Russia’s two latest amphibious assault ships currently under construction at the Zaliv Shipyard in Crimea will be capable of carrying both deck-based Ka-31, Ka-27 or Ka-52K helicopters and multi-purpose gunships for special missions, Ak Bars Shipbuilding Corporation Chief Renat Mistakhov told Russian agency TASS at the Army-2020 forum on 27th August.
“The customer has set the task of ensuring the ship’s interaction with the land troops. We have been assigned the task of providing for a possibility of employing not only seaborne helicopters but also multi-purpose gunships so that they can temporarily land on the ship for the embarkation or disembarkation of a particular contingent,” Mistakhov said.
Overall, Russian helicopter carriers will carry an air group of over 10 heavy helicopters, he said.
Multi-purpose amphibious assault ships also called helicopter carriers are capable of carrying a group of heavy helicopters of various designations on their board (up to 16 helicopters aboard Mistral-class vessels and over 30 gunships aboard US Wasp-class warships) and transporting from several hundred to 1,000 and more marine infantry personnel. Helicopter carriers are outfitted with a dock for landing craft and can transport armor.
Russia’s first two domestic helicopter carriers Ivan Rogov and Mitrofan Moskalenko were laid down at the Zaliv Shipyard in Kerch on the Crimean Peninsula on July 20.
The Russian multi-purpose amphibious assault ships can be transformed into floating hospitals, if necessary, he said.
“Our customer has indicated to us that today the issue of transforming this ship for a hospital vessel is being studied because a helicopter carrier has all necessary for that: cabins, cook rooms, separate premises, a helicopter hangar and a dock chamber. That is why, now at the design stage we are selecting the medical equipment that should be stationary and should always be inside the ship,” Mistakhov said.
From the start of the work on the ship’s design, the Ak Bars Shipbuilding Corporation suggested that some equipment should be stationary, for example, oxygen apparatus, he said.
“Other equipment that is not required in combat operations will not be installed on multi-purpose amphibious assault ships. A place will be reserved for it and an option of accommodating it will be worked out,” Mistakhov said.
If necessary, an amphibious assault ship will get medical apparatus and materials in addition to the basic equipment installed initially to transform into a full-fledged hospital vessel, he said.
Russia’s Defense Ministry displayed its interest in acquiring hospital ships during the pandemic when the hospital vessel Irtysh was involved in the Far East to ease the burden on hospitals.
Russian Deputy Industry and Trade Minister Oleg Ryazantsev told TASS at the Army-2020 forum on August 26 that the United Shipbuilding Corporation had offered several options of building new hospital vessels of various types, layouts, accommodation and classes for operation in coastal and distant waters. Russia’s Defense Ministry will make a decision on building a fleet of such vessels, proceeding from available financial resources.