MOSCOW, February 3 (RIA Novosti) – The development and construction of a new aircraft carrier for the Russian navy could take about 10 years, a St. Petersburg-based ship design bureau said Monday.
Sergei Vlasov, general director of the Nevskoye design bureau, said the overall cost of the ship could range between 100 and 250 billion rubles ($2.8-7.1 billion).
“If the ship will be armed with a variety of weaponry, its cost will skyrocket, but if it will carry only air defense systems, the cost will be less,” the official said.
The nuclear-powered ship would be able to carry some 70 aircraft and helicopters, while the conventional vessel – up to 55, he said.
Vlasov added that the new carrier would serve as a seaborne platform for new-generation fixed- and rotary-winged aircraft, in particular a fifth-generation fighter set to replace the Su-33 multirole fighter aircraft currently in service, as well as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV).
According to Vlasov, the Russian navy needs at least four aircraft carriers: two for the Northern Fleet and two for the Pacific Fleet.
At present, Russia has only one aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, built in 1985, with a displacement of 55,000 metric tons, a crew of 1,500 and capability to carry more than 50 aircraft.