Russian navy’s northern fleets admiral Kuznetsov and admiral Kakhimov are inoperable

Originally commissioned into the Soviet Navy in the 1988, the nuclear battle cruiser Admiral Nakhimov was rarely deployed to sea. Since 1999, the warship has been docked at Sevmash in Severodvinsk, now undergoing repair for 23 years. Photo: Oleg Kuleshov

The sinking of the Moskva on the 14th of April was a major blow to the whole Russian Navy. Following the fire and subsequent sinking believed to be caused by Ukrainian Neptune missiles, Russia has only two cruisers of the Slava class left. One of them, the Northern Fleet ship Marshal Ustinov, is currently sailing in the Mediterranean, unable to make it into the Black Sea following Turkey’s blocking of the Bosporus.

Russia has no replacement of its lost Black Sea flagship. Over the past decades, the country has built no new big cruisers, only frigates and corvettes.

Two major vessels of the Russian Navy’s Northern Fleet – the heavy nuclear cruiser Admiral Nakhimov and heavy aircraft-carrying cruiser Admiral  Kuznetsov of the Soviet Union Fleet – are deemed inoperable.

This was reported by Guildhall referring to a source in Ukraine’s intelligence community, according to Ukrinform.

“The heavy nuclear cruiser Admiral Nakhimov of the Russian Navy’s Southern Fleet, which is under repair, will not be put into operation on time. It has been established that of the elements of on-board equipment, only the navigation system operates properly, while none of the other units are ready,” the source said.

It is reported that the nuclear reactor powering the ship failed the required tests as its launch was aborted, while the vessel’s radiation protection system also turned out to be faulty. It was found that the outdated protection of graphite rods, produced back in 1980, has been damaged by corrosion.

According to available information, most of the high-quality components are missing due to Russian defense factories being unable to produce them.

The intelligence source also reported that another ship of the Southern Fleet, the heavy aircraft-carrying cruiser Admiral Kuznetsov of the Soviet Union Fleet, is also in critical disrepair.

“In preparation for transferring the aircraft carrier from the dock to the factory for further repairs, it was discovered that the ship could not move on its own. It was decided to tow the ship, but it was found that the survivability standard could not be maintained due to deep corrosion of the decks below the third, outer hull of the vessel, as well as the presence of water in the holds. Accordingly, there is a risk that the ship will capsize to one side or sink during towing, so the process was postponed indefinitely,” the source informed.

At the same time, the report says the crews of both ships have been formed anyway. The size of the crew of the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov of the Soviet Union Fleet was brought to wartime alert. The crew of the heavy nuclear cruiser Admiral Nakhimov has also been formed and is preparing to arrive on board.

Moskva was struck Ukrainian Neptune cruise missiles.

It should be noted that the Admiral Kuznetsov is the only aircraft-carrying cruiser of the Northern Fleet,  while the Admiral Nakhimov is one of the three missile cruisers of the Northern Fleet.

Russia tried to upgrade of the nuclear-powered battle cruiser Admiral Nakhimov (Project 11442М.) The 252 meter long Kirov class cruiser that originally was commissioned in 1988, is to become another surface vessel in the Russian Navy.

Judging from a recent video of the reconstruction process, there is still a long way to go before the ship is ready.

The more than 25,000 ton deadweight Admiral Nakhimov was in August 1999 docked at the Sevmash yard in Severodvinsk and has since then been on site. In major periods, work has been idle.

A key part of the reconstruction is now completed, shipyard Sevmash informs. Life support and energy systems, as well as new radio-technical equipment and missile and artillery complexes are being installed, the yard confirmed  in August 2020.

In February 2022, the Sevmash confirmed that it is in the process of establishing a crew for upcoming sea trials, but Ukraine war and international sanctions forced Russian shipyard to put on hold for all electronics upgrades.

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