Nevskoe bureau designs aircraft carriers and landing ships - Part 2

Nevskoe Design Bureau informed TASS about its new Varan aircraft-carrying ship. It is a unified platform to create several types of big surface warships: aircraft carrier, universal amphibious assault ship, hospital ship and Arctic supply vessel. The project currently exists only as a computer picture, however it shows the development trends of the Russian shipbuilding, TASS military writer Dmitry Litovkin said.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001New Varan aircraft-carrying ship (Picture source: Tass)

Zelenodolsk Design Bureau of Ak Bars Corporation won the tender for the design of two universal amphibious assault ships for the Navy and also developed a successful small-tonnage series of Gepard ships and Buyan-M-class corvettes of project 21631. It likely won the tender, as it was the first in the industry to introduce virtual prototyping soft and hardware. It allows touring the warship in 3D goggles and see how it would look like after construction. The technology decreases design problems and eliminates drawbacks before the warship is constructed.

Zaliv Shipyard in Crimea laid the two universal amphibious assault ships in 2020. Navy Commander-in-Chief Admiral Nikolai Yevmenov said it was a turning point in the Navy history, as it received a class of warship that did not previously exist, as well as new engagement capabilities. A source in the shipbuilding industry told TASS each warship has a displacement of 30 thousand tons. One ship can carry up to a thousand marines and 16 helicopters. The dock chamber can accommodate four landing boats. The warships will carry four Okhotnik S-70 heavy drones.

Booming design of big amphibious assault ships and unified platforms in Russia is a direct result of the fiasco with the acquisition of similar warships in France. In 2011, Russia paid 1.12 billion euro for two Mistral ships, but France refused in 2014 to sell them because of Ukrainian developments and paid back the money. Some experts believe Mistral is not fit for Arctic operations. Today they operate in Egypt.

The saved money was invested into the domestic shipbuilding program. The Baltic Shipyard in St. Petersburg built the stern of the ships. Russia has all the necessary technical documentation for the universal amphibious assault ships.

Varan is the most revolutionary project. The hull lines and superstructure radically differ from other projects, as previous warships belonged to the Soviet design school. A 3D model shows a straight deck, the docking chamber in the stern, and a futuristic superstructure. Varan can carry 24 multirole MiG-29K fighter jets, six Katran Ka-52 helicopters and 20 drones. Okhotnik S-70 heavy drone is not included, as it has only a ground-based option, which is undergoing trials.

The displacement will be close to 45 thousand tons. It is a little less than the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier, but more than Priboi project has. The warship will be 250-meter long and 65-meter wide. The gas-turbine power plant develops the maximum speed of 26 knots.

Electromagnetic catapult will ensure MiG-29K takeoff. Varan is powered by a gas turbine, and fuel consumption is unclear so far.

There are doubts about Varan operation in the Arctic. It is impossible to create a universal platform even from blocks, as it would anyway inherit the advantages and drawbacks of various technical solutions.

Russian designers and scientists are much younger and ambitious today. Computer modeling helps create virtual reality and you have to pay only for electricity. Nevskoe Bureau will have a big portfolio of prospective and vital projects at the right time, TASS military writer Dmitry Litovkin said.

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