Russia to lay down its first amphibious assault ship in 2021 – media

The Russian Defense Ministry is about to finalize its requirements for Russia’s future amphibious assault ships, a defense industry source said. The lead ship will be laid down in two years while a second one will follow.

Russia is somewhat lagging behind some other nations in terms of amphibious warfare capabilities, operating mostly older Soviet-designed landing ships. A few years ago Moscow purchased two Mistral-class amphibious assault vessels from France with an option to build two more. However, the deal was canceled in 2015 by Paris under pressure from Washington as it twisted the arms of its allies to impose sanctions against Moscow.

Four years later, the Russian Defense Ministry is about to finalize its operational requirements for a domestically-produced amphibious assault ship, a defense source told TASS on the sidelines of an international military forum outside Moscow.

“The Defense Ministry will complete [the document] within a few months and no later than year’s end and send it to the United Shipbuilding Company [the Russian state-owned naval holding],” the source said.

Currently Russia plans to build two amphibious assault ships. The future vessels “will have a large well dock for assault boats and will carry a large helicopter group of 15 to 20 aircraft, including strike helicopters,” the source added. The lead ship of the new class is expected to enter service before 2027, the second one sometime before 2030, the source said.

The Russian Navy currently operates about a dozen ships tailored for amphibious operations, only two of them are of a modern build. The designs of those ships are more focused on carrying large numbers of heavier land troops than on allowing easier and faster deployment of marines under enemy fire – which is what amphibious assault ships are meant for.

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