More information on the future of the Russian assault fleet

Like the entire Russian navy, the landing fleet has largely suffered, over the last 30 years, from loss of skills in the country's shipyards, linked to the absence of credits in a nation in full reconstruction. In addition, the Soviet Union used Ukrainian, not Russian, shipyards to build high-tonnage units, such as assault ships. After the failure of the acquisition of the French 2+2 Mistrals, numerous announcements, sometimes fanciful, often contradictory, were made concerning the construction of a future "Russian Mistral", without being followed in fact. Because, in reality, in 30 years, the Russian assault and landing fleet will have only seen the entry into service of 2 Ivan Gren class vessels, with otherwise limited performance.

But since the beginning of the decade, a vast program of modernization of Russian shipyards was undertaken. This program was slowed down for a time by the annexation of Crimea and the Donbass war, the gas turbines which equip the majority of Russian Navy buildings having, since independence, been imported from Ukraine (nb: LST Ivan Gren are equipped with diesel engines). It therefore took a few years to be able to produce alternative propulsion units, to resume nominal production. From now on, Russian shipyards have apparently regained a level of performance and know-how compatible with the requirements of the production of military vessels. Thus, while it took almost 14 years to complete the construction of the assault vessel Ivan Gren by the Yantar shipyards in Kaliningrad, the construction of its sister ship, the Petr Morgunov, commissioned in 2015, will not have taken only 4 years, with the building due to enter service this year.

Two more units of the Ivan Gren class were to be built, but as construction began, it quickly became apparent that the new ships differed from their predecessors. Longer, heavier, we now know more about these assault ships, thanks to an article published by the internal journal of the Yantar construction sites, relayed by Naval News website. Contrary to what was previously put forward, the buildings will not have a straight deck, like the American LHD[efn_note]Landing Helicopters Dock[/efn_note] of the America class, or the French Mistrals, but will keep the form of an LST[efn_note]Landing Ship Tank[/efn_note], like the Ivan Gren or the Chinese Type 071. On the other hand, the ships will be much more imposing, reaching a tonnage estimated at 9000 tonnes compared to 6500 tonnes for the Ivan Gren, and will have a super-structure and an aeronautical deck also significantly larger than those of their elders. . Thus, the flight deck will allow two medium helicopters, Ka29 or Ka52, to carry out aviation maneuvers simultaneously, but will remain limited to a single heavy helicopter, type Mi8 or Mi17. The construction of the two new ships having started this year, their entry into service should take place in 2022 or 2023, in all probability.

The construction of the future Russian LHD, however, remains very uncertain. The Krylov design offices have presented their “Priboy” model on several occasions, and several announcements have been made on this subject, in particular regarding the start of construction to take place in 2020 or 2021 at the Severnaya Vert shipyards in Saint- Petersburg. But no official order confirmation has yet been provided. The construction of the two modified Ivan Grens risks, we understand, further postponing this construction, especially since the resources allocated to the Russian surface fleet by the GPV 2020-2027 are limited, and already largely started by the renovation of the cruisers Kirov and the Kuznetsov aircraft carrier, and by the future class of 22350M Super Gorshkov destroyers, 8 units of which must be ordered by 2028. There are limits to what it is possible to do with $18 billion in credits. annual equipment by the Russian armies.

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