Russia wants its future aircraft carrier to be nuclear-powered, according to a report by the state-run TASS news agency.
Here's what a source from United Shipbuilding Corp. told the organization:
"The project of a future Russian aircraft carrier, or as it is sometimes referred to as naval aircraft carrying complex, is in the design phase. Research conducted by the Nevskoye Design Bureau indicates that the sole way of meeting the Navy's requirements, such as power generation, sea endurance and voyage range is to equip the ship with a nuclear power plant," the source said.The bureau -- the oldest institution for naval architecture in Russia and the primary designer of large surface vessels such as heavy aircraft carriers and large-landing ships, according to the Federation of American Scientists -- has worked on the project since 2007, the article states.
It has even proposed an image of the carrier and its air wing, though they weren't immediately available, and identified the shipyard where the vessel could be built, as well as an estimated cost and delivery date, it states.
While there is no funding to actually begin work on the carrier, the bureau's chief executive officer, Sergey Vlasov, said officials are researching two possible projects: a nuclear-powered ship with a nuclear-powered ship capable of carrying 70 aircraft on board; and a non-nuclear aircraft carrier capable of carrying 50-55 aircraft, according to the article. The vessel might be completed before 2030.
Russia has one operational aircraft carrier (shown above), the Soviet-era Admiral Kuznetsov, which is designed to defend strategic missile-carrying submarines and surface ships and carry such aircraft as the Sukhoi Su-33 multi-role fighter and Kamov Ka-27 helicopter.
News of Russia's plans to develop a nuclear aircraft carrier came just weeks after France reached an agreement to cancel the $1.3 billion sale of two Mistral warships to Russia -- reportedly the largest arms sale ever by a NATO member to the country -- over Russia's annexation of Crimea from the Ukraine.