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.
Vlasov said his bureau could design both a nuclear-powered and conventional version of the aircraft carrier. The former would have a deadweight of up to 85,000 metric tons, while the latter – up to 65,000 tons.
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.