KUBINKA /Moscow Region, June 26. /TASS/. Russia plans to build two universal amphibious assault ships capable of carrying 15-20 helicopters under the state armament program through 2027, a source in the domestic defense industry told TASS on the sidelines of the Army-2019 international military and technical forum on Wednesday.
"In the coming months but no later than the end of the year, the Defense Ministry will complete developing technical specifications for a universal amphibious assault ship and send them to the United Shipbuilding Corporation. The state armament program through 2027 includes two universal amphibious assault ships. A preliminary design has been worked out. Technical design work will begin in 2020 and the construction of the lead ship will start in 2021," the source said, adding that the work’s chief contractors had not yet been determined.
There are plans to build the lead universal amphibious assault ship and deliver it to the customer under the state armament program through 2027 while the work on the first serial-produced vessel will be completed before the early 2030s, the source said.
"Although the technical specifications have not yet been formulated, it is possible to speak already now that universal amphibious assault ships will get a large dock chamber to house assault boats and will also be capable of carrying a large air group of helicopters of various designation, including 15-20 permanently based attack gunships," the source said.
Head of Russia’s United Shipbuilding Corporation Alexei Rakhmanov earlier said that Russia needed to build its own helicopter carriers in the future for the prompt deployment of a large grouping of forces. Moreover, these helicopter carriers should not repeat France’s Mistral project.
Universal amphibious assault ships, also called helicopter carriers, are distinguished by their large displacement (20,000 tonnes and more) and can carry a large group of heavy helicopters of various designation (up to 16 helicopters aboard Mistral ships and more than 30 aboard US Wasp-class vessels), and also vertical take-off rotorcraft.
Universal amphibious assault ships can carry from several hundred to over one thousand marine infantry personnel, boats and other craft for landing the assault force and transport the armor. Universal amphibious assault ships normally feature a powerful combat control system and can act as a command and control vessel for a grouping of forces.