years or 28 MW over a period of 9 years. Because of its innovative design, where a multiple-magnetic-mirror-fusion reactor acts as a fast neutron source for a thorium fission reactor, the fission core never actually goes critical, let alone super-critical. The fission core is also very compact, as you can see in the paper, such that it's not hard to imagine how it could remain intact enough in a crash if ejected from the aircraft ahead of time after redesigning the neutron shielding to act as a kind of "RV" or "landing/crashing aid". Furthermore, since the reactor is Helium-gas cooled, which means the coolant never becomes radioactive and can safely heat up air in a heat exchanger, it basically guarantees radioactivity-free exhaust air.

    Now 1500 t is pretty heavy, obviously, which is why this is just a proof of concept, but consider the following: in the Tu-160 the empty weight without engines is about 95 t, while the mass of the engine + fuel is about 145 t (the engine dry weight is about 13,5 t); so, if we were to contemplate a 11-times larger version then it ends up as a 1045 t empty weight (without engines) aircraft with 150 t engines and 1600 t available for the engines and fuel; with some small optimizations on the hybrid reactor we may get its mass down from 1500 to 1450 t, such that engines + reactor (already includes fuel) comes to 1600 t. If we then add 500 t of ordnance we have a total (max. TO weight) of ~3150 t, which, as it turns out, would still allow a thrust-to-weight ratio of ~1 even if the propulsive efficiency is only ~0.5, since we have a 60 MW power source onboard. Now again, it would be prudent to make a smaller and lighter version of the reactor so you don't have to have a FMF with 550 m length and >3000 t mass, but as I said, it's just a proof of concept with existing data.

    The helium can be heated by the reactor to ~1000°C, which is pretty good for heating the air in an indirect air cycle engine, where compressors would also be used to further heat the air; note that exhaust air temperature on modern jet fighters is not much higher, at typically up to 1400°C. Given that the Tu-160 at full afterburner manages only a thrust to weight ratio of 0.37 and still can fly at >M2, I think it's not implausible that M3 could be achieved with this FMF with a clever design. Despite the enormous size, considering 3 times more thrust per kg with this thing than the Tu-160, which needs about a 3 km strip for TO, it might be possible to get that value for the FMF down from 33 km to maybe even below 10 km with some tricks I've already mentioned in the prior posts and as a result of much higher thrust-to-weight.


    So, to summarize: using a proposed extremely safe and compact fusion-fission hybrid reactor with an already existing partial prototype, which is highly unlikely to melt down even if it breaks, the FMF concept might be realizable, solving both the feasibility and safety problems. If a lighter reactor design with the same features (good energy output, very safe, very compact, very durable) could be developed that would, of course, be great (and who knows, maybe the Burevestnik engine will allow some good insights here). The FMF could thus become the replacement of the ATAVKR, fulfilling the same tasks and at similar purchasing costs, but likely much lower upkeep cost and far greater flexibility and even doing some things that the ATAVKR cannot.

    Edit: actually, scratch my example as I seem to have had a misunderstanding about lifting power vs. thrust-to-weight...this reactor would definitely not be viable as an aircraft's power plant.
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    Future Russian Aircraft Carriers and Deck Aviation. #3 Empty Russia keeps building ineffective naval jets for aircraft carriers

    Post  Tsavo Lion Thu Nov 16, 2023 9:31 pm

    Russia keeps building ineffective naval jets for aircraft carriers

    several decades ago they probably could've navalized some MiG-25s &/ MiG-1.44 too- with their powerful (or upgraded) engines they could take off a STOBAR TAVKR with full tanks & warload!
    they had: Gross weight: 36,720 kg (80,954 lb)
    Powerplant: 2 × Tumansky R-15B-300 afterburning turbojet engines, 73.5 kN (16,500 lbf) thrust each dry, 100.1 kN (22,500 lbf) with afterburner
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikoyan-Gurevich_MiG-25
    Gross weight: 28,600 kg (63,052 lb)
    Max takeoff weight: 37,000 kg (81,571 lb)
    Powerplant: 2 × Lyulka AL-41F afterburning turbofan engines, 177 kN (40,000 lbf) with afterburner  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikoyan_Project_1.44

    The Su-33 has: Gross weight: 29,940 kg (66,006 lb)
    Max takeoff weight: 33,000 kg (72,753 lb)
    Powerplant: 2 × Saturn AL-31F3 afterburning turbofan engines, 74.5 kN (16,700 lbf) thrust each dry, 125.5 kN (28,200 lbf) with afterburner
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sukhoi_Su-33


    Last edited by Tsavo Lion on Thu Nov 16, 2023 9:38 pm; edited 3 times in total (Reason for editing : add text, link)
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    Post  GarryB Fri Nov 17, 2023 6:59 am

    Russia keeps building ineffective naval jets for aircraft carriers

    The level of ignorance is distressing.

    MiG-25s have thin wings for very high speed flight, at low flight speeds they don't generate very much lift at all so for a MiG-25 to take off it needs a runway that is several kilometres long... it is too heavy and has too small a wing to get airborne from any aircraft carrier even with a catapult assisting it.

    And the MiG 1.44 was never intended to be a carrier based aircraft.

    The Su-33s and MiG-29Ks are made and in service. MiG-25s are already obsolete and would be totally unsuitable as a carrier based fighter and the failed MiG contender for new 5th gen stealth fighter would make no sense either.

