June 29, 2017

POTEMKIN FLEET: Russian Navy To Build Nuclear Powered Destroyer and New Aircraft Carrier.

Or perhaps not:

“The project will be developed by the Severnoye design bureau. The Russian Navy will undoubtedly have large surface ships with a nuclear propulsion unit. The Lider undoubtedly won’t be the sole one in the series,” Navy deputy commander-in-chief for armaments Vice-Admiral Viktor Bursuk told reporters at the International Maritime Defense Show (IMDS-2017) on Wednesday, June 28, according to the Moscow-based TASS News Agency.

The massive 15,000-ton warship is being designed to replace many of Russia’s existing Soviet-era surface warships including the Udaloy I (Project 1155 Fregat), Udaloy II (Project 1155.1 Fregat II) and the Sovremennyy-class (Project 956 Sarych) destroyers. The vessel might also partially replace the Kirov-class (Project 1144 Orlan) nuclear-power battlecruisers in Russian Navy service.

However, analysts both in the United States and in Russia—as well as defense industry officials—have doubts that the Lider-class will ever actually be built.

The Russian Navy does not really have a genuine need for the vessels and the ships are expected to be extremely expensive.

“So from the words of the admiral, it follows that the project is not yet finalized, and these are only ‘wishes’,” one Russian defense industry official told me.

“My opinion is that it will be another ‘white elephant’ in addition to the Project 1144 ships.”

And that planned carrier? Even if it is built, it won’t be deployed before 2030. And even then — and this has always been a kink in Russia’s plans to be maritime power — it would have to pass through narrow waters guarded by Western air bases before it ever reached the open seas.

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