Admiral Flota Sovetskogo Soyuza Kuznetsov!
The term used by her builders to describe the Russian ship is tyazholyy avianesushchiy raketnyy kreyser (TAVKR or TARKR) – "heavy aircraft-carrying missile cruiser" – intended to support and defend strategic missile-carrying submarines, surface ships, and naval missile-carrying aircraft of the Russian Navy.
She is the Admiral Kuznetsov and her gig is to project Commonwealth Russia's influence, prestige and force far beyond Momma Russia's borders.
Yet, she ain't all that
In early July 2016, upon completion of a refit, it was reported by Russian media that Admiral Kuznetsov would be deployed in the Mediterranean in October that year to serve as a platform for carrying out airstrikes in Syria. This would be the first time ever a Russian (or Soviet) aircraft carrier has seen combat. With MiG-29K fighters
The 26-year-old Admiral Kuznetsov had a scary 2009 Mediterranean transit, one sailor died when the vessel caught fire, and the ship accidentally dumped tons of fuel into the sea in a refueling mishap. And those accidents aren’t outliers. The problems with the ship are so widespread, and so expected, that the flattop has to be shadowed by tugs to tow it to port when she predictably breaks down.
The Kremlin, painfully aware of the carrier’s spotty history, seems to be playing things safe, with one military source telling TASS that the ship will stick close to Syria’s coastline “so that the deck aircraft have enough fuel to complete the military tasks and return back.”
The Kuznetsov lacks the catapults found on American and French carriers that shoot jets off the short decks at high speed. Instead, the Russian ship — like India’s and China’s first carriers — features a “ski jump” lift at the bow to help planes get airborne. That kind of deck means the planes, about 15 Su-33 and MiG-29s, have to fly light, with smaller loads of fuel and half-empty bomb racks.
American carriers currently in the Middle East launching strikes on the Islamic State, can carry at least 60 aircraft and launch them with full fuel and bomb loads.
The decision to dispatch a limping ship with a one-armed air wing shows that Moscow is just “flexing muscles,” one senior U.S. defense official told Foreign Policy. The Russians already have strike aircraft near Latakia, on the Syrian coast, from where they have been launching operations for the last year. Another dozen-odd planes launching unguided bombs on short flights from the deck of the Kuznetsov won’t add much punch to their efforts.
The Russians already have strike aircraft near Latakia, on the Syrian coast, from where they have been launching operations for the last year. Another dozen-odd planes launching unguided bombs on short flights from the deck of the Kuznetsov won’t add much punch to their efforts.
Her gig is mostly to prove that Russia is a global military power with the capacity to strike targets from offshore.