Alexander Yavorsky (For English language readers. Attention! Translation of given article from Russian to English it is executed with the help computer translation program. If you will have any possibility to edit this text, please send it by e-mail: Thank you.)

Sea on Sukhoy company «has begun to smell» by the end of 60th years. To this time among the high military-political management of the country the thorough enlightenment in sights on a role air carrier ships – aircraft carriers, at last, was planned. Long time aircraft carriers was accepted to count extremely instrument of the expansion peculiar to the imperialistic states and consistently rejected by Soviet Union. Besides, from the moment of occurrence of the nuclear weapon and its carriers — planes of strategic aircraft, submarines with a nuclear power-engine and ballistic missiles – aircraft carriers were represented easy destroy targets. However calculations showed, that in case of application of the usual weapon to destroy or even is guaranteed to put out of action an aircraft carrier not so simply, and the value supplied aircraft carriers in military doctrines of the advanced western countries, is great. Today aircraft carriers are «main a ridge» of NAVY. They are capable to attack by the planes objects of the opponent on distance up to 2000 kms, that is in deep rear. Besides their major feature is the opportunity of the control above extensive areas of ocean water area and maintenance of overland operations in the most remote regions of a planet. Aircraft carriers were and remain indispensable participants of all wars and local conflicts in Asian — Pacific region, in area of the Mediterranean and in Atlantic. According to experts of a staff of USA NAVY, more than 70 % of the population of globe live within the limits of 350 kms of a coastal zone of World ocean, and almost 80 % of capitals are not further 500 kms from it water area, that is within the limits of direct reach of deck aircraft. Operation «the Shock and Trembling» once again has proved these calculations. The management of USA has made the decision to assign the basic role in drawing airrocket impacts on objects in Iraq on air carrier groups.

T10-24In USA the decision to finish number of nuclear aircraft carriers up to 10 ships is accepted and to stop their construction what will allow to have still 12 operative connections in which only two aircraft carriers will be diesel engine — electric …

And what our two-headed power? All way of becoming Russian (Soviet) air carrier fleet, since 1925, under to begin a history of development at us arms and military engineering, and in general to all destiny of the country, a circuit of tests and mistakes, lessons of stagnancy of our military and political management.

In article «Ship aircraft and aircraft carriers of domestic fleet », published in magazine «Wings above the sea» № 6 for 1994, devoted to a 300-anniversary of the Russian Fleet, A.Morin, the main designer of an aircraft carrier with a nuclear power-engine, writes bitter words: «… In the beginning of designing in 1973 the opportunity of construction till 1986 of three АC (aircraft carriers – a comment of the author) proved to be true. Realization of such program essentially could reduce semicentenial backlog of our fleet from USA NAVY in creation air carrier ships and aircraft for them (our head АC it was planned to put into operation in 7 years after American АC «Nimits»). However, except for confirmation by the Ministry of Defence of necessity and expediency, and the industry – a technical opportunity of creation АC, it was required to make the political decision top-level to what our management appeared not ready».

Further A.Morin expresses is not more sweet: «After USSR Minister of Defience D.F.Ustinov death (1984) and changes of a management of the Joint Staff, have charged Neva design bureau (NPKB) designing of the seventh, this time – nuclear, aircraft carrier with the increased quantity of flying ship devices and displacement. At a bookmark of the ship (1988) it has received the name of «Ulyanovsks». With his development and construction we have left on a technological level achieved by firm «Newport News» though were able to do it for 10-13 years earlier» .

However it is necessary to return to the beginning of 70th years. Preliminary works on ship subjects on Sukhoy have begun in 1971. About aircraft carriers and about conditions of operation on them of planes to this time in the company did not know almost anything. Intensive gathering information materials and their processing began. Revelation became a feature film of the French film director Ive Champy «The Sky above a head» which separate episodes devoted to deck operation, were looked through repeatedly. On that moment did not play special a role, that the French aircraft carriers shown in film were out-of-date type, and planes Etander, Crusader, Alize maintained on them were a same as the ship. Besides at the French start of planes was made with the help of a bridle that had a number of lacks. But the episodes connected to accommodation of planes, their service and work of such units as catapults, air finishers, airplane lifts, represented the big interest.

