Volgograd, Airborne Headquarters Ship, 1995
First schemed in 1983, perhaps due to lessons learned from the British Royal Navy during the Falklands War, the Soviet Navy schemed an Airborne Headquarters Ship to provide command facilities for Soviet naval task forces, especially those featuring naval aviation ships. Although not given much priority, Volgograd was laid down in 1990 and uniquely was completed in 1995 by the Russian Navy as a relatively cheap means to get aviation assets afloat without operating expensive carriers.
Displacement: 25,000 tons
Dimensions: 227.8m(long, overall), 37.8m (beam, including flightdeck), 8m draught
Armament: 2x Kortik CIWS, 1x 100mm AK-100, 2x5 53mm torpedo tubes for torpedoes & RPK-2 Vyuga, 1x RBU-6000 ASW rocket launchers
Airgroup: a mix of Yak-41 VTOL fighters and Ka-27 'Helix' helicopters
Machinery: gas turbines
Real World: This design comes from the book Alternative: Unbuilt ships of Russian Imperial Navy and Soviet Navy
by A. N. Sokolov. Little information is given and its shown as part of the appendix of other designs, its simply called 'Airborne Headquarters Ship' and dates from 1983. The concept never made it to the Shipbuilding Plan.
Drawing Notes: The drawing in Sokolov's book is very basic and crudely scaled. No dimensions were given so I scaled this off the AK-100 and other items, so this cannot really classify as a proper 'never-were' drawing due to the lack of solid information and the rather speculative features of the drawing.
For example, unlike most Soviet ships this design looks very under-armed. Only one RBU is fitted plus 533mm torpedo tubes. No CIWS were shown in the drawing and ahead of the AK-100 was shown one single circle which I presume may have been an 'Gauntlet' VLS but no fire-control radar was shown (also very odd that only one SA-N-9 would be fitted if it is that missile). So I have left off any SAMs. Two EW radomes suited low on the hull sides looked like a rather odd feature to me, so supposing these may have been placeholders for Kortik, I have added them to the drawing to add some proper self-defence capability.
Lastly, seeing that Gollevainien has used Sokolev's speculative drawings of radars etc. for his own Novogorod AU which matched this ship, I have stolen some of his EW equipment for this ship in the absence of real Soviet next-gen kit to properly illustrate this concept. So this drawing should be considered an AU design based on a real concept.