Why Russia Doesn’t Like (Or Have) Many Aircraft Carriers

Why Russia Doesn’t Like (Or Have) Many Aircraft Carriers

Robert Farley

Security, Europe

https://pictures.reuters.com/archive/US-YEMEN-SECURITY-USA-NAVY-TM3EB4L0QOJ01.html

Not enough money?

Key point: Moscow does not have the means or the industrial capacity to build them. It is possible, that if Russia wants carriers if may need to purchase them from another country- maybe China?

Historically a land power, the Soviet Union grappled with the idea of a large naval aviation arm for most of its history, eventually settling on a series of hybrid aircraft carriers. Big plans for additional ships died with the Soviet collapse, but Russia inherited one large aircraft carrier at the end of the Cold War—that remains in service today.

Although many of the problems that wracked the naval aviation projects of the Soviet Union remain today, the Russian navy nevertheless sports one of the more active aircraft carriers in the world.

History of Russian Naval Aviation

The Soviet Union made several efforts at developing aircraft carriers early in its history, but a lack of resources, combined with a geography that emphasized the importance of land power, made serious investment impossible. During the Cold War, the first naval aviation success were Moskva and Leningrad, a pair of helicopter carriers designed primarily for antisubmarine warfare. These ships, ungainly in appearance, displaced 17,000 tons, could make about thirty knots, and each carried eighteen helicopters. Moskva entered service in 1967, Leningrad in 1969. The Moskvas were succeeded by the Kiev class, much closer to true aircraft carriers. Displacing 45,000 tons, the four Kievs (each built to a slightly different design) could make thirty-two knots and carry a combination of about thirty helicopters and Yak-38 VSTOL fighters.

All of these ships left service at the end of the Cold War; the Moskvas and one of the Kievs were scrapped, two Kievs ended up as museums in China, and one was eventually reconstructed and sold to India as INS Vikramaditya. In the 1980s, the Soviet Union laid down its first two true carriers, although only one was completed before the collapse of the country.

Current State of Russia’s Carrier Force

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