Former Deputy Chief of the Main Staff of the Russian Navy, retired Admiral Vladimir Pepelyaev, announced that Russia is developing a new aircraft carrier with a displacement of 70-90 thousand tons.

This new ship will be equipped with a naval variant of the Su-57 fighter, as Pepelyaev stated in an interview with the Ria news agency.

After his retirement, Pepelyaev was assigned to develop the new aircraft carrier at the Krylov Research Institute.

He emphasized the importance of embarked aircraft, stating:

“Our promising aircraft carrier should have a displacement of 70-90 thousand tons, but the most important thing is not the displacement, nor the aerial drones, but the aircraft. Today, we have Su-33 and MiG-29K/Cube. In the future, our aircraft carrier should be armed with Su-57.”

The statements come amid continued attacks by Ukraine on Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, which has suffered significant losses due to attacks by Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) and Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USV).

Russia currently does not have a single operational aircraft carrier, while the United States has 11 and China has three. Pepelyaev argued that the Russian Navy needs at least four aircraft carriers: two for the Pacific Fleet and two for the Northern Fleet.

Despite its ambitions, Russia’s defense industry is struggling due to the war economy and international sanctions. An aircraft carrier project was unveiled in 2017, but there has been no significant progress since then.

Russia has a single aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, which entered service in 1991. This ship has faced numerous problems throughout its history and, even if it passes its scheduled sea trials, equipping it with a fully operational air wing remains a challenge.

The return of Admiral Kuznetsov would be a milestone. Reports have indicated that the carrier could begin sea trials in spring 2024 and enter service by the end of the year, although that timeline may have been pushed back.

Analysts note that while Russia has had a powerful navy since the Cold War era, it lacks the global power projection capabilities provided by aircraft carriers. Russia has invested in submarines, destroyers, frigates and cruisers, but the absence of aircraft carriers limits its power projection capabilities.

With information from EurasianTimes


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