Russia should give up this aircraft carrier and scrap it. Damn, Admiral Kuznetsov is finally out of the dry dock, but that doesn’t mean he’s returning to the high seas.
More disasters have befallen Russia’s single aircraft carrier than anyone could have predicted. Deadly fires have broken out there on multiple occasions. Several planes have been lost, and there have been countless failures and accidents, including the sinking of a dry dock.
Admiral Kuznetsov: What is the future of the aircraft carrier?
Originally, Russia had planned for Admiral Kuznetsov to undergo a four-year refit. It is now in the sixth year of the project. Vladimir Putin’s Navy hopes it can be fielded by 2024, but that’s optimistic. The Russian Navy believes the refit could add 10-15 years to its useful life. Again, not likely. The latest stroke of bad luck came in January when the holds filled with water and the hull was dangerously corroded.
Lots of work to do
The aircraft carrier has come out of the dry dock, but not with its own propulsion. She has had to be towed.
Good news for your output, but bad for your engines. The ship has eight turbo-pressurized boilers, and the builders want to replace four and renovate the rest.
Workers are coating the flight deck. Modern anti-aircraft defenses will be installed. In addition, the ship will feature new electronic warfare and communications systems, including intelligence and surveillance capabilities.
The Russian Union Shipbuilding Company estimated that the total cost would be $866 million. Nevertheless, Russia has only provided half of that sum, and it seems likely that these payments will be reduced again as a result of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. Russia could just start over and construct a brand-new aircraft carrier for that price.
More details about the aircraft carrier
The construction of Admiral Kuznetsov began in 1982 and was finished in 1991. It’s hard to maintain, so it’s spent most of its life docked. The length of the aircraft carrier is 1,000 feet, and it can carry 58,000 tonnes.
Compared to US aircraft carriers, she is significantly smaller and can only support 24 aircraft at a time. The carrier’s P-700 Granit anti-ship missiles are an asset in the making up for the lack of strike planes.
The carrier undertook a deployment to Syria in 2016 that was successful in getting the warship out of port. She had to be escorted by a tugboat in case of a breakdown. But operations on the flight deck were less than stellar. The ship lost two aircraft in three weeks due to accidents.
Incidents on the Russian aircraft carrier
There was another fire in December 2022. All the workers came out safe and sound, but it was a shame for the Russian Navy. Even when sailing on the open ocean, the aircraft carrier emits a filthy, heavy, black haze known as mazut that gives the ship an unhealthy appearance.
In 2019, a fire broke out in the machine room from a welding accident, killing two other employees. Fourteen suffered smoke inhalation and burns. In 2018, a floating crane tore apart the deck of the Kuznetsov in an accident that killed one worker and injured four others. There was even a case of embezzlement at the shipyard in 2021.
The Future of the Russian Navy
The Russian Navy has the decision to continue working on Admiral Kuznetsov or scrap it and try to build a new aircraft carrier. This would probably cost at least a billion dollars and ten years of work.
The Russian Navy needs a serious assessment from Moscow. There hasn’t been a good war for the division in Ukraine. His flagship, the Moskva, was destroyed by enemy fire in the Black Sea. The other ships only have ranged missile launchers. The fleet never attacked Odessa, as some analysts predicted it would.
It is a green water navy only capable of conducting operations in the Near East close to home. The deployment to Syria was a nice try, but his mission rating was probably just a “C-plus.”
It’s time for the Russians to reimagine their Navy and upgrade it into a global maritime power. As things are now, they are not, and Admiral Kuznetsov, even if she sails again, will not change this state of affairs.