All known deck fighters regarding their runway characteristics and features of a design — the chassis, ropes for gearing forward racks the chassis with a shuttle of a catapult, stoppers began to be exposed to careful studying, landing hooks (hooks), designs of a wing, power units in a place of folding of consoles etc. Were used any accessible sources of the information – illustrations, materials of military newsreels, runway devices of the American deck planes which have been brought down in Vietnam.

The first head of a ship theme in Sukhoy bureau appointed Sergey Borisovich Smirnov (by a nickname «Buran»), working in a department of projects conducting designer. On his share difficult work of growing in hitherto unknown to anybody subjects has dropped out.

In opinion of Americans, Sukhoy Co. has undertaken a not solved problem — of a «overland» fighter to make the high-grade deck plane. At least, their richest experience in business of creation of deck planes unequivocally spoke about impossibility of positive result in such experiment. The only deck fighter Fewri created on the basis of well-known Sabre which USA appeared farly from being most successful deck fighter NAVY was, and in the beginning of 60th years was safely removed from arms.

Russia once again appeared nihilist of theories, having proved, that the basic difficulty at all in creation of the deck plane (even altered of overland!), but in follies of political will of a management.

In 1972 in Neva design bureau was developed first project nuclear aircraft carrier with catapult rise of planes and displacement about 80000 т (project 1160). First time the ship planning to equip MiG-23А («sea made» version of MiG–23ML), ship bombers (!) Su-24К, and also destroy submarine planes P-42 (Beriev bureau).

On Sukhoy Co. have quickly enough understood an impracticability of idea of inclusion in structure of airgroup of an aircraft carrier of deck variant Su-24. Maximal take-off weight Су-24 made almost 40 т, and capacities of all known (American) deck steam catapults allowed normal operation by the ship of planes with weight no more than 25-30 т.

Sukhoy has offered for an aircraft carrier more rational from the point of view of criterion «effect-cost» family of the unified deck planes T-12 «burans» executed on the basis of the project of fighter Т-10: one pilot fighter — interceptor «Molnia-1», double multi-purpose fighter «Molnia-2», double combat «Groza» with various missile-bombing arms, and also the double scout «Vimpel».

In force of some the political and economic reasons, and also death in 1976 of the most influential supporters an aircraft carrier — А.А. Grechko and B.E Butoma — works under the project 1160 were stopped. For the same reasons has not received development and the project 1153 — a nuclear aircraft carrier displacement 70000 т with which it was planned to equip with planes Su-27K, Su-25К and (development the MiG-23А with more powerful engine R-100, with enlarge wing areas and system of refueling in flight).

In middle of 70th the military-political management of the country has much made the MiG-23К for closing the prospect-shock complex Т-4 («100» developed in Sukhoy and intending for counteraction American air carrier connections in Northern and Mediterranean seas, on Pacific Ocean. Settlement speed of the plane made 3000-3200 km/hour. Unique missile Х-45 was developed for this complex. The first flight «weave» was held in the summer 1972, and in 1974 the program flight tests was stopped, the plane is transferred to 1982 in a museum of the Air Forces in Monino.

In 1977 the governmental decision on construction of an aircraft carrier cruiser (the project 1143.5), having increased displacement and equipped with catapults and air finishers. In structure of ship airgroups it was planned to include fighters of vertical rise and landing Yak-141, helicopters Ka-27, and also planes with horizontal rise and landing — fighters Su-27К and the MiG-29К, combat Su-25К and plane AWAKS An-71.

In 1978 Sukhoy Co. has prepared first project of ship fighter modification Su-27 (in the initial configuration appropriate configuration of plane T-10), received designation Su-27К (T-12). The plane was supposed to equip with a developing wing, a brake hook (hook) and strengthened chassis. Measures on additional anticorrosive protection of a glider and a engine were provided.

However in 1981. On demand of the Joint Staff displacement of the fifth aircraft carrier (1143.5) was solved to reduce the project till the sizes of the project 1143.4 («Baku», nowadays – «Admiral of Fleet of Soviet Union Gorshkov»). At this time simultaneously refused from application of catapults. In result searches of new means of maintenance of horizontal rise were required. The opportunity of use starting solid fuel accelerators was originally considered. But further Sukhoy Co. and Mikoyan Co., and also TSAGI and LII have offered for rise of the planes having big engine power to apply a starting springboard. The author of a way of rise from a curvilinear springboard, a stage «Ski Jump», Douglas R. Taylor’s Englishman was. The big practical experience acquired by aircraft NAVY of the Great Britain in application of ship take-off stages, confidently has allowed to use air carrier ships with such stages during the military conflict to Argentina because of Falkland islands in 1982. On the American aircraft carriers take-off stages have not got accustomed, against the English aircraft carriers, American had onboard the airwings of polytypic structure including both jet planes with high engine power, and less powerful planes of different purposes.

