Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Russian long-suffering aircraft carrier’s return to fleet delayed by repair issue

The Russian Navy’s only aircraft carrier, the long-suffering Admiral Kuznetsov, reportedly will return to operations three years later than originally planned, due to an unspecified issue aboard.

The Mil.in.ua has reported that the vessel is undergoing what has been a tortured refit after its drydock sunk beneath it just over two years ago. Reportedly, the aircraft carrier is scheduled to be overhauled and modernized in 2023 and will be handed over to the Russian Navy at the end of the year.

It is worth remembering that last year Russian industry officials reported that “the volume of construction work required for the docking of the Admiral Kuznetsov was planned to be completed in May 2021.

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Russian aircraft carrier—which displaces 55,000 tons fully loaded—has a history of mechanical troubles since she entered service in 1991.

On 30 October 2018, Admiral Kuznetsov was damaged when Russia’s biggest floating dry dock, PD-50, sank, causing one of its 70-ton cranes to crash onto the ship’s flight deck and leaving behind a 200-square-foot (19 m2) hole in the flight deck. One person was reported missing and four injured as the dry dock sank in Kola Bay. Its future has been repeatedly questioned considering the country no longer has a dry dock large enough to service the ship, but work has supposedly continued on the three-decade-old vessel regardless.

In December 2019, a major fire broke out on board Admiral Kuznetsov during the repair. Two people died and fourteen suffered injuries from the fire and smoke inhalation. Fire-related damage aboard the aircraft carrier is estimated at $1-1.5 billion.

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Executive Editor

About this Author

Dylan Malyasov
U.S. defense journalist and commentator. Aviation photographer. Dylan leads Defence Blog's coverage of global military news, focusing on engineering and technology across the U.S. defense industry.

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