Vladimir Radyuhin

MOSCOW: Russia will launch large-scale construction of aircraft carriers within the next two years, said President Dmitry Medvedev.

“We need new aircraft carrying warships, this is a very important direction for the development of the Navy,” he said on board Russia’s only aircraft carrier, Admiral Kuznetsov. He added that the first aircraft carrier should be built by 2013-2015.

“We have lost much ground in the 1990s, when we did not build any warships. Now we have to restore an [industrial] basis for aircraft carrier construction and for the Navy as a whole.” Earlier the Navy announced plans to build eight nuclear submarines by 2015. Problems caused by global financial turmoil would not hurt Russian plans to revive its armed forces, he said.

Mr. Medvedev watched a successful test launch of a strategic missile by the nuclear-powered submarine Tula from an underwater position in the Arctic Barents Sea.

The missile hit a target in an equatorial part of the Pacific Ocean 11,500 km away — a record distance for this type of missiles.