Kuznetsov-class aircraft carrier
Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Kuznetsov
|Builders:||Chernomorsky Shipyard 444|
|Operators:|| Soviet Navy
People's Liberation Army Navy
|In commission:||25 December 1990 -|
|Class & type:||Kuznetsov|
|Type:||Heavy Aircraft Carrying Cruiser|
|Length:||305 m (1,001 ft)|
|Beam:||72 m (236 ft)|
|Draught:||11 m (36 ft)|
|Propulsion:||Steam turbines 80,000shp
200,000 shp (150,000 kW)
|Speed:||30 knots (56 km/h)|
|Range:||8,500 mi (13,700 km) @ 18 knots (33 km/h)|
|Armament:||12 P-700 Granit (SS-N-19 Shipwreck) anti-ship missiles
192 3K95 Kinzhal(SA-N-9 Gauntlet) SAMs
8 Kashtan CIWS mounts
6 AK-630 AA guns
1 UDAV-1 ASW rocket launcher
|Aviation facilities:||Angled arrested landing flight deck
Bow ski jump
The Kuznetsov class aircraft carriers (also known as the Kreml class) were built for the Soviet Navy. The Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Kuznetsov serves today in the Russian Navy. The only other ship in the class, the Varyag, had not yet been commissioned when the Soviet Union broke up in 1991. Ukraine sold the unfinished hull to China, where it was completed and commissioned as the Liaoning.
While designated an aircraft carrier by the United States, the design of the Kuznetsov class implies a mission different from that of American carriers. The term used by her builders to describe the Russian ships is tyazholiy avianesushchiy kreyser (TAKR or TAVKR) - “heavy aircraft-carrying cruiser” - intended to support and defend strategic missile-carrying submarines, surface ships, and maritime missile-carrying aircraft of the Russian fleet.
In its fleet defense role the Kuznetsov's P-700 Granit (SS-N-19 NATO reporting name: Shipwreck) anti-ship cruise missiles, 3K95 Kinzhal (Gauntlet) Surface-to-Air missiles, and Su-33 (Flanker-D) aircraft are its main weapons. The fixed-wing aircraft on Admiral Kuznetsov are intended for air superiority operations to protect a deployed task force. The carrier also carries numerous helicopters for anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and search and rescue (SAR) operations.
Hull and flight deck
The hull design is derived from the 1982 Kiev Class, but is larger. The flight deck, with an area of 14,700 square meters, is of a conventional angled-deck-carrier configuration, but equipped with a 12-degree ski-jump bow flight deck—instead of using aircraft catapults. This results in a configuration similar to that of the Royal Navy's Invincible-class aircraft carriers.
However, the shape of her flight deck is loosely similar to those of the U.S. Navy's and French Navy's aircraft carriers. The Admiral Kuznetsov has a so-called "STOBAR" configuration: her flight deck is equipped with landing arrester-wires, but she has no catapults. Even using the station which afforded shortest take-off run of only 105m, Su-33 can take off easily with full fuel and weapons load. However, the navalised Flanker has 12 hard points instead of ten and ordnance was limited to 6500 kg, because of the fighter's higher maximum takeoff weight (MTOW). Two aircraft elevators, on her starboard side forward and aft of her island, move her aircraft between her hangar deck and her flight deck.
In the original project specifications, the ship should be able to carry up to 33 fixed-wing aircraft, and 12 helicopters.
Admiral Kuznetsov has twelve launchers for P-700 Granit (SS-N-19 Shipwreck) anti-ship surface-to-surface missiles, unlike Western aircraft carriers which carry little organic armament. The presence of this sizable anti-ship missile capability determines its typing as an aircraft-carrying cruiser.
For close-range air defense, the ship carries eight Kashtan Close-in weapon system (CIWS) mounts. Each mount has two launchers for 9M311 SAMs, twin GSh-30 30mm rotary cannons, and a radar/optronic director. The ship also carries six AK-630 30mm rotary cannons in single mounts.
For defense against underwater attack, the ship carries the UDAV-1 ASW rocket launcher.
The ship has D/E band air and surface target acquisition radar, F band surface search radar, G/H band flight control radar, I band navigation radar, and four K band fire-control radars for the Kashtan CIWS.
The ship has hull-mounted medium- and low-frequency search and attack sonar. The ASW helicopters have surface search radar, dipping sonar, sonobuoys, and magnetic anomaly detectors.
Propulsion and performance
The Admiral Kuznetsov is conventionally powered by eight gas-fired boilers and four steam turbines, each producing 50,000 hp (37 MW), driving four shafts with fixed-pitch propellers. Her maximum speed is 29 knots (54 km/h), and her range at maximum speed is 3,800 miles (6,100 km). At 18 knots (33 km/h), her maximum range is 8,500 miles (13,700 km).
List of ships
Hull 1 - Admiral Kuznetsov
Admiral Flota Sovetskogo Soyuza Kuznetsov was designed by the Neva Design Bureau, St. Petersburg, and built at Nikolayev South Shipyard in Ukraine. She was launched in 1985, commissioned in 1990, and became fully operational in 1995. The vessel was briefly sequentially named Riga, Leonid Brezhnev, and Tbilisi During the winter of 1995-1996 Admiral Kuznetsov deployed to the Mediterranean to mark the 300th anniversary of the Russian Navy. In the autumn of 2000, Admiral Kuznetsov went to sea for rescue and salvage operations for the submarine Kursk. During the winter of 2007-2008, Admiral Kuznetsov again deployed to the Mediterranean.
Although technical and financial problems have limited operations, Admiral Kuznetsov is expected to remain in service to 2025.
Hull 2 - Liaoning
The second hull of the Kuznetsov class took a much more roundabout route to active service. Known first as the Riga and then the Varyag, she was laid down by Nikolayev South Shipyard in 1985 and launched in 1988. However, the Varyag had not yet been commissioned when the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991, and was left to deteriorate in the elements. In 1998, the rusting hulk was sold by Ukraine to what was apparently a Chinese travel agency for ostensible use as a floating hotel and casino with the proviso that it would never become a functioning warship. After an eventful journey under tow, she arrived in China in February 2002 and was berthed at the Dalian naval shipyard, where she was overhauled and completed as China's first aircraft carrier.
In September 2012, the ship was commissioned in the Chinese navy as the Liaoning, named after the province where the shipyard is located. Today, she serves as a training carrier and is homeported in Qingdao.
- Ten production aircraft were built, with five each going to the Russian Federation and Ukraine after the fall of the Soviet Union. The Russian Navy then requested ten more trainers from Sukhoi, but it is unclear if any Su-25UBPs were ever actually delivered.
- Kuznetzov specifications
- "Kuznetsov Class - Project 1143.5".
- Ударные корабли, Том 11, часть 1, Ю.В. Апалков, Галея Принт, Санкт-Петербург, 2003
- "China aircraft carrier confirmed by general". BBC News Online. 2011-06-08. Retrieved 2012-11-30.
- Gordon, Yefim (2001). Flankers, The New Generation. Midland Publishing. p. 91. ISBN 1 85780 121 0.
- China's first aircraft carrier 'starts sea trial' - BBC News, 10/08/11
- SpaceWar.com, "China's Liaoning carrier enters service", UPI, 27 September 2012.
- "Liaoning Ship's first berthing at home port". People's Daily. March 1, 2013.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Admiral Kuznetsov class aircraft carriers.|
- Article on GlobalSecurity.org about the Kreml class aircraft carrier.
- "A Brief Look at Russian Aircraft Carrier Development," Robin J. Lee.