Russia has already begun working on designs for the Priboy helicopter carrier vessel for the Navy.
Speaking to Tass News Agency on June 28, 2017, United Shipbuilding Corporation’s vice president for naval construction, Igor Ponomaryov, said, “The USC enterprises have started working on this project: there is a project pipeline and there is understanding of all basic technologies.”
He was referring to Priboy, a helicopter carrier that will serve as a replacement for the Mistral vessels Russia intended to purchase from France. That deal collapsed in 2015, amid a deterioration in relations between Russia and the West over the situation in Ukraine.
Scale models of Priboy have been built and were first seen at the Army-2015 military exhibition.
The ship is projected to have a capacity of 14,000 tonnes, with the ability to carry a number of maritime helicopters, such as Ka-27s or Ka-52Ks. It will be equipped with Pantsir-Ms, the naval variant of the Pantsir-S surface-to-air missile system.
Ponomaryov added, “The USC has enterprises ready to build such a ship: the modernized Northern Shipyard, as well as the Baltic Shipyard and Sevmash, that has a vast experience in building large surface ships.”
Russia reportedly has included the Priboy vessels in its state armaments program for 2018-2025 — the Navy is believed to be interested in procuring four vessels of the type.
Tass News Agency noted that Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov said in May 2017 that a new Russian helicopter carrier would appear in 2022, without specifying the type.
In addition to Priboy, Russia has unveiled models of Lavina, which is planned to be much larger than the Priboy vessel and with more space for a larger number of helicopters. Moscow aims to have one or two Lavina-class vessel built by 2025.
In the mean time, Russia is building smaller amphibious assault vessels under Project 11711. There are plans for two ships — Ivan Gren and Pyotr Morgunov — both of which have been laid down. Ivan Gren is expected to be commissioned later this year in autumn, while Pyotr Morgunov is slated to be floated out during the summer.