Russia does not lift its head. To the enormous military losses suffered in the three months of war in ukrainewhere they have died more than 20,000 soldiers With the destruction of hundreds of tanks plus seven ships damaged or sunk, there is now a new military setback. Its about Admiral Kuznetsov, the only Russian aircraft carrier -which entered service in 1991- and which has had a life weighed down by numerous mishaps. The largest ship in the Russian Navy has once again suffered another delay in the revision and repair process, so it will not return to the scene until 2024 at the earliest, according to the Russian agency TASS.
This means, among other things, that if the war in Ukraine becomes more entrenched, Moscow will not be able to resort to one of its main weapons of naval attack. The Kuznetsov was launched in 1985 and designed under the umbrella of the Soviet era nuclear strategy with the primary objective of protecting the missile-carrying nuclear submarines intercontinental ballistic missiles. His first name was Riga. Shortly after it was renamed Leonidas Brezhnev. In 1987 it was called Tbilisi and finally it was like Admiral Kuznetsov in honor of the Soviet hero of World War II.
In 1991, after the disintegration of the USSR and in the midst of disagreements with the newly independent Ukraine, which claimed ownership of the aircraft carrier, the Kuznetsov remained moored for years and did not become operational again until 1995. Its first mission was a deployment in the Mediterranean Sea and its most relevant missions include the attempted rescue of the crew of the Kursk submarine. The first combat action of the ship took place in 2016, in the midst of the war in Syria, when Su-33 planes took off from its deck.
The only Russian aircraft carrier is immersed in a repair process after detecting defects in the renovation works. In December 2019, at least one soldier died and twelve people were injured in a fire on board the ship. The previous year she had been damaged during repair work when the floating dock supporting her sank and a crane crashed onto her deck.
In 2016, the Russian Navy lost its second fighter in less than a month, a Su-33 that skidded off the runway of the aircraft carrier due to a broken brake cable. A month earlier, a MiG-29 fighter crashed on its way back to Admiral Kuznetsov in the Syrian war.
In 2017, former British Defense Minister Michael Fallon called it the “ship of shame” while the aircraft carrier sailed close to the British coast expelling more black humor than usual.
The Kuznetsov is equipped with a double angled deck and a 12º ramp very different from the steam catapult system of Western aircraft carriers. The fighters he carries on deck are the Su-33the Ka-27 and the MiG-29.
Its firepower is not less. Loads four 3K95 anti-aircraft missile VLS sextuple launchers Kinzhal which fire 192 units of the 9M330 / SA-N-9 Gauntlet air defense missile. It also incorporates six AK-630 30mm gattling cannon and eight Kashtan missile/gun CIWS systems. The Kuznetsov also has two UDAV-1 anti-submarine/anti-torpedo rocket systems with 60 shells as anti-submarine defenses.