The Kuznetsov Class heavy aircraft carrying cruiser, also known as Project 1143.5 or Orel Class, was constructed at Nikolayev South Shipyard on the Black Sea in the Ukraine. The Admiral Kuznetsov, was launched in 1985. A second-of-class vessel, the Varyag, was launched in 1988 but was never commissioned. Admiral Kuznetsov is the only aircraft carrier in the Russian Navy.
The hull design is based on the earlier Admiral Gorshkov, launched in 1982, but it is larger with a full load displacement, 58,500t as compared to 40,400t.
Admiral Gorshkov has not been operational since 1988 but, in January 2004, India signed an agreement to buy the vessel which is to be extensively refurbished with new propulsion systems, weapons and modernisation of the deck for the new aircraft.
The vessel is being sold for the price of the refit along with the purchase of 16 MiG-29K fighters and eight Ka-27 and Ka-31 naval helicopters for the carrier group. The vessel was formally handed over in March 2004. Gorshkov has been renamed INS Vikramaditya. The refit is scheduled to be completed in 2010 followe by sea trials and handover to the Indian Navy in 2012. It is expected to enter service with India in 2013.
The Admiral Kuznetsov supports strategic missile carrying submarines, surface ships and maritime missile-carrying aircraft of the Russian fleet.
In December 2007, the Admiral Kuznetsov set sail, as part of a joint naval task force, for exercises in the Mediterranean, which concluded in February 2008.
The flight deck area is 14,700m² and aircraft take-off is assisted by a bow ski-jump angled at 12°. The flight deck is equipped with arrester wires. Two starboard lifts carry the aircraft from the hangar to the flight deck.
The ship has the capacity to support 16 Yakovlev Yak-41M (Nato code name Freestyle), 12 Sukhoi Su-27K (Nato codename Flanker) fixed-wing aircraft and a range of helicopters including four Kamov Ka-27-LD (Nato codename Helix), 18 Kamov Ka-27 PLO and two Ka-27-S.
Flagship Staff 40
Length at Waterline 270m
Beam at Waterline 35.4m
Standard Displacement 43,000t
Full Load Displacement 55,000t
Maximum Displacement 58,600t
Full Speed 29kt
Range at Maximum Speed 3,850 miles at 29kt
Maximum Range Speed 18kt
Maximum Range 8,500 miles at 18kt
Endurance 45 days
Missiles 12 x Granit anti-ship missiles
Klinok ADAM System 24 launchers and 192 vertical launch missiles
Kashtan ADGM System 4 x combat modiles
---------------------------256 AD missiles and 48,000 cartiridges
Udav-1 integrates A/S and A/T System 60 rockets
Steam Turbine 2 x 50,000hp
Propellers 4 x fixed-pitch propellers
generating Capacity Turbogenerators 9 x 1,500kW
Generating Capacity Diesel Generators (2 x 50,000hp) 6 x 1,500kW
Fixed Wing 16 x Yakovlev Yak-41M (Yak-141)
12 x Sukhoi Su-27K (Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29K)
Rotary Wing 4 x Ka-27-LD
18 x Ka-27 PLO
2 x Ka-27-S
The ship has a Granit anti-ship missile system equipped with 12 surface-to-surface missile launchers. The Granit missile (Nato codename SS-N-19 Shipwreck) is reported to have a range greater than 400km and is capable of carrying either a nuclear or conventional warhead.
The Klinok air defence missile system, with 24 vertical launchers and 192 missiles, defends the ship against anti-ship missiles, aircraft and surface ships. The system has a multi-channel electronically steered phased array radar and can achieve a firing rate of one missile every three seconds. Four targets can be engaged simultaneously in a 60°×60° sector. The range of the system is 12km to 15km.
The Kashstan air defence gun / missile system, supplied by the Instrument Design Bureau and Tulamashzavod JSC in Tula, provides defence against precision weapons including anti-ship and anti-radar missiles, aircraft and small sea targets.
Eight systems are fitted, combining missile launcher, 30mm twin gun and radar / optronic director. The range of the laser beam-riding missiles is from 1.5km to 8km. The gun can fire up to 1,000 rounds a minute in the range 0.5km to 1.5km. Six AK630 AD 30mm air defence guns are also fitted.
The ship is equipped with an Udav-1 anti-submarine system with 60 anti-submarine rockets. Udav-1, supplied by the Splav Research and Production Association in Moscow, protects surface ships by diverting and destroying incoming torpedoes.
The system also provides defence against submarines and saboteur systems such as underwater vehicles. The system has ten barrels and is capable of firing 111SG depth charge projectiles, 111SZ mine-laying projectiles and 111SO diverting projectiles. The range of the system is up to 3,000m and the submarine engagement depth is to 600m.
The ship's radars include a D/E-band air and surface target acquisition radar, an F-band surface search radar, G/H-band flight control radar, I-band navigation radar, and four K-band fire control radars for the Kashstan air defence gun / missile system.
The ship's hull-mounted search and attack sonar, operating in the medium and low-frequency bands, is capable of detecting torpedoes and submarines. The anti-submarine warfare aircraft are equipped with surface search radar, dipping sonar, sonobuoys and magnetic anomaly detectors.
The ship is conventionally powered and has eight boilers and four steam turbines, each producing 50,000hp, driving four shafts with fixed-pitch propellers. The maximum speed is 29kt, and the range at maximum speed is 3,800 miles. The ship provides a maximum range of 8,500 miles at a speed of 18kt.
MiG-29K for the Admiral Kuznetsov
According to the newspaper "Bulletin Reports," the Russian Navy expects to buy the Mikoyan MiG-29K for the Admiral Kuznetsov by 2011, according to an informed source in the Defense Ministry of Russia, noting that the contract may be concluded in the next two years. Information was confirmed by the general designer of one of the defense enterprises, which produces subassemblies for these aircraft, while the MiG corporation refrained from comment.
Currently, according to a companion publication by the Ministry of Defence, the Navy has a fleet of 19 carrier-based Su-33 fighters, a resource which will expire by 2015. The production of new Su-33 is possible, but not cost-effective for such small volumes. At the same time, the MiG-29K in this respect are more convenient, because the Indian Navy has already ordered 16 aircraft and plans to buy at least 30 planes. As noted by Konstantin Makienko, it lessens the series article cost and allows Russia to save on development. India has paid 730 million dollars for the development and delivery of 16 fighters, while the 24 planes for Russia's fleet would cost about $1 billion.
In the early April 2010 it was announced that by the end of 2012 the ship will enter Severodvinsk Sevmash shipyard for a major refit and modernisation. The report states that the refit will include upgrades to the obsolete electronics and sensor equipment, installation of the new anti-aircraft system and increase of the air wing by the removal of the P-700 Granit antiship missiles. Upgrades might also include exchanging the troublesome steam powerplant to the gas-turbine or even nuclear propulsion and installation of catapults to the angled deck. Modifications to accommodate the naval variant of PAK-FA are also possible.