In 1981 the project heavy air carrier cruiser «1143.5» was once again reconsidered — his displacement again has grown up to 55000 т. The structure of airgroup — Su-27К, the MiG-29К and Yak-141М was finally determined also. Instead of An-71 was solved to use helicopter AWAKS on base Ka-27 (Ka-31). This project in a final configuration was authorized in 1982.

For improvement of means of maintenance of rise and landing of planes of deck basing (air finisher, catapults, an emergency barrier, optical and radio engineering systems of landing), and also for preparation of pilots for deck aircraft was solved to construct the Research and learn-training complex (NIUTK – Russian abbreviator) which later has received more harmonious аббревиатурное the name «NITKA — Thread» (a ground research-training complex aviation). For construction of a complex the air station Novo-Fedorovka in Crimea, nearby Saki was chosen.

On «Thread» ( 23-th test base the Navy) were established analogues ship stopper – rope air finisher «Svetlana — 2» and an emergency barrier with the symbolical name «Hope», and also ship systems of landing – radio engineering («Resistor» and two optical («Luna-3» and «Glissada-N»), providing landing approach in automatic, semi-automatic and director modes, in the afternoon and at night, in simple and difficult weather conditions, for visual landing in day time and night conditions. As analogue of a catapult in a complex it was used start device.

To summer 1982 a complex «Thread» equipped with experimental springboard Т-1 with a corner 8,5 °. In July, 1982 on «Thread» tests of third prototype Su-27 – plane T10-3 when pilot — verifier N.F.Sadovnikov has executed the first jog with use stopper have begun. In August of the same year plane T10-3, with pilot — verifier N.Sadovnikovym, has made the first rises from ground springboard Т-1, and in 1983 this machine already equipped with a hook, participated in improvement of a technique of landing to a deck with using air finisher (flied V.Pugachev and N.F.Sadovnikov). In the same period plane T8-4 took part in tests also. Further tests for springboard Т-2 were carried out also, which surface was formed not with an arch of the cylinder (as on Т-1), and a curve of the third order.

Installation of springboard Т-2 was completed in the summer 1984. It in accuracy repeated the form nose parts of a deck made eyes cruiser the project 1143.5 and had a corner 14,3°. The first rise with Т-2 in September of the same year has executed N.F.Sadovnikov by plane T10-25. Official date of the first flight of deck plane Su-27K (Т10К-1, a board № 37) count August, 17, 1987 when it was lifted in air by pilot — verifier V.G.Pugachev. Plane T10K-1 firstly had not developing consoles of a wing and horizontal plumage, and with the regular complete set was equipped in 1988. The second Т10К-2 (the board № 39) for the first time has seen the sky December, 22, 1987 when it has lifted in N.F.Sadovnikov’s air. This plane already had a regular wing of the deck plane.

In October, 1989 fly-design tests of deck planes onboard «Tbilisi» (the project 1143.5, the order 105, it has names «Riga», «Leonid Brezhnev» and, at last, «Admiral of Fleet of Soviet Union of Gorshkov») have begun.

November, 1, 1989, for the first time in a history Russian fleet, fighter Su-27К has executed horizontal landing with use air finisher on a deck heavy air carrier cruiser «Tbilisi». In this historical flight the plane was piloted by pilot — verifier V.G.Pugachev. According to an extract from the logbook of the ship landing was held in 13 o’clock 46 mines in a point with coordinates: breadth 45 ˚ 02 ’ 6N, a longitude 33 ˚ 11 ’ 8Е. Weather conditions were the following: a wind – 260 ˚, 8 м/с; the sea – 1 point; visibility – 4,6 miles; overcast – 9 points. Next day Pugachev has executed rise with use of a springboard, and November, 21 for the first time has put Т10-К2 on a deck of a cruiser in night conditions.

