Murmansk based aircraft carrier prepares for a summer by the Mediterranean
“This summer, we plan a voyage for “Admiral Kuznetsov” in the Mediterranean Sea, where it will lead the Navy group in that region,” a high-ranking official in the Russian navy says to TASS.
“Admiral Kuznetsov” is Russia’s only aircraft carrier and belongs to the Northern fleet. When not sailing, the vessel stays at port at naval yard No. 35 in Murmansk, next to the country’s homeport of nuclear powered icebreakers.
The Northern fleet already has its antisubmarine vessel “Vice-Admiral Kulakov” in the Mediterranean sailing together with the missile cruiser «Varyag» - the flagship of the Pacific fleet.
Russian military intervention in the Syrian Civil war started in September last year.
Upgrade and new air wing
Built in Ukraine in the 80ies, the “Admiral Kuznetsov” will after returning to Murmansk enter a 2-2,5 years period of repair and upgrades. According to TASS, the vessel will get a new air wing, said to be the new multirole fighter MiG-29K. That is the same aircraft as India operates from its aircraft carrier “INS Vikramaditya” bought from Russia and tested in the Barents Sea some few years ago.
Today, the aircraft carrier has a fleet of multi-role SU-33s and Ka-27 helicopters. “Admiral Kuznetsov” has sailed the Mediterranean Sea several times before, including port calls to the Russian navy base at Tartus in Syria.
“Admiral Kuznetsov” has a crew of nearly 2,000 persons.