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Russian Navy

Project 1143.5 Kreml class
Aircraft Carrier Cruiser

The 67,500-ton Kreml class aircraft carrier supports strategic missile carrying submarines, surface ships and maritime missile-carrying aircraft of the Russian fleet. The ship is capable of engaging surface, subsurface and airborne targets. Superficially similar to American carriers, the design is in fact "defensive" in support of SSBN bastions. The lack of catapults precludes launching aircraft with heavy strike loads, and the air superiority orientation of the air wing is apparent.

The flight deck area is 14,700 square meters and aircraft take-off is assisted by a bow ski- jump angled at 12 degrees in lieu of steam catapults. 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 (Freestyle) and 12 Sukhoi Su-27K (Flanker) fixed wing aircraft and a range of helicopters including four Kamov Ka-27-LD (Helix), 18 Kamov Ka-27 PLO, and two Ka-27-S. The ship has a Granit anti-ship missile system equipped with 12 surface to surface missile launchers. The air defence gun and missile system includes the Klinok air defence missile system with 24 vertical launchers and 192 anti-air missiles. The system defends the ship against anti-ship missiles, aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles and surface ships. The ship is equipped with an Udav-1 integrated anti-submarine system with 60 anti-submarine rockets.

Originally designated 'Black-Com-2' class (Black Sea Combatant 2), then subsequently the 'Kremlin' class, and finally redesignated 'Kuznetsov' class, these ships were sometimes also referred to as the 'Brezhnev' class. Initially Western analysts anticipated that the ships would have a Combined Nuclear And Steam (CONAS) propulsion plant similar to the Kirov battle cruiser and the SSV-33 support/command ship. However the class was in fact conventionally propelled with oil-fired boilers.

Western intelligence first detected preparations for the construction of the first ship in late 1979. The first public view of this ship came with the leak of the "Morrison Photos," which were the first real public look at overhead satellite imagery. Another leak over a decade later was a bookend to the first, showing the dismantlement of the sister ship to the carrier in the Morrison photo.

Russian Aircraft Carrier

Russian Aircraft Carrier

The first unit was originally named "Tbilisi", and subsequently renamed "Admiral Flota Svetskogo Soyuza Kuznetsov." The "Admiral Kuznetsov" is the only operational aircraft carrier in the Russian Navy. A variety of aircraft were tested on the Kuznetsov. The first specially configured Su-25UT Frogfoot B, Su-27 Flanker, and MiG-29 Fulcrum conventional jets landed on the deck of the Tbilisi in November 1989, aided by arresting gear. The Mig-29K passed test flights from the deck of the aircraft carrier, but was not selected for production.

The Admiral Flota Sovetskogo Soyuza Kuznetsov returned from a brief Mediterranean training cruise early in 1996. At the end of 1997 she remained immoblized in a Northern Fleet shipyard, awaiting funding for major repairs that were halted when only 20% complete. In July 1998 the Kuznetsov emerged from a two-year overhaul and was declared active in the Northern Fleet on 03 November 1998.

Construction of the Varyag started in December 1985 at Nikolayev, and the ship was launched in November 1988. The Varyag was intended to be the second ship of the class, but in late 1991 the Defense Ministry halted financing, and construction work was halted in January 1992. In 1994 Russia declined to resume the Varyag's construction, which was 70 percent complete. The total estimated cost of the ship was about US$ 2.4 billion, and more than US $500 million was needed to complete her construction. Further complicating matters was the fact that many of the ship's equipment systems reached their planned operational life limits by the end of 1997. The government of Ukraine decided in June 1994 to scrap the vessel, after unsuccessful attempts to sell it of Russia, China or India.

Ukraine began trying to sell the ship, and talks with Chinese and British companies were held in 1995. However, it was hard to find a customer. The sale of Varyag for US$20 million was announced on 17 March 1998 for conversion to an entertainment complex and casino. The Chinese company -- Agencia Turistica e Diversoes Chong Lot Limitada, a small company registered in Macau -- agreed that the ship would not be used for military purposes, which reflected the fact that much of its equipment had either never been installed or had been already been removed.


Designer: Nevskoye Planning and Design Bureau
Builder: Nikolayev South
Displacement (tons): 43,000 tons light
53,000-55,000 tons standard
66,600-67,500 tons full load
Speed (kts): 32 knots
Dimensions (m): 302.3-306.45 meters long overall
270.0-281.0 meters long at waterline
35.4-38.0 meters beam
72.0-73.0 meters width overall
9.14-11.0 meters draft
Propulsion: 2 x 50'000 hp gas. turbines; 8 boilers; 4 fixed pitch props., turbogenerators 9 x 1500 kW, diesel gen. 6 x 1500 kW; range: 3'850 n.m/32 kts; endurance: 45 days
Crew: 1960 + 626 air group + 40 flag
3857 rooms
Airwing: 16 x Yak-141
12 aircraft SU-27k or MIG-29k
4 /Helicopter KA-27LD32
  • 12 Granit (SS-N-19)
  • SA Klinok ADAM system (24 launchers, 192 vertical launch missiles; rate of fire: 1 missile per 3 sec)
  • SA Kashtan ADGM system (256 AD missiles, 48'000 cartiges; range: 0.5- 1.5 km)
  • Guns: 8 x 6 AK-630 gattl. AA
    (6x30 mm; 6'000 rds/m/mount, 24000 cartiges)
  • Combat Information Center
  • Aviation Combat Information Center
  • communications suite including satellite communications
  • MR-710 Fregat-MA/Top Plate 3D Air/Surface Search
  • 2 MR-320M Topaz/Strut Pair 2D Air/Surface Search
  • 3 Palm Frond Navigation
  • 4 MR-360 Podkat/Cross Sword SA-N-9 Fire Control
  • 8 3P37/Hot Flash SA-N-11 Fire Control
  • Fly Trap B Aircraft Control
  • Zvezda-2 search and attack sonar [medium and low frequency bands]
  • MGK-345 Bronza/Ox Yoke hull mounted Sonars
  • Other: UDAV-1 ASW RL (60 rockets; R: 3'000 m)

    Class Listing

    #numberName Laid Down Launched Comm. Stricken
    1113Kuznetsov SY 444NOR02/22/198312/05/1985 01/21/1991(ex-Tbilisi; numbered 111)
    1991-94 in overhaul
    12/95 deployed to Mediterranean
    12/98 docked for propulsion repairs
    2VaryagSY 44412/**/19851992 abandoned
    1997 sold for display



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    Updated Thursday, September 07, 2000 7:00:00 AM