In December, 1991 the cruiser, already finally renamed in «Admiral of Fleet of Soviet Union of Gorshkov», has made transition from Sevastopol in Severomorsk, having entered in structure of Northern fleet of Russia. The maximal speed of the ship — 30 units, autonomy of navigation — 45 days, crew — 1960 person, number air wing — 626 person. Typical structure of airgroup: 36 planes Su-33 and 16 helicopters Ka-27.

In October, 1994 government tests of the plane were completed. Officially deck fighter Su-27К under a designation «Su-33» was taken advantage by the Navy of Russia the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation from August, 31, 1998. The designation «Su-33» was accepted the internal order on a factory in 1989. After the first landing the plane to a deck, but for the different reasons it was required nine years to legalize it when due hereunder.

Now separate ship fighter airshelfs of Northern fleet is unique a fly part in Russia which pilots have experience of landing and rise from a deck of the ship. To tell the truth, this experience it is necessary to support, but for the different objective and subjective reasons it is not enough means and opportunities for this purpose.

That up to Sukhoy, there do not lose hopes (probably unrealizable) on the light future of deck planes. To tell the truth, now it is not absolutely clear, for whose decks. April, 29, 1999 in air new double deck plane Su-27KUB (ship, learn-fighting), incorporated many scientific and technical achievements of last years was lifted. September, 3 same year Su-27KUB has made landing to a complex «Thread» with use air finisher and October, 6 has executed the first landing to «Admiral of Gorshkov» with the subsequent rise. In September on the plane the Indian pilots flied. The further fly tests have proceeded in Crimea since December, 2000.

From Su-33 the new machine differs presence of two members of the crew sitting «side by side» (as on F-111, Su-24 and Su-27IB), the increased area of forward horizontal plumage, a wing and the basic horizontal plumage, direct management of elevating force and a wing with adaptive management. By the plane the new cabin with five liquid crystal indicators is established. On demand of the customer handles of management can be established by plane both central, and lateral. The plane is equipped with systems OBOGS and OBIGGS for reception of oxygen and nitrogen onboard. Landing speed of the plane that is the extremely important at operation on an aircraft carrier is reduced. The plane has the increased range of action. For reduction of dimensions at accommodation on an aircraft carrier tail leans back upwards.

In November, 2003 there was a message on the beginning of tests in December by plane Su-27KuB RLS «GHUK-MSFE» (modified, Sukhoy, phased, export) has acted. New radar should carry out detection and simultaneous support up to 30 air purposes and fire simultaneously up to eight purposes.

Creation of the similar plane (besides other positive factors) considerably will facilitate preparation fly structure for planes of such class. It is possible to guess any other variants of application of the plane.

Somehow in 1999 command of the Navy and Army the Russian Federation «has sounded» plans on creation in the future domestic air carrier cruiser such as French АВ «Charles de Goal» with accommodation on them of aviation arms for performance of problems of fleet outside 200-300-miles zones. To tell the truth, it is now not clear, how it coordinates with struggle against the international terrorism. However, it still depends what to understand as the international terrorism. How, for example, to classify actions of USA against Iraq around of decisions of the United Nations and Security Council?

In Vladimir Putin’s recent declaration refusal of construction in the future of aircraft carriers has sounded. And at the same time at the expanded meeting of a military management holding October, 2, 2003 (on which, by the way, there was also Putin) Minister of Defence Sergey Ivanov has declared, that Russia does not exclude an opportunity of drawing first impact in various regions of the world. «We absolutely can not exclude and first application of force if it will be demanded with interests of Russia or its allied obligations», — has declared the chapter of military department. Most likely, Ivanov did not mean protection of the Russian sea borders or assumes for this purpose known to nobody means.

Now at the decision of problems of a gain of domination in air Su-33 can be considered as one of the best in the world of serial fighters ship basings. It surpasses basic deck fighter USA NAVY F/A-18C/D «Hornet» and perspective fighter F/A-18E/F «Super Hornet» practically in all basic fly-technical characteristics, and also by opportunities of an onboard complex arms at conducting struggle against the air purposes. The deck fighter F-14D «Tomcat» of firm «Grumman» equipped with more powerful, than at Su-33, RLS and rockets of a class «air — air» of big range AIM-54 «Phoenix», considerably concedes Su-33 on maneuverable and acceleration characteristics, and also on fighting radius of action. «Tomcat» has also smaller time of fighting patrolling in a zone.