From Severomorsk to Syria
In March, President Putin announced Russia’s withdrawal from Syria. Meanwhile, Russian aircrafts have continued to bombard rebel positions in the war-torn country. Now, the Russian force in the area will be bolstered with the power of the country’s only aircraft carrier, the «Admiral Kuznetsov».
Minister of Defense Sergey Shoigy this week confirmed that the Northern Fleet ship soon will leave its base in Severomorsk, Kola Peninsula, and join operations in Syria.
«In order to strengthen combat capacities we plan to include the aircraft carrier group of cruiser «Admiral Kuznetsov», Shoigu said in a ministry meeting, TASS reports.
From before «at least six» other navy vessels, as well as 3-4 support ships, are in the area, the minister added.
It is expected that the «Admiral Kuznetsov’s» new air wing of multirole fighter MiG-29K will take part in the operation.
From before, the aircraft carrier has a fleet of multi-role SU-33s and Ka-27 helicopters. The powerful ship has sailed the Mediterranean Sea several times before, including port calls to the Russian navy base at Tartus in Syria.
The ship this summer underwent modernization in shipyard No 35 in Roslyakovo, Murmansk Oblast. That is planned to completed by late September, whereupon the ship will be ready for mission. A longer and more extensive modernization is likely to start early 2017.
The 43,000 tons «Admiral Kuznetsov» was commissioned in 1990. It can carry up to to 41 aircrafts. It is built at the Nikolayev South Shipyard in Mykolaiv, Ukraine, and was originally named «Riga». The name was then changed three times, from «Leonid Brezhnev», «Tbilisi», before it became the «Admiral Flota Sovetskovo Soyuza Kuznetsov».