Putin Orders a New Vertical Take-Off Fighter Be Built. That Can Only Mean a Light Aircraft Carrier Is Next

Russia will be building carriers -- light, cheap ones, for limited objectives -- not the massive, and massively expensive, US Navy-style 'supercarriers'

The Soviet Union operated VTOL aircraft off of multirole cruiser-aircraft carriers but they were both retired in 1991

Read this attentively: 

Russia is developing a prototype of a completely new vertical take-off plane on the instruction of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov said on Tuesday.

“This work has, indeed, been included in the state armament program and is being conducted on the instruction of the supreme commander-in-chief. Now work is underway to develop conceptual models and prototypes,” the vice-premier said.

I will comment in depth on this later but one thing which is absolutely clear–STOVL concept in Russian Navy will lead, inevitably, to some sort of a hybrid carrier akin to US Navy’s LHA-6 America-class amphibious assault ships but, in Russian case, most likely with greater emphasis on the air-wing and self-defense—even most likely making it closer to HMS Queen Elizabeth carrier of the Royal Navy conceptually.

I can already hear sobbing and cries of desperation from all kinds of Russian navalists still enamored with the concept of Alfa-strikes and glory of the flying decks of CATOBAR carriers.

I used to be a navalists myself but with the appearance of 4th generation submarines and weapons such as P-800 Onyx, I got cured and transferred from the shining light and inherent goodness of the Battle of Midway romanticism to a dark side of bookkeeping, cynical pragmatism and stand-off weapons. And I mean STAND-OFF weapons and we all know what they are.

The main question now thus is this: is co-existence of CATOBAR and STOVL carriers possible in Russian Navy? My answer is: why not. MiG-29K is a mature program and this excellent aircraft will eventually substitute venerable SU-33s on a fully upgraded Kuznetsov, which undergoes a major refit as I type this. As per new STOVL aircraft—let’s wait and see. When Yak-141 first appeared in late 1980s it was a revolutionary STOVL aircraft; who said that new one will not be.

Source: Reminiscence of the Future

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