    Moving forward the Su-33, perhaps with a nice new AESA radar and thrust vectoring engines could be upgraded to Su-35 standard, which would make them rather potent, and the MiG-29K could be upgraded to MiG-35 level, which is already rather good and not inferior to any other aircraft currently used on aircraft carriers anywher else.

    By 2030 they will probably have a naval version of the Su-57 with folding wings and a tail hook to replace the Su-33/35, and MiG have a twin engined carrier based aircraft design they have showed a model of that would replace the MiG-29K/35... that looks like this:

    Future Russian Aircraft Carriers and Deck Aviation. #3 Pipk_m16

    Future Russian Aircraft Carriers and Deck Aviation. #3 Pipk_m17

    This is what the MiG-1,42 would probably have evolved into but bigger as this is the light carrier aircraft design.

    When western magazines complain that something is wrong with something that is Russian, I would say ignore them completely because they know nothing and understand nothing and are not interested in making Russia better... they just want something to complain about... ignore them.

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    Post  Tsavo Lion Fri Nov 17, 2023 7:54 am

    MiG-25s have thin wings for very high speed flight, at low flight speeds they don't generate very much lift at all so for a MiG-25 to take off it needs a runway that is several kilometres long... it is too heavy and has too small a wing to get airborne from any aircraft carrier even with a catapult assisting it.
    MiG-25 take-off run is 1,200m, not "several kilometres long": https://www.lennundusmuuseum.ee/en/gallery/fighters/mig-25/#:~:text=Performance%3A,Take%2Doff%20run%201%2C200%20m

    Forward canards & bigger folding wings could be added for STOL; lighter airframe could be made w/o titanium. a STOVL variant could be made as well- as is, the Su-33 is only 6'(1.8m) shorter & 3,720kg lighter.
    And the MiG 1.44 was never intended to be a carrier based aircraft.
    nor was the Su-27 on which the Su-33 is based; nor the J-39, but still its navalized variant was proposed for export.
    By 2030 they will probably have a naval version of the Su-57 with folding wings and a tail hook to replace the Su-33/35,..
    this plane too wasn't originally designed as a deck fighter!
    When western magazines complain that something is wrong with something that is Russian, I would say ignore them completely because they know nothing and understand nothing..
    the article has some valid observations: Soviet/Russian naval fighters have a mixed record at best.
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    Post  ALAMO Fri Nov 17, 2023 8:59 am

    GarryB wrote:

    When western magazines complain that something is wrong with something that is Russian, I would say ignore them completely because they know nothing and understand nothing and are not interested in making Russia better... they just want something to complain about... ignore them.

    I have a funny memory.
    When MiG-27 was accepted for duty with GSh-6-30 cannon, it was the most powerful gun flying. Not because of the powerful charge, but the rate of fire. It provided a much more dense salvo than GAU-8.
    As 27 was quite a light aircraft, such a powerful gun has its limitation, especially considering the length of a burst limited to 1s.
    If not strictly obeyed, it caused some issues with on board electronics.
    In a worst case scenario, a plate covering front landing wheel could deform, leading to jamming it and causing the plane to land without it - there are a few cases of this known.
    Still considering the mass usage of a plane with a high intensity - none of the issues proved to be anything more than troublesome rather than dealbreaking.
    In the western press, the very same features presented for GAU-8 as a symbol of it's might, were presented as a weakness of GSh-6-30. The fact that recoil is so powerful, that effectively slows down the plane was cited as a might of A-10, and a MiG-27 being a crap Laughing
    End of the story was, that the Soviets had built up a gun without electric motors to power it making the whole thing huge ... because they couldn't make electric-powered gun Laughing Laughing Laughing
    It is all a matter of presentation.
    Even by making a giant and heavy gun that requires an additional power supply can be presented as an advantage over the much lighter and smaller piece, powered by exhaust gases and needing no supportive mechanism. Still delivering 30% higher rate of fire.
    It is all because ugly Soviets are Untermenschen, I hope it is crystal clear to anybody!

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    Post  Rodion_Romanovic Fri Nov 17, 2023 11:02 am

    Tsavo Lion wrote:
    this plane too wasn't originally designed as a deck fighter!
    Since soviet union never had tens of carriers like the US, apart from the Yak VTOL planes they never developed a specific naval fighter from scratch like the F14 or the F18.

    By the way the F4 phantom was first conceived as a naval fighter but then used also extensively by the USAF.

    And if a Su-27 or a Mig-29 are properly modified by strengthening the structure and the landing gears in order to properly manage carrier landings (and making the wings a bit larger and foldable), what is the problem if the original plane was conceived for the air force?

    By the way, it is highly possible that next Russian naval fighter will be a next generation MiG (and probably they are working on that), maybe to to be paired to a Yak VTOL.

    It can be done from scratch with naval requirements in mind, and later a lighter Air force version can be made.

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    Post  Hole Fri Nov 17, 2023 11:28 am

    Since the F-111 debacle American "experts" claimed that it is impossible to turn a land-based aircraft into a carrier-borne one.
    Russians took the MiG-29, Su-25 and Su-27 and did just that. And the MiG-29K and Su-27K were the best naval fighters back
    in the late 80´s and 90´s, much better than the first generation of the F-18.

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    Post  Tsavo Lion Fri Nov 17, 2023 8:11 pm

    And the MiG-29K and Su-27K were the best naval fighters back
    in the late 80´s and 90´s, much better than the first generation of the F-18.
    but still not better than the F-14.
    I have no doubt that the MiG-25 inspired F-15, as well as the F-16XL & J-10 could also be navalized.

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