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During his visit to Sevastopol Russian President Vladimir Putin met with naval industry executives and visited a special exhibition showcasing new naval development prospects that are in line with his vision for Russia’s overdue modernisation.

President Putin saw a number of future ship models and naval weapons concepts, including the Lamantin – Russia’s new aircraft carrier, Project 11430, developed at the Nevsky Design Bureau of St. Petersburg.

Photos: Yury Laskin

The Lamantin became one of the most discussed “novelties” of the Ninth International Maritime Defence Show in July 2019, St. Petersburg. The second appearance of this ship-build project and its demonstration to President gives it more credibility for faster implementation from concept to reality.

The conceptual project of Lamantin carrier is based on a legacy Project 1143.7 heavy nuclear-powered, aircraft-carrying cruiser Ulyanovsk. According to the available data, the Lamantin is designed for carrying and launching various aircraft capable of striking air, sea and land targets from blue ocean to littoral locations and to ensure combat sustainability of warship groupings or defending amphibious assault from enemy air attacks. The Lamantin can be equipped with several types of accelerators for ship-borne aircraft, including one sky jump, two electromagnetic catapults, and four arresters.

The Lamantin carrier displaces 80-90 thousand metric tonnes. It is 350-metres long and 41-metres wide. The draft is close to 12 metres, its full-speed is circa 30 knots and the cruising capacity is an expected average of 120-days. It can handle a 2800-man crew in addition to an 800-man air crew.  The carrier-class ship will accommodate up to 60 aircraft (planes and helicopters) and up to 10 unmanned aerial vehicles. The Lamantin’s ammunition storage can reach 1600-2000 metric tonnes. Its equipment includes: an automatic control system of the operational and tactical levels, an integrated communications and data exchange system, an automatic ship control system, and an auxiliary power plant.

Other mock-ups shown to President Putin include the Chaika-2 sea-going multi-purpose ekranoplan of Project A-050-742D. An ekranoplan is a winged craft designed to operate from water like a flying boat. However, some are designed to operate over any flat area such as frozen lakes or flat plains similar to a hovercraft. The Chaika-2 is intended for carrying passengers and / or cargo at high-speeds in littoral waters, addressing requirements of Russia’s Emergency Control Ministry (EMERCOM). Chaika-2 has: a length of 34.8 meters in total, a full displacement of 54 metric tonnes, capacity of 100 passengers and payload of 9 metric tonnes. The Russian Defence Ministry’s actual level of interest in the Chaika-2 is not clear so far.

Project A-050-742D Chaika-2 in its current configuration came as result of cooperation between the Central Design Bureau for Hydrofoil Ships and JSC Radar MMS. The Design Bureau is responsible for the development of the main elements of the ekranoplan, and Radar MMS is the systems integrator for the on-board equipment and technology.

Last December, Russia’s Deputy Defence Minister Alexei Krivoruchko mentioned that a contract for the construction of new landing ships would be signed in 2020. During Putin’s visit to Sevastopol, the state media disclosed information that the Russia’s Navy determined the parameters of Russia’s first-ever universal landing ships. Keels will be laid at Zaliv Shipyard in Crimea in May of 2020, timed for the 75th Anniversary of Russia’s WWII victory. Each ship will displace 25,000 metric tonnes and have: an overall length of 220 metres; capacity to carry circa 20 helicopters; a dock for landing boats; and, the ability to carry heavy armour and up to two reinforced marine battalions with a total strength of 900 men.

According to the state-run TASS news agency, a source in the military-industrial complex claimed the Russian Navy will name the first two of these universal landing ships Sevastopol and Vladivostok, which were previously intended for the undelivered Mistrals Russia ordered from France.

Yury Laskin