Russia to upgrade its aircraft carrier
According to Vladimir Tryapichnikov, head of the Russian Navy´s department for shipbuilding, the aircraft carrier will undergo modernization works starting in the end of 2016, and then obtain a new air wing, new capabilities, “so she will accomplish two or even three times more missions than earlier”, TASS reports.
The new air wing will include Mig-29K fighters (NATO reporting name: Fulcrum-D) – an all-weather carrier-based multirole fighter aircraft.
The air wing has already been formed, and the pilots will start practical training later this year, Chief of the Naval Aviation General Major Igor Kozhin told Vesti.
Kozhin believes that changing the air wing from today´s Su-33 to Mig-29K will have many advantages. Whereas Su-33 is an inceptor and does not have the weaponry to strike against protected land-based targets or vessels, the Mig-29K is a multirole fighter that can be part of a vessel group´s antiaircraft and anti-vessel defense, as well as strike against targets on land.
“Admiral Kuznetsov” underwent dock repairs at the 82nd ship-repair plant in Roslyakovo outside Murmansk in May-August 2015. She held air defense drills in the Barents Sea in November.
Russia has sold Mig-29K fighters to the Indian Naval Air Force to use on board “Vikramaditya” – a Soviet aircraft carrier that Russia sold to India in 2004 and which has been completely modernized at the Sevmash shipyard outside Arkhangelsk. The Indian Pilots trained with Mig-29K on “Admiral Kuznetsov” while they waited for their carrier to be ready.