Russia’s only aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov will not return to service

Admiral Kuznetsov is on fire.

Russia recognized the possible loss of the only aircraft carrier reported Russian newspaper Avia.Pro.

The only Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov currently under repair may not return to service, contrary to official statements. This is due to unavailability of a dry dock that can handle the mammoth tasks associated with the modernization and restoration of the heavy aircraft-carrying cruiser, which was confirmed at the Military Training and Scientific Center and the Krylov State Scientific Center.

Admiral Kuznetsov on the PD-50 Dry Dock

Russian officials said the damage is ” critical” when the 70-tonne crane of PD-50 dry dock caused a gash on the Kuznetsov’s deck of up to 5m and sinking dry dock which was moored to the shipyard.

The PD-50 dry dock services all types of vessels that make up Russian naval fleet, including its largest submarines. So leaving it out of action for years, or even losing it altogether, would be a major hit for the Northern Fleet and the Russian Navy’s overall readiness. 

It is unclear whether the 330m-long PD-50 dry dock itself can be salvaged.

“Even if this is technically possible, the operation will not be easy and, most probably, very expensive,” a spokesman for the shipyard said.

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PD-50 Dry Dock

Admiral Kuznetsov was undergoing overhaul and modernization inside dry dock PD-50 at shipyard #82, owned by Rosneft. This is Russia’s largest dry dock, able to lift 80,000 tons, at 330 x 88 meters (working space 300m x 79m). It is one of the largest if not the largest dry dock in the world, and the only one of its kind in the Russian north, supporting the Northern Fleet. PD-50 was originally built by Sweden for the USSR (transferred in 1980), and often serves as the overhaul or repair shipyard for the Russian Northern Fleet – the dry dock regularly hosts several surface combatants and nuclear powered submarines at the same time.

“Russian industry has so far failed to promptly carry out repairs and modernization of most large combat surface ships: cruisers, destroyers and BOD. Thus, the concept of “a new ship in the old hull” as applied to them did not materialize.

This was encountered during the modernization of the Project 1164 Marshal Ustinov missile cruiser, and difficulties continue with the Admiral Kuznetsov Project 11435 heavy aircraft-carrying cruiser, as well as the Admiral Nakhimov Project 1144 heavy nuclear-powered cruiser. The modernization of the Pyotr Veliky TARK is actually actually being delayed to the right, and in the case of the RKR Moskva the shipbuilders have so far limited themselves to repairs (restoration of marching readiness) ”- reported Avia.Pro.

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It should be clarified that after the fire on the Russian aircraft carrier, there were suggestions that the Russian warship might not return to service – the cost of repairing it was very large, recent defense budget cuts prohibited such capital spend and the effectiveness of the use is relatively small.

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