Russian President Dmitri Medvedev announced recently, while on board the carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, that they will begin an aggressive campaign for the production of aircraft carriers in the next two years. In 2007, Admiral of the Fleet Vladimir Masorin, announced that within 20 to 30 years, Russia would have two carrier strike groups consisting of three carriers each. Russian style carriers are smaller than US carriers and have more defensive capability, reportedly giving them more maneuverability.

But to construct and service a major fleet, Russia needs a major port facility like Sevastopol, in the Ukraine, with its craggy coastline. Unfortunately for Russia (or more ominously, for the Ukrainians), a lease agreement with the Ukraine will expire in 2017. Reports suggest that the Ukraine is not interested in renewing this lease.

On the technical side, building a metal warship brings many kinds of problems that makers of fiberglass yachts and canoes don’t have to contend with. Testing for magnetic silencing and degaussing is one of them.

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