The Russian nuclear aircraft carrier “Storm” could change the power relationship on the seas at the same time in three regions, according to the US-based online magazine “Military Watch”.
According to experts, this cruiser would be useful for guaranteeing the security of Damascus, the most important ally of Moscow in that area, and in the Mediterranean Sea generally, in which Russia has already significantly increased its presence.
Beyond its technical capacities and strategic utility, “Storm” will serve as a symbol of support to the countries of the Persian Gulf, Iran in particular, with which Russia also has established strong military-political ties.
This aircraft carrier can also operate at low temperatures, primarily in the Arctic. US aircraft carriers are not capable of operating in such climatic conditions, and the “Storm” phenomenon will allow Russia to gain a decisive advantage in this area.
The Russian aircraft carrier also meets the needs of Russia in the Asia-Pacific region, and represents a change in the balance of powers to the detriment of Western countries and Japan.
Production of an upgraded aircraft carrier could spark the interest of potential buyers, for example India, while China could be interested in the fifth-generation Su-57 fighter jet. If these factors are taken into account, the production of “Storm” is, as “Military Watch” estimates, extremely profitable.
The “Storm” project was first presented to a wider audience at the International Military-Technical Forum “Armija 2015”. Last year, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Yuriy Ivanovich Borisov (Юрий Иванович Борисов) stated that it was planned that this aircraft carrier would be a full part of Russia’s Navy Fleet by 2025.
Presently within the Russian navy, there is only one ship of this class “Admiral Kuznetsov” which will be replaced by the super carrier “Storm”.
This aircraft carrier could take seven to ten years to build and cost as much as $9 billion. The ship’s design was first revealed in May 2015. Based on information supplied by KRSC (The Krylovsky State Research Center), the new super carrier will displace 90,000-100,000 tons, and will be 330 meters long, 40 meters wide, and will have a draft of 11 meters.
The ship can be powered by either conventional or a nuclear propulsion and can stay at sea for 90-120 days. The “Storm” aircraft carrier can reach top speeds of up to 30 knots (around 55 kilometers per hour) and accommodate a crew of up to 5,000. Furthermore, the ship would be able to carry 80-90 deck-based aircraft.
Military analysts, however, are also of two minds regarding the future of large aircraft carriers and their relationship to military doctrine.
Numerous publications, such as Bloomberg, have noted that ”Modern missiles make them vulnerable. A $13 billion price tag makes them expensive. New technology may make them unnecessary.”
Nevertheless, the US plans to release its own answer to the Russian ”Storm”, which it calls the ”Ford”. The ”Ford”, despite being hit with delays and reported technical glitches, is expected to become operational in 2020.
Therefore, despite an active debate on the future utility of large aircraft carriers, the US and Russia appear to be in a race to build ‘the mother of all’ carriers.
In 2015, the Iranian Navy, in their ‘Great Prophet’ naval drills, demonstrates how groupings of small militarized speed boats could work in tandem to disable and sink large carriers and battle-ships.