Russia may be without aircraft carrier for 2-3 years
Negotiations on contract details for the planned upgrade goes on and will be signed in the near future, TASS reports referring to a source in the military industrial complex.
“The works on the vessel will begin after she returns from a long-distance voyage in the Mediterranean in the first quarter of 2017 and will last for two-three years.”
“Admiral Kuznetsov” is sailing for the Northern fleet and is the only aircraft carrier in the Russian Navy.
A contract with France to buy two Mistral-class helicopter carriers was cancelled in 2014 following the Russia-Ukraine crisis.
The upgrade of “Admiral Kuznetsov” includes replacement of the flight deck covering, tailhooks, aircrafts arresting gear and other modernization work on the 25 years old vessel.
It is not announced which shipyard will do the upgrade, either Sevmash in Severodvinsk or a yard in St. Petersburg.
Last winter, “Admiral Kuznetsov” got hull maintains in the drydock at shipyard No. 82 north of Murmansk on the Kola Peninsula.
The vessel will get a new air wing, said to be the new multirole fighter MiG29K. 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, “Admiral Kuznetsov” has a fleet of multi-role SU-33s and Ka-27 helicopters. The aircraft carrier has several times before sailed the Mediterranean.
The vessel has a crew of nearly 2,000 persons.