Analysis: New Russian aircraft carrier likely to be developed from project 11437 - take 1

Two sources in the shipbuilding industry have recently told TASS about the construction of a new Russian aircraft carrier and the deadline for the design of the technical assignment and technological documentation for the uncompleted warship of project 11437. The new aircraft carrier is designed by Nevskoe Bureau, expert Alexander Shishkin writes in his blog.

New Russian aircraft carrier likely to be developed from project 11437 take 1 925 001Ulyanovsk Project 11437 Nuclear-Powered  heavy aircraft-carrying cruiser (Picture source: TASS)

The normative documents for the technical assignment said the R&D to develop the Naval Aircraft Carrying Complex is done by the Navy with the participation of its Shipbuilding and Armaments Research Institute upon agreement with the lead contractor NPKB.

One source told TASS the Navy continues to draft the assignment which has to be ready in 2020 and submitted to the USC ahead of the scheduled deadline in 2023. The first reports about the assignment appeared in June 2019. Therefore, its timely completion after 18 months is quite realistic.

The high sophistication and novelty of components (catapult, shipborne AEW aircraft, shipborne fifth-generation Su-57 fighter jet) can drag the rough design. If the current arms program provides appropriations for the R&D, the technical project is likely to be completed by late 2027 and the lead ship laid in the beginning of the next arms program (it took four years from the technical assignment of project 11437 to the laying of the Ulyanovsk warship).

The use of solutions of project 11437 will simplify and accelerate the development of a new aircraft carrier. Naturally, it is impossible to fully build it by the old blueprints, as electronics, radio, nuclear engineering and other fields of science and technology have progressed a lot in 30 years. However, the laws of hydrodynamics and warship theory, strength of materials and durability remained unchanged. Durability characteristics of shipbuilding steel and the rolled stock did not change a lot either.

Available data said the new aircraft carrier will have a displacement ranging from 65000 to 70000 tons. The standard displacement of project 11437 warship fits the range. If the displacement is close to project 11437 and no size increase is necessary due to compact modern equipment, the theoretical blueprints and durability calculations, as well as other research can remain unchanged.

However, old calculations have to be verified and control trials have to be held by the Krylov Scientific Center, but it differs from the design from scratch.

Besides the superstructure, the design will focus on internal compartments, change longitudinal and cross bulkheads, place new equipment in the premises, lay pipelines and cables.

Nevskoe Design Bureau suffered most from the Soviet collapse. The fleet continued to receive nuclear and diesel-electric submarines, but Russia was incapable of building big warships with a displacement of over 5000 tons. Nevskoe Bureau designed big warships and remained without contracts except for the support to the technical overhaul of the aircraft carrier of project 11435 and endless upgrades of landing ships of project 11711. It had to survive by arms trade with foreign countries. The workforce was cut to 370 people against 780 in Severnoe Design Bureau.

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