Sergey Aksyonov, the head of Russia’s Republic of Crimea, said that Zaliv shipyard in Kerch is capable of building ships of any class, including aircraft carriers.
“Zaliv shipyard has the largest dry dock in Russian Federation, with the length of 375 metres (approx. 410 yards). This allows building any kind of ship, including aircraft carriers. Perhaps such decisions will take place here,” Aksyonov said.
Zaliv is a core industry for the city of Kerch. It is one of the largest shipyards in Eastern Europe, situated on the shore of the Kerch strait, which connects the Black Sea to the Sea of Azov.
Back in USSR, aircraft carriers were being built at Black Sea Shipyard in Nikolayev, Ukraine. Currently, the only shipyard maintaining and modernising Russia’s sole aircraft carrier the Admiral Kuznetsov is Zvyozdochka (Little Star) shipyard in Severodvinsk.
Aksyonov’s remark seems like wishful thinking, considering that the Admiral Kuznetsov, Russia’s sole aircraft carrier [indeed heavy aircraft-carrying missile cruiser], has been plagued by years of technical problems. It has to be always escorted by tugboat, in case if the warship breaks down. In July of last year, the Admiral Kuznetsov sailed through the Dover Strait billowing clouds of black smoke. According to officials, the Admiral Kuznetsov will start being modernised in 2018.
Construction of a brand new aircraft carrier is to begin in 2025, according to Deputy Minister of Defense Yuriy Borisov. The project of the new ship was reportedly developed by Krylov State Research Center.