The only Russian aircraft carrier, Admiral Kuznetsov, undergoes a deep renovation before joining the combat fleet in 2024.
Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov
In February 2023, Admiral Kuznetsov left drydock near Murmansk on Russia’s Arctic coast. The ship is expected to enter service in 2024.
The carrier has experienced a number of accidents during her overhaul, including fires and sinking in dry dock. Admiral Kuznetsov is being equipped with advanced air defense systems, such as the Pantsir-M, and a new integrated air defense control system.
Armament of Admiral Kuznetsov
The Pantsir-M has eight missiles and two 30mm automatic cannons capable of hitting aerial targets at different heights.
Long-range ultra-precise bombs are also being delivered to carrier aviation units, enabling precise strikes on moving and ground targets. These glide munitions are more affordable and accurate than guided missiles and can carry larger warheads due to the absence of a rocket motor and fuel.
New crew and downsizing
Admiral Kuznetsov will receive a new crew of approximately 1,500 people, which represents a reduction compared to the previous crew’s 1,900 people. The addition of new systems and automated units has led to a reduction in crew size. The new crew will be trained and coordinated before undergoing all ship trials in 2024.
The troubled history of Admiral Kuznetsov
Admiral Kuznetsov has had a challenging history, being the Russian Navy’s only large cruiser carrier since its introduction in 1985. In 2016-2017, the ship participated in combat missions off the coast of Syria, with air group pilots flying more than 400 sorties and hitting more than 1,200 terrorist targets.
The Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov is being refurbished and equipped with advanced defense systems ahead of joining the combat fleet in 2024. The ship will also receive a new crew and experience a reduced staff size.